Gold Cap mushrooms (Psilocybe cubensis) are some of the most common magic mushrooms in North America. These psychedelic shrooms thrive in tropical and subtropical environments and can be found in the US, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.
But what do they look like, what do they contain, and what kind of effects do they produce?
What are Gold Cap Mushrooms?
Gold Cap is one of the common names given for Psilocybe cubensis, the largest Psilocybe mushroom.
It was first discovered by an American mycologist in Cuba and was initially known as Stropharia cubensis, with the word cubensis meaning “from Cuba”.
Gold Caps are named for the light golden color of their cap. They are the largest of all psychedelic mushrooms, with a cap of between 1.5 and 8 cm and a stem of between 4 and 15 cm.
Gold Caps can be reddish brown when they are young before lightening to the distinctive golden color as they mature. The gills are white to begin with and then darken with age.
Gold Cap mushrooms bruise when they are damaged, taking on a bluish/purple tint. This is down to the oxidation of psilocin, so these distinctive marks can be used by foragers to identify Gold Cap mushrooms.
Where Do These Psilocybin Mushrooms Grow?
Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms grow in tropical and subtropical regions. You can find them in humid grasslands throughout the Americas, as well as in parts of Australia and Asia.
In the US, you’re more likely to find them in the southeast, usually in cattle fields with warm weather and high humidity.
They are more common in the summer months and you can usually find them on cow, goat, and horse dung.
Gold Cap shrooms are also some of the most popular magic mushrooms for indoor cultivation. They are grown in very humid conditions and at temperatures of between 75 and 80 degrees F. It takes just 5 to 6 weeks to grow Gold Caps from spores.
What Do Gold Caps Contain?
Magic mushrooms contain a range of compounds, and Gold Caps are no different. In addition to psilocybin and psilocin, Gold Cap shrooms contain baeocystin and norbaeocystin.
These chemicals haven’t been studied as extensively as psilocybin, but they could contribute to the overall experience.
For instance, baeocystin is said to have been the subject of research that led to a “gentle hallucinogenic experience” from a dose of just 4mg.
How are Gold Cap Shrooms Ingested?
Gold Cap shrooms can be eaten whole or brewed into a magic mushroom tea. They can also be ground into a powder and added to foods such as honey, jelly, peanut butter, and chocolate.
The effects don’t really change according to the ingestion method, but the onset can vary. If you have a sensitive stomach and can’t abide the taste of magic mushrooms, you should try steeping them in tea. You can add honey/sugar and lemon juice to cut through the earthy flavors, as well as some ginger pieces to calm your stomach.
If you don’t really care about any of that and don’t mind the taste, just eat the fresh or dried mushrooms whole.
What are the Effects of Gold Cap Shrooms?
Gold Cap shrooms produce similar effects to other magic mushrooms. With microdoses, the user may feel calmer and experience some minor changes in perception, including brighter lights and sharper sounds. Giddiness is also common with small doses.
As the dose is increased, auditory and visual distortions become more common, and the user begins to disconnect from reality.
They may feel more introspective and creative and may also experience a spiritual awakening of sorts.
To ensure you have the best possible experience, think about the “set and setting”, which references your mindset and environment. If you get both of these right, you should be in for a pleasant trip.
What are the Negative Effects of Gold Cap Shrooms?
Magic mushrooms are usually well tolerated. They are not addictive, the abuse potential is very low, and there have been very few reports of serious adverse reactions.
It is possible to be psychologically addicted to mushrooms, but this has more to do with habit than any kind of withdrawal symptoms or physical cravings.
The most common adverse reactions are nausea, high blood pressure, and dizziness. These effects vary by dose, experience, and physiology.
If you’re not in the right mindset or take a larger dose than you can handle, you may experience a bad trip, including feelings of panic, fear, paranoia, and a disconnection from reality.
In such cases, you should go somewhere you’ll be comfortable and do something that will distract you, such as playing calming music.
Refrain from taking other psychoactive drugs. It may seem like a good idea at the time, but it could make things worse and increase the risk of serious side effects.
Are Psilocybe Cubensis Mushrooms Dangerous?
In 2018, a study reported on a very rare case of acute kidney injury from the consumption of Golden Tops mushrooms. A 15-year-old boy took Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms grown from a home kit and then reported symptoms such as nausea, abdominal pain, and hypertension.
However, the study found that there are “relatively few adverse effects associated with [p. cubensis] consumption”, before noting that this is the first report of acute kidney injury associated with psilocybin mushroom ingestion. The patient was discharged after 5 days and made a full recovery.
These reports can be concerning if you’re thinking about using psychedelic mushrooms, but they are incredibly rare.
Summary: Gold Cap Mushrooms
The Gold Cap, Golden Cap, or Golden Top mushroom is one of the most widespread hallucinogenic mushrooms in the Americas. It’s also the most common mushroom grown in home cultivation kits.
It’s a large, golden-capped fungus that can be eaten whole, added to food, or brewed in a tea to produce a range of psychedelic effects.
The effects of these shrooms are similar to other magic mushrooms, but it’s not really the effects that make Gold Caps popular. It has more to do with the fact that they’re so easy to find and grow, as well as their generous size.