Golden Halo[i] is a strain of Psilocybe cubensis. It is new, quite recently developed, and yet nothing is known for certain about its origins. It seems that the name was originally given to mushrooms collected from the wild, cultivated, and sold despite having no particular genetic consistency at all—only after a few years did cultivators stabilize the genetics and offer a true strain for sale under the name Golden Halo. But where the original material was collected from, and whether the new, stabilized Gold Halo actually descends from that original material is unclear.
And yet despite such lack of clarity, this strain is becoming popular especially among beginner cultivators, because it is unusually easy to grow.
Identification and Description
Golden Halo looks like most other cubes in most respects, though it is typically on the large side. It is also said to have golden spores, rather than the more typical purple black. The name, golden halo, is a reference to the circular, gold-colored spore print this mushroom leaves.
Most other cubes look like Golden Halo, although few, if any, have golden spores.
It is important not to eat wild mushrooms simply because they look like Golden Halo. The Psilocybes are not a group for inexperienced foragers because they have a large number of look-alikes, some of which are dangerously toxic. Unless you have put in the work to develop sufficient expertise, it’s best to stick with cultivated magic.
The effects of Golden Halo are similar to those of any other cube. This strain is said to be more sociable, good for use by beginners among friends, but that is almost certainly not reliable. The fact is that psilocybin trips are extremely variable, and it’s possible to have almost any kind of experience with any strain, depending on your mindset, experience level, surroundings, and your own personal biochemistry at the time. If some strains are more likely to take a certain direction, we’d need some sort of statistical analysis to know.
Potency and Dosage
Golden Halo has not yet been analyzed for its psilocybin content, but it seems to be of about average potency for a cube. That doesn’t mean your trip has to be average—while a medium-intensity psilocybin trip is certainly nothing to sneeze at, there is no reason you can’t go for any level of intensity, high or low, that you might want. You just have to pick the right dose. And using mushrooms of moderate potency means that measuring out the proper dosage is relatively easy—a slight error in measurement is unlikely to result in an over-dose.
The real advantage of Golden Halo as a strain is that it grows quickly, with short colonization time and fruiting time, and resists contamination well. Golden Halo is a good choice for beginning cultivators who may not yet have their sterile technique quite down. The first two flushes are often quite heavy, though subsequent flushes may be smaller. Although the strain is not picky as to growing method, PF Tek is considered the most beginner-friendly.
Toxicity, Safety & Side Effects
Golden Halo has the same potential side-effects as all other cubes. The most common of these are fairly mild—excessive yawning and perhaps some nausea. But vomiting, extreme anxiety, and problems with coordination and balance are not too uncommon. Dangerous side-effects, such as convulsions are extremely rare but can occur.
The risk of side-effects is definitely dose-related, which is why it’s a good idea to take the smallest dose that will give you the experience you want—take more, and not only might you get a more-intense trip than you’re looking for, but your risk of unpleasant or serious side effects goes up.
Anxiety may seem like an odd side-effect for a mushroom sometimes used to treat anxiety, but it seems that psilocybin intensifies whatever mental state you bring to the experience, So if you go in feeling mellow, you’ll get mellower. If you go in nervous, you might develop debilitating anxiety. Experienced psychonauts learn how to prepare properly so as to reduce the risk of strong anxiety, and even if it does happen, they can ride through the feeling and learn and grow from the experience. Beginners are best advised to stick to relatively low doses for safety.
Having a sober trip-sitter on hand is also a good idea, both to talk the mushroom-taker down in case of an anxiety attack and to deal with any other problems that might come up, from medical emergencies to turning off the stove if the voyager decides to cook something and gets distracted.
It’s good to remember, too, that although many people like the primary effects of psilocybin, it is actually a toxin—someone who accidentally ingests it will need emergency care. For a child, a pet, or even an adult human who didn’t intend to trip, hallucinations and unfamiliar thought-patterns could be a very bad, scary thing.
Finally, remember the most serious risk associated with magic-mushroom use is that it is illegal in most jurisdictions, and penalties can be severe. Know the law in your area and do not get sent to prison.
[i] McElroy, C. (2023). Divine Intervention: The Golden Halo Magic Mushroom Strain.