There are more than 1 dozen species of "magic mushrooms" in Australia and New There are more than 1 dozen species of "magic mushrooms" in Australia and New Zealand. Four of these species are dung (manure) inhabiting mushrooms. They include Psilocybe cubensis and/or Psilocybe subcubensis (known locally as "gold caps" and/or "gold tops"), Psilocybe subaeruginosa, and Copelandia cyanescens (the latter is known locally as "blue meanies"). These four species contain the mind altering alkaloids psilocybine and psilocine and are the most common hallucinogenic mushrooms in Australia. In New Zealand, the most commonly used species are Copelandia cyanescens and Psilocybe semilanceata, the latter species is recognized throughout the world as the "liberty cap"). This species only occurs in manured soil and does not grow directly from the dung of cattle, sheep or other four legged farm animals. Psilocybe cubensis the most popular of these species, is well known throughout much of the world; however, this species is not known to occur in New Zealand. Other species described in this guide are known to occur in manured soil, in pastures, meadows, grazing lands, some lawns and in the bark mulch and woodchips of deciduous woods. The first livestock to arrive in Australia were brought from the Cape of Good Hope in psychedelic
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Dosages for Psilocybe australiana Guzmán & Watling, Psilocybe eucalypta Guzmán & Mind-altering (psilocybine containing) mushrooms have been traditionally used in religious healing and curing ceremonies by native
CATTLE AS A POSSIBLE DISPERSAL MECHANISM FOR PSYCHOACTIVE DUNG FUNGI
One may ask the question, "how did these mushrooms arrive in Australia and New Zealand?" Well some species may be endemic,that is, they were already there naturally. Other species such as the above described dung-inhabiting mushrooms most likelyappeared after the introduction of cattle on the subcontinent.The first livestock to arrive in Australia were brought from the Cape of Good Hope in1788, and included 2 bulls and 5 cows, along with other domesticated farm animals. Byl803, the government owned approximately 1800 cattle, most of which were importedfrom the Cape, Calcutta, and the west coast of America. It was during this period thatsome of the visionary mushrooms mentioned in this field guide probably first appeared inAustralia (Unsigned, 1973). According to Australian mycologist John Burton Cleland(1934), "fungi growing in cow or horse-dung and confined to such habitats, must in thecase of Australia, all belong to introduced species". It is believed to have been the SouthAfrican dung beetle which may have actually spread the spores. According to Englishmycologist Roy Watling of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Glasgow, Scotland, "it must beremembered that fungi can change substrate preferences and there are coprophilousfungi on kangaroo droppings etc." Some mycologists who have studied the "magicmushrooms" in Australia and NZ claim that the "use of P. cubensis as a recreational drugtends to confirm the belief that some farmers in early times may have added one or two basidiomes gilled mushrooms to a mealto liven it up and still do Margot & Watling, 1981)."
Most recreational users of Psilocybe cubensis (when grown in vitro) require a dosage of 1 to 2 gm of dried mushrooms to produce an altered state of consciousness; a clinical dosage for Psilocybe cubensis, on the other hand, had previously been reported as ranging from 3 to 5 gm of dried material. This dosage would be comparable to the amount of fungal material consumed for religious purposes in a Mazatec Indian healing and curing ceremony. In 1982, one research team "found that the level of psilocybin and psilocin varies over a factor of 4 among various in vitro cultures of Psilocybe cubensis, while specimens from outdoors varied tenfold." A fresh dosage of Psilocybe cubensis in Australia would be approximately from 1 to 2 large mushrooms weighing up to as much as one fresh ounce, or as many as from 25 to 50 small mushrooms equaling the same weight amount. Ethnopharmacologist Jonathan Ott (1976, 1993) noted that he has observed "the ingestion of from 0.5 gm to 5.9 gm dried weight (10 gm to 40 gm fresh)", of various species of Psilocybe. Dosage for Psilocybe subcubensis would be the same as for Psilocybe cubensis. Both of these latter two species are macroscopically alike. The usual dosage for Copelandia cyanescens required to induce psychedelic visual effects ranges from 1 to 3 large specimens (cap diameter c. 5 mm), or as many as 5 to l0 medium-sized mushrooms (cap diameter c. 2.5 mm); however, personal tolerance to this species may occur with continued use, and some who consume large amounts of this mushroom have reportedly ingested as many as 50 to 200 fresh specimens of various sizes.
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Existing evidence indicates that man in the Old World —Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia—has made less use of native plants and shrubs for their hallucinogenic properties than has man in the New World. There is little reason to believe that the vegetation of one half of the globe is poorer or richer in species with hallucinogenic properties than the other half. Why, then, should there be such disparity? Has man in the Old World simply not discovered many of the native hallucinogenic plants? Are some of them too toxic in other ways to be utilized? Or has man in the Old World been culturally less interested in narcotics? We have no real answer. But we do know that the Old World has fewer known species employed hallucinogenically than does the New World: compared with only 15 or 20 species used in the Eastern Hemisphere, the species used hallucinogenically in the Western Hemisphere number more than 100! Yet some of the Old World hallucinogens today hold places of primacy throughout the world. Cannabis, undoubtedly the most widespread of all the hallucinogens, is perhaps the best example. The several solanaceous ingredients of medieval witches' brews—henbane, nightshade, belladonna, and mandrake—greatly influenced European philosophy, medicine, and even history for many years. Some played an extraordinarily vital religious role in the early Aryan cultures of northern India. The role of hallucinogens in the cultural and social development of many areas of the Old World is only now being investigated. At every turn, its exte As they say, ʼTis the season to be pickingʼ, but make The Mazatec Indians, who have a long tradition of using the mushrooms, inhabit a range of mountains called the Sierra Mazateca in the northeastern corner of the Mexican state of Oaxaca. The shamans in this essay are all natives of the town of Huautla de Jimenez. Properly speaking they are Huautecans; but since the language they speak has been called Mazatec and they have been referred to in the previous anthropological literature as Mazatecs, I have retained that name, though strictly speaking, Mazatecs are the inhabitants of the village of Mazatlan in the same mountains.
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The question of dosage is often confused by the variation in the source of the hallucinogenic mushroom species which is consumed.