Psilocybin vs Magic Mushrooms, is there a difference? 

By Fritz Leempoels.


We came across some interesting papers about the simultaneous production of psilocybin and β‐carboline MAO inhibitors in psilocybe mushrooms; the latter are also found in ayahuasca. One fine example is Blei et Al. , “Simultaneous Production of Psilocybin and a Cocktail of β‐Carboline Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors in “Magic” Mushrooms”.


Psilocybin is a serotonergic psychedelic with enormous clinical potential as an entheogen. It is naturally produced by some fungi, many of them of the genus Psilocybe. In most studies, only pure synthetic psilocybin is used as a prodrug to the psychotropic agent psilocin. In mushrooms, psilocybin is biosynthesized from the amino acid L-tryptophan.


New studies suggested that these fungi produce more secondary indole metabolites than only psilocybin; namely harmane, harmine and various other β-carbolines. Some of these substances act as MAO inhibitors, thus affecting the psychotropic effects of psilocybin. More research is needed to understand in what way and to what extent the psychedelic experience from pure psilocybin and “magic mushrooms” differs from one another."


This is quite thought-provoking because it indicates that the psychedelic effect of “magic mushrooms” most likely differs from pure synthetic psilocybin used in clinical research and would give a very different kind of trip.

Let us know what you think, and if you’re eager to learn more about these β-carbolines, these two articles can get you on your way:


Scientists Discover New Compounds in Magic Mushrooms, Barbara E. Bauer, Psychedelic Review, November 26, 2019.

Get to Know the Beta Carbolines – Newcomers to the Science of Magic Mushrooms, Barbara E. Bauer, Psychedelic Review, July 10, 2020.

Fritz Leempoels

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