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z strain psychedelic mushrooms

Z Strain Mushrooms: Effects, Cultivation, and More

The origin of this fast-growing mushroom may be shrouded in underground lore—but cultivators still love reliable fungus.

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DoubleBlind Mag is devoted to fair, rigorous reporting by leading experts and journalists in the field of psychedelics. Read more about our editorial process and fact-checking here. Editorially reviewed by Madison Margolin.

The history surrounding the Z Strain mushroom is a bit of a mystery. Also known as Z Cube, some have suggested that it was the result of mislabeled genetics, and others believe that it may be a genetic isolation of the famed Golden Teacher mushroom. But, in an era of prohibition, the truth often lives and dies in the underground. We may not have a definitive answer concerning its creation and discovery, but there are a couple of things we can say with certainty about Z Strain.

Firstly, Z Strain is a member of the Psilocybe cubensis family of mushrooms. Often referred to as “benzies” or “cubies,” the Psilocybe cubensis is known for its exceptional potency as well as the ease at which it can be grown, making it a favorite for mushroom cultivators. Secondly, Z Strain was created through human cultivation—it’s not a naturally occurring fungus. At some point, someone created a variant strain of a naturally occurring Psilocybe cubensis mushroom, and Z Strain was born.

Z Strain Mushroom History

Not much is known about the emergence of the Z Strain mushroom. Like many mushroom strains, decades of underground cultivation make tracing the exact lineage and history of this fungus difficult. Z Strain spores have been traded online for at least two decades—perhaps longer if you’re able to dive into the nebulous early days of the internet. 

The history of naturally occurring magic mushrooms is much more robust and well-known. Cubensis is the most common species of psilocybin mushroom—with a long-held legacy of human respect and appreciation. The mushroom species holds cultural and spiritual importance within Mazatec communities in southern Mexico. The psychoactive fungus became popular in the United States after amateur mycologist R. Gordon Wasson published a 1957 photo essay in Life Magazine. The essay discussed Wasson’s experience with Psilocybe cubensis and Maria Sabina, the Mazatec curandera who guided Wasson’s first psilocybin experience; the article remains controversial to this day. 

Z Strain Mushrooms Effects and Characteristics

The primary psychoactive compounds in Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms—including Z Strain—are psilocybin and psilocin. Yet Psilocybe mushrooms also contain other potentially active compounds, including baeocystin and norbaeocystin. Like any experience with magic mushrooms, the amount you ingest, your personal body chemistry, and your environment are factors that color your overall psilocybin experience. 

Additionally, well-grown Z Strain mushrooms can be quite potent, producing profound effects for those that choose to consume them in large quantities. Overall mushroom potency varies by growing conditions. Set and setting also play important roles during any trip. Set refers to the mindset you bring into the experience; setting refers to your environment and surroundings during the psilocybin journey. 

psychedelic mushrooms

The psychedelic effects of Z Strain mushrooms take effect within 30 minutes to one hour, depending on your consumption method. Yet, the experiential effects of Z Strain will vary significantly from person to person; every individual embarks on their own unique journey, colored by their personal histories and current circumstances. In comfortable settings, Z Strain mushrooms may produce strong feelings of euphoria, love, and transcendence, as well as abiding visuals. Some consumers feel more connected to their environment and activities after consuming psilocybin.

Yet, magic mushrooms aren’t always fun and games. Psilocybin experiences can be psychologically intense and challenging. Psychoactive mushrooms like Z Strain may cause nausea, anxiety, and can bring forward strong—even uncomfortable—emotions over the duration of the trip. Those looking for support during a psychedelic experience are encouraged to contact Fireside Project, a psychedelic peer support service, for assistance.

Read: Your Brain on Psychedelics Might Look the Same as Your Brain on Religious Mysticism

Z Strain Hallucinogenic effects

A mild experience with Z Strain mushrooms can produce things like visual tracers and feelings of euphoria, interconnectedness, and transcendence. A large dose—often called a heroic dose—on the other hand, can produce effects that are much more profound.  Even for an experienced consumer, these effects can feel a bit jarring. Many psilonauts follow the adage “start low, go slow,” especially if you are new to this particular mushroom. The effects commonly associated with heroic doses include:

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  • Visuals of flying fractals and dancing lights
  • Altered auditory perceptions
  • Flashes of color
  • Synesthesia 
  • Altered perception of time
  • Spatial illusions

For some people, heroic doses may inspire what scholars call a “mystical experience.” Mystical experiences connote feelings of “oceanic boundlessness,” which is an emotional state marked by “feelings of unity and transcendence of time and space.” Another hallmark of a mystical experience is “ego dissolution” or “ego death,” in which a person temporarily loses their sense of boundary between themselves, the world, and other beings. During a challenging psilocybin experience—a “bad trip”—the experience of ego dissolution can cause anxiety and distress. 

Z Strain Dosage

Psilocybin mushroom dosage is often broken into four major categories: microdoses, low doses, moderate doses, and high doses. A microdose dose of Z Strain would be between .1 grams and 0.5 grams of dried mushrooms. A low dose of Z Strain mushrooms would be between 0.5 and two grams. This dosage is also sometimes referred to as a “functional dose” or a “creative dose,” as it is not intended to produce profound effects. Its effects can last anywhere between three and six hours, depending on your consumption method. 

A moderate dose generally sits between two and 3.5 grams. This amount would give the consumer access to all of the effects (listed above) associated with moderate to large dosages. Dedicated psilonauts consume between 3.5 and five grams, with some risk-takers venturing beyond. The effects of a large dose can last up to 8 hours. The utmost caution is always recommended with psilocybin mushrooms, especially those embarking on high-dose journeys.

Read: Mushroom Dosage: What is the “Right” Amount of Shrooms?

Z Strain Anatomical Differences

Z Strain is a medium-sized mushroom. Its cap is golden-brown, similar to the Golden Teacher mushroom—one of the reasons why people believe that Z Strain is genetic isolation of Golden teacher. However, no other evidence suggests a connection between the two mushrooms. Z Strain has a thick stalk that gets wider toward the base. The stalk is white, wrinkly, and displays small amounts of blue when bruised—indicating the presence of psilocybin.

Z Strain Shrooms Variations and Hybrids

As mentioned above, Z Strain is a varietal in the Psilocybe cubensis family of mushrooms. Variations within Z Strain mushrooms are the result of the genetics of the mushroom, the environment in which it was grown, and the choices the cultivator used to grow the mushrooms. There are no commonly cultivated mushroom variations or hybrids from which Z Strain is a parent. 

Growing Z Strain Mushrooms

Psilocybe cubensis grows wild in many parts of the world. Its habitat spans tropical regions of both hemispheres. This includes parts of the Americas, South East Asia, India, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Hawaii. It is most commonly found on cow manure. Z Strain, on the other hand, was bred in a lab to produce ideal characteristics for cultivators—most notably a quick lifecycle, high yields, and easy growth. 

mycelium growing on grain
Adobe Stock

One of the defining characteristics of Z Strain is that it is easy to grow. This can mean many things for a cultivator throughout the lifecycle of the mushrooms; however, what makes Z Strain easy to grow has less to do with the steps involved with the grow and more to do with how forgiving the mushroom is to things like contamination and variance in temperature, substrate composition, and other environmental factors.

Z Strain Cultivation

Like other Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms, Z Strain will grow best when the temperature sits in the subtropical range–somewhere around 75°F (24°C). Mushrooms are generally comfortable at the same temperature as humans. So when considering a place to grow your mushrooms, it is best to find a space that naturally sits at a comfortable temperature and avoids big temperature swings.

Z Strain grows well on bovine dung, equine dung, enriched soil, compost, straw, and grain. In other words, it is not a mushroom that requires a specific medium from which to grow. You will have options when it comes to sourcing materials. Many growers articulate that this mushroom spawns quickly, one of its primary marketable qualities. 

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Buying Z Strain Spores

Spores are legal to purchase online for “microscope purposes” but illegal to germinate in most places, with the exception of cities and regions which have recently decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms.  Z Strain can be obtained online in both spore syringes and spore prints. Spore syringes are perhaps best for amateur cultivators that are not looking to store spores for long-term use, and you can always make your own spore prints from your harvest if you change your mind.

Legality of Z Strain Mushrooms

The legality of Z Strain is tied to laws surrounding the possession of psilocybin; however, it is not always that straightforward. Sometimes it is illegal to have mushrooms and/or the spores that are produced by these mushrooms, and sometimes it is illegal to have psilocybin mushrooms, yet completely legal to have mushroom spores because they lack psilocybin. Other countries, like Canada, are beginning to legalize psilocybin for medical use. Always check your local laws before beginning your mushroom cultivation journey. 

In The United States psilocybin mushrooms have been decriminalized in Oregon and Washington D.C. as well as cities within Washington (Seattle), Michigan (Ann Arbor), Colorado (Denver), California (Oakland and Santa Cruz), and Massachusetts (Somerville and Cambridge). Currently, psilocybin mushrooms are completely legal in The Bahamas, Brazil, Jamaica, Nepal, The Netherlands (truffles only), and Samoa. 

Summary

Z Strain is easy to grow, produces well, and can be quite potent. For these reasons, it is popular for both growers and consumers alike. Yet, as with all psilocybin mushrooms, Z Strain can inspire intense emotional experiences, particularly in large doses. So, it’s important to remember the adage “start low, go slow.” Finally, cultivating and possessing Z Strain is still illegal in many regions. As such, always check the laws in your region before embarking on your Z Strain journey.

If you’re looking for peer support during or after a psychedelic experience, contact Fireside Project by calling or texting 6-2FIRESIDE. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for support.
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