Imagine you are about to go on a profound, intentional psychedelic journey. You have been eagerly anticipating it for weeks, and your space is now all set up with your music playlist grooving in the background.
You go to retrieve your stash of magic mushrooms before your psychedelic guide arrives, only to realize that it has all spoiled. Disheartedly, you dispose of them and vow to better tend to your shrooms next time.
Alternatively, if you chose to consume this questionable batch of hallucinogens anyway, your mystical adventure would likely screech to a halt, ranging from lackluster results to dangerous consequences.
While many people are aware of the risks associated with using expired food or medication, the dangers of spoiled psychedelics are often overlooked. However, safety and potency hinge on them being in good condition.
If you plan on using mind-altering drugs, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential for expired substances and take necessary steps to ensure your medicines are preserved so that your journey is transformative.
In this article, we will explore how to identify expired psychedelics, cover best practices for storage and handling, and compare the “use-by” dates of common psychedelic substances like psilocybin, LSD, and DMT.
Do Shrooms Go Bad or Expire?
Psychedelic mushrooms can expire just like any other food or organic substance. The potency of the active compounds in magic mushrooms can degrade over time and become contaminated with bacteria or mold.
There are two ways in which your mushrooms can spoil: degradation and decomposition. In the right (or wrong) conditions, bacteria and mold decompose organic matter—in this case, your shrooms—causing unsightly rotting to occur which can result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
When your fungus grows fungus, you know it’s time to dispose of it. This type of spoilage poses significant health risks because bacteria and mold can lead to toxin exposure or infection.
Degradation, on the other hand, occurs when the shrooms are left exposed to particular conditions which cause active compounds like psilocybin to break down, which diminishes the psychedelic effectiveness.
Aside from degradation, there are other reasons why you may not trip after taking a psychedelic drug, and there are certain things you need to know about avoiding and managing a bad trip if it occurs. Overall, the factors that contribute to degradation and decomposition are the storage conditions and the freshness of the mushroom when harvested.
Signs of Spoilage in Mushrooms: How To Recognize When The Magic is Dead
When bacteria start to decompose mushrooms, they break down the complex organic compounds into simpler compounds, such as carbon dioxide, water, and other organic molecules. A perfect picture of the circle of life, the breakdown of fungi can also release nutrients for absorption and utilization by other organisms in the ecosystem, such as plants.
However, this breakdown of the mushroom by bacteria can cause changes in the texture, color, and smell of the mushroom. Look for these signs of contamination when inspecting your psychedelic stash:
Mushrooms with abnormal brown or dark spots, especially accompanied by the other signs in this list, are an indicator that the mushroom is rotting due to bacteria or mold exposure.
Some mushrooms, such as Penis Envy, bruise blue or have unique coloring traits. You will likely be able to tell the difference if the coloring is inconsistent or abnormal in any way, but be sure to research your particular strain first.
A slimy film or slimy surface may indicate that the organic compounds of the mushroom have begun to break down. Some varieties of mushrooms have a slight sliminess on the cap when fresh, such as Liberty Caps. However, dispose of them if accompanied by other signs in this list and if the sliminess seems excessive or in one area.
3. Foul Odor
Psilocybin mushrooms often have a strong, unique odor all on their own, but during first-time encounters, you may not be able to tell through smell alone if it has started seeing that bright white light. If the odor is particularly foul or intolerable, especially if other signs of rot appear present, you should err on the side of caution and dispose of it accordingly.
4. Mushy Texture
Fresh mushrooms should feel somewhat soft and spongy, but also firm. If a mushroom feels excessively soft and squishy, your mushy mushroom may be ready to retire. Think about those strawberries at the bottom of the carton. Right before they start growing mold, they usually turn dark and soft—and not in a good way.
If there is any visible mold on the mushroom, it should be discarded, but if there is only a small amount of mold in a local area, you may be able to cut that part away and use the rest of the non-molded mushroom.
Look for a white, blue, or green fuzzy appearance or strange growths. Mold exposure can be a serious risk and should be minimized through proper ventilation and disposal.
Note that not all bacteria are capable of breaking down mushrooms. Some types of mushrooms, such as genus Agaricus strains, contain compounds that are toxic to many types of bacteria, offering protection from decomposition.
How to Properly Store ‘Magic’ Mushrooms: Extending Their Shelf Life
The best way to preserve and protect your psilocybin mushrooms from degradation is by drying them and storing them in an airtight container in a cool, dark, dry place. The most important thing is to keep them away from warm, damp environments which will breed mold and bacteria, as well as away from prolonged UV exposure and oxygen.
It is also important to realize that potency of the mushrooms will drastically vary depending on several factors, including strain, harvesting and storage methods, and preparation methods. However, being aware of the specific storage conditions and how long you can expect them to last in each condition can be helpful.
1. Fresh Mushrooms
Fresh mushrooms are best consumed within a week after harvest and should be stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator. If not refrigerated, they last a few days at best. Do not store fresh mushrooms in airtight containers, because the moisture content will get stuck in the immediate environment and cause spoiling. Paper bags both wick moisture and allow the goods to breathe.
Some people are not averse to the taste of psychedelic mushrooms and will eat them outright. However, most people make tea, add them to a smoothie, or make a mushroom sandwich. Another technique called lemon tekking involves soaking the mushrooms in citrus for 20-30 minutes to break down the psilocybin.
This technique masks the flavor, increases potency, and makes the effects come on quicker. It is not recommended to freeze your mushrooms, because doing so can degrade active compounds and destroy the quality, regardless of freezing in their dried or fresh state.
2. Mushroom Tea
Mushroom tea is a common way of consuming psychedelic mushrooms, and is usually made from dried or fresh shrooms. After making the tea, it keeps well for about a week when stored in the refrigerator. If using fresh mushrooms, you can chop them up and simmer them in hot water for 20-30 minutes, just like you would with tea leaves.
If you are using dried mushrooms, you can grind them up into a powder and then steep them in hot water for 10-15 minutes. Some people also add a squeeze of lemon juice or honey to the tea to enhance the flavor.
3. Drying Mushrooms
Drying is the most common way to store mushrooms, and it provides the user with a variety of ways to ingest it once dried such as powdering it for smoothies and capsules or making mushroom tea. Dried mushrooms can last from several months to a year or more depending on the storing conditions, and the drying process itself takes only up to a few days.
You can dry your mushrooms by first cleaning them of debris and slicing them if desired. Next, spread them out on a flat, dry surface which lets adequate airflow and prevents moisture, making sure the mushrooms are not touching.
It is best to leave them in a well-ventilated area devoid of direct sunlight but with good airflow and low humidity. Dehumidifiers are helpful, but fans or an open window can also help quicken the drying process.
4. Mushroom Honey and Chocolate
Mushroom chocolate and honey are popular ways to consume psychedelic mushrooms because they taste great and preserve their potency. Both are prepared by drying and powdering the shrooms and either infusing them into honey or adding them to warm, melted chocolate and then cooling into edible chocolate bars.
In honey infusions specifically, the high sugar content acts as a natural preservative and can last for up to a year depending on the sugar content and type of mushroom used.
Chocolate, likewise, acts as a natural preservative and lasts for several months to a year. The higher the cocoa content, the longer it lasts. In both chocolate and honey, your storage should be cool, dry, dark, and air-tight. Best practices involve consuming mushroom honey and chocolates within 6-12 months of preparation to ensure their potency and freshness.
Comparing Shelf Life & How to Store Different Psychedelics
Just as the psychedelic effects of each drug have varying durations, each substance has different lengths of time in which their quality and potency are maintained. We previously covered how to identify which psychedelic substance is best for the type of journey you are looking for.
Do note that with most psychedelic drugs, the best conditions for proper storage include preventing exposure to UV light, oxygen, moisture, and warmth or harsh temperatures.
Storing in an air-tight container, such as a glass jar or vacuum-sealed bag along with a desiccant can help absorb excess moisture and preserve them for a long time. It goes without saying, but psychedelics should always be kept out of reach from children and pets and inspected for signs of spoilage prior to use.
How Long do Shrooms Last?
As covered previously in this article, magic mushrooms can last anywhere from a few days to up to a year depending on the harvesting and storage methods and conditions. The longest-lasting conditions are found in drying and storing them in a dark, dry, cool, and air-tight environment.
How Long Does DMT Last?
DMT is a highly unstable compound that can be easily oxidized, degraded, and hydrolyzed. This means that it can quickly break down and lose its potency. Several forms of DMT, such as powder and resin, alter the lifespan of the substance. When stored properly, DMT can have a shelf life of several years.
How Long Does Acid Last?
LSD is typically found on small pieces of paper or in liquid form, and both forms can degrade over time if not stored in the right conditions. Natural and synthetic forms of psychedelics have varying lifespans because of the different origins of each substance. When stored properly, LSD can last for several years.
How Long Does MDMA Last?
MDMA is usually sold in the form of crystals or powder, and both forms can degrade over time from air, moisture, and heat or become contaminated. When stored properly, MDMA can have a shelf life of several years.
How Long Does Ketamine Last?
Ketamine is a stable compound, but it can degrade over time. Ketamine is commonly available in the form of a liquid or as a powder, and the shelf life of each form can vary. When stored properly, both liquid and powdered forms of ketamine can last for several months to a year or more.
How Long Does Cannabis Last?
The shelf life of cannabis depends on various factors, such as how it is stored, the quality of the product, and the method of preservation. Generally, cannabis can last for six months to two years or even longer if stored properly.
Cannabis can be refrigerated or frozen for extra preservation. Not only can it become contaminated, but it can also lose its potency, flavor, and aroma, making it less effective and less enjoyable to consume.
Concerns & Risks: How to Source Psychedelics Safely
When it comes to psychedelic safety, being able to identify signs of spoilage is increasingly important with the presence of at-home mushroom grow kits and the complex legality around sourcing in the US. This complexity leads many people toward sourcing from unregulated and dangerous places where the quality and purity are compromised.
In past articles, we discussed how to dose correctly and how to perform reagent tests, to provide more control and safety over the intensity of your experience for multiple substances including psilocybin, LSD, and DMT.
Aside from weighing the general risks of psychedelics, some types of mold can produce toxic substances called mycotoxins, which can be harmful to humans and animals if ingested or inhaled.
In addition, exposure to mold spores can cause allergic reactions in some individuals, which can range from mild symptoms such as sneezing and itching to more severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing.
Consuming expired or contaminated mushrooms can be dangerous and result in adverse effects or illness. Therefore, it is recommended to always use caution and ensure that any mushrooms consumed are fresh and safe for consumption.
FAQs About Therapeutic Psychedelic Substances
1. How Can I Test The Potency of My Psychedelics?
There are several methods for testing the potency of your psychedelics, including reagent testing and chromatography. Reagent testing involves using a chemical reagent to detect the presence of specific psychoactive compounds in your substance.
Chromatography is a more advanced method that involves separating and analyzing the different components of your substance to determine its potency. You can purchase testing kits online or from specialized vendors, and it’s important to follow proper safety guidelines and procedures when conducting tests.
2. Can I Still Consume Psychedelics if They Have Expired?
While it’s not recommended to consume expired psychedelics due to the risks of potency loss and potential contamination, some people may still choose to do so. If you decide to use expired psychedelics, it’s important to proceed with caution and start with a low dose to gauge their potency and effects. It’s also crucial to be aware of the potential health risks and to stop using them if you experience any adverse effects.
3. What Are The Risks of Using Expired LSD & DMT?
Like psilocybin mushrooms, using expired LSD or DMT can result in decreased potency and potentially harmful bacteria or mold growth. However, the risks associated with these substances can also depend on other factors such as dosage, frequency of use, and individual sensitivity.
Some potential risks of using expired LSD or DMT include adverse physical and mental effects, including nausea, vomiting, anxiety, or even psychosis. It’s important to be aware of these risks and to follow proper safety precautions when using these substances.
Overall, ensuring the safety of your psychedelic trip is of the utmost importance, including the dangers that risk sickness and infection from taking contaminated substances. Psychedelic Passage connects psychedelic seekers with professional guides and facilitators who offer support for preparation, the journey itself, and integration of psychedelic experiences.
If you are wondering how to prepare for a psychedelic journey, you can book a consultation with one of our psychedelic concierges to utilize their expertise in harm reduction and generally optimize your trip. Whether you’re a seasoned psychonaut or just curious about the world of psychedelics, check out our resources page for more information and articles on all things trippy.