Panaeolus cyanescens is a very potent hallucinogenic mushroom, and this results from it being a strong producer of psychoactive compounds – psilocybin and psilocin. The psilocybin and psilocin levels are higher in Panaeolus cyanescens than in other ‘magic mushrooms,’ of which there may be over 100 different types. Magic mushrooms refer to a group of fungi that produce the psychoactive compound psilocybin. These mushrooms have been consumed for approximately 3000 years, originally dating back to Mexico, and are still used by natives in ceremonies, including religious ceremonies, and for healing purposes. Many that have consumed Panaeolus cyanescens have described having spiritual experiences.
For this reason, it is not unheard of for people to try to cultivate these mushrooms themselves, although with varying levels of success since Panaeolus cyanescens is sensitive to the correct levels of air, temperature, and humidity. They are particularly fond of nutrient-rich areas, especially where livestock graze, as they grow on dung. Panaeolus cyanescens has a variety of names that can be used interchangeably including Copelandia Cyanescens, Blue Meanies, and Pan Cyans.
Panaeolus Cyanescens Identification and Description
Cap: Up to 4cm diameter; smooth surface, but sometimes cracked in dry weather; thin flesh; bruises blue or blue-green; bell-shaped cap to convex; can become wavy. Light brown, when immature, become greyish with maturity. Hygrophanous. No veil.
Gills: Present and attached to stem; tightly packed; gray becoming black as spores develop.
Stem: up to 12cm in height; thin – 2-4mm thick; long and slender; bruises blue; colored pale yellow or gray or pink-tinged.
Smell: Floury or starch-like.
Taste: Floury or starch-like.
Spores: Elliptical and smooth.
Spore color: Dark purple or black.
Edibility: Edible but psychoactive.
Habitat: Grows scattered or clustered in dung and grasslands fertilized by grazing animals. Grows in tropical regions of both hemispheres; widely grown across the world, including Africa, Australia, Europe, South Americas, Hawaii, India and Tasmania.
Scientific classification: Class: Agaricomycetes; Order: Agaricales; Family: Bolbitiaceae; Genus: Panaeolus & Species: cyanescens.
Panaeolus Cyanescens Look-Alikes
Pholiotina rugosa looks like Panaeolus cyanescens, but it is essential that the difference is identified since it contains amatoxins that are deadly. The difference is that the spores of Pholiotina rugosa are a rusty orange to brown in comparison to the dark purple or black spores of Panaeolus cyanescens.
Tubaria furfuracea is similar to Panaeolus cyanescens, but it is not poisonous; although it is hygrophanous like Panaeolus cyanescens, it grows in woodchips and not dung; they are also more delicate and not as bendy as Panaeolus cyanescens; they also have a spore print that is light orange or brown.
Galerina marginata is another look-a-like that is deadly if eaten, it has a rusty orange spore print and will usually be found growing on decaying wood; it also bruises black rather than blue-green like Panaeolus cyanescens on its stem.
The last look-alike is Panaeolus Antillarum. They are macroscopically similar mushrooms that were once thought to be the same. Panaeolus cyanescens is hallocinogenic where P.Antillarum is not. P. Antillarum has a thicker cap and is also lighter in color.
Not a look-alike, but a strain of Psilocybe cubensis also goes by the name “Blue Meanie” and while they won’t be confused in appearance they are sometimes written about under the Blue Meanie name in literature. I personally differentiate the two in literature by referring to the Psilocybe version as Blue Meanie Cubensis.
Panaeolus Cyanescens Benefits
Panaeolus cyanescens produces serotonin and tryptophan in addition to the psychoactive compounds. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, meaning it needs to come from dietary sources, and serotonin is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain. Some scientists consider psilocybin to produce ‘madness’ or schizophrenia-like conditions, whilst others were interested in the creative effects and alterations to cognitive behaviors and spiritual or mystical experiences this substance gave people. Psilocybin, a tryptamine derivative and the most important ‘toxic’ component of these mushrooms, enhances serotonin levels in the central nervous system (CNS) [1.]. Serotonin has a few important roles, including that of a neurotransmitter, and here it can help promote feelings of happiness and general mental well-being. Sometimes people with low levels of serotonin suffer from mood disorders such as depression or a general feeling of being down. In this regard, psilocybin found in Panaeolus cyanescens has been explored as a potential therapeutic for depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. There has been some promising data produced with one study showing that all 19 participants had reduced depressive symptoms, one week after treatment with psilocybin, and 47% met the criteria response, five weeks post-treatment [2.]. This continues to be an exciting area of research with psychoactive substances being explored for use in psychiatry.
Panaeolus Cyanescens Dosage
There are no reports of a maximum dosage for Panaeolus cyanescens. To reduce the risk of an allergic reaction, always administer with caution. It is also important to take into consideration the legal status of consuming magic mushrooms in the country one resides in.
Panaeolus Cyanescens Toxicity, Safety & Side Effects
There is a lot of controversy around whether Panaeolus cyanescens is considered toxic or not. Regardless, it will cause hallucinations. Always seek medical advice before self-administering for medicinal purposes and if pregnant or breastfeeding. Due to the number of deadly similar-looking fungi, it is advisable to seek advice from a professional mycologist.
- 133 – Poisonous Plants and Aquatic Animals, in Hunter’s Tropical Medicine and Emerging Infectious Disease (Ninth Edition), A.J. Magill, et al., Editors. 2013, W.B. Saunders: London. p. 923-937.
- Carhart-Harris, R.L., et al., psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression: fMRI-measured brain mechanisms. Scientific Reports, 2017. 7(1): p. 13187.