Psychoactive Morels

Steve Pencall spencal at
Fri Jun 9 15:07:06 EST 1995

In article <3r7qho$4ah at> burden at  
> Someone told me that certain species of Morels "pack a punch." Has
> anyone experienced intoxication resulting from ingestion of Morels? Was
> it pleasurable?

This probably falls into the category of urban (forest?) folklore.  In  
over 10 years of experience I have never heard of a psychoactive reaction  
from morels.  Some (very few) people experience an allergic reaction to  
cooked morels--nausea, GI distress,etc--and lot more have experienced the  
same reaction from raw morels.  But intoxication--nope!

Gyromitra species which are sometimes mistaken for morels by inexperienced  
collectors contain a compound called gyromitrin which is acutely toxic in  
large amounts (it has caused a number of fatal poisonings in Europe) and  
carcinogenic when consumed in subacute doses over sustained periods of  
time.  When heated gyromitrin releases the compound N-methylhydrazine,  
sometimes used as rocket fuel.

Looks like you'll just have to content yourself with Psilocybes, Paneolus  
species and the like.

Steve Pencall
Editor, The Spore Print
Journal of the Los Angeles Mycological Society

"Leave the beaten path and dive into the woods"
--Alexander Graham Bell

More information about the Mycology mailing list