Giggly. Euphoric. Excited. Energized. These are just some of the feelings you may experience after taking psychedelic mushrooms, especially since they are known to induce heightened self-awareness while transporting you to a world of vivid images and intense sounds.
However, not all mushroom types are created equal, which is a good thing since you get to experience a different trip with each strain. But before exploring the best visual mushrooms, let's cover a few basics.
Magic mushrooms are a type of mushroom that contains psilocybin, a hallucinogenic compound that causes audio-visual effects. Once ingested, psilocybin breaks down to psilocin. This is the component that triggers the part of the brain responsible for dreaming and time perception.
- Different strains of psychedelic mushrooms produce varying effects, with some strains being more potent and providing more intense visual experiences than others.
- Several strains, such as Blue Meanies, Azurescens, and Penis Envy, are known for their unique levels of psilocybin and psilocin, leading to distinct experiences in terms of visuals, emotional impact, and duration of the trip.
- There are five basic levels of mushroom trips, ranging from barely noticeable effects at Level 1 to extremely intense experiences at Level 5. These levels are determined by the dosage and the specific strain of mushroom.
- Lower levels may enhance mood and creativity, while higher levels can lead to profound visual hallucinations, time distortion, and even spiritual experiences.
How Do Mushrooms Make You Hallucinate?
If you’re new to mushrooms, you may be curious about the whole process. We're here to help you understand what you can expect. However, remember that your experiences may be a little different since the effects of shrooms vary among users.
- The Onset: Most people begin experiencing the effects of mushrooms within 15 to 40 minutes. This timeframe will vary depending on your method of consumption, i.e., using the nibbling method or in tea form.
- Initial Effect on the Body: Magic mushrooms have a variety of effects on both the mind and body. As the psilocybin works its way through your body, you'll notice your surroundings coming into focus. During this phase, you may also feel very relaxed or uncomfortable. This depends on your surroundings and mood before you ingest the mushroom.
- First Hallucinations: Your first hallucinations will be subtle. For instance, you may notice that your surroundings are pulsing. Depending on the strain of mushroom and dose you took, you may experience intense hallucinations within the first hour.
- The Peak: You’ll reach what is known as the peak around the second or third hour of your trip. That’s when you’ll notice psychedelic colors, geometric patterns, and the loss of self.
- The Comedown: After the peak ends, your taste sensations will intensify. You may also feel more receptive to the emotional state of others or experience uncomfortable emotions of your own, such as anxiety. However, as you sober up, you’ll be left with a feeling of happiness and emotional stability.
Mushroom Trip Levels
Part of understanding the basics of a mushroom trip is understanding that there are different intensity levels that depend on a number of different variables. . Levels are used to describe the strength and intensity of a trip.
However, this is quite subjective since the effects of mushrooms vary. That said, here are five basic mushroom trip levels you can reach:
- Level 1: The dose at this level is 0.05 to 0.5 grams, making its effects barely noticeable. However, you’ll still feel better for days to come. That’s why this level is recommended for reducing stress, improving mood, and boosting creativity and energy levels.
- Level 2: With a dose ranging from 0.5 to 1 gram, you’ll be able to relax while staying social and active. You’ll feel a little happier than usual, and your overall energy levels will increase.
- Level 3: A dose between 1 and 1.5 grams will make you experience stronger, more intense visuals. You may notice colors becoming more vivid and surfaces moving or becoming distorted. You’ll also feel more creative while your sense of time is altered. Physically, you’ll experience a moderate body high and fits of giggling.
- Level 4: A dose of 2 to 3.5 grams will bring you intense euphoria and excitement. You may experience deep thought and develop spiritual and philosophical insights. You may also expect a range of emotions, synesthesia (e.g., hearing colors or seeing sounds), and closed-eye visuals.
- Level 5: A dose of 4 grams or higher is likely to separate you from reality. Expect strong visuals, auditory hallucinations, and even the illusion of conversations with inanimate things around you. Moreover, your perception of time will be distorted.
Shroom Strains and Effects
With magic mushroom 101 out of the way, let’s explore the best visual strains you can use on your next trip.
Affectionately known as Blue Meanies, Panaeolus cyanescens and Copelandia cyanescens are quite popular among psychonauts. These mushrooms are quite strong, containing 2.5% psilocybin and 1.94% psilocin.
Effects: Due to their high potency, blue meanies will take you on an intense trip to a spiritual world. So, expect strong sensations and intense visuals for anywhere between 4-6 hours with a medium dose. Moreover, it’s known to positively impact your mood with a sense of euphoria.
Another visual mushroom that packs a punch is Psilocybe azurescens. With 1.78% psilocybin, it’s quite potent despite looking like a regular little brown mushroom. So, even if you microdose, you can expect intense, highly visual trips.
Effects: Psychonauts have used the term ‘interdimensional’ to describe the effect of Psilocybe azurescens. That’s because the trip can go up to 10 times the usual speed. Moreover, the hallucinations, time distortion, and feelings of euphoria it results in are dramatic, to say the least.
If you’re new to psychedelics, you may want to stick to a low dose of Azurescens. Even seasoned visual mushroom lovers may be overwhelmed!
Psilocybe bohemica, or Psilocybe serbica, as it’s now known, is mainly found in the Czech Republic. This is another potent mushroom with psilocybin levels of 1.34% and psilocin levels of 0.11%.
Effects: Because of Bohemica’s potency, you can expect a vivid trip after ingesting it. From brighter colors to changing shapes, everything in your surroundings will be amplified. You may also feel your emotions more strongly. So, make sure you’re not angry or upset before dosing.
Also known as Liberty Caps, Psilocybe semilanceata is one of the most widely occurring visual mushrooms and the most potent. In fact, they’ve been documented as intoxicants since the 18th century.
Effects: The effects of P. semilanceata are similar to those of LSD. Therefore, expect changes in mood and feelings, as well as euphoria. You can also expect to feel united with the universe after becoming detached from reality. Some users further reported experiencing distorted thought patterns and enhanced visualizations.
If you've found yourself giggling at the name of this shroom, you’re not alone. This strain derives its name from how the mushroom looks. However, the potency of this shroom is no joke, as it’s considered the most potent Psilocybe cubensis mushroom variety.
Effects: Like other Cubensis varieties, Penis Envy offers intense, wavy hallucinations. Within 30 minutes, you may experience visual stimulation, euphoria, philosophical thoughts, and distortion of time and space.
Depending on the dosage you take, you may feel connected to the universe or even have out-of-body experiences. Higher doses will cause you to experience synesthesia that may last over six hours.
McKennaii is a special strain that was artificially produced in a lab. This thick-stemmed shroom with rounded caps is named after the well-known psychedelics activist, Terence McKenna. It’s also quite potent, making it more suitable for shroom experts.
Effects: The McKennaii is rumored to be more powerful than extremely potent Copelandia cyanescens strains like the Blue Meanie. You’ll reach the peak of your trip within 2–3 hours of taking this strain.
The peak lasts for at least 3 hours, depending on the dose. At lower doses, you’ll experience peace and mindfulness. With a higher dose, your mood will improve, and your sense of empathy will increase. You may also feel more creative and have both open- and closed-eye visuals. And if you opt for 5+ grams, you may have life-changing insights and mystical experiences.
Just one look at the yellow-gold caps of this strain is enough to prove it lives up to its name. Golden Teacher's appearance as well as its psychedelic effects are what make this the favorite of many psychonauts.
Effects: Golden Teachers offer a mildly high effect, which is why they’re considered gateway shrooms for new users. However, these trips are quite memorable as the strain produces effects such as intense emotions, visual distortions, and giddiness. You may even feel euphoric and spiritually in tune.
As the Albino A+ and Golden Teachers hybrid, Albino Goldies deliver the best of both strains. They’re shaped like Albino+ and share the yellow-golden color of Golden Teachers.
Effects: A member of the Psilocybe cubensis family, Albino Goldies offers a quick physical high that targets the body rather than the mind. The effects can set in less than ten minutes and last up to six hours. However, higher doses may result in mind-altering effects and ego death.
A strain of Psilocybe cubensis, B+ is known for its beautiful caramel-colored thick caps. It’s recommended for beginners as it offers a well-balanced high and a lighter trip that’ll leave you relaxed.
Effects: B+ cubensis will deliver a tolerable, positive trip with mild visuals. However, doses over 3.5 g will result in visual and sensual hallucinations. You may also see warped objects and a distorted perception of time.
Another strain of P. cubensis, the Cambodian, is known for producing an energetic high that’ll stir your creativity. Though it’s known as a potent strain, its high is relatively mellow. It also produces a lower psychoactive effect in comparison with other Cubensis strains.
Effects: If you’re looking for something to make you feel energetic and euphoric, the Cambodian strain is what you seek. Your trip will be full of beautiful visual effects, including changing shapes and intense colors. You may also feel more positive emotions and lose sense of time. But keep in mind that these effects can last for a long time.
Formally known as Psilocybe Fanaticus, PF Classic is a strain of Psilocybe cubensis that isn’t commonly grown despite its popularity. Its appearance is also variable; some mushrooms may have thick, fibrous stems, while others have short, spongy ones.
Effects: Like its appearance, the trips of the PF Classic vary. While some users say they’re gentle and suitable for beginners, others believe they result in intense visuals and experiences.
In any case, you're likely to experience gentle hallucinogenic effects that intensify as you increase the dose. The strain is also known to improve creativity.
Alacabenzi is reportedly a strain of P. cubensis that’s actually a hybrid. It’s a large shroom that delivers effects like those of cannabis edibles, making it ideal for novice users. It’s especially recommended if you’re looking for a shroom that can help you relax.
Effects: The biggest benefit of Alacabenzi is the sense of relaxation it offers. The mushroom’s effect will kick in within an hour and may last up to six hours.
If you’re new to mushrooms, avoid excessive movement since the dose may be a little too potent and cause disorientation. If you’re more experienced and ingest more than 2 grams, your visuals may become twisted, and objects around you may melt. Other effects to expect are time distortion, synesthesia, and hallucinations.
Also, check out our blog for the best mushrooms for the immune system.
Another cultivated P. cubensis strain, Orissa, is a very popular visual mushroom. Interestingly, hardly anyone knows much about this large-sized shroom aside from the fact that it grows best in elephant dung. That aside, it’s effective in elevating the spiritual state and delivering a grounding experience.
Effects: Orissa India is a physical strain, so you can expect a strong body buzz. As for visual effects, these are characterized as vivid and hallucinogenic. Things around you may change form and color. Moreover, you may 'see' lifeless objects develop interesting personalities and talk to you.
Most users report feeling energetic and euphoric. Some also experience excitement, fits of giggles, and a sense of awe. If you wish to intensify the effects, take Orissa on an empty stomach. Your trip will begin in 15 to 30 minutes, with the effects lasting up to 5 hours.
Mazatapec is another P. cubensis. It’s been used by the Mazatec people of Mexico and is aptly named after them.
Effects: Mazatapec magic mushrooms offer users a spiritual experience and beautiful hallucinations. Unlike other P. cubensis strains, this strain results in fewer bodily symptoms.
To be more specific, your trips will feature visual hallucinations, euphoria, and changes in the perception of time. Its effects will set in around 45 minutes after ingestion and can last up to 6 hours.
However, first-time users should microdose and increase the dosage accordingly. As for experienced psychonauts, 3+ grams are ideal for an intense experience.
Pacifica Exotica Spora (PES) Amazonia is a cultivated P. cubensis strain named after the first company to sell its spores. This large, reddish mushroom is quite potent. In fact, it’s among the strongest Cubensis strains out there.
Effects: The PES Amazonia is more of a mental or spiritual strain. Therefore, you may not experience as many visuals as you would with other strains. With higher doses, however, you may experience intense visuals and improve your mood. That’s why this strain is recommended for small gatherings and large festivals.
Z-Strain is a cultivated variety of one of the most popular species of magic mushrooms, Psilocybe cubensis. Though long-term consumption isn’t recommended, short-term use ensures visuals, mental clarity, and body high.
Effects: A recreational dose will unleash a psychoactive storm that comprises dancing lights, auditory hallucinations, and a distorted perception of time. You may even go through synesthesia, ego death, and spatial misrepresentation with a higher dose.
Burma has established itself as one of the strongest magic mushrooms around. A member of the P. cubensis family, this brown mushroom is quite potent. That’s why it’s suitable for experienced mushroom users.
Effects: The effects of the Burmese mushroom will differ from one person to another. However, the initial effect can be quite intense. You can expect to feel euphoria during the peak. Some users also report being in a dreamy state and feeling relaxed.
As for visuals, these effects will depend on your personality, who you’re with, and your diet. Any of these strains will give you a memorable trip that’s deeply rewarding. Just remember to follow safe practices while taking mushrooms at all times.
Native to South America, Psilocybe Hoogshagenii is still widely used for spiritual purposes due to its entheogenic effects. It’s rated “moderately active,” with psilocybin and psilocin levels of 0.6% and 0.1%, respectively.
Effects: While the trip from Hoogshagenii is shorter, you can expect a spiritual experience. After all, there’s a reason this was used to diagnose illness and divine the locations of lost items.
The Best Mushroom Strains for Visuals: FAQs
What are magic mushrooms?
Magic mushrooms, also known as psychedelic mushrooms, are a type of mushroom that contains psychoactive compounds, primarily psilocybin and psilocin. These compounds can induce psychedelic experiences, characterized by alterations in perception, mood, and thought.
How do magic mushrooms affect the brain?
Magic mushrooms primarily affect the brain by interacting with serotonin receptors, particularly the 5-HT2C receptor. Psilocybin, the active compound, is converted in the body to psilocin, which then influences serotonin levels in the brain. This can lead to altered perceptions, emotions, time, and reality.
Are magic mushrooms safe?
The safety of magic mushrooms is a complex issue. Physically, they are considered to have a low risk of harm and a low potential for addiction compared to other substances. However, they can produce intense psychological effects, which can be distressing or harmful, particularly for individuals with a history of mental health issues.
Can magic mushrooms be used medically?
There is growing interest in the medical use of magic mushrooms, particularly for treating conditions like depression, anxiety, PTSD, and end-of-life distress. Clinical trials and research studies are exploring their therapeutic potential. While results are promising, showing potential benefits in certain cases, magic mushrooms are not yet widely accepted or approved for medical use in most countries.