The Chitwan Strain[i] comes, not surprisingly, from a place called Chitwan, in Nepal. It was originally propagated from Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms found growing in either rhinoceros or elephant dung. Although it is said to grow naturally across the region, this strain does not differ markedly from typical members of its species, so arguable it simply grows everywhere P. cubensis does. Not much information is available on Chitwan, and what is available is somewhat contradictory.
Chitwan is a typical-looking cube with a caramel-colored cap and a paler stem. The cap, initially bell-shape, opens out nearly flat with maturity. It’s best to harvest just before the spores start to mature so as to avoid the mess of the dark spores dropping everywhere.
Chitwan looks like most other cubes—the best way to be sure that you have the Chitwan strain is to ask the grower. Presumably, you could also go to Chitwan, in Nepal, and collect wild mushrooms, but be aware that Psolocybe cubensis is part of a large group of mostly-unrelated, small, brownish, non-descript mushrooms (the so-called LBMs, “little brown mushrooms”), some of which are poisonous. It’s not that mushrooms in this group are impossible to differentiate, it’s that they are not for beginners at foraging, nor are the safe for people who become complacent and skip steps in the identification process thinking “this looks about right.” No, it looks small and brown. Go back and key it out properly.
The effects of the Chitwan strain are the same as for psilocybin in general. There are some suppliers that claim a particular “flavor” for this mushroom’s high, a way that it is distinct from other cubes, but these claims aren’t consistent. In any case, the course of a mushroom trip depends on so many factors, including dose size, the setting, the user’s mindset, and the user’s personal biochemistry, that any variation between mushroom strains must be effectively swamped.
Basically, you’ll be getting altered mood (ideally euphoria and a feeling of connectedness, though less pleasant variation is possible, too), altered thought-patterns (perhaps including important personal and spiritual insight), and hallucinations (usually pretty subtle except at very high doses). There are other effects also, usually designated side-effects (see below), but it’s worth noting that what counts as a side-effect depended entirely on the perspective of the user. For a microdoser, for example, hallucinations are an unwanted side-effect that can be avoided by keeping the dose low enough.
Potency and Dosage
We’ve seen some sources claiming that Chitwan has higher than average potency, others claiming that it has lower than average potency. Actually, since this strain has not yet ever been entered in a psilocybin cup, we don’t really know what it’s potency is.
And it’s important to know.
There is a common misconception that high-potency strains are good for really intense, high-powered trips while low-potency strains are good for gentle, mellow experiences. Actually, any degree of intensity is available with any strain, you just have to adjust the dose size—bigger doses with low-potency, smaller doses with high-potency. The idea is to take the amount of mushroom you need to get the amount of psilocybin you want. Of course, to make the adjustment, you have to know what the potency is.
Getting dose size right is especially important because the more psilocybin you take, the greater your risk of unpleasant or even dangerous side effects. Taking more than you expected or are prepared for is especially risky.
With Chitwan Strain, you could start by assuming that it is actually of average potency but remember to err on the side of taking too little rather that too much. You can always take a little extra to kick your trip up a notch, if you want. Another option is to use trial and error to establish the potency yourself with small doses, and then use that information to calculate what larger doses should be. Because mushrooms can vary in potency, if you want to be very precise, first powder and mix together a large number of mushrooms, then establish the potency of that batch. Mixing means both high potency and low potency specimens get mixed and, in a sense, averaged.
Chitwan was found growing in dung, so it’s thought that dung may be the ideal substrate, but various grains, such as rye, do work as well. Any common cultivation method, such as PF Tek, will work, this is not a picky strain.
We have seen Chitwan listed as best for cultivators of intermediate skill and experience, but we have not been able to learn why—what, exactly, makes it a poor choice for beginners.
Toxicity, Safety, & Side Effects
Chitwan is not known to have any safety considerations that are different from those of standard cubes—that is to say, the safety considerations of psilocybin. The short version is that psilocybin is relatively safe, as the common side-effects are mild and the dangerous side-effects are rare—and can be made even less likely by following certain safety procedures.
In rough order of increasing seriousness, here are the major known side-effects of psilocybin use:
- excessive yawning
- problems with balance and coordination
- extreme anxiety
Fatalities have been documented but are EXTREMELY rare.
Bear in mind, too, that although hallucinations and unusual thought-patterns are very much part of the reason people use psilocybin, these effects, too, could be dangerous under certain circumstances—imagine of some accidentally ingested psilocybin without knowing it and the effects started kicking in while the person was driving?
As mentioned earlier, the most important safety precaution is to not take more than you need or want. It’s also a good idea to always have a sober friend nearby, a trip-sitter, for any trip, in case problems come up that are difficult to cope with while under the influence. Careful mental preparation ahead of time can reduce the likelihood of the anxiety and help the user deal with it if it does occur. Problems with balance and coordination are generally solved by remaining seated. Convulsions are highly unlikely, but can be a problem in children (mostly cases of accidental ingestion) and at very high doses.
Arrest is, of course, an issue because psilocybin use or possession is illegal in most jurisdictions. Penalties can be severe. Know the law in your area and do not get arrested.
[i] McElroy, C. (2023). The Chitwan Strain: A Mystical Nepalese Mushroom. Tripsitter