Philosophical Nausea: What People Love and Hate About McKennaii Mushrooms

Philosophical Nausea: What People Love and Hate About McKennaii Mushrooms

McKennaii mushrooms are a strain of Psilocybe cubensis, one of the most commonly used species of psilocybin mushroom. The latter is a medium-strength magic mushroom, whereas McKennaii mushrooms — like many other strains of Psilocybe cubensis — are very potent. This means that they contain higher concentrations of the compounds psilocybin and psilocin, which are responsible for psychedelic effects.

McKennaii mushrooms get their name from the psychonaut, lecturer, author, and psilocybin enthusiast Terence McKenna. Several of his books explored different aspects of psilocybin mushrooms, as well as his own mushroom experiences and interpretations of them, such as The Invisible Landscape (1975), True Hallucinations (1989), The Archaic Revival (1991), and Food of the Gods (1992).

McKenna was known to discuss and recommend the high dose psilocybin experience in many of his talks, so perhaps it’s fitting that a potent type of magic mushroom would be named after him. This strain of Psilocybe cubensis is much sought after for its potency. This makes it one of the most potent magic mushrooms.

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What People Like and Don’t Like About McKennaii Mushrooms

What People Like About McKennaii Mushrooms:

  1. Potency: McKennaii mushrooms are often reported to be highly potent, which means that users can achieve the desired psychedelic effects with a smaller dose compared to some other strains.
  2. Visual Effects: Users frequently report intense visual hallucinations and enhancement of colors, which can be a sought-after effect during psychedelic experiences.
  3. Philosophical Insights: Some users appreciate the deep philosophical thoughts and profound introspective experiences that can accompany the use of McKennaii mushrooms.
  4. Emotional Release: These mushrooms can facilitate a strong emotional release and are sometimes used for personal therapy and growth.
  5. Grow Kit Availability: McKennaii mushrooms are popular among home cultivators and grow kits for this strain are widely available, making them accessible for those who want to grow their own.
  6. Yield: When grown under optimal conditions, McKennaii mushrooms can produce a substantial yield, which is a positive aspect for cultivators.

What People Don’t Like About McKennaii Mushrooms

  1. Intensity: Due to their potency, McKennaii mushrooms can lead to overwhelmingly intense experiences that some users find uncomfortable or difficult to manage.
  2. Nausea: Like many psychedelic mushrooms, McKennaii can cause gastrointestinal discomfort or nausea, especially at higher doses or when consumed on a full stomach.
  3. Variability: The effects can be somewhat unpredictable, which some users find disconcerting. Two experiences with the same dose can be quite different. Difficulty for Beginners: New users may find the effects too strong and challenging to navigate, which can lead to negative experiences or “bad trips.”
  4. Growing Conditions: While grow kits are popular, McKennaii mushrooms may still require specific growing conditions (humidity, temperature) to thrive, which might be difficult for a novice grower to manage.
  5. Legal Status: The illegality in many regions not only makes it difficult to acquire and grow McKennaii mushrooms but also adds the risk of legal repercussions.
  6. Social Stigma: The use of psychedelic mushrooms still carries a social stigma, which can affect users’ willingness to discuss their experiences openly.

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We have to emphasize that you should be aware of the law surrounding psilocybin mushrooms where you live, as mushrooms containing this psychedelic compound are illegal in most countries around the world. If you want to grow and possess McKennaii mushrooms, you need to be aware of the legal risks involved.

Identifying McKennaii Mushrooms

McKennaii mushrooms look similar to normal Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms, with distinctive features such as a deep brown (for young ones) to light brown (for mature ones) colored cap, as well as a distinctive dark brown color in the center of the cap. The caps of both of these mushrooms are also larger compared to other species of shrooms.

Liberty cap mushrooms (psilocybe semilanceata)
Image via Shutterstock

In addition, McKennaii mushrooms and Psilocybe cubensis share a fairly thick, dense stem (stipe), which contrasts with the thinner stems of Psilocybe semilanceata (liberty caps), for instance.

However, a crucial difference between the two is that Psilocybe cubensis McKennaii mushrooms do not grow in the wild, as Psilocybe cubensis do. McKennaii mushrooms have been artificially bred to have higher concentrations of psychedelic compounds. So, if you encounter mushrooms in the wild that have the appearance of Psilocybe cubensis, they won’t be McKennaii mushrooms, nor will they be another artificially bred strain.

But what if you purchase mushrooms from someone and they look like Psilocybe cubensis? How would you be able to tell whether they’re McKennaii mushrooms or some other strain?

This may be difficult.

Some strains do have a distinctive appearance, such as penis envy mushrooms (as the name suggests, they’re phallic-shaped). But distinguishing between the McKennaii strain and normal Psilcoybe cubensis mushrooms would not be as easy.

This is why it’s better, for your peace of mind, to source Psilocybe cubensis McKennaii spores from a high-quality, trusted vendor, and then grow them yourself. This will give you the assurance that you have the type of psilocybin mushroom you want. Even if a street dealer or dark vendor advertises their product as McKennaii mushrooms, this is no guarantee that they will in fact be those mushrooms.

How To Grow Psilocybe Cubensis McKennaii Mushrooms

Growing McKennaii mushrooms involves the same process as growing other varieties of Psilocybe cubensis. You should refer to our guide on how to grow psilocybin mushrooms at home for detailed instructions. But let’s now offer a quick summary of everything you need and the steps you should take.

Psilocybe Cubensis Spores

First, you need to source some Psilocybe cubensis McKennaii spores. These are the reproductive cells that allow the mushroom to grow. Magic mushroom spores do not contain psilocybin, so they are not themselves illegal. But once they germinate and begin producing mycelium, psilocybin will be produced, making the end product illegal (since psilocybin is a controlled substance in most countries).

Magic mushroom spores are, however, illegal in California, Georgia, and Idaho. In the other 47 states, you’re free to buy and possess them.

There are different ways to procure Psilocybe cubensis spores, whether they be of the McKennaii variety or any other variety.

The most popular option is to buy them online from a vendor selling a spore syringe or print. The spore syringe is an oral syringe that contains just water and the wavy cap spores, while spore prints are little pieces of paper with the spores stamped onto them. The prints are dried and need to be rehydrated when you want to use them.

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Steps For Growing McKennaii Mushrooms

It’s best to use our detailed guide for following the steps for growing wavy caps. You need the right ingredients, equipment, and hygiene supplies before getting started. The necessary steps will then be:

  • Preparing the jars
  • Inoculation
  • Colonization
  • Preparing the grow chamber
  • Fruiting
  • Harvesting
  • Drying the mushrooms for long-term storage (Psilocybe cubensis dried will still be as potent for around a year, whereas if fresh, they will only stay good in the fridge for 5-10 days)

Purchasing a Psilocybe Cubensis Grow Kit

Natural Psychedelic cultivation of medicinal magic mushrooms psilocybe cubensis
Image via Shutterstock

There are many reputable online vendors selling McKennaii mushroom grow kits. Magic mushroom grow kits are 100 percent legal for vendors to sell — and for you to buy — in the United States, except in California, Idaho, and Georgia (since, as we have highlighted, the spores are illegal in these states). This kit from The Third Wave is a great option.

McKennaii Mushroom Potency

To reiterate, McKennaii mushrooms are a highly potent type of magic mushroom, contrasting with Psilocybe cubensis, which is a medium strength mushroom. But exactly how potent are they?

Most Psilocybe cubensis grow kit websites, growers, and users state that McKennaii mushrooms are one of the most potent strains of Psilocybe cubensis. However, since this is a relatively new strain, data on its concentrations of psilocybin and psilocin are lacking, so we don’t know for certain precisely how potent this strain is.

McKennaii Mushrooms Dosage

As a general rule of thumb, you should consider McKennaii mushrooms to be stronger than Psilcoybe cubensis and adjust your dosage accordingly. You should take a lower dosage of them compared to less potent species of magic mushrooms (assuming you want a similar intensity of effects).

Here’s a Breakdown of McKennaii Dosages

  • Light: 0.25-1 grams
  • Common: 1-2.5 grams
  • Strong: 2.5-5 grams
  • Heavy: 5+ grams

McKennaii Mushroom Effects

When ingesting McKennaii mushrooms, you can experience a range of perceptual, emotional, physical, and mystical effects. They also vary depending on your set and setting, and the shrooms dosage that you take.

Let’s look at the kind of experience you can expect from different dosages:

McKennaii Mushroom Effects At A Low Dose (0.15-0.75 g)

Perceptual Effects

  • Colors become slightly brighter
  • The edges of objects appear more distinct
  • Things look as if they’re in high definition
  • The features of objects moving slightly
  • Music and external sounds have a different quality to them

Emotional Effects

  • Positive mood
  • Calmness
  • Anxiety
  • Increased appreciation for music

Physical Effects

  • A slight feeling of nausea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increase heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature
  • A light body high

McKennaii Mushroom Effects At A Medium Dose (0.75-1.5 g)

Perceptual Effects

  • Colors become noticeably enhanced and vivid
  • Objects move, morph, and “breathe”
  • You can see geometric patterns overlaid on objects and the environment, as well as behind closed eyelids
  • You can see tracers (trails left behind moving objects, similar to those seen in long exposure photography)
  • Synesthesia: When different sense perceptions become mixed, so you can see sounds and hear colors, for example
  • Sounds become noticeably distorted

Emotional Effects

  • Euphoria (including when listening to music)
  • Empathy
  • Anxiety, fear, dread, or panic
  • A feeling of contentment or peace of mind
  • Gratitude
  • Paranoia

Physical Effects

  • Nausea (this feeling of uneasiness in the stomach usually only lasts at the beginning of the trip)
  • Sometimes vomiting
  • More dilated pupils
  • A further increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature
  • Perspiration
  • A stronger body high
  • Muscle weakness

McKennaii Mushroom Effects At A High Dose (1.5-3 g)

Perceptual Effects

  • Visions of imagery, scenes, and entities (both with eyes opened or closed)
  • Seeing objects and people morph in intense and strange ways
  • Strong geometric and fractal hallucinations
  • Auditory hallucinations

Emotional Effects

  • Ecstasy
  • Bliss
  • Boundless love
  • Intense feelings of gratitude
  • A strong feeling of euphoria and joy when listening to music
  • Intense states of dread or despair
  • A feeling of sacredness

Physical Effects

  • Strong nausea
  • A greater chance of vomiting
  • An intense body high
  • Loss of coordination (this is why it’s important to have a trip sitter when taking a high dose, as they can ensure that you don’t jeopardize your physical safety in any way)

A Strong Dose Of McKennaii Mushrooms Can Induce Mystical Effects

If you take a high dose of magic mushrooms, and potentially if you take a medium dose, you can experience mystical effects, which classically include:

  • A feeling of unity (also known as oneness)
  • Noetic quality: The feeling of gaining insightful knowledge, experienced at an intuitive level. You may have the sense of encountering ultimate reality
  • A sense of sacredness or reverence
  • Positive mood: Feelings of peace, tranquility, ecstasy, awe, or joy
  • Transcendence of time and space: You may have the sense of being “outside time”, being in a realm with no spatial boundaries, or existing in a timeless state
  • Ineffability: The feeling that you cannot adequately describe the experience in words

Duration Of McKennaii Mushroom Effects

A McKennaii mushroom trip will generally last between 4-6 hours. This duration is pretty consistent. In clinical trials involving psilocybin, most sessions will last up to six hours. After this time, the participants will no longer experience any psychedelic effects.

But the duration of a psilocybin experience for any individual depends on a few factors:

  • Dosage. Taking a low dose of magic mushrooms could result in a trip lasting only a few hours, whereas consuming a high dose could lead to a six-hour experience.
  • Method of consumption. It takes around 30 minutes for shrooms to kick in. But you can quicken this process through lemon tekking — it is believed the citric acid in the lemon juice breaks down the mushroom material, saving your body some time it would otherwise spend breaking it down. The lemon tek method may result in a faster onset and a stronger and shorter journey than eating dried mushrooms as they are.
  • Eating psilocybin mushrooms on an empty stomach can lead to a faster onset than consuming them on a full stomach.
  • Cannabis may elongate a magic mushroom trip if you smoke it towards the end of the experience. This is because cannabis tends to potentiate the effects of psychedelics. Not everyone may experience this effect, however.

Psilocybin mushrooms have neither long-lasting nor short-lasting effects. Here is the duration of other psychedelics, so you can get a better sense of this:

  • DMT: 5-30 minutes
  • 5-MeO-DMT: 15-45 minutes
  • LSD: 8-14 hours
  • Mescaline: 8-16 hours
  • Ibogaine: 8-24 hours

The duration of a mushroom trip is comparable to that of ayahuasca (also 4-6 hours). For many users, 4-6 hours of tripping is ideal; it means the experience is easier to fit into a day and less likely to interrupt sleep than, say, mescaline or LSD. But it is also not quick and short-lived like the DMT or 5-MeO-DMT experience, so there’s still plenty of time to digest what is happening.

You may also be wondering “How long does Psilocybe cubensis stay in your system?” Well, your body will typically clear psilocin from your system in about five hours, whereas it will take nearly three times longer (up to 15 hours) to clear psilocybin. The exact time it takes is different for everyone, but it’s unlikely there will be any traces of psychedelic compounds in your system after 24 hours.

Sam Woolfe

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.

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Comments (1)

  • James Richard
    March 21, 2023 at 12:36 am Reply

    Has there been any effects using mushrooms to treat autism, especially at very young ages 3 to 5.?

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