Why Do Magic Mushrooms Turn Blue? (Blue Bruising)

Magic mushrooms, aka psilocybin mushrooms, are types of mushrooms that have hallucinogenic effects and create mystical, insightful, and euphoric effects when consumed. As well as coming in a variety of shapes, colors, and species, some mushrooms also show an unusual blue reaction when picked or bruised, which has puzzled scientists and mycologists for years. But now, it seems that this mystery has finally been solved!

Let’s dive into this mystery.

Why Do Mushrooms Bruise Blue?

The blue effect is a common feature of various magic mushroom strains and can be caused by an injury such as picking, bumping, or cutting them. These injuries can trigger chemical reactions that cause mushrooms to change color. Some species that contain psilocybin tend to bruise blue and that is why this effect is sometimes used to identify psychedelic mushrooms, But please, do not mistake this for the only attribute used to identify wild mushrooms, and we strongly advise against trying to eat wild mushrooms on your own. 

The Science Behind the Bluing Reaction – Blue Bruising Explained

Despite the fact that there are many types of magic mushrooms available and some of them also can turn blue, it is most likely that you used the Psilocybe cubensis strain to experience a magic mushroom trip. In addition to providing you with a psychedelic experience, the cubensis strain is considered one of the easiest to grow indoors. There are several substrains of the Psilocybin cubensis strain that differ greatly in their shape and potency. They are genetically analogous and they bruise blue in response to oxidation.

The chemistry behind this reaction has been a mystery until a couple of years ago. So, what is all the science behind this process? German scientists finally discovered the mechanism behind the blueing effect. They did many wild chemistry experiments on the psilocybin cubensis strain and discovered two enzymes that are involved in this process. They named these enzymes PsiP and PsiL. The enzymes work together and manipulate psilocybin molecules which eventually result in blue color.

Since scientists only tested P.cubensis so far, we do not know if there are other mechanisms for this blue pattern. This is why further research is needed in this field!

What Happens Inside Your Magic Mushroom When You Pick It Up From the Field or Your Growing Kit

  • The mushroom gets injured, bruised, or damaged.
  • The enzyme releasing PsiP changes the molecular structure of psilocybin and frees the psilocin molecule which is responsible for the psychoactive effect.
  • Later, a second enzyme named PsiL comes and forces psilocin molecules to form larger groups.
  • Some of these groups will lose their hydrogen atoms while pairing and this will eventually create the blue color.

 

Does Blue Bruising Change the Potency of Magic Mushrooms?

Yes! Blue bruising can change the potency of magic mushrooms. Here is how it goes:

  • The blue color indicates that psilocybin has degraded into psilocin.
  • The more blue bruising there is, the more psilocin has been degraded.
  • The degradation of psilocin directly reduces the psychedelic effect.

The blue color effect may indicate how potent a mushroom was before it was bruised.

 

Do All Magic Mushrooms Turn Blue When They Are Picked?

There are many different types of magic mushrooms available in the wild. Some have blue bruising features and some do not. It is true that psilocybin is needed to produce the blue color, but that does not mean all psilocybin mushrooms will turn blue when bruised.

Examples of Magic Mushroom Strains Capable of Turning Blue When Bruised

  • Psilocybe cubensis: the most common form of magic mushrooms, aka Gold Caps, they show blue bruising when picked or damaged.
  • Psilocybe azurescens: extremely high tendency to bruise when damaged.
  • Psilocybe semilanceata: also known as Liberty Caps, do not bruise as much as other species but have a high potency of psilocybin.
  • Psilocybe cyanescens: another potent psychedelic mushroom, they can show a blue pattern when touched and disturbed.

 

Blue Bruising in Non-Psychedelic Mushrooms

It is common for mushrooms to change color. For example, they can appear blue, green, purple, or even black. There are also non-psychedelic mushrooms that tend to go blue when they are picked or bruised. In fact, some of these mushrooms that turn blue are not edible at all.

Here are some examples:

  • Gyroporus cyanescens: edible mushroom that is non-psychedelic and shows a blue bruising feature, they contain variegated acid that produces blue color in the presence of oxygen. 
  • Bolete species: many species are inedible, they may result in abdominal pain and make you vomit, they also immediately turn blue after being picked, or damaged.
  • Galerina species: they are extremely fatal, they show blue bruising patterns, and they often grow around psychedelic mushrooms.

Even though it seemed like bluing is an exclusive method to differentiate Psilocybin species, it might not be reliable and even dangerous. Most magic mushrooms turn blue, but there are also similar-looking mushrooms, such as Deconica species and they bruise blackish, which may be confusing for mushroom hunters.

 

Can You Eat Blue Bruised Psilocybin Mushrooms?

As long as you know the exact strain and substrain of mushrooms you plan to eat, you don’t need to worry if they turn blue. Some people bruise their magic mushrooms on purpose in order to get a cool effect when they make psychedelic Blue honey at home.

 

Can You Identify Psychedelic Mushrooms in the Wild Based Only on Its Blue Bruising?

We strongly recommend avoiding collecting wild mushrooms, especially the psychedelic ones, unless you are accompanied by real trained specialists.

The common belief that all mushrooms that have a blue bruising effect are psychedelic or at least edible is definitely a false claim

One mistake can prove fatal! As we mentioned before, the Bolete and the Galerina are great examples of mushrooms that can be extremely dangerous, and they can both still produce the blue bruise effect. So please be careful, and don’t go collecting mushrooms in the wild based on if they turn blue or not when bruised.

 

Summary

This article dealt with the mystery behind the blue bruising of mushrooms. It is vital harm reduction information both for those who enjoy hunting for wild edible mushrooms and for those who enjoy experiencing the psychedelic effects of various magic mushroom strains.

A few things to remember:

  • Psilocybin is a chemical compound that generates the psychoactive effects in certain mushroom strains.
  • The blue bruising effect occurs when the mushroom is picked, injured, or damaged.
  • The blue color reveals the psilocybin compound in psychedelic mushrooms.
  • Not all magic mushrooms bruise blue when they are picked.
  • Mushrooms that bruise blue can also be non-psychedelic and even deadly
  • You should never identify mushrooms based on whether they turn blue when bruised.

Please remember that magic mushrooms are strong hallucinogenic substances. Never consume them unless you are sure about their species! Be mindful of the laws in your region. Also, be aware that their psychedelic effects are highly dependable on your environment and your state of mind (set and setting).

If you decide to try magic mushrooms, make sure to prepare well, do your research beforehand, and be in a safe environment. Have a safe sweet journey!

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