Just based on their names, you'd assume they're completely different psilocybin-containing things, right? Well, you're sort of correct. However, despite their distinct outward appearances, they're actually two different parts of the same fungus!
So, they may be more similar than you first thought, but there are still differences (some more obvious than others) that we'll run through here. Ready? Let's hop in.
Getting to Know Magic Mushrooms
Magic mushrooms are a type of mushroom (shocker) that contains psilocybin and/or psilocin — these compounds are the "magic" makers.
They come in a wide variety of strains (including Psilocybe azurescens, Psilocybe semilanceata, and Psilocybe cubensis), with some containing more psychedelic compounds than others. And some species look a lot like regular mushrooms you'd find at the grocery store!
Those who use shrooms for their hallucinogenic effects often choose to purchase pre-made edible products to negate the (sometimes lengthy) preparation phase. You can find them in all sorts of forms, such as snacks, spore shots, powders, and gummies. Regardless, they'll all contain the psilocybin compound that anecdotal evidence suggests elicits euphoric effects.
Getting to Know Magic Truffles
Contrary to their name, magic truffles aren't truly truffles at all! Instead, they belong to the "Tuber" genus and are sclerotia grown underground.
But what actually is sclerotia?
Remember when we said that these psychedelic truffles and shrooms were part of the same fungus? Well, sclerotia are just the part of the mushroom that remains below the terrain (the bit you can't see peeking above the earth).
Some mushroom species (not all) use sclerotia to store their nutrients, helping them survive in less-than-ideal conditions. Truffles, on the other hand, are reproductive organs produced by some fungi species.
So, both truffles and sclerotia are subterranean, and they even have similar appearances. But they are not the same.
Paul Stamets (famous in the mushroom world) says that only a few Psilocybe species produce psychedelic truffles (i.e., sclerotia), with the most common being:
- Psilocybe tampanensis
- Psilocybe mexicana
- Psilocybe semilanceata
Like the fruit bodies (i.e., magic mushrooms), sclerotia comes in a bunch of shapes and sizes, depending on which type of mushroom has produced them. Some can be a whopping 30 cm, and others are as small as one millimeter. And, of course, they contain psilocybin, which may provide euphoria and hallucinogenic effects when consumed.
Inside the sclerotia, you'll find enough food for it to survive in terrible conditions for years and hyphae. Once favorable conditions are realized, the hyphae use the food reserves to grow mycelium, restarting the mushroom's lifecycle.
What's the Difference between Magic Truffles and Magic Mushrooms?
By now, you've probably already formed a few ideas about the differences between shrooms and magic truffles (that aren't really truffles). But we want you to have the full story. So, let's get into that now.
As we've mostly gathered, shrooms and psychedelic truffles look vastly different.
Most mushrooms grow relatively tall with a thicker stem and cap with gills on their undersides. They come in a variety of colors, ranging from darker browns to near whites.
In contrast, magic truffles are akin to rocks — they're essentially hardened mycelium, after all! While their sizes can vary, they'll never be over 30 cm.
Aside from what the eye can see, the moisture content of shrooms and magic truffles differs too.
Sclerotia has almost no moisture (5% to 10%), making them much easier and quicker to dry. Shrooms have a higher moisture content and are much softer, even once they've been air-dried or dehydrated.
Due to the subterranean nature of sclerotia, they must be dug up before they can be found and harvested. Meanwhile, mushrooms can be picked by hand, as they're seen growing from the surface.
Disclaimer: Only professional/experienced foragers should harvest shrooms for consumption. With so many species out there, you risk picking the wrong type!
Depending on who you speak to, you'll be told that magic truffles and shrooms give off different types of trips, or one is more potent than the other. However, both contain the same psychoactive alkaloids (i.e., psilocybin and/or psilocin), so they have ultra-similar potencies and types of trips.
That said, there is a distinction between their potencies' consistencies.
As we mentioned earlier, magic mushrooms grow in various shapes and sizes. Therefore, the concentration of psilocybin and psilocin per gram can change — one shroom could be stronger than another.
But since truffles' sizes are relatively consistent, they all have roughly the same amount of psychoactive alkaloids.
Anecdotes suggest your trip will be just as long and feel the same (ego death included, depending on dosage), regardless of whether you consume psychedelic truffles or shrooms.
Speaking of dosage, you might not be surprised to note that both magic truffles and psychedelic mushrooms are dosed according to their weights.
Community feedback provided on Shroomery mentions that one dose of dried magic truffles is considered to be between 7.5g and 10g, with micro dosages ranging from 0.5g to 2g.
A low mushroom dosage is between 0.25g and 1g, while a microdose is around 0.1g to 0.25g. However, it depends on the species due to the varying potency levels.
Sources mention that newbies should start low and slow — don't jump in with a full dose if you aren't sure how your body will react. After all, everybody is different, and your response to psilocybin isn't guaranteed.
And Now You Know The Differences!
So, you now know that magic truffles aren't actually truffles (confusingly named, we know) and they're pretty similar to shrooms in terms of trip types, potencies, and dosage methods.
However, they look wildly different from the fruiting bodies and are grown solely underground, acting as the mushroom's food stores during unfavorable conditions. Because of that, they're harvested differently from psychedelic mushrooms.
Whichever option you choose to consume, ensure you purchase from trusted sources. That way, you'll know they're properly processed and strained for an incredibly minimal risk of toxicity.