The Complete Guide to Golden Teacher Mushrooms

The Complete Guide to Golden Teacher Mushrooms

Julian Selemin
Julian Selemin
April 12, 2023
8 min

Golden teacher mushroooms are widely recognized as one of the most potent and spiritual psychedelic mushrooms. Derived from the famous Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms, this strain can create unique perspectives useful for self-growth and inner healing.

Here, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about this strain, including its appearance, history, and the controversy surrounding this and all other strains.

What are golden teacher mushrooms?

Golden teachers are a strain or variety of the famous psychedelic mushroom Psilocybe cubensis. Although their origin is unknown, they have gained notoriety for their ability to create “guided” trips. Many people describe their hallucinogenic effects as being unusually potent and spiritually fulfilling.

However, not everyone agrees on the concept of strains when it comes to magic mushrooms. There’s no general consensus on the topic; some believe it’s only a marketing fad used to take advantage of new shroom users.

Golden teachers are widely recognized as one of the classic strains, earning their place due to their amazing yields and potency. Yet, they are a bit harder to grow—they require stricter temperature and substrate controls than most other P. cubensis varieties.

The origin and habitat of golden teacher mushrooms are unclear, and many people even argue that they don’t grow in nature. Unfortunately, like most other strains, no scientific evidence has yet led to an official classification and taxonomic description.

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How do golden teachers look?

Close up shot of 3 mushrooms

According to anecdotal reports found online, golden teachers are easily recognizable due to their size and abundance. Their fruit bodies are unusually large, often growing to three or four times the size of other P. cubensis strains. Plus, under the right conditions, they can grow at a stunning rate, creating dense patches with dozens of mushrooms.

Another key to distinguishing golden teachers is the golden cap, which is flat and somewhat larger than usual. In addition, the stipe is rather long and thin, usually white in color but also beige or gold in younger mushrooms (1).

What are the varieties of golden teacher mushrooms?

Golden teacher mushrooms don’t have varieties, as they are considered to be a variety themselves. Allegedly, they are one of the most popular strains of P. cubensis—the most famous psilocybin mushroom species.

Psychedelics enthusiasts and amateur mycologists have identified over 20 different cubensis strains. While the concept of strains is heavily debated among the psychedelic community, it’s undeniable that these variations exist among the species. 

The most popular strain is, by far, penis envy mushrooms. This variety is easily recognizable due to its odd shape and lack of color, and highly sought due to its potency. Closely following penis envy is the B+ strain—a variety famous for its lax growth requirements. 

Other common strains include (1):

  • Cambodian
  • Amazonian
  • Equador
  • Albino A+
  • Treasure coast
  • Mazatapec

Do strains actually exist?

Well, this question is pretty hard to answer—but we’ll give it our best shot.

As amateur mycologists have proposed, strains would be akin to a race—a concrete variation among a single species. It’s clear that this concept does exist in scientific circles, although professionals may opt for using the term “variety” instead. For example, Agaricus bisporus (button mushroom) has different varieties that vary in color.

Naturally, it’s not crazy to think that Psilocybin cubensis mushrooms can also have these varieties. Take, for example, penis envy and golden teacher. While they differ in many aspects, such as size and color, they are fundamentally the same mushroom species. 

But can this actually impact the psychedelic experience?

Unfortunately, there aren’t any precise answers. Science doesn’t recognize the different strains beyond a few passing mentions in some papers. As such, it’s hard to even find a proper chemical analysis of each strain (2) (3).

Many mycology enthusiasts argue that strains don’t matter, often using the phrase “a cube is a cube.” Others, instead, are greatly interested in the different varieties, going as far as cataloging over 20 strains. The former propose that the different effect profiles are nothing but a placebo, and the latter affirm that they have to do with varying chemical balances.

In conclusion, the hard evidence suggests that there aren’t any “strains” despite the variations in shape, size, and growth conditions. However, more research is needed to fully confirm this (4).

History of golden teacher mushrooms

Golden teacher mushrooms

No one knows where golden teachers come from or how they came to be. Due to the lack of scientific research, strains are left to be investigated by amateur mycologists who may not have the tools to do complex genome analysis. Yet, we can assume this variety is as old as P. cubensis itself.

And P. cubensis is really, really old.

Evidence going back as far as the 1500s suggests that pre-Columbian civilizations used Psilocybe species. Allegedly, they used these species for medicinal and spiritual purposes in rituals involving strict rules imposed by shamans (5).

Still, after that, many scientists doubted the existence of the species. It wasn’t until 1936, when botanist Roberto Weitlaner sent specimens to Harvard, that the species started to be studied rigorously. P. cubensis came into the spotlight in 1957 when amateur mycologist Gordon Wasson appeared in Life Magazine’s famous article “Seeking the Magic Mushroom.”

The chronicle documented Wasson’s trip to Mexico in search of the mushrooms. Once he found them, he sent them to Albert Hoffman—the man who had discovered LSD 20 years before. Hoffman was able to confirm P. cubensis’ psychedelic properties and managed to isolate some of its compounds (6).

Since then, scientists have stopped research due to the war on drugs. Yet, more and more studies are coming out in recent years that point to shrooms as a possible therapeutic tool for specific conditions.

Health benefits of golden teachers

Like all other strains, golden teachers share the same benefits as Psilocybe cubensis. Recent research shows that shrooms could be the next breakthrough in psychology and psychiatry. This is called “psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy” (PAP).

The concept of PAP emerged shortly after the discovery of LSD in 1943, when multiple scientists started to theorize that psychoactive substances could help tear down some of the barriers of the mind. Numerous studies were performed with varying degrees of success, often focusing on alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder.

However, research suddenly stopped after the prohibition of these drugs in most countries in the late 1960s. It was only in the 2010s that researchers could once again get their hands on these substances, starting the foundations of the modern PAP.

Several papers show that psilocybin (the main compound in P. cubensis) can help treat anxiety, depression, addiction, and PTSD. While many people often discredit these advancements, it’s crucial to know that they all follow strict guidelines and methods such as double-blind trials(7) (8).

While research on the mental health benefits of magic mushrooms is still in its early stages, the promised breakthrough is closer than ever. Yet, it’s essential to remember that one should not attempt to use psychedelics for self-therapy without the supervision of a qualified professional.

Where do golden teacher mushrooms grow?

Portrait of golden teacher mushrooms

The natural habitat of golden teachers is unknown—partly due to the lack of scientific research. Yet, amateur mycologists could identify this strain’s preferred substrates, temperatures, and fruiting conditions. This can help us determine where you may find golden teachers.

A strain database that came out in 2004 states that golden teacher mushrooms prefer to grow on dung and straw, but they can also thrive in other substrates. Temperatures range from 23.3° to 28.3° (74-86 F), meaning they lean toward temperate environments. This is unsurprising, as Psilocybe cubensis has always been linked to milder climates (9).

Your best bet to find golden teachers in the wild is to go out to an open grassland after some days of heavy rain. If you live in a temperate climate, you’ll likely find golden teachers or any other cubensis strain.

Still, it’s essential to remember that no one actually knows if it’s possible to find golden teachers in nature—some even argue that this strain can only appear with human intervention.

What is ethical wildcrafting?

Ethical wildcrafting is the practice of harvesting resources in an eco-friendly way. But don’t be scared. This is as easy as following some simple guidelines that’ll help you keep your local fungi populations safe.

Despite people often using them as synonyms, wildcrafting refers to harvesting for medicinal purposes—foraging, instead, refers to harvesting for eating. Whether you’re foraging or wildcrafting, always remember to:

  • Conduct research before heading out

    • Familiarize yourself with the local flora and fauna.
    • Identify endangered species in advance.
    • Carry a field guide to differentiate between various species.
  • Respect the environment

    • Harvest fruiting bodies with care to prevent harm to the rest of the area.
    • Take only what is necessary.
    • Do not disclose patch locations to others.
  • Follow legal guidelines

    • Request permission from the landowner (if wildcrafting on private property).
    • Check local regulations on harvesting (if wildcrafting on public land).

If you aren’t sure how to wildcraft correctly, we recommend looking out for local harvesting groups in your area. Trained professionals can give you precise indications on how to wildcraft safely while keeping fungi populations thriving.

Is it safe to wildcraft for golden teachers?

It’s never entirely safe to wildcraft for wild hallucinogenic mushrooms, whatever species they may be. People (even veteran psychonauts and mycologists) often overestimate their identifying abilities, leading to severe side effects and even death.

Psilocybe cubensis has several lookalikes, but thankfully, they aren’t too similar. However, you must be on the lookout for the small details to tell the species apart.

For example, some people may confuse some species from the Stropharia genus for P. cubensis. The key difference lies in that Stropharia species never bruise blue. Similarly, and even more importantly, the deadly Amanita phalloides can also look very similar.

As such, it’s essential to avoid harvesting without the close supervision of a professional. Eating wild mushrooms can lead to severe consequences.

How do you take golden teachers?

Close up shot of 2 mushrooms

Like any other psilocybin and psilocin-containing mushroom, there isn’t a specific way to take golden teacher mushrooms. However, three methods are especially common when taking Psilocybe cubensis.

The first one, and possibly the most common, is drying the shrooms to create precise and potent doses. Fresh mushrooms contain about 90% of water weight, meaning that drying them will greatly reduce their size. The only disadvantage is that the taste isn’t as good.

Some people prefer not to dry them, so eating them fresh is always a good option. This will help with the taste while also providing lower doses than usual. Eating fresh cubensis is a great way to microdose with precision.

Powdering the mushrooms requires more effort, but is arguably the best way to avoid the mushrooms’ taste. You can brew mushroom powder into tea or blend it with foods to completely mask the earthy flavor.

Golden teachers: Growth and enlightenment

Golden teachers are a strain of Psilocybe cubensis. While there isn’t a definite consensus on whether magic mushroom strains exist or not, many psychedelic enthusiasts claim that golden teachers can be an excellent tool for personal and spiritual growth.

If you want to find out about other types of mushrooms, make sure to keep up on shroomer. Here, you’ll find all the details you need about psychedelic and functional fungi from all over the world, along with the latest news on medicinal research on magic mushrooms.


IMPORTANT NOTE ON THE REFERENCES USED: Due to the confusing nature surrounding the concept of “strains,” we relied on anecdotal evidence found on online forums. These come mostly from shroomery.org, where you can find hundreds of threads discussing in detail all cubensis strains. The main threads we used are: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

  1. Shroomery. “Psilocybe Cubensis Strains.” No date. https://files.shroomery.org/cms/Psilocybe%20Cubensis%20Strains.pdf
  2. Sanah Malomile Nkadimeng, Christiaan M L Steinmann, Jacobus N Eloff. “Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Four Psilocybin-Containing Magic Mushroom Water Extracts in vitro on 15-Lipoxygenase Activity and on Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Cyclooxygenase-2 and Inflammatory Cytokines in Human U937 Macrophage Cells.” Journal of Inflammation Research, 14 (2021): 3729–3738. https://doi.org/10.2147%2FJIR.S317182
  3. Sanah M. Nkadimeng, Christiaan M. L. Steinmann, Jacobus N. Eloff. “Effects and safety of Psilocybe cubensis and Panaeolus cyanescens magic mushroom extracts on endothelin-1-induced hypertrophy and cell injury in cardiomyocytes.” Scientific Reports, 10 (2020): 22314. https://doi.org/10.1038%2Fs41598-020-79328-5
  4. Jeremy Bigwood. “Variation of psilocybin and psilocin levels with repeated flushes (harvests) of mature sporocarps of Psilocybe cubensis (Earle) Singer.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 5(3) (1982): 287–291. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0378-8741(82)90014-9
  5. F.J. Carod-Artal. “Hallucinogenic drugs in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures.” Neurología (English Edition), 30(1) (2015): 42–49. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2173580814001527?via%3Dihub
  6. David E. Nichols. “Psilocybin: from ancient magic to modern medicine.” The Journal of Antibiotics, Special Feature (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41429-020-0311-8
  7. Eduardo Ekman Schenberg. “Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy: A Paradigm Shift in Psychiatric Research and Development.” Frontiers in Pharmacology, 9 (2018). https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2018.00733
  8. Kenneth W. Tupper, Evan Wood, Richard Yensen, Matthew W. Johnson. “Psychedelic medicine: a re-emerging therapeutic paradigm.” Canadian Medical Association Journal, 187(14) (2015): 1054–1059. https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.141124
  9. Fricke J, Blei F, Hoffmeister D. “Enzymatic Synthesis of Psilocybin.” Angewandte Chemie English Edition, 56(40) (2017): 12352–12355. https://doi.org/10.1002/anie.201705489

Fact Checked: Mar Yvette


Julian Selemin

Julian Selemin

Content Writer

Table Of Contents

What are golden teacher mushrooms?
How do golden teachers look?
What are the varieties of golden teacher mushrooms?
History of golden teacher mushrooms
Health benefits of golden teachers
Where do golden teacher mushrooms grow?
How do you take golden teachers?
Golden teachers: Growth and enlightenment

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