Penis Envy mushrooms. Photo credit: Spores Worldwide.
There’s a type of magic mushroom whose physical appearance resembles a penis and allows for a ridiculously euphoric and pretty intense experience. For those who dare consume one of the world’s trippiest mushrooms, prepare for a literal out-of-body experience. The trip that the Penis Envy mushroom takes users on claims to be better than any vacation one will ever take, but is just as liberating.
While the fungi is known for its potent high, and its eye-catching appearance, its story just as captivating.
So What Made Mycologists Give This Shroom its Moniker?
One look at a Penis Envy mushroom and it’s obvious why this toadstool got its name. For starters, it has a thick dense stem that resembles the shaft of a penis. Its rounded, pale underdeveloped cap is due to the lack of a veil that separates the stem from the cap and serves as support to the spores, helping seal off the look.
What is it?
The Penis Envy mushroom is a type of mushroom containing psilocybin, a naturally occurring hallucinogen that produces a “trip.”
According to experts, Penis Envy mushrooms win the title as one of the most potent Psilocybin Cubensis (a species of psychedelic mushroom). This phallic fungus packs a big punch “internally” as it is tremendously dense.
Despite its overall small size compared to other Psilocybe Cubensis variants, experts consider it to be much heavier in weight. In addition to its physical appearance, the strain has blue bruising which indicates a high psilocin content. This higher psilocin to psilocybin ratio (the two major compounds that are responsible for the intense psychedelic effect of magic mushrooms) causes a major euphoric and joyous experience, according to DoubleBlind magazine.
“It is actually psilocin, not psilocybin, that is able to bind with the 5-HT2A receptor in the human brain and cause these [euphoric] effects,” the publication adds. “However psilocybin is quickly dephosphorylated into psilocin by the liver after ingestion.” In short, the liver converts psilocybin to psilocin upon intake.
What are the Effects?
Those who have consumed the penis envy have noted that its effects have a deeper intensity than others. For example, this shroom provides more of a “wavy” visual hallucination than other varieties.
Though the duration of the effects does not change, ingesting the Penis Envy causes the effects to arrive much “sooner” and much ”heavier,” reports DoubleBlind. In addition, users report feeling lightweight, tireless and carefree.
However, because of the legal status of magic mushrooms, “it is hard to back up these claims considering not enough test results are accessible to prove the Penis Envy’s potency,” the publication further explains.
Where did This Trippy Shroom Come From?
Many credit Terrence Mckenna with the discovery of the Penis Envy mushroom, reports Mel Magazine. Mckenna, an ethnobotanist who advocated for the use of psychedelic plants, first found the variety after setting out into the Amazon forest. With the help of natives, he discovered a large flourishing mushroom that he took spore samples of. He brought the mushroom back home to the U.S. and began using those spores to cultivate actual mushrooms.
Mckenna then shared his findings, and sent out samples to his colleagues all over the country.
He gave one of the samples to mycologist Steven H. Pollock. His intention was to refine this mushroom; he did so by isolating them and slicing open the biggest ones.
He altered and strengthened its genetic makeup for years until he noticed mushrooms that were oddly shaped. Upon dissecting it, he was able to compare the original sample with the mutated sample. He then concluded that he had transferred the original sample’s genetics to the mutated version, creating the Penis Envy variety.
Steven H. Pollock: Neighborhood Drug Dealer
Pollock was a mycologist, drug dealer (it’ll make more sense once the rest of this story unfolds) and doctor. He studied psychoactive fungi, and dreamed of creating a $2 million superlab. Here, he would study mushrooms and provide enough research to legitimize their use in medicine, according to NPR.
One particular mushroom that fueled this dream was the Psilocybe Tampanensis. He had discovered this insanely rare strain in Tampa, Florida. The variety, NPR explains, “transports the consumer to states of transcendence and jubilation beyond the realm of ordinary psychedelics.”
An interview on NPR’s Snap Judgement podcast with Journalist Hamilton Morris details the events that took place in Pollock’s life after discovering the Psilocybe Tampanensis. As the report explains, Pollock had no time to waste as he planned to cultivate, grow, and create more mushroom strains in this colossal lab. He needed to make some major bank, fast.
Pollock funded this dream by treating patients from his home, selling cannabis and prescribing pills, including to pimps for their prostitutes (who were sometimes unconcious), the podcast explains. He gained popularity and had several customers. His dream, that “drove him to insanity” according to Morris, seemed within reach.
One Mystery, and Several Mushroom Species, Live on
However, the overwhelming amount of illegal activity linked to Pollock’s occupation and his studies drew the attention of authorities. His notoriety of selling cannabis, prescribing pills and treating patients in his home led many to dislike him. Consequently on February 1st, 1981, before police could arrest Pollock, his girlfriend found him dead, explains Mel Magazine. He had been shot in the forehead just after he saw his last patient for the night.
Pollock’s killer remains unknown, and the case still remains unsolved to this day. After his death, the police also confiscated/destroyed his entire mushroom collection leaving no traces of any strain… or so they thought.
Before his untimely death, Pollock sent out samples of the mushrooms to other mycologists. Because of this, the Psilocybe Tampanensis and other magic shrooms like the Penis Envy mushroom continue to exist.
While his death remains unsolved, one thing is certain — thanks to Mckenna and Pollock, these mushrooms continue to gain popularity, particularly for provoking heightened levels of euphoria. As psychedelics like magic mushrooms become decriminalized throughout the U.S., perhaps the mycologist’s mysteries will be unfolded, too.