As transformational as psilocybin can be, the fact remains that mushrooms don’t taste great on their own. What if you could have something wildly delicious, like rich chocolate or a sweet gummy, and still get all the psychoactive effects you seek? Enter: the wild and delicious world of psychedelic edibles.

Once relegated to black markets and home kitchens, a growing number of psychedelic drug edibles are finding their way into dispensaries and online shops. In the United States and Canada, these products aren’t exactly legal, leading to shopfront raids—but that isn’t stopping companies from producing and branding psychoactive snacks in anticipation of psychedelic decriminalization and legalization.

What is this new frontier of edible enlightenment, and how can you stay safe while sampling trippy treats? Here’s what you should know.

What Are Edibles?

Drug edibles are food products infused with controlled substances such as marijuana or psilocybin. You might have heard of THC edibles, such as baked goods, candies, and even THC beverages. Similarly, psychedelic edibles can take many forms. One common preparation is psilocybin chocolate, in which ground psilocybin mushrooms are added to melted chocolate and allowed to cool.

Although the psychedelic drug edible market is evolving into an above-ground enterprise, it’s important to remember that it’s illegal to possess, buy, sell, distribute, or advertise psychedelics in most of the United States. Although some jurisdictions have decriminalized personal possession, that doesn’t apply to the unregulated sale of psychedelic products—including edibles.

The Benefits of Psychedelic Edibles

Are gummies a better option than chowing down on dried psilocybin? It largely comes down to preference, but edibles have some notable benefits:

  • Easier to consume: Whether you’re eating a gummy or a square of chocolate, drug edibles are far more enjoyable to eat because the ingredients can mask the flavor of mushrooms.
  • More discreet: Edibles tend to look like conventional food products, so they’re a little easier to travel with.
  • (Potentially) easier to dose: Much like THC edibles, you can choose your own adventure with psychedelic edibles. For example, if you just want to microdose, you could just eat a single square of chocolate or half a gummy. This benefit has a big caveat, though: the dose depends entirely on whether or not your edible is made by a reputable manufacturer. We’ll get more into this point below.

The Risks of Psychedelic Edibles

Psilocybin is considered relatively safe and associated with mild adverse effects.1 But for all their fun flavors and packaging, psychedelic edibles are associated with notable risks that separate them from conventional psychedelics:

  • They may take longer to take effect: It can take anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes before you start to feel psilocybin’s effects. Combining psilocybin with other food may prolong the come-up. Resist the temptation to have another edible if you don’t feel any effects; people may consume larger amounts of the drug than they intended because they thought the edible wasn’t working. Wait about two hours before you take more.
  • Dosing can be unpredictable: Mushrooms don’t always distribute evenly throughout food products, which means one square of chocolate may contain more or less psilocybin than intended. Go low and slow when experimenting with edibles.
  • The psychedelic edibles market is unregulated: Regulated markets have to adhere to laws that are designed to protect consumers. Psychedelic edibles are unregulated, which means your purchase comes with a hefty “buyer beware” disclaimer. On Reddit, users urged people to stop buying psilocybin chocolate bars because there’s no way to tell what else they contain, how much, and whether or not they even contain psilocybin.

Mushroom edibles are associated with the same risks as whole psilocybin. People can experience nausea and vomiting, as well as paranoia, anxiety, and confusion (hallmarks of a bad trip). Psilocybin shouldn’t be combined with other substances such as alcohol or drugs. It’s virtually impossible to overdose on psilocybin, and the substance isn’t considered addictive.2

How Do Edibles Differ from Smoking?

Edibles must be broken down and digested in your body before they take effect. That’s why edibles tend to take longer to take effect than other modes of administration. In comparison, smoking tends to cause psychoactive effects faster because it skips metabolization in the liver. Instead, the substance is absorbed through the lung tissue.

Marijuana can be smoked or turned into an edible, but psychedelics are different—not all substances can be smoked. Psilocybin doesn’t offer the same effects when it’s inhaled. However, mescaline-containing cacti can be eaten whole or smoked with a leaf material such as cannabis or tobacco.3

Companies Producing Psychedelic Edibles

We’ve spoken about the benefits, risks, and legality of psychedelic edibles, but what types of products can we expect to see hit the market if psychedelics are legalized? It’s possible to make your own psychedelic edibles at home, but we can expect to see more companies offering their products as psychedelic drug reform progresses in the coming years. Here are a few examples of such companies. Note that this isn’t an exhaustive list, as many brands have operated for decades underground—these are just a few with online presences:

Bliss Mushrooms

Based in Oakland, CA, Bliss Mushrooms is a luxury psychedelic company that produces vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and fair trade products. Their lab-tested psychedelic chocolate bars are offered in a range of doses and flavors, such as a 3500 mg milk chocolate bar and 6000 mg “Holy Grail” bar.

Psilouette

Psilouette makes products that deliver low doses of psilocybin. The company was started by Derek Chase, founder of the cannabis company Flora + Bast. Psilouette’s products include microdosing gummies, a 10mg psilocybin tea, and microdosing gummies that combine the ingredients found in the “Stamets’ Stack”: psilocybin, lion’s mane mushroom, and niacin.

Sträva Craft Coffee

You’ve likely seen packages of functional mushroom coffee—but Denver-based Sträva Craft Coffee has branched out into psychedelic mushrooms. The company’s infused coffee and tea offers a microdose of psilocybin.

STEM Chocolate

Located in Vancouver, BC, STEM Chocolate combines dried psilocybin mushrooms with Belgian Callebaut chocolate. The company’s products are designed to deliver psilocybin microdoses in delicious flavors, ranging from Cookies & Cream Dreams to Caramel Gold Rush. Each chocolate bar contains 3 grams of psilocybin divided between 15 pieces. Each piece contains 200 mg of psilocybin.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of edibles get you high the most?

High-dose edibles will have the most pronounced effects. For psilocybin, a standard dose is 3.5 grams. However, the effects vary widely depending on the dosage and what else you have in your system.

Can edibles keep you high for days?

No, edibles won’t keep you high for days. The duration depends on the type of substance you consume and the dose. A standard dose of psilocybin edible lasts about 4 to 6 hours.

How many mg of edibles does it take to trip?

It depends on what you take. Most people feel the psychoactive effects of psilocybin around 2500 to 3500 mg. It’s best to start low and go slow with psychedelic edibles, as it’s easy to take a larger dose than intended.

Summary

Psychedelic edibles are illegal to buy and sell in the United States, but that hasn’t stopped some underground brands from selling them. As psychedelic drug reform picks up in the coming years, it’s possible that psychedelics will follow the path of THC edibles: a dizzying array of brands, products, and dosages for every mood.

References

1. van Amsterdam J, Opperhuizen A, van den Brink W. Harm potential of magic mushroom use: a review. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2011;59(3):423-429. doi:10.1016/j.yrtph.2011.01.006

2. Johnson MW, Griffiths RR, Hendricks PS, Henningfield JE. The abuse potential of medical psilocybin according to the 8 factors of the Controlled Substances Act. Neuropharmacology. 2018;142:143-166. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2018.05.012

3. Drug Fact Sheet: Peyote & Mescaline. April 2020.