In many countries, psilocybin mushroom spores sit in a gray area of the law. You might be able to legally buy them, yet germinating the spores remains illegal in most countries. However, if you’re still wondering where to buy psilocybin spores, unless you’re in the Netherlands, be prepared to shop around the internet or spend some time in online forums. Then, once you do buy them, be aware that germination is still illegal.
Is it Legal to Buy Psilocybin Spores?
You may be surprised to learn that, in many places, buying psilocybin spores is perfectly legal. How? Mushroom spores don’t actually contain psilocybin! So, since spores do not contain any active hallucinogenic compounds, they can legally be bought and sold in 47 of the 50 U.S. states. In a sense, this is a loophole in legal rhetoric that penalizes the possession, sale, and transport of psilocybin, but not spores.
But, not all states have been so lax in their legal rhetoric about spores. The state of California has written laws that specifically ban the sale, transport, and gifting of spores with the intent to germinate. Bonafide researchers and research institutions, however, can legally possess and acquire viable spores. In Georgia and Idaho, the sale, transport, and possession of psilocybin spores are banned outright.
Still, for everywhere else in the United States, buying spores still comes with its own risks.
As Ophelia Chong explains, “Buyers should be aware that buying spores is only for research or education purposes, growing psilocybin is illegal.” Chong is the founder of Mogu.Care, a retailer for adaptogenic plants, and an advisor to DoubleBlind’s course on how to grow mushrooms.
But, you don’t have to be a scientist to buy spores. By “research or educational purposes,” Chong is referring to buying spores with the intent to study, research, identify, or other non-germination purposes. People in most U.S. states can legally buy spores so long as the spores do not germinate. Many traders articulate that they are selling spores for “educational purposes” or for “research and identification purposes” to clarify that the spores are not intended for mushroom cultivation. Rather, they are supposed to remain spores.
When Magic Mushroom Spores Become Illegal
While you may be in your legal right to buy spores, germinating them is still prohibited in most regions. Both mycelium and fruiting mushrooms contain psilocybin, which is federally illegal. As soon as spores begin to germinate into mycelium, law enforcement can legally charge you with cultivation or possession of a controlled substance. The same goes for the possession or sale fresh and dried psilocybin mushrooms.
Beginning in 2020, some cities in the United States have decriminalized the non-commercial cultivation of psilocybin mushrooms, including Seattle, Detroit, and several other places. As such, it’s important to research your local laws before cultivating. It’s also important to keep in mind that although some regions have decriminalized at the local level, magic mushrooms remain federally illegal.
Psilocybin laws vary wildly across the globe. In Indonesia, for example, getting caught with psychedelic mushrooms or their spores is punishable by the death penalty. Meanwhile, in Jamaica, Brazil, Samoa, and the British Virgin Islands, mushrooms and their spores are legal to cultivate and possess.
Buying Spore Syringes Versus Spore Prints
Spores are often sold in two preparations: spore syringes and spore prints. Spore syringes are simply oral syringes filled with spores and water. The water suspends the spores in solution without destroying them, and good spore purveyors will often use purified water. Spore prints are more like a stamp. Spores are stamped onto a sheet of paper by laying a fresh mushroom cap face-down overnight.
Types of Spore Strains
There are over 180 different species of psilocybin-containing mushrooms. But, to make matters more confusing, years of unground cultivation have created an economy of varying new mushroom “strains.” Theoretically, strains are types of mushrooms that feature distinct physical traits and growth patterns. These different strains are not necessarily abundant in the wild. Instead, have been selectively cultivated and stabilized over a specific period of time. Mushrooms of a specific strain are often cloned to prevent further genetic mutation of the variety, which would thus change its phenotypical (physical) characteristics.
Most of today’s strains come from one mushroom species: Psilocybe cubensis. Cubensis is the most popular magic mushroom variety, and it’s perhaps cultivated more often than it is found in the wild. Here are some of the most popular Psilocybe cubensis spore strains available today: