Doc Charlie's guide to Medicinal Mushrooms

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Posted by pinksharkmark ( on January 12, 2001 at 05:10:49:

If you've been reading my recent posts, you'll know that I posted a message at Drool Donkey (a mushroom cultivator's forum) back in November, regarding the effects of psilocybin mushrooms on cluster headaches. One of the mycologists who responded to my message is Doc Charlie. He was extremely interested to hear of this use for psilocybin mushrooms, and anxious to help out clusterheads looking to gather more information on this therapy. Quite a few clusterheads have been in touch with him recently.

He thought it would be a good idea to put together a sort of "mushroom primer" for those who haven't had time to research the subject thoroughly. Here it is.


Hello! I am Dr. Charles Lindeman, also known as Doc Charlie. To set the record straight right from the beginning, I have a PhD. in entheomycology and a doctorate in basidiomycetes (gilled fungi, commonly known as mushrooms). I am not a physician.

There have been numerous posts on this board regarding the use of psilocybin mushrooms to treat cluster headaches. Rather than repeat anecdotal information already available through's "search" button, I will limit myself to the practical aspects of psilocybin production and consumption. It should be noted that although there are dozens of psilocybin-bearing mushrooms known, "psilocybe cubensis" is the most widely cultivated species, and is the easiest of the psilocybes to grow.

Psilocybin mushrooms contain both psilocybin and it's close chemical cousin, psilocin. Psilocybin is converted by the body to psilocin once it is ingested. It is actually the psilocin that is the active component. Neither compound is toxic. No one has ever died or even become ill from eating psilocybin mushrooms, although some people experience slight nausea or intestinal distress. This can be minimized or eliminated by waiting several hours after eating before taking the mushrooms. In certain individuals, the first fifteen minutes after dosing can be discomforting. Some people report a feeling of anxiety or apprehension at first, which soon subsides into relief, and a rather pleasurable feeling for the next four to six hours. For this reason, I STRONGLY suggest having a good friend with you the first time you use them, even at the low doses recommended.

It is very important to realize that a class of drugs known as MAO inhibitors have the effect of doubling both the strength and the length of the psilocybin "trip". Check with your physician to be sure that none of the medications you are taking are MAO inhibitors.

The minimum effective dose for treating cluster headaches has yet to be precisely determined. The consensus from anecdotal evidence presented in this forum would seem to indicate that a minimum of one gram of completely dried psilocybe cubensis is required, although a gram and a half or two grams seems to have a better record of providing complete relief with a single dose. For most individuals, doses much higher than three grams will approach the threshhold at which the experience becomes otherworldly. For those with no prior experience with psilocybin, it is probably better to stay under two grams the first time.

An excellent site to learn the basics of mushroom growing is located at:

The simple method described there involves using horticultural vermiculite and brown rice flour sterilized in canning jars. To further simplify things for those not interested in producing large amounts, it should be noted that the entire last part of the procedure (removing the "cakes" and placing them in a terrarium) is actually unnecessary. Once the jars have been injected with the mushroom spores they can be left sealed until it is time to harvest the mushrooms. Once the jars have turned white, they are left in indirect light for twelve hours a day. Direct sunlight should be avoided. Enough light to read by is sufficient. The mushrooms will grow inside the jar. They will be ready to harvest when they are 3-4 inches long. They may appear cramped and twisted due to the lack of growing space, but their potency remains unchanged. To harvest, simply open the jar, pop out the "cake", pick off the mushrooms, slide the cake back into the jar, and they will continue to produce a little more.

It has been reported that by using this simplified method in 1/2 pint (250 ml) jars, each jar will produce approximately 30 grams (about an ounce) of fresh mushrooms, which will yield about three grams once dried.

I have developed a modification of this method that results in higher yields with just a little bit more effort. Those interested in trying it can e-mail me at the address below.

To store mushrooms for later use, I suggest a food dehydrator. These work quite well. Make sure the air is no hotter than 100 degrees F, or disconnect the heating element if using a model with a heater. Mushrooms must be dried until they are as crisp as crackers, and will store for years this way. Otherwise, they could rot over time if there are still traces of moisture left in them. Fresh mushrooms can also be stored submerged in honey for up to five years years if refrigerated. Submerge mushrooms in just enough honey to cover them.

Now for reliable confidential spore suppliers:

This man is the a highly regarded supplier of dependable mushroom spore syringes for several reasons.

1. After the order is sent all records are destroyed.
2. If you make a mistake, he will replace your syringes.
3. He takes credit cards and checking accounts on the internet via paypal for fast delivery. Be warned that this does leave a potential "paper trail"
4. He has volunteered to drop all shipping and handling costs for anyone who is a "cluster head."
5. He responds to e-mail, and is friendly.

I recommend his "PC Thailand - Koh Samui" species. It is a very fast producer.

Another source is the same supplier who pioneered the brown rice flour/vermiculite growing method:

For fast, dependable growth, I suggest his Equador species, and his own "PF" species (Matias Romero)

Women are also involved in this hobby. See:

I would suggest their psilocybe cubensis variety "Mexico", otherwise known as the Mr. G #3 species.

There are many more to choose from, these are but a few.

Some words of caution. Possession or cultivation of "magic mushrooms" is illegal in some countries, including the United States. Possession of spores is legal except in California and Georgia. Check state and local penalties before doing anything. Do not tell anyone you are growing psilocybin mushrooms!

If you are concerned with the legality of cultivating these mushrooms yourself, I would advise you to travel to Amsterdam where they are LEGALLY sold in many different "head shops". Round trip tickets to Amsterdam are very inexpensive through:

Sometimes they are available for as little as $250.00.

For those of you who have carefully read the growing instructions at, and still feel unsure of your ability to prepare the growing jars properly, please feel free to contact me at:

and we will see if we can send you a pre-sterilized jar or two of the substrate, as well as a spore syringe and instructions.


It is the least I can do to help others.

I wish you all good health!

Dr. Charles Lindeman
(Doc Charlie.)


Doc Charlie has been extremely generous with his time so far, and he remains very willing to continue to help out any clusterheads who need growing advice. My personal request to all of you is that you read the information at the link he provided before contacting him with further cultivation questions.


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