The Tidal Wave mushroom—popular, potent, and a bit weird—is the love child of the two Psilocybe cubensis strains known as Penis Envy and B+. It’s an unstable hybrid that’s known for a variety of odd mutations—including the sporeless “blob” or “brain-shaped” Enigma mutation that won the 2021 Psilocybin Cup (now known as the Hyphae Cup) hosted by Hyphae Labs with an astronomical—and previously unheard of—3.8 percent tryptamine content.
Doma Nunzio, mycologist and founder of the spore and testing company Magic Myco is credited with first hybridization Penis Envy (PE) and B+ to create Tidal Wave in 2017 (spelled Tidalwave on their website). Magic Myco describes the cross as “our first hybrid fusion project.” Many iterations later, at least eleven Tidal Wave varieties are in circulation from Magic Myco—bearing names like Tidalwave 2, Tidalwave 3 Beast, and Tidalwave BXO.
Tidal Wave mushrooms may owe their name to the “wavy,” water-like edges on the bottom of mature caps, but—as the name implies—these mushrooms can also pack a punch and have a reputation among psychonauts for their potent psychedelic effects.
Tidal Wave Mushroom Characteristics
Because of their mixed lineage and unstable genetics, Tidal Wave mushrooms can be tough to pin down appearance-wise. It’s possible for Tidal Wave spores to produce a “canopy with some completely white caps, some gold caps, and then some of the weird Enigma-like blobs—all in the same bin, from the same genetic,” Ian Bollinger, Chief Technical Officer of Hyphae Labs tells DoubleBlind.
That being said, Tidal Wave mushrooms are often seen with somewhat long stalks (150-200mm) of beige to yellow that bruise blue or greenish-blue. Their stems are sometimes larger at the base or contorted in shape. Caps can appear more bulbous when young and will mature to a wider shape that may be convex or plane with a brown or golden color (though this can vary, see above). Because of its PE lineage, Tidal Wave mushroom caps tend to be smaller than most other P. cubensis varieties, and some spore sellers describe them as viscous, slightly gelatinous, when wet. Caps will also bruise blue—indicating a concentration of the psychoactive component psilocin—and Tidal Wave mushrooms drop dark, purplish-brown spores described as “sub-ellipsoid” in shape.
One of the main attributes that help distinguish the Tidal Wave variety is that “most of them have a slight waviness or undulation at the bottom of the cap,” says Jeff Lebowe of the Canadian-based mycology company Spores Lab. “Another identifier for Tidal Wave, which is also an identifying factor for PE, is a rippling on the stem—and specifically just below the cap.”
“With most of our tools for genetic work, all the P. cubensis show up the same for the most part,” says Bollinger. “But Tidal Wave is unique. Tidal Wave does show up differently genetically.” Though hybridization between PE and B+, Tidal Wave mushrooms tend to take on more of the attributes of PE and are usually richer in psilocin and poorer in baeocystin compared to P. cubensis mushrooms outside of the PE lineage. In fact, says Lebowe, “the most clear delineation between strains would be the PE strains, and then all of the other P. cubensis varieties.” Baeocystin is a psilocybin-like compound found in some Psilocybe, but currently, researchers don’t know much about it.
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Tidal Wave Potency
Some magic mushroom species have higher concentrations of tryptamines—P. semilanceata, or Liberty caps, usually test higher than P. cubensis mushrooms, for example. P. cubensis tend to clock in at around one percent, or a little lower, on average, tryptamine content.
Lebowe and his team have been isolating genetics at Spores Lab for years in effort to increase potency. “The highest test result we’ve ever received was about 2.4 percent content,” he says—so the Tidal Wave Enigma sample that took the 2021 Psilocybin Cup with 3.82 percent tryptamines attracted a lot of attention. In fact, “it could be said that a variation of Tidal Wave is the most potent cubensis mushroom ever recorded in history,” says Lebowe.
But despite this astonishing number, non-mutated varieties of Tidal Wave mushrooms can measure much lower in tryptamine content—more akin to what you’d expect for an average or above-average P. cubensis. With Tidal Wave mushrooms, you can expect relatively high potency and intense psychedelic effects. “It’s one of our more popular strains, for sure,” says Lebowe.
Tidal Wave Effects and Experience
When it comes to the effects of eating P. cubensis mushrooms, some psychonauts subscribe to the notion that “a cube is a cube,” while others report variety-specific differences. Tidal Wave is usually described by spore-sellers as uplifting, stimulating, visual, euphoric, and depression-relieving. But, psilocybin experiences can vary widely from person to person, and there’s little research comparing the experiential effects of one strain or variety to another. Concentrations of active compounds can vary from mushroom to mushroom, variety to variety, and species to species. But, dedicated psychonauts often talk about experiential differences.
“It takes on more of the characteristics of PE in regards to the experience,” says Lebowe, adding that the higher psilocin concentration is likely responsible for these effects. “Most people report that it’s stronger than average and will also feel more euphoric and visually stimulating.”
As when taking any psychedelic, it’s also possible to experience intense or uncomfortable sensations when tripping on Tidal Wave mushrooms. You can mitigate certain challenges by taking an appropriate dose for your level of experience and ensuring that you’re in a safe environment with people you trust before eating mushrooms. Your “set” or mental state, also greatly influences the direction and tone of your trip: It can be extremely helpful to create a positive or neutral mindset before your journey.
Cultivation and Harvest
PE, though popular for its potency and euphoric effects, is notoriously difficult to cultivate because of its slow growth, low yield, and vulnerability to contamination. Fortunately, the Tidal Wave mushroom exhibits more of the easier cultivation qualities of its B+ parent—as well as most other P. cubensis varieties—and is considered a good mushroom for cultivators with a low-intermediate level of experience.
Tidal Wave mycelium is usually described as quick to colonize and bear fruit and—like many other P. cubensis varieties—is also fairly resistant to contamination. Enigmas and other Tidal Wave mutations, however, will present more technical challenges for the grower.
Best Substrate For Growing Tidal Wave
Tidal Wave mushrooms grow well in a variety of common substrates, including rye, brown rice flour, wild bird seed, bovine dung, and equine dung. They can also thrive in an enriched soil environment and respond well to a moderately warm, humid, and subtropical climate.
Tidal Wave Spores
Under the microscope, Tidal Wave mushroom spores appear as dark, purplish brown specks with a sub-ellipsoid shape and can be purchased online through a variety of retailers in the U.S. and Canada for research purposes. Though spores and growing supplies are accessible, it’s currently only decriminalized in a few places to cultivate mushrooms at home. In some states and regions, purchasing spores is illegal. For this reason, it’s recommended to always review the laws in your area before purchasing spores or cultivating mushrooms. Cultivating psilocybin mushrooms in many regions can result in incarceration.
Drying Psilocybe Cubensis
Though Tidal Wave and other P. cubensis mushrooms can be eaten upon harvest, drying them properly will prevent mold and preserve the potency of your batch for future use. Popular at-home techniques for preserving P. cubensis include a combination of air drying, fan drying, and the use of desiccants, ovens on low heat, or food dehydrators. The relative humidity in your environment will influence the effectiveness of these techniques.
However, Lebowe says: “Exposure to heat and light degrades psilocin. So any psilocin that is in a fresh mushroom is actually degraded when the mushroom is dried.”
“Psilocybin,” he continues—referring to the more well-known of the three tryptamines thought to be most responsible for psychedelic effects—“is more stable. So when you eat those mushrooms, you still get the effects. But a fresh mushroom is more potent.”
To solve the problem of declining psilocin potency, Lebowe and his team have experimented with lyophilization, or freeze drying—which, he says, “preserves almost all of the psilocin so you get a product that is as close as you can get to eating a fresh mushroom.”
In the absence of a freeze dryer, you can use any of the time-tested methods to dry and preserve your P. cubensis mushrooms while also minimizing your mushrooms’ exposure to heat and light. Once fully dried and easily snapped or crushed, you can store Tidal Wave mushrooms with food-grade silica desiccant packets in a closed container in a cool, dark place for several months to a year.
*This article is intended for informational and educational purposes. It is not intended to encourage illicit activity. Always review the laws in your area before engaging with psilocybin mushrooms.