Are Magic Mushrooms Legal?


Camden market stall selling magic mushrooms.

Table of contents:

1. What are magic mushrooms?

2. Are magic mushrooms legal in the UK?

3. Where are magic mushrooms legal?

4. What is the legal history of magic mushrooms in the UK?

5. Are magic mushrooms dangerous?

6. What about psilosybin based therapy in the UK?

7. Should the law be changed?

8. Decriminalization of  Psilocybin and Legal Reform Efforts

9. Are magic mushroom spores legal?

10. Geographical Variations in Legality

11. Significant legal cases that have shaped the current legal landscape concerning magic mushroom spores

12. Spores vs. Fruiting Bodies: A Legal Distinction

13. Intended Use and Legal Implications

What are magic mushrooms?

 Psilocybin mushrooms, also known as magic mushrooms or shrooms, contain psychoactive compounds like psilocybin and psilocin. People often consume them for their hallucinogenic effects, which result in altered sensory experiences, shifts in thinking, and occasionally, spiritual or introspective insights.

However, their hallucinogenic properties and potential risks have led to their illegality in many parts of the world.

Are magic mushrooms legal in the UK?

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 in the United Kingdom classifies psilocybin, the psychoactive element in magic mushrooms, as a controlled substance. This classification deems it illegal to possess, produce, supply, or import without a license or prescription. As a result, recreational use of both magic mushrooms and psilocybin is prohibited in the UK.

Magic mushrooms fall under Class A, the strictest category, alongside substances like heroin and cocaine. Possession of this classification can lead to the most severe punishment, including up to seven years’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine. However, such severe sentencing is highly unlikely.

Where are magic mushrooms legal?

Some countries or regions have decriminalized or legalized magic mushrooms or psilocybin-containing substances, but laws differ widely worldwide. For instance:

1. In the Netherlands, magic mushrooms aren’t entirely legal, but smart shops adopt a policy of tolerance towards the sale and use of psilocybin-containing truffles.

2. Jamaica doesn’t specifically regulate psilocybin-containing mushrooms under its drug laws. Many retreats involving psilocybin are hosted in Jamaica due to this reason. Mycotown obtains its spores from a laboratory in Jamaica.

3. Specific locations in Brazil permit the cultivation, sale, and use of magic mushrooms due to religious or cultural practices among indigenous groups.

4. Oregon, USA, made history in 2020 by becoming the first state to legalize psilocybin for therapeutic use in supervised settings.

5. Psilocybin remains illegal in Canada but has been approved for specific medical or therapeutic purposes.

For a comprehensive examination of magic mushroom legality, referring to this Wikipedia page can be helpful.

Laws and attitudes concerning magic mushrooms vary significantly by country and even within regions of a country. Therefore, researching and comprehending the legal status in a specific area before any use or possession is crucial.

What is the legal history of magic mushrooms in the UK?


In the UK, the legal status of magic mushrooms has undergone several changes over time:

  • Pre-2005: Magic mushrooms were not specifically listed as controlled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Their legality was a subject of debate as only the psychoactive compounds themselves were illegal, not the mushrooms containing them.
  • 2005: The UK government introduced the Drugs Act 2005, explicitly banning the possession, sale, and distribution of fresh or prepared magic mushrooms containing psilocin or psilocybin, the psychoactive compounds found in these fungi. This act closed the legal loophole that existed before.
  • Subsequent changes: The legal status remained relatively unchanged after 2005, with magic mushrooms categorized as Class A drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Possession, sale, or distribution of these mushrooms became illegal, subject to penalties including imprisonment and fines.

Despite being illegal enforcement of laws related to magic mushrooms has been inconsistent.

Are magic mushrooms dangerous?


Magic mushrooms, like many substances, carry both potential risks and benefits. Psilocybin mushrooms have been found to have a lower risk profile compared to many other recreational drugs. Research and surveys, including the Global Drug Survey, have indicated that psilocybin mushrooms, along with substances like ketamine and cannabis, tend to pose a comparatively lower risk of users needing medical treatment.

While they are not considered highly physically toxic or addictive compared to some other drugs, they do pose risks, particularly in terms of their psychological effects.

The dangers associated with magic mushrooms include:

1. Psychological effects: They can cause intense changes in perception, mood, and thought patterns. For some individuals, these effects can be overwhelming, leading to anxiety, paranoia, or a sense of losing control.

2. Risk of a bad trip: The experiences induced by magic mushrooms can vary widely and might include a “bad trip,” characterized by frightening or distressing hallucinations and emotions.

3. Potential for accidents: Impaired judgment and altered perception while under the influence of magic mushrooms can increase the risk of accidents or injury.

4. Risk for vulnerable individuals: People with a personal or family history of mental health issues, such as schizophrenia or psychosis, might be at a higher risk of adverse effects or triggering underlying conditions.

5. Legal consequences: In many places, including the UK and US, possessing, using, or selling magic mushrooms is illegal and can result in legal penalties.

As with any substance, the key to safety lies in informed and responsible use. Using in a safe environment, with trusted individuals, and being aware of dosage and potential risks can help mitigate some of the dangers associated with magic mushrooms. Consulting a healthcare professional before using psychedelics, especially for individuals with underlying mental health conditions, is strongly advised.

What about psilocybin based therapy in the UK?


Psilocybin-based therapy in the UK has been a subject of research and interest, particularly in the context of mental health treatment. 

Organizations and research groups, such as the Imperial College London’s Centre for Psychedelic Research, have been at the forefront of studies examining the safety and efficacy of psilocybin-assisted therapy. Some trials have shown promising results in using psilocybin in controlled settings with trained therapists to help individuals navigate difficult mental health conditions. Some studies have shown promising results, suggesting that psilocybin, when administered in a controlled and supervised setting, may have positive effects on mental health.

In the UK, regulatory authorities such as the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) oversee the approval and regulation of new treatments, including those involving psychedelic substances.

However, despite these promising findings, psilocybin therapy has not yet been approved for general clinical use in the UK. If psilocybin-based therapy is to become a mainstream treatment option in the UK, it would likely require extensive clinical trials, regulatory approvals, and changes in existing drug policies.

Should the law be changed?


In short – I believe YES!!!

The benfefits of rescheduling are numerous:

1. Research into psilocybin’s mental health effects becomes easier with rescheduling. Mental health crises surged during COVID-19, with 21% experiencing depression from January to March 2021, up from 10% pre-COVID. Psilocybin-assisted therapy shows great promise for treating depression, with over 70% long-term efficacy in small trials. These effects might reduce future mental health spending and boost workforce productivity.

2. Poor mental health costs the UK over £100 billion yearly due to productivity losses. Using psilocybin long-term could tackle these issues. Recent studies show its potential for substance disorders, end-of-life anxiety, and OCD.

3. Psychiatry lacks significant innovation in over 50 years, focusing on SSRIs. NHS mental healthcare faces long CBT waitlists and frequent SSRIs prescriptions. Only 36.8% achieve remission with SSRIs despite widespread use. Reviews indicate limited benefits, especially in the long term. Updated 2020 findings discourage antidepressant use due to minimal benefits and increased risks like dependency and side effects.

4. Psychedelic therapies could enhance mental health overall and benefit UK veterans. Many veterans with PTSD seek help outside the UK due to ineffective treatments. Offering psilocybin therapy within the UK could support these veterans in a medically-supported system.

Substantial benefits for mental health are evident in the potential rescheduling of psilocybin. Government identifies life sciences and pharmacy as key UK industries post-Brexit, where psilocybin’s rescheduling could play a significant role.

In addition to boosting mental health there are also economic benfits to rescheduling magic mushrooms. Behind many other countries in research spending, the UK faces a closing window to lead globally. Competition from the US, Germany, and others provides a ‘first in market’ advantage for decisive action enabling large-scale research. This action could create new research jobs, boosting UK productivity.

Psychedelics represent a lucrative market. In October 2021, medical psychedelics companies surpassed US$10 billion in combined value. By 2026, their market value is projected to reach US$2.4 billion, up from US$190 million. Claiming a substantial share requires rescheduling psilocybin and other psychedelics, enabling broader research into potentially life-saving medicines.

Decriminalization of  Psilocybin and Legal Reform Efforts

There’s a growing movement advocating for the decriminalization of substances like psilocybin. Such efforts reflect a shift in public perception and may influence future legislation regarding spores. Recent trends in decriminalization efforts for psychoactive substances have seen a shift towards more lenient approaches to drug policy in various jurisdictions. These efforts have the potential to influence the legality of magic mushrooms in the following ways:

Decriminalization: Some regions have started to decriminalize the possession of certain psychoactive substances, including those derived from mushrooms. While this often pertains to the mature mushrooms or their active constituents, it may indirectly impact the legal status of spores by shifting the overall perspective on psychedelic substances.

Focus on Treatment over Punishment: Legal reforms are increasingly emphasizing treatment and harm reduction over punitive measures for individuals involved with psychoactive substances. Portugal is often cited as a model for its innovative drug policy approach, particularly its decriminalization measures implemented in 2001. By all accounts decriminalization has been a resounding success in Portugal.


Are Magic Mushroom Spores Legal?


spore syringe

To learn about the legality of magic mushroom spores you can read further here. Essentially because the spores themselves do not contain psilocybin they are deemed legal in the UK and the vast majority of the world. We sell a wide variety of psilocybe cubensis spores in our shop for research purposes. Please note that if you use these spores to cultivate mushrooms you are breaking the law.

The legality of magic mushroom spores remains a topic shrouded in complexity, varying significantly by location and intent. This article seeks to unravel the intricate web of regulations surrounding these spores, providing clarity on a subject that has long intrigued mycologists, advocates of cognitive liberty, and legal scholars alike.

Geographical Variations in Legality

Globally, magic mushroom spores are in most cases legal.

United States: In the United States, the possession of magic mushroom spores is generally legal (spores are illegal in the states of Georgia, Idaho and California), as they do not contain the psychoactive compounds found in the mature fungi. However, cultivating these spores into active mushrooms is illegal in many states due to the presence of psilocybin and psilocin, controlled substances under federal law.

United Kingdom: In the UK, the possession of magic mushroom spores is legal as they are considered to be a “preparatory stage” and do not contain the controlled substances found in the mature mushrooms. However, cultivating these spores into active mushrooms is a criminal offense under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Canada: In Canada, possession of magic mushroom spores is legal, but cultivating these spores into active mushrooms is considered illegal under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, as psilocybin is a controlled substance.

Australia: In Australia, possession of magic mushroom spores is legal in most states, but cultivating these spores into active mushrooms is illegal due to the presence of psilocybin, a controlled substance.

Netherlands: In the Netherlands, possession, sale, and cultivation of magic mushroom spores are legal, while the sale and possession of mature psychedelic mushrooms are illegal.

For further reading check out this wikipedia page.

Significant legal cases that have shaped the current legal landscape concerning magic mushroom spores

One significant legal case that has shaped the legal landscape concerning magic mushroom spores is the 2001 decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in the case of United States v. White. This case established that the spores of psychedelic mushrooms containing psilocybin and psilocin are not included in the definition of “marihuana” under the Controlled Substances Act. As a result, the court ruled that the spores were not illegal to possess. This decision has had a lasting impact on the legal status of magic mushroom spores in the United States.

In the United Kingdom, the legal landscape concerning magic mushroom spores was influenced by the 2005 case of R v. May. In this case, it was determined that possessing magic mushroom spores was not an offense under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. However, the ruling clarified that cultivating these spores into active mushrooms was considered a criminal offense. This case has played a crucial role in defining the legal status of magic mushroom spores in the UK.

Spores vs. Fruiting Bodies: A Legal Distinction

The legal distinction between magic mushroom spores, which typically do not contain psychoactive substances, and the fruiting bodies of the mushrooms, which contain psilocybin and psilocin, plays a crucial role in determining the legality of possession and distribution.

In many jurisdictions, the possession of magic mushroom spores is often legal because they do not contain the psychoactive compounds found in the mature fungi. This is due to the fact that spores are considered a preparatory stage and are not classified as a controlled substance in many legal systems.

On the other hand, the possession, distribution, and cultivation of the fruiting bodies (mature mushrooms) containing psilocybin and psilocin are often illegal under various drug control laws. These laws typically aim to regulate substances with psychoactive properties deemed harmful or subject to abuse.

This legal distinction affects the legality of possession and distribution by allowing for the possession of spores while prohibiting the possession and distribution of the mature mushrooms. 

Intended Use and Legal Implications

The intended use of magic mushroom spores, such as for microscopy research, educational purposes, or cultivation, can significantly impact their legal status in various jurisdictions.

For microscopy research and educational purposes, magic mushroom spores are often considered legal to possess, as these activities are typically viewed as non-criminal and fall within the scope of scientific or educational endeavors. Many countries and regions allow for the possession of spores for these specific purposes, as they are not intended for cultivation or production of psychoactive substances.

However, the legal risks associated with purchasing or possessing spores with the intent to cultivate psychoactive mushrooms are substantial. In many areas, the act of cultivating spores into active mushrooms is considered a criminal offense under drug control laws. Possessing spores with the intent to cultivate can lead to serious legal consequences, including potential prosecution and penalties.

It’s vital to approach the topic with a thorough understanding of the current laws and to recognize that legal advice should only be given by a qualified legal professional. Furthermore, the discussion should be presented objectively, acknowledging the complex and evolving nature of drug policy and legislation. By increasing the availability of the spores for research purposes we hope to push reform on the legal status of magic mushrooms in the future. As detailed throughout this article rescheduling should be addressed in the UK and fast!

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop