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What Are Golden Teachers Mushrooms, And Are They Legal?

What Are Golden Teachers Mushrooms, And Are They Legal?

Golden Teachers mushrooms are one of the most commonly used psilocybin mushrooms. They are not a species, but instead a strain of Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms.

As with other psilocybin mushrooms, the main psychoactive compounds it contains are psilocybin and psilocin. Cultivators and psychonauts like this magic mushroom strain for different reasons.

In this post, we will be exploring those reasons, as well as what makes Golden Teachers unique and different from other psilocybin mushrooms. Finally, we will end with a discussion on the legal status of Golden Teachers.

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What Are Golden Teachers?

Golden Teachers are one strain or variety of Psilocybe cubensis. There are many varieties of this species of mushroom, but Golden Teachers are one of the more popular strains.

So what is the difference between a species and a strain? Well, a species is a distinct genetic lineage that typically cannot interbreed.

However, there are some exceptions to this interbreeding quality that tends to define species: lions and tigers can interbreed (to create the liger), as can horses and donkeys (to create the mule). We’re not currently aware of any hybrids of distinct magic mushroom species.

Psilocybe cubensis is the most commonly cultivated species of magic mushroom. Psilocybe is the genus the species belongs to. Genus is a taxonomic category in biology that ranks above species (and contains several species) and below family.

The family that Psilocybe belongs to is Hymenogastraceae. Because Psilocybe cubensis is a different species to Psilocybe mexicana, you couldn’t naturally cross them.

Terms like strain and variety are a bit more ambiguous. Scientists will disagree about what these terms mean. Also, you have vendors inventing new strains without explaining what makes them distinct. Nonetheless, we can characterize strains as all originating from the same species, and these strains can interbreed freely.

For example, you can interbreed Penis Envy mushrooms and B+ (both strains of Psilocybe cubensis), which leads to the Tidalwave strain.

Having a truly distinct strain, like Golden Teachers, means the mushrooms should display stable characteristics that can be reproduced every time you grow them. Growing strange-looking shrooms one time doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve created a new strain.

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What Golden Teachers Look Like

Part of what makes strains distinct is their appearance. Let’s describe what Golden Teachers look like.

  • Cap. An ashy red color, with a yellow or golden center, hence the “golden” in the name. The cap is slightly curved and can reach up to 8 cm in diameter (although they are usually about 5 cm in diameter). The cap is larger in comparison to other varieties of Psilocybe cubensis.
  • Stipe. Hollow and thicker toward the base.
  • Gills. Vary from whitish to purple-brown.

You will get a medium-sized Golden Teacher mushroom from the first flush (crop), but mushrooms in later flushes can be massive in size. Cultivators tend to like Golden Teachers because they grow in great flushes.

Golden Teacher Lookalikes

There are other varieties of this strain, however, such as Albino Golden Teacher mushrooms. If we compare Albino mushrooms vs. Golden Teacher mushrooms, what are the differences? Well, the main difference, as the name ‘albino’ tells us, is the color.

Albino Golden Teacher mushrooms are white in color, and this is because they originate from the cross-breeding of Golden Teachers with Albino A+ (another Psilocybe cubensis strain).

It’s also important to be aware of Psilocybe cubensis lookalikes, as it is possible to mistake some of these for Golden Teachers. One way to eliminate the possibility of consuming poisonous lookalikes is to know that Golden Teachers don’t grow in the wild. However, if you’ve bought some magic mushrooms and you’re not sure if they’re Golden Teachers or not, you should be able to tell based on the description of them provided above. Their gold cap is distinctive.

The only way to be 100 percent certain that you don’t have a Golden Teacher mushroom lookalike is to grow these mushrooms yourself (providing you’ve bought the right spores).

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The Potency Of Golden Teachers Mushrooms

One of the aspects of different psilocybin mushrooms that users care the most about is potency. And different strains can have varying degrees of potency, with the differences sometimes being pretty large.

It’s worth noting that the appearance of the mushroom does not necessarily reflect potency. The genetic characteristics that translate into potency are independent of those that translate into aspects like color and size.

We do have some scientific studies on the differences in potency between species of psilocybin mushrooms.

For example, Psilocybe azurenscens is one of the most potent, containing 1.78 percent psilocybin, 0.38 percent psilocin, and 0.35 percent baeocystin. Baeocystin is another compound found in psilocybin mushrooms. It could potentially contribute to an entourage effect, with baeocystin modulating certain psychedelic effects. The entourage effect is said to apply to cannabis, too, with compounds other than THC synergistically acting on it to modulate the overall psychoactive effects.

Psilocybe cubensis is a moderately potent magic mushroom. It contains 0.63 percent psilocybin, 0.60 percent psilocin, and 0.25 percent baeocystin. However, the various strains of Psilocybe cubensis, like the strains of any other species, can differ in their potency.

Until very recently, we didn’t know much about the potency between different varieties. Mushroom connoisseurs would hold up Penis Envy as one of the most potent strains. But this was based on anecdotal self-experimentation. There wasn’t high-quality data to back up this claim.

Nonetheless, Penis Envy mushrooms still have the reputation of being a highly potent magic mushroom.

What The Latest Data Says

However, the situation changed in April 2021, when a team of scientists from Oakland, California, put on the first-ever Psilocybin Cup, a community-led citizen science approach to quantifying the psilocybin and psilocin content in over 60 strains of magic mushrooms supplied by growers.

Across the strains, psilocybin content ranged from 0.15 percent to 2.26 percent in dried specimens. The strain containing 2.26 percent psilocybin was the Tidalwave strain (TW2), grown by Magic Myco.

The data shows that Penis Envy mushrooms are, indeed, a potent strain, containing over 1 percent psilocybin, although as with all strains, there is variability. Sometimes, Penis Envy mushrooms can contain 1.5 percent psilocybin.

Golden Teachers are a moderately potent magic mushroom. On average, they contain around 0.75 percent psilocybin, but this can be as high as 1 percent. Based on the potency of Golden Teachers, you won’t need to take as many of them to achieve the same level of intensity as you would get from consuming Penis Envy mushrooms.

However, for the desired effects, you would need to consume a higher dosage of Golden Teachers than you would for less potent strains of Psilocybe cubensis, such as Hawaiian and Treasure Coast.

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Growing Golden Teachers

If you want to find out how to grow golden teachers, you should consult our guide on how to grow psilocybin mushrooms. This explains all the ingredients and equipment you need to obtain, as well as step-by-step descriptions of how to grow, harvest, and store your mushrooms.

Golden Teachers are a good choice for cultivation. If you’re just starting out, any Psilocybe cubensis strain is easy to grow and all the strains have similar cultivation requirements (e.g. temperature, humidity, and light).

Golden Teachers are said to be particularly easy when growing magic mushrooms at home. This is because they are able to grow in less than optimal conditions.

To grow Golden Teachers, you’ll first need Golden Teacher spores. Just make sure that you spend some time researching vendors and select one that is trusted with good reviews.

Are Golden Teachers easy to grow? Many cultivators say they are. In fact, this type of mushroom — like other Psilocybe cubensis strains — are known to be relatively easy to grow, making it a great choice for first-time growers. And how long does it take to grow Golden Teachers? Expect the process to take 4-6 weeks from spore inoculation to fruiting harvest.

The Effects Of Golden Teachers Mushrooms

Golden Teachers derived the “teacher” part of their name due to users finding that they offered them insightful and revelatory experiences. However, any strain of magic mushroom can, of course, offer important insights, as if you’re learning life lessons from a teacher.

Since Golden Teachers have a moderate potency level, they are an ideal entry point for those new to psychedelics. The strain’s mild nature reduces the risk of a bad trip for a user. More experienced users may take a larger dose of Golden Teachers in order to achieve unique effects, such as mystical experiences.

Golden Teacher mushroom doses should be considered in a careful manner. Even if these are a medium-strength mushroom, if you’ve never tripped before, or you’re new to psychedelics, it’s always best to start with a low dose, so you can get used to the effects first, and then take a higher dose next time if you feel like it. Remember: you can always take more, but you can never take less.

The effects of a Golden Teacher mushroom trip will last 4-6 hours. You might be wondering, though, “how long does Psilocybe cubensis stay in the system?” Your body will have cleared the psychedelic compounds after 24 hours, but this doesn’t mean you will still experience any classic psychedelic effects after six hours.

The Benefits Of Psilocybin Mushrooms

There is a growing body of research demonstrating that psilocybin can treat a variety of mental health issues, including depression, end-of-life anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as smoking addiction.

Imperial College London’s Psychedelic Research Centre also has an upcoming trial looking at psilocybin as a treatment for anorexia. These benefits depend on the quality of the psilocybin experience; they are related to effects like mystical experiences, connection to one’s emotions, and emotional breakthroughs.

Besides the conditions above, many people find psilocybin mushrooms help in many other areas of their life, including their relationships, worldview, lifestyle, spirituality, and overall level of life satisfaction.

Using Golden Teacher mushrooms has the potential to provide some of these same benefits.

However, it’s crucial to remember that using magic mushrooms in this way is not the same as using them in a clinical, supervised setting. Taking them with a guide, as well as in the right mindset and environment, can, nonetheless, increase your chances of having a positive, therapeutic experience.

Golden Teacher mushrooms, like all other psilocybin-containing mushrooms, are illegal in most countries. In the U.S., they are a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. This means they have no recognized medical value and a high potential for abuse.

Of course, studies on psilocybin and anecdotal reports from many users seem to suggest otherwise.

Nevertheless, Golden Teacher spores are legal to possess in most of the U.S., except in the states of California, Idaho, and Georgia. Therefore, if you are a U.S. citizen and don’t live in these three states, you can legally buy and own Golden Teacher spores.

But as soon as you cultivate these mushrooms, you will then be committing a crime, according to federal law. This is because when the spores begin to germinate, they can form mycelium and then mature mushrooms, which contain the illegal compound psilocybin.

However, possessing psilocybin mushrooms for personal use has been decriminalized (but not legalized) in some areas in the U.S. These include the following.

  • Oregon
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Washington D.C.
  • Oakland and Santa Cruz, California
  • Somerville and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

This means that if you possess Golden Teachers in these areas, you won’t face any legal penalties.

Magic mushrooms like the Golden Teacher variety are fully legal in a number of countries around the world. The list includes the following.

  • The Bahamas
  • Brazil
  • Jamaica
  • Nepal
  • Samoa

In these countries, you can legally sell, cultivate, transport, and possess psilocybin mushrooms. In the Netherlands, “magic truffles”, which contain psilocybin, are legal. And you can find the Golden Teacher variety in the form of truffles.

More and more states are changing their laws around psilocybin. Soon, it may be legal (in various states) to buy, cultivate, and possess all kinds of magic mushrooms, including the much-desired Golden Teacher strain.

Sam Woolfe

View all posts by Sam Woolfe

Sam Woolfe is a freelance writer based in London. His main areas of interest include mental health, mystical experiences, the history of psychedelics, and the philosophy of psychedelics. He first became fascinated by psychedelics after reading Aldous Huxley's description of the mescaline experience in The Doors of Perception. Since then, he has researched and written about psychedelics for various publications, covering the legality of psychedelics, drug policy reform, and psychedelic science.

This post was approved by mycologist Caine Barlow

Caine is a mycologist and educator who is skilled in mushroom cultivation, cell culture, and biotechnology. He has a Master’s Degree focused in Science (Bioinformatics) from University of Melbourne. He focuses on teaching how to culture and grow gourmet fungi while partnering with other organizations to help promote the discussion and conservation of fungi in the developing field of Conservation Mycology.

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