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How does a delta-8 high feel like? Is it less intense than delta-9? How long does the high last? Let's find out. Know the risks involved with edibles. Learn how marijuana edibles work, how long edibles stay in your system and how they affect your mind and body. Shrooms are slowly working their way into the mainstream, and edibles are popping up all over. Learn about the different types of shroom edibles, how to find them, and psychedelic retreats.

Will Delta-8 THC Get You High?

After testing over 100 different delta-8 products, we can report back to you that yes, delta-8 will get you high.

Delta-8 THC is an intoxicating cannabinoid naturally present in hemp and considered semi-synthetic when manually converted from hemp-derived CBD. It isn’t THC or CBD but finds itself sitting somewhere between the two.

Delta-8 is also a psychoactive compound. It induces euphoric effects similar to delta-9 THC but with milder physical and mental sensations. These effects can help with anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain.

Delta-8’s legality is questionable, as is its safety. The lack of regulatory oversight and often sketchy lab reports leave consumers at risk of being guinea pigs for this new craze. However, despite the concerns, hemp delta-8 THC products are legally available across many parts of the US.

Does delta-8 THC get you high?

CBD Oracle team tested a number of the delta-8 THC products to measure the intensity of a delta-8 high. Photo: Stone Road

Our team of product experts tested and reviewed over 70 different hemp-derived delta-8 THC products over the last year – ranging between vapes, edibles, dabs, and flower – to measure the intensity of a delta-8 high compared to the high you get from marijuana. In our experience, delta-8 is an intoxicating compound capable of getting you seriously high. It also causes physical and mental impairment, but not on the same level as delta-9 (marijuana).

In addition to our own independent testing, we polled the delta-8 community about the effects they experienced. (Read more on that below).

Is delta-8 less intense than delta-9?

Yes, from the delta-8 products we’ve tried and seeing anecdotal stories from users around the world, delta-8 effects are less intense than delta-9 when taken in similar quantities.

For example, if you take 50mg of delta-8 edibles and then take 50mg of delta-9 edibles, the delta-9 high feels double the potency. If you increase the delta-8 dosage to 100mg, it replicates a 50mg delta-9 high.

We surveyed a nice chunk of delta-8 users and asked them if they believed delta-8 was less intense, more intense, or the same intensity of delta-9.

The results are as follows:

  • Delta-8 is less intense than delta-9: 52%
  • It’s about the same intensity: 42%
  • Delta-8 is more intense than delta-9: 6%

What does the delta-8 high feel like?

Hemp delta-8 gets you high but it’s not the exact way weed gets you high. It’s way less hazy, and not as psychedelic which is why a lot of people who get anxiety from marijuana smoke delta-8 instead. Photo: Stone Road

Similar to your average delta-9 THC product, the high from a CBD delta-8 product varies in strength and potency depending on the consumption method, amount consumed, and tolerance.

The only way to know delta-8 is to try delta-8, and if you don’t like one product, try again…not every delta-8 company is created equal. The same dose of a delta-8 edible from one brand compared to an identical dose from another might have totally different effects.

Common delta-8 THC effects you can expect to feel:

  • Physical sensations
  • Calming of the mind
  • Anxiety relief
  • Increased focus and drive
  • Subdued body aches and pain
  • Sleep enhancement (with Indica strains)
  • Relaxation

If we break down the effects of an average delta-8 high, genuine relaxation is something you can expect. As someone who struggles with anxiety, delta-8, when dosed correctly, is a true relief from everyday stresses that plague an anxious mind.

For example, I’ve tested delta-8 flower and edibles from companies such as Hometown Hero and 3Chi. They not only provide a mental calm but also uplift my spirits and boost motivation.

However, since delta-8 is psychoactive and intoxicating, I don’t agree with the people who say it’s a paranoia-free substance. If someone doesn’t know their tolerance and starts out with a high dose, a panic attack can ensue.

Many users report delta-8 effects are helpful for relieving anxiety, physical pain, and helping with deep sleep and relaxation.

My mother, who isn’t a frequent cannabis user by any means but someone who has enjoyed edibles a handful of times, one night asked me if I had anything to help her sleep.

I recently tested MoonWLKR’s delta-8 gummies and found them pretty effective for putting me to bed, I asked her if she’d be interested and later she took two gummies. The next day she described what she said was the worst night of her life. She experienced a body paralyzing high that had her crawling on the floor to the bathroom, almost dialing 9-1-1 on herself. This isn’t me exaggerating for a story; this was her genuine experience. I took 100mg of that edible and it put me to sleep. She took 50mg and lost her legs for a few hours. These products aren’t created equal.

When dosing, start low and go slow. You can always take more of something, you can never take less. As you increase the dose, expect the high to get stronger. It can mimic a potent high-THC marijuana high.

Poll: We asked the cannabis community about delta-8 effects

CBD Oracle conducted a survey of 114 experienced delta-8 users and asked them to compare the intensity of delta-8 versus delta-9 and include brief statements on their overall experience with delta-8 products. Some love delta-8, while others are less convinced.

Below are some of the statements we received from experienced delta-8 users:

  • “It was just like smoking normal weed.”
  • “Milder high but still got me stoned.”
  • “Less anxiety and fast heartbeat.”
  • “Took the edge off the pain.”
  • “Makes me feel more relaxed.”
  • “Delta 8 is like diet cannabis. I prefer delta 9 but it produces a milder high so you don’t feel so couch locked.”
  • “Not anywhere near as potent, at least in terms of effect.”
  • “I didn’t like it. It had a chemical flavor smell. It sure wasn’t a natural aroma from cannabis.”
  • “Delta-8 for me is a cool buzz without being high. It’s a slow rising peak that slowly subsides as it decreases. It helps throughout the day especially when you don’t feel like getting high.”
  • “CBD doesn’t work for my pain and delta-9 makes me a little sketchy, but delta-8 has been working fine.”
  • “Delta-8 helped me sleep and feel more refreshed in the morning. It also really relaxes me and makes me worry free. No paranoia or anxiety. Other than the minor side effects, it helped me with my anxiety and depression. I recommend it for those who haven’t tried it.”
  • “I got it in edible form, and found it tasted better and was a nice change from typical delta-9 thc edibles. It didn’t hit me as hard but I still got most of the benefits without the anxiety-inducing high.”
  • “I don’t have as harsh of a high which is nice when I just want the pain to go away throughout the day.”
  • “Pretty comparable [to delta-9] but had to take a larger dosage.”
  • “Delta 8 is a much mellower high. It kind of reminds of hash but less intense. It’s good for when wanting to get a little high and still be able to socialize and do daily activities.”
  • “The experience was good. I tried it when I traveled from my medicinal state to FL. The effects only lasted about a half hour, so more was needed. Almost like a pack of cigarettes. I wouldn’t want to carry around a pack and inhale more smoke.”
  • “It’s OK but nothing beats regular ol thc.”
  • “Milder high with no side effects. Gummies seem to energize regardless of type.”
  • “It makes me feel noticeably more anxious and paranoid and doesn’t provide me with as much relief of stress or pain. However, it does make me feel more sleepy so I can say it helps for insomnia. I also noticed more dry mouth and eyes as a result.”
  • “It helps with my pain management I am an amputee with multiple forms of arthritis and lupus.”
  • “Delta-8 was felt more in my body than my head. I felt very comfortable sitting down, and did not feel like moving too much. Delta-9 products allow for a different range of effects. It’s not always just a “stuck on the couch” high.”
  • “I took delta-8 gummies before watching a movie in theaters. It definitely enhanced the experience to say the least. I got a full body high and felt more sensitive to the rumbling of the speakers and the sound in the theater. I had tried a few sour skittles before but didn’t feel much so I ate the entire bag of gummies this time and had a much better experience. I really enjoyed the feeling and the effects lasted just as long if not longer than smoking marijuana.”
  • “No side effects at all. It was smooth.”

As you can see, each user’s experience with delta-8 is totally different and not overly comparable, which is why describing a delta-8 high is so difficult. Most articles out there simply generalize delta-8’s effects without taking into account dosage, physiological makeup, or tolerance level.

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However, there are two distinct commonalities. The first is delta-8 THC causes much milder physical or mental sensations (often likened to a “buzz”) without many of the side effects associated with delta-9 THC. The second is delta-8 doses result in physical or mental benefits such as pain relief and sleep.

How much delta-8 will get you high?

How much delta-8 THC you need to consume relies heavily on your tolerance. If you’re a frequent smoker, your tolerance is much higher than a beginner.

High Tolerance: For example, a 50-100mg delta-8 edible is a decent starting point for seasoned users with a high tolerance. Likewise, smoking two delta-8 joints is enough to induce a significant euphoric high.

Low Tolerance: If you have a low tolerance to delta-8, it’s recommended that you start with 10mg delta-8 and work your way up from there. If the buzz is too mild, try 15mg or 20mg but go no higher than that unless you want an uncomfortable experience.

How long does a delta-8 high last?

Your tolerance and the method of consumption play a big role in how long a delta-8 high lasts.

In our experience, a high from delta-8 edibles lasts the longest at 1-3 hours, sometimes longer depending on the dose.

On the other hand, a high from delta-8 flower lasts the shortest amount of time at below an hour. Delta-8 cartridges fall somewhere in the middle of edibles and flower and could last anywhere between 1-2 hours, particularly if you take frequent hits. Some less potent flower products offer only 15 minutes of brief euphoria.

Any negative side effects you may experience with delta-8?

I’ve been using delta-8 for a while now and there are some negative side effects, but not quite as intense or alarming as delta-9.

*Survey of over 100 delta-8 THC users. Most users didn’t report any negative side effects. Of those who reported, dry mouth and headaches were the most common side effects experienced with using delta-8 THC.

Side effects of delta-8 THC can include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Slow or increased heart rate
  • Red and puffy eyes
  • Memory loss
  • Cognitive impairment

Some delta-8 cartridges tend to give you migraines that may even linger for a week. Not everybody has had this experience but it was true in our case as well as some users on Reddit.

In comparison, delta-8 gummies tend to give you a dry mouth (but typically not a headache), especially when waking up the next morning after a session. If you overdo the dosing, expect panic attacks similar to consuming too much delta-9.

How would you compare the feeling to a delta-9 THC high?

The feelings and sensations you get from a delta-8 high are similar but less intense than a delta-9 THC high.

A delta-8 THC high is milder and shorter-lasting than a marijuana high.

Delta-8 flower with CBD and CBG is more likely to reduce paranoia, fear, and anxiety commonly associated with high-THC marijuana.

Why? Because CBD and CBG could help reduce a delta-8 high by preventing it from fully binding to your cannabinoid receptors. The mixing of cannabinoids can provide some really nice pain relief, anti-inflammatory, and sleep-promoting benefits too.

However, a delta-8 high isn’t too different from a delta-9 high when consuming edibles, not in my experience anyway. You experience similar euphoric effects with quite significant and prolonged mental impairment.

On the other hand, delta-8 flower offers a slightly milder sensation than delta-9 flower and doesn’t last quite as long. Delta-8 sativa strains are far more energizing, while delta-8 indica strains are very relaxing without causing the dreaded couch-lock.

How does delta-8 THC compare to CBD?

Comparing delta-8 and CBD is like comparing chalk and cheese. Delta-8 is intoxicating and induces a euphoric high, while CBD is non-intoxicating and doesn’t cause a high.

Why? Delta-8 and CBD have totally different molecular structures and interact with different receptors in your body, also causing a number of opposing effects.

I find the effects of CBD benefit my body, whereas delta-8 is definitely better for my mind. I also trust CBD products more than delta-8, especially regular CBD flower instead of sprayed delta-8 flower.

CBD flower is perfectly natural. Delta-8 flower is CBD hemp flower sprayed with a delta-8 THC distillate. The aesthetic of some delta-8 flower is enough to turn the stomach. If sprayed unevenly, you get globs of distillate discoloring portions of each nug.

Which products give you the most potent delta-8 high?

Many suggest delta-8 distillates (in vapes) and dabs produce the strongest high. However, contrary to common belief, delta-8 gummies induce the most potent high out of all the product types we’ve tried.

Of all types of delta-8 products tested, delta-8 gummies tend to produce the strongest effects.

When we vape delta-8 distillates, the high feels intense and the effects come on pretty quickly but only for a short period, which is the same for delta-8 dabs. Neither of them gave us the same prolonged intensity as delta-8 gummies.

However, what’s weird is almost all delta-8 products are derived from a delta-8 distillate, so why the difference? Well, it’s all to do with how it goes into your body.

When you vape or dab, delta-8 isn’t metabolized by your liver. It goes directly into the bloodstream via your lung’s air sacs, resulting in a quick and efficient euphoric high.

When you eat delta-8 gummies, it’s metabolized by your liver, which delays the onset of effects. If you eat enough gummies, the quantity of delta-8 THC flowing through your body gradually rises. As it accumulates, the high gets stronger for much longer than vapes and dabs.

Do delta-8 THC gummies get you high?

Yes, in our experience, delta-8 THC gummies offer a potent and long-lasting euphoric high. In fact, it’s one of the most potent delta-8 products out there. A potent delta-8 edible high lasts anywhere between 3-6 hours.

Does delta-8 THC flower get you high?

Yes. Delta-8 THC flower does get you high. A high from smoking delta-8 flower or preroll is shorter and less intense than delta-8 edibles. It’s a decent option for all users regardless of experience or tolerance. Vaping delta-8 flower, on the other hand, is slightly more intense and only suitable for more seasoned users.

Delta-8 THC flower gets you high but the effects are milder than delta-8 vapes, dabs, or edibles.

Recommended delta-8 companies for a potent high

The delta-8 companies I would recommend for the most potent highs are Hometown Hero, Botany Farms, 3Chi, and Plain Jane.

In my opinion, Hometown Hero is the current king of delta-8. The company is also the priciest but in terms of purity, potency, and professional packaging, there’s none better.

Botany Farms also has some of the most beautiful flower. I’ve tried its CBD, CBG, and delta-8 buds and all of them are spectacular. Getting a canister of its flower is truly an experience.

Plain Jane has the best delta-8 THC cartridges. They’re smooth and reasonably easy on the throat when you take a hit. The company’s delta-8 flower also has additional CBG and is a phenomenal sativa option.

Is the quick rise of delta-8 products a concern?

Anytime a product surges in popularity, companies start popping up to make a quick profit. This is concerning to me. Since delta-8 THC is often sold without third-party testing or published COAs, some consumers are buying products without any clue of what’s inside them.

At CBD Oracle, we spend hours researching lab results and COAs. A shocking number of companies forgo publishing any testing or analysis documentation, while others fail to test for solvents, pesticides, and heavy metals. Some of the most brazen companies even post COAs with higher than average levels of mercury, arsenic, lead, and cadmium (though this is pretty rare).

Then you have Hometown Hero, a legitimate delta-8 and CBD vendor. The company puts other, less credible brands to shame by proudly publishing its COA documentation showing clean testing results across the board. All COAs are placed on each product page for consumer reference. This is what all companies should strive for. Openness, honesty, and transparency.

Is delta-8 as good for beginners as many say it is?

Yes, delta-8 is marketed as a decent cannabinoid for beginner users looking to experience a THC high without intense effects. Delta-8’s subtle but still noticeable mental and physical sensations are less intense than delta-9 and won’t cause significant side effects.

Delta-8 is also very accessible. Since delta-8 is thought to be federally legal, beginners getting into cannabis in a US state with strict THC laws can enjoy a “legal high”, for lack of a better phrase. They also won’t need to go out and find a shady dealer. It’s as simple as ordering online from a legitimate delta-8 vendor.

Delta-8 gets you high, but at what cost?

If the basic question you have here is, “will delta-8 get me high?”, I hope you now see the easy answer is “yes.” However, the more convoluted answer is, “yes, but at what cost?”

Delta-8 is still in its infancy as a product and craze. I don’t believe all the kinks are being worked out. Product impurity and contamination and the lack of regulatory oversight forcing third-party product testing leaves me unwilling to endorse delta-8 fully. We truly don’t know what delta-8 THC can possibly do for us.

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Stay close to the big name brands, research each company, take your time looking at their lab results, and then make your decision. Spend more for cleaner products. Your mind and body will thank you.

How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your System?

Marijuana edibles affect every person differently, but most people can expect them to stay in their system for 3-12 days. Here’s what to know about edibles, including where they’re legal and how they might affect you.

Table Of Contents

  1. Recent News About Marijuana Edibles
  2. What Are Marijuana Edibles?
  3. How Does the Body Process Edibles?
  4. How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your System?
  5. Do Edibles Show Up on Drug Tests?
  6. Where Are Edibles Legal?
  7. Why Do People Say Edibles Aren’t Safe?
  • Edibles stay in your system between 3-12 days
  • By contrast, a single marijuana cigarette stays in your system about 3 days
  • The exact length depends on how much you consume, and whether you’re an occasional or habitual user. It can take up to 30 days for marijuana to leave your system if you use regularly.

Have questions about addiction?
Call us at 855-430-9426 to speak with a recovery specialist.For many people, the idea of marijuana edibles is more appealing than smoking. Edibles produce a psychoactive effect without requiring the user to inhale smoke or vape into the lungs, which can make them feel safer. Additionally, many marijuana edibles are quite tasty — and in an increasing number of states they are also legal. However, edibles still carry health risks. If you or a loved one uses edibles, it’s important to understand how they work, including how they affect your mind and body.

What Are Marijuana Edibles?

Marijuana edibles are mainly food products that contain cannabinoids. However, the category can include other ingestible items, such as drinks, candies, or capsules. As edibles become legal, the variety of products has increased. For parents, it’s important to know that edibles can often look just like regular candy.

New legal marijuana can look just like candy.

How Does the Body Process Edibles?

When a person consumes an edible, it works its way through the digestive system. As it’s digested, cannabis makes its way to the liver. There, the body converts delta-9 THC to 11-hydroxy THC. When this occurs, the effect is more psychoactive than what is experienced by smoking THC.

It is important to note that the THC in edibles does take longer to affect many people in comparison to smoking or vaping. Digestion takes a little time, causing a delay of up to two hours between consumption and feeling high. In comparison, inhaling the THC allows it to reach the bloodstream and have an impact as quickly as within five minutes. For people who typically smoke, this lag can lead to dangerous overconsumption.

Some candy or chocolate edibles may work more quickly than other types, such as baked goods. This is because the product can “melt” in your mouth, allowing the THC to pass through and reach the bloodstream with greater ease.

It’s also important to note that the high can last significantly longer with edibles compared to smoking. When smoked, people usually feel the effects for several hours. With edibles, a person may be high as long as 12 hours.

How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your System?

How long THC from marijuana edibles stays in your system depends on a few factors. First, the half-life of cannabis varies, usually falling somewhere in the three- to 12-day window. The exact length is impacted by the quantity consumed, as well as whether the person is a casual or habitual user. Habitual use leads to tolerance, requiring ever-increasing amounts to feel the same high.

Because it takes longer to process and metabolize edibles, they stay in the body longer than inhaled THC. For those who smoke marijuana, THC levels decline as soon as the high wears off. When consumed, it can take about a day to see a reduction in THC levels.

Habitual users may have THC in their system from edibles for a month or longer. However, casual users may rid it from their system in as little as one to two weeks, depending on the amount of THC consumed. Read more about how long different drugs stay in your system.

Do Edibles Show Up on Drug Tests?

Yes, THC from edibles will show up on a drug test. Ingesting, rather than smoking THC doesn’t change the fact it is entering your system. In fact, because of the way the body processes edibles, a drug test may detect THC levels for a much longer period of time. Urine, hair, blood, saliva, and sweat tests can all detect ingested THC. Here’s a timeline for each kind of test:

  • Blood: 3-4 hours
  • Saliva: 24-72 hours
  • Urine: 3-30 days
  • Hair: Up to 90 days

Where Are Edibles Legal?

New states approve medical or decriminalized marijuana use every year. The following states and the District of Columbia have legalized at least medicinal use:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona (medical only)
  • Arkansas (medical only)
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida (medical only)
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana (medical only)
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Montana (medical only)
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire (medical only)
  • New Jersey (medical only)
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma (medical only)
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania (medical only)
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah (medical only)
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • West Virginia (medical only)

Some states where marijuana is legal don’t have specific laws regarding edibles. Others maintain that edibles are illegal. In situations where the law is vague, it’s often best to err on the side of caution and assume they aren’t permitted.

Why Do People Say Edibles Aren’t Safe?

One of the biggest concerns about edibles is the psychoactive effect. There is a risk for cannabis-induced psychosis, which can cause hallucinations, confusion, and paranoia. Additionally, some experience panic attacks or hyperemesis syndrome after consuming edibles.

Moreover, for some older adults, cannabis in high doses could lead to a cardiac event or issue. Mainly, this is due to the impact of THC on the cardiovascular system. They could also be a greater risk for cognitive impairments, coordination issues, or negative drug interactions. In pregnant women, THC can reach the baby’s brain, potentially impacting its development.

It’s also hard to gauge the strength of an edible before it’s consumed. This leads some to misjudge the power of the dose, causing them to have a stronger effect than they wanted. Finally, THC is potentially addictive. A person can become addicted to edibles as easily as they can other forms of marijuana. Finally, edibles can be laced with dangerous drugs like K2/Spice.

Because of the addictive nature and potential risks associated with edibles, it’s important to seek treatment if marijuana use in any form has become a habit. Call us to learn more about options for marijuana addiction treatment, including flexible outpatient programs that allow you to incorporate treatment into your life while you reside at home.

Recent News About Marijuana Edibles

The legal landscape around marijuana is constantly evolving. Here are some of the latest developments:

Missouri Starts Selling Medical Marijuana

In October 2020, two dispensaries in St. Louis County became the first places to buy legal weed in Missouri. At the time of opening, only cannabis flower buds were allowed. The dispensaries, both owned by N’Bliss, expect to offer edibles and other products in the future, the News Leader reported. The state becomes the 40th to approve legal marijuana use in some fashion. Missouri also decriminalized recreational use.

Florida Legalizes Medical Marijuana Edibles

In August, Florida quietly legalized edibles for medicinal uses, a year after the legislature approved smoking marijuana for the same purposes. Edibles aren’t likely to hit shelves just yet. As the Tampa Bay Times reported, the state will issue variances licensed Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers before products become available. According to the Department of Health, about 400,000 patients will become eligible.

Florida has added edibles in part to provide an option to patients to who prefer not to smoke or have difficulty swallowing pills. As Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried told the News Service of Florida, “Every single patient is different, as far as how their body reacts to this medicine…This is another alternative to so many patients who may need their medicine but need it in alternative forms.”

Montana Considers Legal Weed

Montana residents can already buy medical marijuana, but the tourism-reliant state is considering even more relaxed measures. An initiative on the 2020 ballot would make recreational marijuana legal throughout the state. Under the proposed law, the legal age would be set at 21.

Written By: Sprout Editorial Team

The Sprout Health Group editorial team is passionate about addiction treatment, recovery and mental health issues. Every article is expert-reviewed.

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The shroom edibles market proliferates underground

Magic mushrooms are making waves. You can stream Michael Pollan’s docuseries How to Change Your Mind on Netflix, listen to quarterback Aaron Rodgers sing the praises of psychedelic mushrooms on a podcast, and peruse pages of cutting-edge research about the potential therapeutic applications of shrooms online.

However, while psychedelic mushrooms are in the collective consciousness, commercially, they’re still off limits. You won’t find gummies infused with Golden Teachers in your neighborhood dispensary, nor are the most progressive doctors writing prescriptions for psilocybin. Psychedelic decriminalization in a number of cities means laws have relaxed for personal use, but that doesn’t make it legal to buy, sell, distribute, or advertise mushrooms. A chasm separates the shroom hype and what you can actually get your hands on.

Beneath the surface, however, underground innovators are busy filling that void, crafting products and developing experiences for those who want to bend their minds with shrooms. Just as shrooms extend mycelial networks beneath the surface, this grassroots movement too operates underground, making mushrooms available to the people and offering a captivating glimpse of how shroom culture is shaping up.

How do you like your shrooms? Shroom shots, chocolate, kombucha, and more

When it comes to shroom-infused edibles, creativity is the order of the day. Innovative producers are crafting magic kombucha, vegan drip shroom chocolate, fruity shroom shots, organic sencha tea infused with magic mushrooms, gummies, capsules, and more.

Will Padilla-Brown, citizen mycologist and founder of Mycosymbiotics and MycoFest, has seen shroom products proliferate over the past year. “I’ve seen capsules, blister packs of pills, freeze-dried shrooms, chocolate bars, gel capsules, infused honey, psychedelic truffles, teas, and psilocybin mixed with other functional mushrooms in capsules,” commented Padilla-Brown.

This influx of shroom products has also led to innovations in extraction. A process called ultrasonic-aided methanol extraction seems to be yielding the most stable psilocybin crystals, said Padilla-Brown. This extraction process works by perforating the cellular wall of mushrooms using high-frequency sound waves, so that the active chemical compounds in the mushroom are quickly released into a surrounding liquid solvent (methanol).

Other operators opt for more old school, simpler methods. “I have seen some very interesting simple cold-water extractions—but they aren’t shelf-stable,” said Padilla-Brown. “You can leave fresh mushrooms in a jar in the fridge overnight and the water will be blue and infused the next day.”

But many shroom edibles aren’t standardized and none are regulated, so it’s hard to know what you’re getting. In some cases, safety is questionable. “I’ve been seeing lots of crude extract into gummies that aren’t very reliable, and many mushroom chocolates that aren’t homogenized,” said Padilla-Brown.

Reddit threads musing the merits of these underground products debate similar issues, with many pondering if shroom chocolate bars even contain psilocybin or are instead infused with a synthetic substitute, 4-AcO-DMT (psilacetin).

How to buy shroom edibles

In general, buyers often find illicit market shroom businesses on social media and Reddit forums. Anonymous accounts and delivery services distribute shroom-infused goodies with fun brand names and official-looking labels, trying to lend an air of legality to products that are anything but.

Some bold operators have set up in physical shopfronts, like The Medicinal Mushroom Dispensary, which shares space with the Coca Leaf Cafe in Vancouver, Canada. Despite warnings from city officials, the dispensary remains staunchly open—and it’s not the only spot where you can buy shrooms in the city.

Up until recently, Mushroom Cuts, a barber shop, boasted a shroom showroom of local mushroom products in its English Bay location. The showroom is now closed, but online sales have kicked off and the socially-owned business appears to be booming with orders flowing out seven days a week.

Psilocybin retreats have to operate on the down-low

Beyond buying your own magic booch, gummies, and blister packs of pills, psilocybin retreats and gatherings are also quietly gaining momentum. Those who organize such encounters often operate under the radar too.

“You have to be careful: You can’t charge for experiences; you can’t promote,” reflected Craig Gross, founder of Creating Fun and Rainbow Ridge. “There are ways around it if you’re not doing it for profit. I am not in any product-related offering. I’ve given experiences away to people and provided a space for that.”

During the pandemic, Gross ran a psilocybin retreat center called Rainbow Ridge in Santa Cruz, California, providing psilocybin immersion experiences free of charge for handfuls of people at a time. About 300 people participated in Gross’s retreats at Rainbow Ridge while it was operating.

According to Gross, Rainbow Ridge was one of many informal retreats run throughout the US. Organizers rent Airbnbs out in cities where drug use has been decriminalized, then connect with participants via more secure, private networks like Signal or Telegram. There’s no need to advertise, because word-of-mouth does the heavy lifting.

Psilocybin as a religious sacrament

Another common way that people can experience psilocybin is in spiritual gatherings where mushrooms are treated as a religious sacrament. The Sacred Tribe in Denver, Colorado, and Zide Door in East Oakland, California, both integrate magic mushrooms into their spiritual teachings and practices.

Members of these entheogenic organizations can trip together, and in the case of The Sacred Tribe, explore the overlapping tenets of psychedelia and Judaism. In the Sacred Tribe, members can access psilocybin sacraments in exchange for a donation.

However, despite the fact that both spiritual organizations operate in decriminalization cities, both have also encountered serious resistance from local law enforcement authorities. Zide Door has been raided, and Rabbi Ben Gorelick, leader of The Sacred Tribe, is currently facing felony drug charges.

Facilitating experiences and gatherings involving psilocybin can be fraught, even in locations where psilocybin has been decriminalized, and even if no money exchanges hands.

Mushroom festivals

Churches are not the only outlet for psilocybin-friendly gatherings. Padilla-Brown established the MycoSymbiotics mushroom and arts festival in 2015, affectionately known as MycoFest, which has since become an annual fixture for all things shrooms-related—magic and otherwise.

“I saw MycoFest as a perfect opportunity to gather and discuss topics in person that many of us only talked about online, and to also give my friends the opportunity to have an audience and sell their goods,” said Padilla-Brown.

However, it isn’t just about talking and selling shrooms. The event maintains a strong focus on ecological literacy, educating people about how to interact with and protect the environments in which mushrooms grow. “We take groups on hikes into the forest to find what different mushrooms are growing,” explained Padilla-Brown.

Mycofest is also filled with presentations and workshops throughout the day with a health and wellness focus. “Over the years we’ve had classes on the identification of psychedelic safety in family settings, psychedelic mushrooms, the ecology of psychedelic mushrooms, and decriminalization education,” said Padilla-Brown.

Psychedelic decriminalization keeps gaining steam

In some ways, the underground shroom market is reminiscent of the early days of cannabis before the green rush—characterized by those who are passionate about psychedelic fungi and eager to help it over the line toward legalization. Many shroom businesses are run by legacy operators who want in on the action before big business takes over.

In one such show of support, Gross has recently co-founded an initiative called Drug Camp, where supporters can purchase a mushroom-themed T-shirt for cities that have decriminalized psilocybin and other psychedelic substances. Some proceeds go toward Decriminalize Nature, an organization that aims to legalize entheogens, or psychedelics plants. Those who buy a T-shirt also get access to a private chat group with information on psychedelic events.

“In the USA, most businesses starting on a grassroots level are happening around Denver, Oakland, Arcata, DC, and the state of Oregon, as they have the best decrim set-ups that have police looking the other way,” explained Padilla-Brown.

With cities all over the US decriminalized or in the process of doing so, Gross decided the time was ripe to get a movement underway. “There are over 130 cities that are in the process of decriminalizing, so the thought was just to follow that movement, the movement of saying, ‘We’re changing history here.’ A T-shirt and some information about this could let people know what was coming.”

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