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Where Do Shrooms Come From? Getting To the Roots of Psilocybin

A logo from Clinical Cognitive Training an Oregon Psilocybin and Psychedelic Training ProgramA logo from Clinical Cognitive Training an Oregon Psilocybin and Psychedelic Training ProgramA logo from Clinical Cognitive Training an Oregon Psilocybin and Psychedelic Training Program
December 13, 2023
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Whether you call them magic mushrooms, shrooms, or psilocybin, you likely have a preconceived idea about what they are and what they do. 

These enigmatic fungi have been revered for centuries, prompting conversations about their origins, history, and cultural significance.

Many are curious about the psychedelic substance and how it made its way to legal consumption and an up-and-coming industry.

Read on to learn about the history of shrooms, how they’re used today, and where you can get them — and no, we’re not talking about the produce section of your grocery store. 

shrooms where do they come from

Where Do Magic Shrooms Come From?

Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic substance obtained from certain types of mushrooms that can be found all around the world — including Europe, Asia, and Australia — but their exact location will depend on factors like climate, vegetation, geography, and the specific species of mushroom.

In the United States, these mushrooms are commonly grown in:

  • California
  • Oregon
  • Washington

Other indigenous tropical and subtropical regions include South America and Mexico.

where do shrooms come from

How Many Varieties of Shrooms Exist?

There are over 180 documented species of mushrooms that contain psilocybin and psilocin, but the most common are:

  • Psilocybe cubensis, typically grown in tropical and subtropical conditions, often near cattle 
  • Psilocybe semilanceata, typically grown in grasslands like meadows, pastures, or lawns
  • Psilocybe cyanescens, grown mainly in the Pacific Northwest, stretching south to the San Francisco Bay Area
  • Psilocybe azurescens, typically grown along a small area of the West Coast of the United States, including parts of Oregon and California
  • Psilocybe mexicana, typically grown natively in areas of North and Central America
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How Long Have Shrooms Been Around?

Magic mushrooms have been used for thousands of years by various indigenous cultures as part of religious, spiritual, and shamanic practices. 

Many cultures have been using psychoactive plants for thousands of years to treat and diagnose medical ailments, while others use them for ritual, religious, medicinal, or recreational reasons. 

The 1960s and 1970s saw an upsurge in psilocybin use, particularly among counterculture movements seeking to explore consciousness and expand their minds. 

The Cultural Roots of Psilocybin

Psilocybin has been around for centuries and used by many ancient cultures for various reasons, including: 

  • Healing
  • Religious ceremonies
  • Rites of passage
  • And more

As psilocybin enters the realm of modern medicine, it is crucial to acknowledge and respect the deep cultural roots of these fungi. Indigenous communities who have used psilocybin mushrooms for generations possess a wealth of knowledge and understanding about their use and significance.

Collaboration between researchers, indigenous communities, and traditional healers is essential to ensure that psilocybin is used in a culturally sensitive and respectful manner, honoring the traditions and knowledge that have been passed down through generations.

Ancient Indigenous Use

South American Aztec Indians referred to them as teonanacatl, meaning "god's flesh," and they were used in religious and healing rituals. 

Indigenous peoples in various regions, such as Mexico and Central America, have a long history of using mushrooms with psychoactive properties in religious ceremonies or rituals.

Mesoamerican Cultures

Archaeological evidence indicates the use of psychedelic mushrooms in Mesoamerican cultures as far back as the pre-classical period (1500–1000 BCE). 

The use of these mushrooms is often associated with religious and spiritual practices. 

Historical References

There are historical accounts and writings that describe the use of psychoactive mushrooms in different cultural contexts. 

According to a review by David E Nichols, a 16th-century Spanish Franciscan friar and historian mentioned teonanacatl in his extensive writings, intriguing 20th-century ethnopharmacologists and leading to a decades-long search for the identity of teonanacatl. 

Their search ultimately led to a 1957 photo essay in a popular magazine, describing the use of these mushrooms for the Western world. 

Contemporary Rediscovery

During the mid-20th century, researchers and enthusiasts like Gordon Wasson and Albert Hofmann jump-started the rediscovery of psychedelic mushrooms. 

Then in the late 1930s, Richard Evans Schultes, a young Harvard botanist, studied shamanistic mushroom use by Indians in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. 

where do magic shrooms come from

Are Shrooms Still Used Today?

In the past 10-15 years several FDA-approved clinical studies have indicated potential medical value for psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy in treating depression, anxiety, and certain addictions. At present, assuming that the early clinical studies can be validated by larger studies, psilocybin is poised to make a significant impact on treatments available in psychiatric medicine.

​​In the mid-20th century, psilocybin, along with most other classic psychedelics (5HT-2A agonists), was classified as a Schedule I substance, bringing a halt to research on its medicinal utility. 

The resurgence of clinical trials involving psilocybin in the 21st century has produced promising results concerning the treatment of addiction, depression, and end-of-life mood disorders. 

Results from these trials have shown significant reductions in depression and anxiety when compared with a placebo, and one trial found no significant difference when compared to a routinely prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).

where do shrooms come from

The Future of Psilocybin

The last 25 years of research have worked to reveal that psilocybin may be an effective treatment for several mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety. 

Due to this research, the movement to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms began in Denver, CO, in 2019. They have since been legalized for supervised use in the state of Oregon.

The Oregon Psilocybin Services Act is the first law in the United States that establishes a regulatory framework for receiving psilocybin, also known as psychedelic mushrooms, which Oregon voters approved in 2020.

The law requires the state to issue four license types: 

  1. Manufacturers that cultivate and/or process psilocybin products
  2. Laboratories that test psilocybin products
  3. Facilitators who support clients through preparation, administration, and integration sessions; and 
  4. Service centers where psilocybin products are sold to and consumed by clients in a supported setting

As of September 2023, Oregon Psilocybin Services, after at least two years of establishing regulations, has accepted … 

  • 10 licensed service centers
  • Four growers
  • Two testing labs; and
  • Many facilitators 

… throughout the area. It’s expected that many more will be accepted in the future.  

Driving the country’s psilocybin facilitator training facilities is Clinical Cognitive Training. We lead with our belief that affordable and equitable psilocybin services begin with access to affordable education.

Be Among the First Psilocybin Facilitators in Oregon With Clinical Cognitive Training 

The facilitators at Clinical Cognitive Training are curious, open-minded, and altruistic people who want to help others heal themselves.

Our educational center offers two programs to fit the needs of our students:

  1. A part-time, twelve-week onsite program that exceeds the state-mandated requirements
  2. The online/on-campus hybrid program allows up to one year to complete the same curriculum

With small classes intentionally built to foster supportive relationships between our students and instructors, we offer a more personal experience, allowing students to explore the process in depth.

Our nation is experiencing a mental health crisis. Our goal is to graduate skilled, ethical, and caring professional psychedelic facilitators who can support clients through their journey, whether seeking:

  • Spiritual exploration
  • Healing from trauma
  • Relief from depression and anxiety
  • Increased creativity

Help us create sustainable change with the healing power of psilocybin. Become a trusted, licensed psilocybin facilitator at Clinical Cognitive Training

where do shrooms come from
The content in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.