Two friends bring out a bag of decanted mushrooms identified with a sense of experience. The question at hand does not regard the fungi’s identity and the friends are equipped to handle a psychedelic experience. Dry in a sealed container, cold, but for a few months, the question at hand regards quality. The shelf-life of psychedelic mushrooms depends on several factors. One must consider toxins and the shelf-life of psilocybin and terpenes.
Mould eating mould and taking caution
Firstly, a regular fresh mushroom can only survive for so long before it turns mouldy. Yes, fungus grows on fungus since there are both benign and predatory types. Dr. Markus Roggen, President and CSO of Delic Labs, quaintly remarked on these natural occurrences during a phone call. His comments were echoes of Dr. Eric Janusson’s answer to my question regarding shelf-life.
With our work with functional mushrooms, we have desiccated products. So these have been dried out, similar to how you prepare cannabis. They desiccate before they sell to the consumer because it has a much longer shelf life in that form.
But within three months, we started to see mould on some of that product. And that is sitting in conditions, in ambient humidity and room temperature.
Lab testing toxins
Numinus has its own research exemption for psilocybin as well as other psychedelics. They currently analyze nephrotoxic and hepatoxic compounds found on and within psychedelic mushrooms. Toxic screens developed from peer-reviewed literature help determine shelf-life and include allenic norleucine, muscarine, muscimol, propargyl glycine and ibotenic acid.
Not all of these are found in Psilocybe mushrooms, however, Numinus is providing this screen as a critical checkpoint for potential contaminants and adulterants.
Sharan Sidhu – Science Officer & General Manager – Numinus.
Losing potency, psilocybin and shelf-life
Delic Labs, at the time of the conversation, hadn’t yet begun stability studies for storing mushrooms. The lab had to fine-tune tests to accurately quantify psychedelic ingredients before conducting shelf-life research. That said, Dr. Roggen did note nuances with how one depicts a mushroom’s quality. There is the concern of mould and mycotoxins, but of course, potency is always a quality concern.
Do you consider the concentration of psilocybin being stable or not falling under a certain cutoff? That we really have to test. We don’t know the answer, yet. That research is lacking and it is needed for the industry.
Psychedelic molecules within fresh and dried mushrooms, particularly psilocin, are prone to oxygenation. Magic mushrooms, therefore, quickly lose their potency and magic when improperly stored. Potency loss is even more complex since the rate of degradation depends on ambient conditions and even different strains of mushrooms.
According to Dr. Janusson, ambient conditions like temperature, light, humidity, type of mushroom, material condition (ground/dried/in solution/etc.), and amount of oxygen present will all impact potency. As a solution, companies often add Vitamin C as an anti-oxidant to psilocin products. But even Vitamin C has a limited shelf-life without further ingredients.
Another way to combat degradation is to stay old-school, stick with psilocybin, and activate the molecule before consumption. Psilocybin is reasonably stable relative to psilocin. Whereas, pharmaceutical-minded companies, such as Cybin, have designed synthetic alterations to psilocybin to increase stability and shelf life.
Finally, there are terpenes in fresh psilocybin mushrooms, which might serve as a third and final shelf-life quality. Let us know in the comments how long you have successfully stored psychedelic mushrooms.