Psilocybin is a naturally occurring compound with hallucinogenic properties that creates euphoric feelings when ingested. For thousands of years, humans have consumed mushrooms containing psilocybin for spiritual and recreational purposes. In many cases, these hallucinations lead to transformative experiences.
As research into psilocybin mushrooms has flourished in the last 20 years, doctors are leveraging its mind-altering effects to rewire patients’ neural pathways and enable them to manage various chronic medical conditions. This work has provided therapeutic options for those suffering from conditions that resist traditional therapies, like depression, epilepsy, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Psilocybe caerulipes (also known as agaricus caerulipes) belongs to the psilocybe species, the Hymenogastraceae family, and the agaricales order. The fungus is safe for consumption and can be used in a clinical setting to manage many symptoms. This article discusses the traits of caerulipes, where it grows, and the legality of psilocybin and mushroom possession in the United States.
What is Psilocybe Caerulipes?
Psilocybe caerulipes, also known as the “blue foot mushroom,” is a relatively rare mushroom in the psilocybe family. Caerulipes translates from Latin to “blue foot” for its bluish pigment toward the base of its stem.
Caerulipes has a smaller cap than most other psilocybe mushrooms, measuring only 1 cm to 3.5 cm in diameter. The mushroom begins with a conical cap that flattens as it ages, with the edges eventually turning inward. Fresh mushroom caps are a dingy cinnamon brown that fades to an orangish brown as the mushroom matures.
The gills are densely packed and change from a light brown to dark purple brown as they fill with spores. The stalk reaches 3 cm to 6 cm tall and is just 1.5 mm to 3 mm thick. It is often thicker at the base than at the cap. While live mushrooms have a whitish color with possible blue hues at the base, they become more pallid and bluish when dried.
Psilocybe Caerulipes Habitats
Caerulipes is an extremely rare mushroom that is challenging to find in the wild. It grows in parts of Eastern North America, particularly the Midwest and mid-Atlantic, reaching as far north as New York, Michigan, and Southern Ontario in Canada.
This psychedelic mushroom grows solitarily or in dense groups. It’s drawn to deciduous forests, preferring hardwood debris, plant matter, and decaying logs as its substrate. The rare “shroom” thrives on the birch, beech, and maple wood that populates its native region.
Like many mushrooms that prefer wood, these little brown mushrooms require cold weather to fruit, growing from late May until December. The fungus is weather resistant, enabling it to reach much farther north than many other psilocybes.
Caerulipes share physical characteristics and much of the same native habitat as Galerina marginata, a highly-toxic poisonous mushroom. Nicknamed “The Death Cap,” marginata is more abundant than Caerulipes. Consuming a single cap is fatal for adults.
Psilocybe Caerulipes Effects
Unlike many other psilocybe mushrooms, caerulipes is odorless. It has a slightly mealy or floury taste, making it more palatable than many of its relatives. The fungus is on the low to moderate end of the psilocybin potency spectrum.
Though as with any ingestible, your experience depends on the size of the dose and your unique biochemistry. How fast your body metabolizes the psilocybin into usable psilocin will dictate how the mushroom affects you.
Generally, caerulipes’ effects begin within an hour of ingestion, peak between two and four hours, and dissipate within 12 hours. Physically, the mushroom causes pupil dilation and elevated heart rate. These are the typical effects of all “magic mushrooms.”
Mentally, caerulipes will distort your perception, leading to altered visuals and auditory sensations. Trained therapists use this altered state of perception and elevated insight to talk you through thoughts and feelings, helping to manage underlying conditions.
Consuming magic mushrooms in a familiar environment like your home or a clinical setting is the best method. Your comfort will minimize the risk of a “bad trip.” While this adverse event is not physically or psychologically dangerous, the anxiety you experience could prompt you to take risky or harmful actions.
Is Psilocybe Caerulipes Legal?
Despite its promising therapeutic potential and society’s evolving understanding of psychedelics, psilocybin is a federally prohibited substance. As a result, caerulipes and other psilocybe mushrooms are illegal in most of the United States.
However, state legislatures and federal agencies are reassessing the illegality of the psychedelic compound. Oregon and Colorado both allow possession and use of psilocybin. The states are establishing quality, safety, and oversight standards to operate formal treatment programs.
Several other states have pending psilocybin legislation or are formally exploring its therapeutic value and safety. Cities in California, Michigan, and Massachusetts have decriminalized magic mushroom possession and use.
The FDA has granted psilocybin researchers special permission to conduct clinical trials and other studies, helping deepen the understanding of psychedelics as therapeutic tools. The agency based its decision on the strong initial results and potential to manage debilitating conditions.
The Biden administration endorsed psilocybin therapy as a treatment option for veterans in 2021. Despite their formal position, policy reform is pending as lawmakers assess federal regulations and navigate psilocybin’s status with the FDA and DEA.
Psilocybe Caerulipes Cultivation
You can legally cultivate and use caerulipes anywhere psilocybin is legal or decriminalized. Individuals have been growing magic mushrooms since the 1970s. As a result, the protocols have been refined over decades. Today, home cultivation is relatively easy to do with a quality grow kit.
However, caerulipes is a notoriously difficult mushroom to cultivate. The main challenge is purchasing spores. The rarity of the fungus makes obtaining samples difficult. As a result, companies lack the incentive to provide them. Many other psilocybe mushrooms are readily available and easy to cultivate.
In general, cultivating mushrooms requires colonizing a wood-based substrate with the spores. Then you need to simulate the appropriate light and moisture conditions for the spores to germinate. Once the mushrooms begin developing, you then nourish them and adjust the temperature, light, and moisture accordingly. Caerulipes take about six months to fruit.
Caerulipes is commonly crushed into powder and blended into teas and other beverages. Before attempting to cultivate mushrooms for personal use, verify your state and local laws to ensure you can legally possess psilocybin.
Where can I find psilocybe caerulipes?
Caerulipes grow in the wild in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic coast, spanning from Tennessee and North Carolina to Southern Ontario in Canada. The mushrooms also grow in Mexico. They are generally difficult to find in the wild and are easily overlooked due to their small size and nondescript brown caps.
Is psilocybe ovoideocystidiata poisonous?
No. Psilocybe mushrooms are safe for consumption because their psilocybin and psilocin are non-toxic to humans. However, you should never consume wild mushrooms you identify on your own. Psilocybe caerulipes has poisonous look-alike mushrooms.
It’s difficult for even skilled mycologists to identify mushrooms based on physical characteristics alone because fungi are highly responsive to their environment, climate, and physical trauma.
What time of year do psilocybe ovoideocystidiata grow?
Psilocybe ovoideocystidiata, a more common relative of caerulipes, may grow year-round but fruits from April to June. Caerulipes grow from late May through December, bearing fruit once the temperature drops.
What is an ovoid mushroom?
An ovoid mushroom is a nickname for psilocybe ovoideocystidiata, a resilient mushroom that grows widely through the Ohio River Valley. The name comes from the ovoid shape of its cells, which can only be seen under a microscope. Scientists long thought ovoideocystidiata was a type of caerulipes before classifying it as a separate species in 2007.
While discovered later, ovoideocystidiata is much more common and spreading worldwide. The mushroom is larger and easier to spot in the wild than caerulipes.
Where are liberty caps found?
Liberty Caps, known scientifically as psilocybe semilanceata, are primarily found along deciduous forests in the Pacific Northwest. The mushrooms are highly desired for their psilocybin potency. They can be cultivated year-round.
John DiBella is a medical marijuana advocate, owner of The Sanctuary Wellness Institute, and a writer. When he’s not writing blogs about medical marijuana, he enjoys hiking, camping and sailing.