Despite their name, the famed “blue meanies” psychedelic shrooms aren’t actually blue. In fact, they’re mostly white. It isn’t until these mushrooms are handled that their name begins to make sense. In this guide, we’ll do a deep dive into blue meanies, including why they got that name, how to identify them, where they’re found, and potential health benefits.
Blue meanies (panaeolus cyanescens or p. cyanescens) are a variety of psychedelic mushroom belonging to the Coprinaceae family, a hallmark of which is the spotty appearance of their gills (1).
Here’s where things get a little muddled. There isn’t a clear consensus on what to call this mushroom, and there’s quite a bit of confusion regarding the scientific names too. We’ll do our best to keep things simple and straightforward to eliminate confusion.
Blue meanies may also be called copelandia cyanescens, agaricus cyanescens, and pan cyans.
Several species of mushrooms in the Panaeolus family produce psilocybin or psilocin, and most of them also produce urea, serotonin, and tryptophan (1). Both psilocybin and psilocin are a type of alkaloid structurally similar to serotonin and responsible for a mushroom’s hallucinogenic effects (2).
But here’s the thing about psilocybin vs. psilocin: psilocybin isn’t psychoactive, so it’s not responsible for the feelings of being on a trip. It’s not until you ingest psilocybin that it turns into psilocin, which does cause psychedelic effects. The process typically takes around 30 minutes.
Psst: You can explore different strains of psychedelic mushrooms, like wavy caps (psilocybe cyanescens), “subs” (psilocybe subaeruginosa) as well as penis envy and golden teacher mushrooms (strains of psilocybe cubensis). All of these are psilocybin-containing mushrooms.
It can be tricky distinguishing one mushroom from the next, especially since they can be easily confused for highly toxic versions. Always be diligent in paying attention to detail, especially if you’re foraging or wildcrafting mushrooms.
This mushroom species has a hemispheric cap that can be bell-shaped and becomes more convex or dome-like once it matures. When blue meanies are in the early stages of growth, the fruit bodies (the visible, above-ground part of a mushroom) will have an incurved cap, which means it curves inwards. As it grows, the mushroom caps become more flattened and often split once it reaches maturity.
The color of blue meanies also changes as it moves through its growing cycle, starting off a light brown and eventually turning gray or nearly white. The centers will stay brown and will eventually fade.
Blue meanies adnate (gill attachment) are close and thin and are a mottled gray-black once fully grown. The stipe (stem) isn’t uniform in color; it’s gray toward the top, light brown near the base, and pale yellow in between. Part of their name comes from the color changes that happen when the mushroom is bruised—they turn a bluish color. These pigmentation changes are an indicator of psilocin present in the mushroom itself, although this isn’t true of all psychedelic mushrooms (1).
Even though the laws surrounding psychedelics are evolving, at a federal level, much like cannabis, psychoactive mushrooms remain illegal. And depending on the jurisdiction, magic mushrooms could be legal or decriminalized.
Colorado and Oregon have decriminalized and/or legalized their use altogether, along with Washington D.C., and Oakland, California. If you’re unsure what the laws are in your area, research before using psilocybin mushrooms.
Humans have a long history of using psychoactive plants in religious ceremonies and for medicinal purposes. People in Meso and South America, Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, India, Asia, Greece, and Rome used plants medicinally (3).
Using psychedelic mushrooms to reach altered states of consciousness goes back 7,000 years and may even date to Paleolithic times (1). The Paleolithic Era is often called the “Old Stone Age” and dates from about 3.3 million years to 11,650 years ago (4).
Discoveries made in ancient Mayan temple ruins demonstrate how important magic mushrooms were in shamanic ceremonies. Franciscan Friar Bernardino de Sahagún traveled to the New World in the 16th century and reported on how the Aztecs used these sacred psilocybe mushrooms (1).
Psst: While not ancient history, in the Beatles 1968 film, Yellow Submarine, the main antagonists in the movie are the Blue Meanies who want to rule through fear and oppression and have a hatred for music. While no one has admitted to an official connection between the magic mushroom and the characters in the film, psychedelic drugs were a consistent theme during the counterculture movement of the 1960s. Naturally, there are rumors that these mushrooms got their name from the film.
Because research is ongoing and not necessarily focused on one specific mushroom strain, we’re going to focus more on the health benefits of psychedelic mushrooms in general.
An article published by the Imperial College of London discussed the results of a study on the effects magic mushrooms had on people with depression. Researchers discovered psilocybin has a unique effect on the brain; study participants demonstrated increased brain connectivity during treatment and up to three weeks post-treatment. It’s important to note that treatment with conventional antidepressants doesn’t result in the same brain connectivity, suggesting it functions entirely differently in the brain (5).
Another study discovered significant changes in the levels of depression and anxiety experienced by patients with life-threatening cancer—80% of participants continued to show clinically significant reductions in depressed mood and anxiety at a 6-month follow-up. There was also an increase in well-being and life satisfaction (6).
Magic mushrooms do have some potential side effects as they alter your perception of space, time, mood, and feeling, so keep that in mind.
Here’s some of what you could experience: altered vision, dilated pupils, dizziness, lack of coordination, unusual body sensations, confusion, nausea, and lack of coordination. Alternatively, you can also feel a sense of euphoria and peacefulness, and spiritual awakening.
One person may have an entirely different experience than another as it depends on an individual’s mental state, immediate environment, and personality (7).
Blue meanies are dung-loving fungi, so it’s not uncommon to find them growing in pastures and fields that have their ideal environment.
They also love a semi-tropical environment. You can find blue meanies in Hawaii, Florida, and Louisiana in the United States. Elsewhere, expect to see them in Mexico, South America (Bolivia and Brazil), the Philippines, parts of Australia, and sometimes the Mediterranean near Menton, France.
They’ve occasionally found their way into more temperate climates. Still, since this isn’t their native environment, the mushrooms usually die out (1).
Humans have turned to plant medicine for thousands of years. While wildcrafting and foraging are traditional methods of gathering resources, it’s essential to recognize their differences.
Foraging generally refers to collecting wild food resources found in nature for personal consumption and use.
Wildcrafting, on the other hand, is harvesting local resources for medicinal needs. Ethical wildcrafting takes it one step further and ensures that resources are not depleted for future generations while preserving the natural habitats of these plants.
There are a few things to keep in mind before you set out to gather your herbs, plants, or mushrooms.
There’s an alternative to wildcrafting or foraging, and that’s growing your own mushrooms. Going the “grow it yourself” route can be an excellent way to ensure you have a steady supply of your favorite varieties without harming natural habitats or endangering yourself by misidentifying plants—and it can be super simple to get started.
You can still wildcraft your own mushrooms, but consider making a spore print instead of going back for more. Drops of rain or a breeze are usually enough to shake a mushroom spore (or a million) loose in the wild, but you don’t have to wait for nature. Simply taking your mushroom cap and setting it down on a piece of paper overnight (ideally under a jar so it’s protected) is enough to create a spore print you can use for identification or cultivating mushrooms on your own. Think of it as the mushroom version of saving seeds from your garden.
Another option is to purchase magic mushroom spores online. They don’t contain psilocybin, so they’re legal in most states. Just be sure to always double-check to verify what the rules and regulations are in your area. Mushroom forums can help you learn how to start your DIY adventures, identify the appropriate substrate, and more.
If you’re interested in having a psychedelic experience with blue meanies, there are a few ways you can enjoy using them. Here are some options to get you started.
There’s a whole world of psychedelic mushrooms to explore and blue meanies might be what you’re looking for, whether you’re interested in a microdose or a trip to altered states of consciousness.
Regardless of your route, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with the identifying characteristics of blue meanie mushrooms if you decide to forage. And don’t forget to learn about the side effects magic mushrooms can have before deciding whether they’re a fit for you. To learn more about other types of mushrooms and get the latest news and discoveries, keep up with us on shroomer.