The Magic Mushroom Glossary

The Magic Mushroom Glossary

Drugs and psychoactive substances elicit many nicknames, codes and phrases. The reason for this is down to their predominantly illegal status. In addition, many have names that do not necessarily roll off the tongue (Lysergic acid diethylamide anyone?) Now, as psychedelic substances are being researched, studied and decriminalised left right and centre, suddenly a previously ‘underground’ vernacular is becoming relevant to a wider population. Everyone from tech geeks to stay-at-home parents are microdosing for their mental health and creativity. Scientists are discovering new applications for psychedelics everyday we are at the centre of a cultural shift. 

We thought it necessary then, to share our glossary of terms related to magic mushrooms and the wider psychedelic world in general. Some relate more to scientific use, some to recreational, but safe to say after reading the magic mushroom glossary you’ll be fully clued up!

Active Placebo

A variant of a placebo often used in drug trials. It produces mild sensations so the volunteer is fooled into thinking they have received a psychoactive drug. For example both niacin and ritalin have been used as active placebos in psilocybin trials.


The top part of the mushroom, often a variant on an umbrella shape. Important because it protects the gills and spores of the fungus. 


The feeling experienced as the effects of a drug wear off and leave your system. Unlike stimulants, psychedelic ‘come downs’ do not have such negative associations, usually manifesting as simple fatigue. In fact, an ‘afterglow’ or feeling of well-being is commonly associated with the post psychedelic experience. 


One of the biggest mysteries of human existence, so perhaps we’ll leave outlining it to the professionals. The Cambridge Dictionary defines consciousness as “the state of understanding and realising something”. The Oxford Language Dictionary defines it as “the fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world”. Regardless, scientists are coming closer than ever before to unravelling the mystery aided by the use of psychedelics. 

Default Mode Network (DMN)

So-called because it is most active when the brain is in a resting state. Neuroimaging suggests that the DMN is involved in higher functioning processes such as self-reflection, mental projection and theorising. When under the influence of psychedelics the DMN is less active, meaning that users may temporarily lose their sense of self. This is paramount to the treatment of conditions such as depression and OCD, as this temporary disassociation makes the relearning of behaviour possible.  

Ego Death

Related, in a way, to the above topic, ego death is the complete loss of sense of self. For many it is a goal similar or interchangeable with the concept of enlightenment, transcending normal human understanding. It can be achieved via psychedelics or intense meditation.  


Also known as entactogens, these are a type of psychoactive drug that produce states of emotional openness, communion, connection and oneness. MDMA is most famous in this class of drug for causing (or emphasising) feelings of empathy and sympathy.


A psychoactive substance that alters perception, consciousness, behaviour or mood. A way of describing psychedelic substances when they are involved in spiritual or sacred happenings. Often associated with shamanic, spiritual, magical or religious usage.

Entourage Effect

The entourage effect is a phenomenon observed in naturally occurring drugs such as cannabis and psilocybin. While there is often a dominant compound, e.g THC in cannabinoids, it is the result of all of the compounds working in harmony that produces the full effect.


Often used as a synonym for psychedelic. A psychoactive substance that causes changes in visual perception, emotions, thought and consciousness. Hallucinogens are classified into psychedelics, deliriants and dissociatives. It is worth noting that one can hallucinate without the aid of drugs.  

Heroic Dose

Psychedelic icon Terence McKenna coined this term. He claimed that 5g of dry magic mushrooms (20-40g of fresh magic truffles), taken alone, in silence, in the dark, is what is required to reach ego death/ spiritual enlightenment/ transcendence. 

MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies)

Organisation that aims to raise awareness and further research into psychedelic substances. It aids scientists in obtaining approval for research and study projects into a number of controlled substances. It was founded by Rick Doblin in 1986, and is based in Santa Cruz California. 


Microdosing is the practice of taking sub-perceptual sub-threshold doses of psychedelic drugs to improve well-being, creativity and productivity. Common drugs used in this technique are psilocybin, LSD and DMT. Sub-perceptual, in this instance, means that the effects are barely noticeable, but will subtly affect cognition. 


‘Mycelium’ means ‘more than one’, and refers to the thread-like bodily structure of a fungus. The mycelium operates underground, the mushroom that appears above ground is simply the fruiting body of the mycelium beneath. 


Tiny mushrooms that grow out of the substrate. The first evidence of mushroom growth. Notice them sprout from a grow kit!


A treatment or medication that is designed to have no therapeutic value or effect. Used as a control during studies, to measure the comparable effect of an active substance. Often takes the form of a sugar pill or saline injection. 


One of the main compounds of magic mushrooms, though a smaller concentration is present compared to psilocybin. However, once psilocybin is ingested it becomes psilocin. Psilocin is psychoactive and stimulates the brain. However, it is not stable outside the body, and oxidises quickly, resulting in the blue-ish bruises you may have noticed on shrooms. 


A type of gilled mushroom, which grows worldwide. The majority of the species in this genus contain psychedelic compounds. They include, for example, psilocybe cubensis and psilocybe mexicana.


Predominant psychedelic compound in magic mushrooms. Once digested however it converts into its co-compound psilocin. As it is more stable than psilocin however, it is the substance used most frequently for clinical trials involving shrooms. 


A hallucinogenic type of psychoactive drug. The term was invented in 1957 by British psychiatrist Humphry Osmond during a correspondence with Aldous Huxley. It stems from two Greek words “psyche” meaning “mind”, and “delos” meaning “manifesting”. Has since become a keyword for a whole host of pop-cultural phenomenons such as ‘psychedelic’ music, fashion, films and art.  


A term used to describe a person who explores the universe of their mind via psychedelic drugs or meditation. A psychedelic astronaut. 


A mass of hardened mycelium which contains the food reserves of a fungus. They can survive underground for long periods of time and weather extreme environmental conditions. Magic truffles are the sclerotia of psilocybin mushrooms. 


Spores are like the seeds of a fungus. These tiny reproductive cells grow under the cap of the mushroom. They can be produced in the gills, teeth or pores of the mushroom, depending on the strain. 


A specific type of fungus. There exist numerous strains around the world. 


A substance that a fungus can grow from. Common substrates include straw, wooden logs, compost and sawdust. However, even coffee grounds are a possible substrate!

Summer of Love

An occurrence mid 1967 (slap-bang in the middle of the psychedelic era— 1965-1969) in which 100,00 young hippies converged in San Francisco. An oft-referenced celebration of love, music and psychedelic drugs.  


Short for technique. See lemon TEK and Pf TEK


Obviously referring to a psychedelic trip and not your recent getaway— a ‘trip’ refers to the temporarily altered state of consciousness brought on by the ingestion of psychedelic drugs. 

Trip Sitter

A trip sitter is like the designated driver of a psychedelic trip. There to share and/or care for you during your first, or a more intensive psychedelic experience. For a masterclass on how to be a grade-A trip sitter click here

We hope we have covered all the keywords you need to feel like a bona-fide graduate of shroom university. If there’s any word or phrase we’ve missed, let us know in the comments and it shall appear, faster than a shroom in fruiting season.

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