Fungi and Your Life
Do you know that there would be no life on earth without the existence of fungi? The abundant oxygen we have in our atmosphere today was largely due to fungi that extracted phosphorous from the rocks and transmitted it to plants for photosynthesis at the beginning. Thus, you wouldn’t be a living creature without fungi.
Moreover, nearly everything that decays or dies is decomposed by fungi. If there were no fungi, the Earth would virtually be unlivable for you and other living organisms.
Fungi also add value to your life in ways you may barely notice, or may not be aware of.
Fungi and What You Eat
Fungi play a crucial role in your diet, but you may not know this. Mushrooms are the fruit-bearing, fleshy, spore-producing body of fungi. Although mushrooms typically grow above the ground surface, they represent just a small part of the larger parent organism which grows beneath the ground surface, spreading through the soil and attaching itself to the roots of plants.
It is a known fact that mushrooms are edible, and you should eat them because of their numerous health benefits.
Some delicacies include truffles, chanterelles, shiitake, and morels. However, fungi not only appear in your diet as mushrooms. Many types of cheese are ripened by Penicillium, which are a genus of fungi.
The fruit and grains used for producing the wine and beer you drink are fermented by fungi, and the wild yeast for bread is also obtained from fungi.
Natural sourdough bread, which has been a staple food for many years, is prepared using saccharomyces cerevisiae that is popularly called the baker’s yeast.
Mushrooms eliminate cancer
According to a research in the Journal of Experimental Biology and Medicine, breast cancer cells are suppressed by all the common varieties of mushroom by as much as 33%. In addition to fighting breast cancer, studies also show that mushrooms also reduce other types of cancer like stomach and prostate cancers.
They’re rich in vitamins and boost the immune system
Mushrooms contain lentinan and beta-glucan which help to strengthen your immune system. They also contain important vitamins. For instance, high amounts of vitamin D can be found in many mushroom varieties, and lots of B12 are present in crimini mushrooms, which makes them a huge favorite with vegetarians since animal products are the major sources of B12.
Medicinal Value of Fungi
Record shows that fungi was first used as medicine in the form of red yeast rice, which was developed around 800 AD in China. A therapeutically active combination of compounds is produced from the cultivation of Monascus purpura (yeast) in rice.
Today, medicines made from fungi are used to treat a large number of patients with deadly ailments every year. For centuries, fungal metabolites have been known to be medicinally useful.
Psilocybin mushrooms are probably the most powerful yet contentious fungal medicine that have been used for many years.
The history of these drugs was thoroughly explained by Michael Pollan in his book, “How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence.”
Pollan reveals that mental disorders, as well as addiction, depression, and anxiety, were once legally and successfully treated in the US with psychedelics. He also explains that psilocybin and LSD were regarded as miracle drugs by many in the psychiatric world throughout the 1950s and early 1960s.
How Your Brain is Changed by Magic Mushrooms
Hallucinogens, such as psilocybin (magic) mushrooms, work their magic on the cortex of your brain to change your mood, perception, and several other mental processes. Certain receptors known as 5-HT2A receptors (2ARs), which are usually under the stimulation of serotonin, are activated by the drugs.
As your brain undergoes this chain of neurobiological changes, you keep having a renewed feeling of amazement at everyday activities. You’ll experience greater awareness about yourself. Your senses will become sharper to enable you have a better perception of colors, including a more intense sense of smell and taste. You’ll also be able to concentrate on the present.
After using it just once, participants said they experienced a considerate reduction in depression and anxiety.
They also reported experiencing a lasting shift in their awareness as a result of the “spiritual awakening” they encountered. Ultimately, participants confirmed that they found it easier to focus on the present and were more aware of the interconnectedness of the universe.
A more in depth look at the effects of magic mushrooms.
Therefore, psilocybin mushrooms may be the solution you need if you seek spiritual enlightenment and want to rid your mind of the constant chatter, or if you’re afflicted with any of the mental diseases mentioned above. Besides, you are probably wondering how they are cultivated.
So, do you want to grow some mushrooms since you now know their massive benefits? Although this article is focused on the cultivation of magic mushrooms, psilocybe cubensis in particular, the following method is also effective for growing other types of mushroom strains.
A word on legality
In most countries, the cultivation of psilocybin mushrooms is still illegal. Nevertheless the knowledge of how to cultivate magic mushrooms is needed since researchers are presently performing experiments to prove their medical and therapeutic value to the modern legal system. Even though logic/reason/morality/ethics/ect. dictates that the legal system should have no say in medicine, we would of course never advise anyone to break laws which they find to be morally and ethically appropriate, but you can learn how to grow them for the sake of mycology.
Right now, you may be asking just how long it takes to actually grow magic mushrooms. Well, that’s a good question. An estimated timeline is given below:
- Inoculation and germination of spore take about a week.
- Germination of spore to complete colonization of the cakes takes from 2 to 4 weeks.
- It takes approximately two weeks for the fruiting cycle to begin.
In general, the entire process from spore inoculation to fruiting takes between 4 and 6 weeks.
You’ll need the following:
- 10 sterilized mushroom grow bags with an appropriate mushroom substrate. Alternatively, use one grow bag for each cc in your syringe. You can also use brown rice flour, or another substrate, and wide-mouth mason jars to make inoculation jars. But an intense sterilization process will be needed in this case.
- Paper towels
- Latex gloves
- Rubbing alcohol
- A syringe of mushroom spores (you can get spore syringes online). Shipping to some states like Georgia, Oregon, and California may not be easily possible. Nevertheless, there are some reliable sources for those.
- A face mask
- A can of disinfectant spray such as Lysol
- A lighter
- Hypodermic needles with a size that matches your syringe (if they didn’t come with your syringe)
- 3% hydrogen peroxide
- Vermiculite (Perlite is a preferred choice for some growers. These two are different)
- Humidity and temperature gauge
- A fruiting chamber (i.e., clear plastic container that has a lid)
- A spray bottle
- A spot that is indirectly exposed to plenty of sunlight
To harvest a reward for your efforts, you’ll need to get the following four aspects correctly:
As we run through the steps, you’ll know more about each of these. So, let’s get started:
You’ll create something that’s called a birthing cake in the first stage of your cultivation. A birthing cake is formed when mycelium has grown into the substrate and completely colonized your substrate. It will bind together like a cake and produce mushrooms when it’s removed from the grow bag.
Step One: Sterilize
The biggest threat in cultivating mushrooms is having your inoculation jars hijacked by harmful bacteria. This points out the need for you to follow these steps to disinfect the grow bags and the immediate surroundings. You’re doing this to ensure microscopic organisms don’t multiply in your jars and cause deadly damages to your spores.
Create a prep space or secret laboratory using any small room, like a bathroom, in your house.
Get all the listed items required for the first stage. After putting on your face mask, enter the room, and shut the door.
Apply the disinfectant spray well across the room and wear your gloves.
Use paper towels to apply rubbing alcohol to wipe your grow bags off. Make sure you wipe the top of the jar thoroughly.
Step Two: Inoculate
Heat up the metal part of your hypodermic needle with your lighter till it becomes red hot. However, this is just a precaution because hypodermic needles are usually pre-sterilized.
Don’t lay the needle down after sterilizing it, but rather keep holding the needle till it cools down.
Make sure the spores are evenly distributed by shaking your syringe. Pierce the port with the needle and inject one cc into the grow bag.
Do the same thing for the other grow bags and ensure you sterilize your needle every single time.
Step Three: Wait
After injecting the grow bags, put them inside a cardboard box, cover it with the lid, and look for a warm, dark place to keep it. Ensure the temperature is steady between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Your jars need the dark, and as such, try not to check them for five days, even though you may be excited about the whole thing.
A foggy, white substance will begin to appear in your grow bags after five days or so. This is definitely a good sign, and you need to start celebrating when you see it. Mycelium is what you see as the white substance. It is the vegetative part of the fungus, which is just like a plant’s roots. Mushroom, on the other hand, is similar to the flower on the plant.
Allow the mycelium to grow for 15 days or more. Once you notice that mycelium has completely colonized your grow bags, wait for a week and move on to the second stage. A grow bag completely filled with mycelium.
You are now ready to extract the birthing cakes from the grow bags. In the following month, they’re hopefully going to produce a whole lot of mushrooms.
First, get your grow bags and all the listed items ready for the second stage.
Step One: Birth your mycelium cakes and soak them
After mycelium has fully colonized your grow bags, the time is now right for you to birth them and put them inside the fruiting chamber to allow them produce mushrooms. Since they must have drained all the moisture in the airtight jars, the mycelium will be thirsty. As a result, you need to soak them well for 12 to 24 hours before taking them to their new habitat.
- Get some filtered water and a sterilized plastic vessel with a lid, or huge plastic baggies.
- Wash your hands properly, or wear clean gloves.
- Cut off the top of the bags.
- Release the cake by bumping it against your hand. Try not to touch the cake too much.
- Put the cake in the vessel or baggie and repeat the process for the other cakes (your cake won’t break or fall apart because they become really strong once mycelium has fully colonized them).
- Seal up the vessel or baggies after filling them with as much filtered water as possible. Since the cakes will float, you’ll have to do all you can to remove air if you’re using baggies.
- Place the cakes in a refrigerator for at least 12 hours but not exceeding 24 hours. Some growers soak for 12 hours, while others do it for 24 hours.
After having a long, cold bath, your mycelium cakes are now finally ready to be taken to the chamber.
Step Two: Get the chamber ready
Use a solution of boiling water and bleach to sterilize your container. Then, use plain boiling water to rinse it thoroughly.
Split your spray bottle into 11 equal parts, and fill one part with hydrogen peroxide or H202 and the remaining 10 parts with boiled water.
Soak another 1-to-10 solution of hydrogen peroxide and boiling water to sterilize your Pearlite or vermiculite. Then, at the base of your cultivating chamber, spread a layer.
The presence of vermiculite is to help maintain the humidity of your cultivating chamber, and you’ll have to mist it from time to time.
Place the lids of your grow bags on the layer of vermiculite, and then put a cake on each of the lids. Sprinkle your h20/h202 mixture on each cake, but don’t get it dripping wet. Ensure there is enough space between each cake to prevent the sprouting mushrooms from obstructing each other.
The little mushroom sprouts that you may see are known as pins, and they are actually a good sign.
Briefly sniff at each cake to know the health of your mycelium. How they smell shouldn’t be different from the mushrooms bought from the store. Harmful bacteria may be present in your mycelium if they have a bad smell.
Insert the lid on your cultivating chamber and put it in a place where it will be indirectly exposed to sunlight. There should be enough ventilation in the room.
The hydrogen peroxide and water mixture should be used to mist your mushrooms two times per day over the following month or so. Closely monitor your temperature/humidity gauge. Typically, the humidity should be 85%, while the temperature should be in the mid to low 70’s. You may need to mist them more often if you have a low humidity.
Once it’s harvest time, break off your mushrooms from the birthing cake at the bottom of their stems, put them inside an airproof vessel, and keep it in your fridge.
A flush is a term that refers to a harvest of mushrooms. The cakes can be reused for many flushes. Those instructions will be provided in part two, since this article is meant for beginners.
Yield, Preservation, and Dosage
An image of a fully mature birthing cake that’s set for harvest is used as the main photo in this article. As you may have noticed, a bunch of mushrooms can be obtained from a single cake. Since most syringes can only inoculate ten bags, it’s recommended to use this number.
Ten birthing cakes can be extracted from ten grow bags, which will give most people a considerable supply. You can also begin with a smaller number of bags, which means there will be some unused spores.
Mushrooms can retain their freshness for 3 to 15 days. Put them inside the fridge just as you would treat any mushroom. Afterward, dry and keep them in an airproof vessel which should be kept in a dark, cool place.
Psilocybin mushrooms have no set dosage, but rather your desired effect, sensitivity level, and size should determine your dose. The strength of the mushrooms is also another factor that determines the dose. You need to start slow because one mushroom can be extremely powerful. It is advisable to eat a lot of it during your psychedelic journey, but once you eat too much of it, you can’t undo it. Bear in mind that you may start feeling the effects after an hour or so.
Like your dosage, much importance should also be given to your set and setting. There are procedures you can follow to guarantee a positive experience.
Mushrooms can be grown in numerous ways, just like every other aspect of life. After growing at least a batch, you can engage in an argument about the stunning details of the best technique for growing fungi with keen, knowledgeable experts who will definitely say something about this article. Notwithstanding, beginners will have no problem understanding and applying this simple technique.
Are you somewhat confused with the number of steps? If that’s the case, go through the steps again till you get familiar with the whole process. The steps will become simple the moment you’re familiar with them.
Finally, try to enjoy the whole process and don’t worry about the outcome. Enjoy the learning and the journey of growing these mushrooms because it is magical and mysterious substance that transforms your consciousness and heals your soul and mind.