Some say that mushrooms take us to the heavens—and this may be true whatever variety you consume. But, when your shrooms look like they’re adorned with a golden halo? Well—how apropos. While many have never seen such a phenomenon, a new strain of mushrooms known as Golden Halo has recently appeared, enrapturing humans with their angelic orbs.
“Golden Halo is a standard cubensis with medium to large mushrooms,” says mycologist Caine Barlow. “What is notable is that they develop really pretty, flat, golden-colored caps with a darker zone in the center and a lighter zone at the rim. These are not the short, stubby, inbred mushrooms that are typical of the market, as they have beautiful, long stems that are thin and white.”
Golden Halo Mushrooms: History, Origin and Popularity
The exact origins of Golden Halo mushrooms are a bit of a mystery. Fruiting bodies may make their home above the soil, but in the age of drug prohibition, cultivation is an underground sport. Rumor has it that the mushrooms first appeared in Jamaica. But, before they made their way into the hands of mycophiles, they only existed in the wild. As early as we can tell, Shroomery reports of this mysterious golden-spored mushroom began appearing in 2015. Whispers suggest that Steve Wood first collected the wild cubensis, but the tangled knots of speculation can be difficult to parse through. Others have hypothesized that the strain might come from Colombian Rust.
Regardless, it’s only over the past few years that they were stabilized—grown from spores to the point that they are all nearly identical genetically, although their unique gnome hasn’t been sequenced yet. Barlow says that the fact that the strain is newly stabilized means that it “likely still has many of the benefits of wild genetics. […] It colonizes substrates quickly, has good fruiting, and has a strong resistance against pathogens.”
Although they naturally grow sparsely, you can push Golden Halos to produce dense clusters of mushrooms in the first and second flush, Barlow adds. Many psychonauts and growers have yet to encounter them, but they are catching on. The term “Golden Halo” is also sometimes used to describe P. cubensis mushrooms in general, but that’s less common, says James Hin, founder of Psilo Temple.
Characteristics and Features
The most salient feature of Golden Halo mushrooms is “a gradient hue of gold in a halo shape on the cap,” says Nolo, a mushroom ceremony leader and generational Filipino tribal healer based in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, Utah. “Stems are white and slender, with sometimes a ring leftover from where the veil separates, very similar to the Golden Teachers.”
“Although it is rumored that the original Golden Halo mushroom species held golden spores, this has not been my experience,” says Alexander Romer, mycologist and founder of Luminaire Mushroom Company. “This may be due to strain isolation and stabilization of the strain, which is not uncommon. From my experience, they appear more as a beautiful, lighter rust color.”
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Psilocybe cubensis mushroom strains all have the same general psychoactive effects, making you more contemplative, emotionally open, and perhaps playful. “At the end of the day, there are no real differences between strains when it comes to effects,” says Barlow. “It all comes down to what people make of the experience, i.e. expectations. If people feel they are going to have a particular effect, they are likely talking themselves into it. It is common for sellers of mushroom strains to claim different effects between strains, but with weaker species such as Psilocybe cubensis, this is a difficult one to take seriously.” What will make more of a difference, he says, are the set and setting with which you approach the mushrooms. Potency and dosage can also play a role in the overall trip experience.
Compared to other cubensis shrooms, Golden Halo is thought to have a below-average tryptamine content—based on user reports of lower potency. A lower potency may indicate a tryptamine content of 0.5 to 0.9 percent, meaning that it likely won’t have a particularly strong effect, Barlow says. But only testing will be able to give a definitive answer. The low tryptamine content makes Golden Halo a good option for social doses and microdoses. “Otherwise, expect standard psilocybin effects such as euphoria, closed-eye visuals, and some very light open-eye visuals,” says Barlow.
In Nolo’s experience, the Golden Halo strain “gives me energy, saturated sounds, saturated colors, and creativity for the day,” he says. “At 3-5 grams, this strain can start to get visual, and synesthesia of senses starts to get pronounced. Ceremonial doses are about 6-7 grams… and can last for as long as 4-8 hours depending on how your body is transmuting it.” Romer adds that “in comparison to other mushroom strains, one might say that these produce a more balanced feeling, while also having a quick onset time.”
Growing Golden Halo Mushrooms*
Golden Halo is a good strain for beginners because it’s easy to grow. “This is one of the most resilient and fast-growing genetics there is,” says Nolo, with a full growth cycle from grain to fruiting lasting between four and five months or even shorter. “It’s not too picky when it comes to substrates, as it can colonize straw, hardwood, master’s mix, and its most favorite, animal dung.” Barlow adds that “it is also known to have a strong resistance against molds and bacteria, and this is a very good thing in a beginner mushroom.”
Golden Halo mushrooms grow best in warm, humid climates ranging from 70-78 degrees Fahrenheit, says Nolo. Like most Golden-Teacher-type strains, they can be found on cow dung in tropical locations — though they grow in the Pacific Northwest, says Romer. Barlow adds that “it is not a picky strain and will readily grow using most methods, from PF-Tek through to [being] bulked out onto manure or a combination of manure and straw.”
Golden Halo Spores
Like most cubensis mushrooms, Golden Halo mushrooms have purple-black spores, says Barlow. “They will often be found deposited on the caps of surrounding mushrooms.” Since Golden Halos disperse spores from their gills, the best time to pick the fruiting body is “right before it starts to break the veil,” says Nolo. “Or your canopy will get crop dusted with its charcoal gray spores. You can do two methods of reproducing the strain, such as spore printing from the caps or cloning through agar and liquid culture techniques.”
Golden Halo Pins
While growing cycles depend on the setup and growing conditions, Golden Halo mushrooms are generally quick to colonize a substrate and pin. “Two to three weeks are needed to create spawn, another two to three weeks for substrate colonization, and pinning is required within a few days of introducing fruiting conditions,” says Barlow. Signs of pinning include mycelium threads and tiny brown bulb-like caps, according to Nolo.
Golden Halo Mushroom Legality
All Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms contain psilocybin and psilocin, which are Schedule I substances in the US. “However, the spores themselves do not contain these substances,” says C.L. Mike Schmidt, a lawyer at Schmidt & Clark LLP. “Therefore, in most states, mushroom spores are not considered illegal as long as they are used for their intended purpose, such as religious research, education, microscopy, and taxonomy.” This is with the exception of California, Georgia, and Idaho, which have made mushroom spores illegal.
“At the end of the day, unless you live in an area where they have been decriminalized, psilocybin-containing mushrooms are illegal to grow and sell,” Barlow confirms. However, a number of U.S. states and cities have legalized or decriminalized magic mushrooms, including Oregon and Colorado. Home cultivation is decriminalized in Colorado but not in Oregon—with the exception of state-licensed manufacturers. Seling mushrooms outside of state-licensed facilities, however, is illegal.
Golden Halo Mushrooms Potency
Though we contacted several testing companies, none of them had come across Golden Halo mushrooms or knew their potency, which speaks to how new they are. It can also be difficult to discern what is marketing and what is legitimate when buying spores or cultivated mushrooms, especially online. Most cultivated strains and varieties look alike because they’re all the same species: P. cubensis. So, just because someone says a mushroom is B+ doesn’t always mean that it is—and, at this time, there’s no way to tell the difference.
Golden Halo mushrooms generally have a pretty average potency, says Barlow. “Potency is also often the result of growing conditions and having a nutrient-dense substrate,” he adds. “In time, we will likely see variants of Golden Halo — and get an idea of how much it can be pushed by breeding.”
Golden Halo Dosage
If anything, Golden Halos may have less potency than other mushrooms, as they have a lighter concentration of psilocin. This is “mostly preferred by people that are more sensitive to the effects of the compound — or perfect for the first-time patient,” says Nolo. “This strain is great for microdosing regimens and activities such as camping or hiking. On micro or macro doses, it can give you an uplifting or energetic benefit, sometimes giggly, sharper hearing, or gets you into a creative mood.”
Safe(r) Trip Tips with Golden Halo Mushrooms
Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapist Dr. Cat Meyer cautions against tripping alone. “Find a buddy who is not tripping, a trusted facilitator, or have a friend on call in case any emergency happens,” she advises. “Also, have the hotline for Fireside Project: 62-FIRESIDE for peer support nearby.”
Meyer also recommends erring on the side of dosing low, as “it is not necessary to have a high macro or hero’s dose in order to have a powerful experience.” One should also avoid climbing things, going on baths or hot tubs, or going near fire while on mushrooms; Meyer suggests electric candles if you’d like a candle-lit experience. As the trip is starting, you can do breathwork, meditate, or listen to soothing music to calm yourself in order to have a better trip, she adds.
“If effects are a bit strong, laying on grassy ground (earthing), weighted blankets, and eating food will help ease out the effects,” Nolo advises. “Always know one’s dose and environment before taking any psilocybin. Meditative settings close to nature are always best. I prefer not to mix psilocybin with other compounds such as alcohol and synthetics, as it can disrupt your experience.” For a list of substances not to mix with mushrooms, Meyer suggests glancing at the site Tripsit.
Psychological and Spiritual Considerations
“Mushrooms affect the border between this world and the next,” says Dave Hodges, founder of the Church of Ambrosia. “Any amount of mushrooms that you do, you’re gaining access to your soul.” Many people who did not previously believe in anything otherworldly begin to after taking mushrooms. They realize who they really are, which can be both liberating and frightening — and comes with responsibility.
“What’s really important is that you listen to the guidance that you’re getting and try to understand how to apply it to your everyday life,” says Hodges. “Your soul exists outside of space and time; it came into this space and time for a reason. It knows why you came here and what you’re supposed to do with your life. When you are doing what your soul came here to do, everything just feels easy; everything in your life lines up. It’s what people describe as synchronicity or manifesting. When you’re walking down this path, everything feels easy because it’s paved — but if you make a sharp turn to the right and start climbing up the hill through the dense jungle, things are going to feel much more difficult, and the world just isn’t going to feel right. You’re going to get poked and smacked, and it’s not going to feel pleasant.”
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This is why it’s important to integrate any experience with mushrooms or other psychedelics — that is, apply it to your reality. You can engage in integration by speaking with a therapist or coach, journaling, meditating on the trip, and making changes in your life. People are “more than likely going to continue to have the same problems and face the same challenges,” says Hodges, “until they start listening to what they’re supposed to be doing.” Only then can they bring the heavens they’ve traversed back to Earth.
This article is intended for educational purposes and should not be used in place of medical advice. DoubleBlind does not advocate participating in illicit activities. Always consult your local drug laws before engaging with any illicit substance. Psilocybin mushroom cultivation is illegal in many places, and violating the law can have serious consequences.
In the event of an emergency, please dial local emergency services. For mental health services related to substance abuse in the U.S., please dial the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at +1 (800) 662-4357.
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