The Complete Guide to Penis Envy Mushrooms

The Complete Guide to Penis Envy Mushrooms

Angelina Dickinson
Angelina Dickinson
March 12, 2024
8 min

Psychedelic mushrooms have been used for centuries in various cultures for their medicinal, therapeutic, and spiritual properties. One of the most potent and sought-after strains of magic mushrooms is the penis envy mushroom. 

The name may seem strange at first glance, but this variety has gained popularity due to its unique characteristics that make it stand out from other types of psychedelic fungi. Let’s explore penis envy mushrooms, how to identify them, their historical use, potential benefits (and side effects), and how people take them.

What are penis envy mushrooms?

Penis envy mushrooms are a strain within the psilocybe cubensis (p. cubensis) family of shrooms. But this is no ordinary psilocybe cubensis mushroom—it’s exceptionally potent. The psilocin and psilocybin (what makes these mushrooms psychoactive) content can be as high as 2.90%. For some perspective, golden teacher mushrooms produce between .5 and .9% (1).

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Identifying penis envy mushroom

Albino penis envy mushroom

Penis envy mushrooms are relatively easy to identify, as their name suggests. With a bulbous cap and a thicker stem than many mushrooms, it’s no wonder how these psychedelic mushrooms earned their name. 

There are different penis envy varieties, too, like penis envy #6, albino penis envy shrooms, melmac, and tidal wave. You might also hear of penis envy uncut! And no, that’s not just a cheeky inside joke. Those in the know report that this strain is even more potent than the original. You can grow these shrooms yourself (more on that in a bit), although their fruiting body is smaller, and yields aren’t as robust (1).

While penis envy mushrooms are pretty easy to identify, we highly recommend consulting with a professional.

The topic of psychedelic mushrooms’ legal status is complex and has been a source of heated debate for years. As these psychedelic fungi have become increasingly popular, it’s natural to wonder if they’re legal in your area.

The answer can vary depending on where you live, but overall the legality of psilocybin mushrooms is murky at best. Psychedelic experiences induced by mushrooms or other substances like LSD, DMT, or MDMA have long been thought to bring about spiritual enlightenment, leading some people to view them as a form of healing medicine rather than a dangerous drug. And while this may be true for some individuals, laws regarding hallucinogenic substances often don’t consider personal beliefs when determining their legal status.

If you’re interested in exploring penis envy or any other varieties of hallucinogenic mushrooms, we strongly recommend learning about the local laws in your area. Like cannabis, the legalities around psilocybin are evolving. What may be illegal in one city may be decriminalized in another. 

Several states have proposed legislation that could change the laws around psychedelics. Here are some examples of the recent changes underway:

  • Nevada: Lawmakers have introduced a bill that would legalize psilocybin, streamline studying its benefits, and remove some civil and criminal penalties. 
  • Hawaii: A bill passed through the House of Representatives would create an advisory council to oversee regulations on certain psychedelics and review the science of using them for mental health treatment.
  • Minnesota: Efforts are underway to establish a task force that could oversee the legalization of psychedelics like psilocybin, MDMA, and ibogaine. 
  • Rhode Island: A bipartisan bill would legalize possession and home cultivation of psilocybin for personal use.

Aside from these, both Oregon and Colorado have revised some of their laws around mushrooms. Fortunately, the attitudes around plant medicine are changing. As scientific research continues to shed light on the potential benefits of these substances, there’s reason to hope that we’ll see more progressive and enlightened policies in the future.

Historical and medicinal uses for penis envy mushrooms

Penis envy mushrooms: sculpture of a Mayan ruler

Psychedelic mushrooms have a long and storied history dating back to ancient cultures. From Mayan and Aztec rituals to the practices of ancient Siberian shamans, magic mushrooms have been used for both spiritual and medicinal purposes throughout human history.

There’s a historical precedent for using magic mushrooms in European history too. Homer, Plato, Aristotle, and Sophocles took part in religious ceremonies honoring the goddess Demeter, who was responsible for the harvest and fertility. Not a single mention of those ceremonies’ secrets could be mentioned, as it was an offense punishable by imprisonment or death (2). As such, we can’t definitively say penis envy mushrooms were involved. But we can talk about this particular mushroom’s modern history. While its accuracy may be a little dubious, it’s a tale you’ll remember.

Terrence McKenna is often credited with bringing penis envy mushrooms into the psychedelic fold when he discovered them on a trek into the Amazon. McKenna, an ethnobotanist, author, lecturer, and psychonaut, gathered the mushroom spores, and somehow this Amazonian import found its way to another mycologist, Steven Pollock.

Pollock had formed a company with some colleagues that focused on the therapeutic effects of magic mushrooms. He immersed himself in his work, focusing much of his time on penis envy mushrooms. After engaging in illegal activities to fund the research lab of his dreams, Pollock would eventually be found dead under mysterious circumstances. Amazingly, a sample of this mushroom species found its way to another mycologist, Rich Gee, who helped spread penis envy mushrooms around the country (3).

Psst: There’s more to the term psychonaut than you may think! Greek in origin, its roots translate into “sailor of the mind.” While it may be common to associate it only with psychedelic experiences, it can include spiritual practices that lead to altered states of consciousness as well (4).

Health benefits of penis envy mushrooms

Penis envy mushrooms are a unique species of psilocybin-containing mushrooms known for their distinct shape and psychedelic properties. For centuries, magic mushrooms have been used as part of traditional healing rituals by different cultures worldwide.

Today, microdosing (or macrodosing) with psychedelic mushrooms is becoming increasingly popular due to its potential mental health benefits. Mycologist Paul Stamets sees psilocybin mushrooms as “non-addictive, life-changing substances,” and there’s scientific evidence backing up what indigenous cultures around the world have known for centuries.

Studies are finding that even small doses of psilocybin can tremendously impact people suffering from treatment-resistant major depressive disorder. There’s emerging evidence that shrooms may also help those with cluster headaches, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and substance use disorders (5).

Anecdotally, magic mushrooms have been credited with helping people feel more creative, improving mood and mental concentration, and promoting cognitive flexibility (6).

Potential side effects of penis envy mushrooms

So far, there aren’t any documented fatalities from overdosing on magic mushrooms, and there isn’t any evidence of physical dependency from heavy psychedelic mushroom use either. That said, it doesn’t mean shrooms are a good fit for everyone. 

Here are some of the potential side effects someone could experience using psilocybin-containing mushrooms (7):

  • Increased heart rate and changes in blood pressure
  • Issues with muscular coordination
  • Anxiety and panic reactions, possibly paranoia
  • Vivid hallucinations

If you’re going to experiment with psychedelic mushrooms, it’s a good idea to do so in an appropriate environment to see how they affect you. Microdosing on a day off when you have fewer obligations is preferable to a busy and frantic day of meetings, for example. And if you’re interested in a full trip, a sitter or guide can ensure your safety and well-being.

Ethical wildcrafting

Person walking in a forest

In the world of mushrooms, there’s often a debate between ethical wildcrafting and foraging practices. Wildcrafting refers to the practice of sustainably and respectfully harvesting mushrooms from their natural habitats to ensure the survival of the species and maintain the ecosystem. On the other hand, foraging involves simply gathering mushrooms in any way that doesn’t prioritize conservation. While foraging may seem more accessible and quicker to pick mushrooms, it can be detrimental to the natural ecosystem.

Wildcrafting is typically a more mindful and sustainable approach. Practicing ethical wildcrafting means taking the time to learn about the specific environment in which someone is gathering mushrooms. This includes not harvesting more than needed and not taking from areas where a mushroom (or another plant, herb, etc.) is at risk of being depleted.

This approach means less damage is done to the natural ecosystem, and the practice can even help contribute to the growth of the mushroom population over time. Less soil disruption—which could affect the delicate mycelium growing beneath the surface and fewer disturbed plant habitats mean mushrooms can continue to thrive in their natural environments. A healthy balance while promoting growth patterns in mushroom communities is a win-win.

Remember, we aren’t the only ones enjoying mushrooms, psychedelic or not. Lots of critters, from deer to birds and insects, rely on mushrooms as a food source. That’s why it’s important to always leave some behind for the other creatures that depend on them.

If you’re interested in harvesting mushrooms for whatever reason, it’s vital to approach the practice with care and knowledge to avoid causing long-term harm to flora and fauna. Wildcrafting goes beyond just consuming natural resources; it prioritizes respect for nature’s balance while also providing better quality experiences, both ecologically and personally.

Wildcrafting alternatives

Once you’ve harvested your mushrooms, you can use what you’ve gathered to grow your own. Yes, it’s true. While there may be better choices for first-time growers (it can take a bit of practice to get the hang of mushroom cultivation), once you’ve learned the ropes, it’s worth giving these a try. 

Make a spore print and collect the penis envy spores for safekeeping. Mushroom spores are often used for identification purposes, art, and growing your own. Think of it like saving the seeds in your garden at the end of a season. 

Beginners may want to consult mushroom forums to learn about best practices, how to troubleshoot, or what materials are necessary for successful mushroom cultivation. (Substrate, spore syringes, and spray bottles, oh my!) With some time and patience, you can grow your penis envy shrooms from a single harvest. A grow kit is a fantastic place to start.

How do you take penis envy mushrooms?

Mushroom powder in a bowl

Despite its potency, this cubensis strain is just as versatile when you want to enjoy them. Here are some easy ways to take penis envy mushrooms:

  • Eating: This is possibly the most straightforward way of enjoying magic mushrooms. There are two different camps on which is better; some are adamant that fresh is more potent, while others think dried is the way to go as their shelf life is longer. We’ll let you decide.
  • Drinking: Another great option is to make tea. Steeping mushrooms for several minutes can help remove some compounds that can lead to nausea or upset stomach. And like traditional herbal tea, you can add a squeeze of lemon or honey to improve the flavor.
  • Powder: Drying your mushrooms out and grinding them into a powder may offer the most versatility. Not only can they be added to foods like smoothies or chocolate, but you can also encapsulate them for microdosing, a full trip, and to increase their shelf life.

Penis envy mushrooms: A potent and mysterious mushroom 

Using psychedelics, and especially the penis envy mushroom strain, requires careful consideration. With a resurgence in psychedelic research fueled by promising results, more people are learning how to use these psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic purposes. However, it’s also important to remember that psychedelics should always be used responsibly and sourced ethically. It’s crucial to approach the use of psychedelics with caution and respect for nature.

To learn more about other types of mushrooms and get the latest news and discoveries, keep up with us on shroomer.


  1. Cooke, Justin, and Justin Cooke. “Penis Envy: The World’s Trippiest Mushroom - Tripsitter.” Tripsitter (blog), March 22, 2023. https://tripsitter.com/magic-mushrooms/strains/penis-envy/.
  2. Stamets, P. (1996). Psilocybin mushrooms of the World: An Identification Guide. Ten Speed Press. https://fungi.com/collections/books-by-paul-stamets/products/psilocybin-mushrooms-of-the-world
  3. Burnett III, Zaron. “The Mystery of the ‘Penis Envy’ Magic Mushroom Murder.” MEL Magazine, October 25, 2021. Accessed April 10, 2023. https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/penis-envy-mushrooms-steven-pollock-murder.
  4. Tudury, Leila. “Psychonaut.” In Dictionary.Com, January 19, 2021. https://www.dictionary.com/e/slang/psychonaut/.
  5. LaMotte, Sandee. “How Psilocybin, the Psychedelic in Mushrooms, May Rewire the Brain to Ease Depression, Anxiety and More.” CNN, June 11, 2022. https://www.cnn.com/2022/06/11/health/psilocybin-brain-changes-life-itself-wellness-scn/index.html.
  6. Cavanna, Federico, Stéphanie Muller, Laura De La Fuente, Federico Zamberlan, Matías Palmucci, Lucie Janeckova, Martin Kuchar, Carla Pallavicini, and Enzo Tagliazucchi. “Microdosing with Psilocybin Mushrooms: A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study.” Translational Psychiatry 12, no. 307 (August 2, 2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-022-02039-0.
  7. Editorial Staff. “Psychedelic Drug Effects, Side Effects & Dangers.” American Addiction Centers, September 9, 2022. https://americanaddictioncenters.org/psychedelics.

Fact Checked: Mar Yvette


Angelina Dickinson

Angelina Dickinson

Content Writer

Table Of Contents

What are penis envy mushrooms?
Historical and medicinal uses for penis envy mushrooms
Health benefits of penis envy mushrooms
Ethical wildcrafting
How do you take penis envy mushrooms?
Penis envy mushrooms: A potent and mysterious mushroom 

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