Do you want to get into the word of edible and medicinal mushrooms, but don’t know where to start? Want a good beginner’s spawn that’s fun to grow? Then the blue oyster mushroom is your (fun)guy. Starting out with deep blue caps that mature to gray as the fruiting bodies develop, and with a great resilience to different growing conditions, the blue oyster mushroom is an ideal candidate for a beginner’s fungi garden. The blue oyster mushroom is a member of the Pleurotus ostreatus species, specifically the variant columbinus – this variant of the oyster mushroom is especially resilient in colder weather conditions, and produces a bulkier fruiting body than other oyster mushroom variants. As the oyster mushroom is prized in culinary creations, and even considered a delicacy in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cuisine, blue oyster mushrooms are sure to be an even greater return on your time investment should you choose to foster a fungus such as these. But the usefulness of this species goes deeper than just its uses in cooking…
The blue oyster mushroom is one of many Pleurotus ostreatus variants looked to for its role in mycoremediation, also known as mycorestoration – the process by which fungi are used to clean pollutants from the environment which are otherwise difficult to remove. Given that blue oyster mushrooms are such durable specimens, the relationship between their hardiness and their effect on the environment becomes clear: Pleurotus ostreatus will devour almost anything it comes into contact with, by virtue of the enzymes it releases into the hardwood trees upon which it usually grows. Given that the chemical bonds found in wood are similar to those found in some pollutants, such as petroleum and pesticides, the potential of using oyster mushrooms to clean up an oil-contaminated wetland or a decomposition-resistant garbage dump is undeniable. Research on this topic is ongoing, and provides hope for a brighter future of human management of the Earth’s resources; especially in developing countries, waste management is an area of concern, and effective mycoremediation would provide not only a cost-effective way of reducing waste, but one which also has the potential to provide valuable fungi as a byproduct. The blue oyster mushroom is just one of a number of viable candidates for this emerging biotechnology.
I’m not sure how many people would be willing to eat waste-dump blue oyster mushrooms… But hey, some of these funguys grow on poop, right?
The short answer — In most places all mushroom spores (including psilocybin mushroom spores) are legal! The reason? Mainly because they contain no psilocybin or psilocyn, but many other reasons discussed in this article also support their legality.
For a more detailed answer as to why this area of spores seems so grey (and why so many people ask if it is illegal to buy mushroom spores or if we can legally buy mushroom spores), continue reading.
The world of mycology becomes ever more prevalent internationally via discoveries about many species of fungi that could help heal us as all the way from an individual level to the planetary level. With these discoveries, naturally people are becoming more interested in how mushrooms work and what they do. Medicinal mushrooms can help heal our bodies by causing unique biological reactions (like how a unique chemical in Turkey Tail mushrooms has anticancer properties), but Psilocybin Mushrooms (otherwise known as Magic Mushrooms) not only work on the individuals biology but also on their mind (ex. Effect of psilocybin on treatment resistant depression ).
As many people struggle in the world today, answers to problems on an individual level can be the start of a whole new life. Finding these answers are not an easy task to say the least, but as technology and information becomes more available people are beginning to find ways that can solve mental issues that many people suffer from and have suffered from for hundreds likely thousands of years (ex. Depression, Substance Use Disorder, many more).
Just like any “drug” psilocybin and psilocyn must and should go through vigorous testing and have many studies conducted on their properties and effects. The mind-altering effects should be used in a controlled setting or under proper prescription. The spores of the mushrooms that contain Psilocybin on the other hand most certainly should also be studied in order to understand the organism more entirely.
**Let us be clear, the legal information in this article is all hypothetical and should in no way be used in an official setting without consulting a real legal advisor. **
As was mentioned at the top of the article, most places allow for the import and possession of spores (some exceptions for example are California, Idaho, and Georgia). The same lack of information regarding spores specifically comes up in the USA and many other countries after doing a bit of a search on google. The illegal substances are psilocybin and psilocyn, as they are the mind-altering substance. So, studying the spores (which contain no psilocybin or psilocyn) in a microscopic setting, or even before a certain stage in growth would very likely but also This erowid article briefly discusses California’s laws on spores. In Canada as well as the USA, the legal status of psilocybin mushroom spores is quite ambiguous. Nothing on the Canadian governments website seems to mention spores specifically , and Wikipedia states “Mushroom spore kits are legal and are sold openly in stores or on the internet as the spores and kits themselves are legal. Psilocybin and psilocin are illegal to possess, obtain or produce without a prescription or license as they are schedule III under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.” slightly potentially be seen as legal.
In an imaginary legal situation, the legal area of spores is so grey and ambiguous currently that by simply studying them the chances of any legal complications arising as a result of possession or sale is quite unlikely. As stated previously, these substances have been proven worthy of research due to their potential positive effects. So even if something were to somehow arise, there would likely be 2 possible outcomes for the most part.
The defendant has been selling spores *for microscopy purposes only*, and the prosecution claims spores are used to grow illegal mushrooms containing psilocybin or psilocyn.
In this situation, the prosecution would for the most part be wasting their time with the defendant, as spores contain no psilocybin or psilocyn and these substances can only be obtained under special and specific circumstances (Gross, 2000). In the worst-case scenario, one may have to hire a lawyer for a case that will very likely get put on hold for quite some time. Due to likelihood of magic mushrooms becoming legal or decriminalized in some way or other, a case like this is very weak for the prosecution as the legal areas are extremely ambiguous.
The defendant has been selling spores negligently and potentially for illegal purposes.
In this situation, the result depends on the degree of negligence. If the defendant is directly selling spores for the purpose of cultivation, they will most likely get in significant amounts of trouble. On the other end of the spectrum if the defendant sells spores for microscopy purposes but provides a grow guide with the spores the case will once again become more ambiguous. On the lighter end of the spectrum, most of those cases seem likely to be put on hold due to new research on psilocybin and psilocyn. Under all circumstances in situation (B) lawyer fees would be a considerable factor.
For the rest of the article, we have extracted information from a study done by Susan T. Gross that explains at which point in the mushroom life cycle psilocybin becomes present in the mushroom mycelium and fruiting bodies. This information highlights the stages at which we can potentially study these mushrooms in a legal manner.
There are 4 stages of the mushroom life cycle. The spores start everything off, then the mycelium begins to form, after that the primordia/pre-fruit form, and then finally come the fruiting bodies we know as mushrooms.
Germination of the spores can only take place in a suitable environment.
As the spores seek nutrients, they grow outward in a branching cobweb like manner (similar to how dendrites branch out, and also similar to how tree branches grow! See picture). This cobweb like branching system is the mycelium. This network of mycelium collects nutrients that will eventually lead to the primordia, and then the fruiting bodies.
Primordia are also known as “knots” or “pin-heads” and this is the starting stage of fruiting body growth. Once the primordia are fully grown, they become fruiting bodies that can disperse spores which then resets the life cycle as the mushrooms begin to decay.
In the study by Susan Gross spore solutions were tested and “No psilocyn or psilocybin were detected in any of the spore solutions.”. Of 29 mycelium samples tested before the primordia began to form “No psilocyn or psilocybin was detected in any of these 29 samples”. Once the primordia began to form “Of the 22 mycelium knot samples, 17 were consistent with psilocyn.”. It was determined that the mycelium knot stage of the mushroom was the earliest stage at which the psychoactive drugs could be detected. It was observed that light affected the time of development and the appearance of these mushrooms, among other specific circumstances which mycelium and later fruiting bodies require to form.
In conclusion, psilocybin mushroom spores are not illegal to buy in most places. The study of spores in a microscopic setting can help us expand our knowledge of spores and these mushrooms as a whole. Abiding by the law is very important as we are still just beginning to understand these substances and organisms, and the laws surrounding these substances are very ambiguous (but also somewhat flexible!) which is why its important to be cautions and do your research! Cultivating these substances is a very dangerous idea and we recommend you never do this unless you are doing it legally (ex. certain governments provide licenses to grow psilocybin for research purposes). Studying spores for microscopy purposes is a great way to learn about psilocybin mushrooms and fungi in general. If one is interested in having a psychedelic experience, they should do the proper research and talk to a doctor or see online about studies near you that can offer you legal psilocybin in a controlled setting.