URGENT! Hallucinogenic fungi & legislation

Thomas O'Dell todell at u.washington.edu
Thu Feb 8 16:13:34 EST 1996

No offense, but I want to make some corrections to Larry's post.

On 8 Feb 1996, Larry Caldwell wrote:
> I'm not aware of any amanita regulations in the USA.  They may exist,
> but amateur consumption of amanita sp. is a self-limiting practice. :)
> Once the general public becomes aware of the potential death penalty
> for eating the wrong amanita, good sense prevails.

This is pure mycophobia, Amanita is one of the most widely consumed 
*edible* genera in the world! E.g. A. caesaria, A. cokeri, A. vaginata....
The average collector is no more likely to confuse A. muscaria with A. 
phalloides than with Agaricus.
The "reason" that Amanita (or rather ibotinic acid and muscimol) is not 
controlled and psilocybin containing fungi are, is that our drug laws are 
not bound by any sort of logic. Witness the legal consumtion of ethanol 
and tobbacco versus the prohibition against Cannabis

> Psilocybin is classed legally with the narcotics, and possession is
> illegal.  Technically, most farmers with a cow or a woodlot are
> criminals, since p.semilanceata is common in cow pastures and 

> p.cubensis grows well in wood chips. 

P. cubensis is a dung fungus, I have never heard of it occuring on wood, 
perhaps you are thinking of P. cyanescen, P. stuntzii, P. silvicola or 
some other (see Guzman's world wide monograph of the genus Psilocybe...)

> Laws against cultivation are
> rarely enforced, since most police don't even notice mushrooms.
> P.semilanciata is a common contaminant in exhausted agaricus bisporous 
> beds.
> Despite the general lack of enforcement, psilocybin use in the USA is
> not perceived as a major social problem, since it is generally seasonal,
> nonaddictive, and nontoxic.  The main danger is an inexperienced 
> collector mistaking galerina autumnalis for p.semilanceata.
I think you confusing P. semilanceata, a non-annulate pasture species 
with P. stuntzii which is annulate  and grows in chips (among other 
habitats) often near  G. autmnalis (also annulate). 
People, usually high-school age, do poison themselves with Galerina 
(alpha amanitin) by confusing it with P. stuntzii...
Another example of the negative consequences of prohibition of (some) 
> Limiting discussion in publications is likely to be self-defeating, since
> new varieties of euphoric mushrooms are still being discovered.  
> -- Larry

todell at u.washington.edu
Mycology is better than Urology!

More information about the Mycology mailing list