It has been suggested by an Australian physician that the general public in Australia, as well as members of its drug using subculture, Mind-altering (psilocybine containing) mushrooms have been traditionally used in religious healing and curing ceremonies by native
More than half of Australia's beef cattle can be found in the coastal areas of Queensland and New South Wales; and the 20 to 30 inch (500-750mm) rainfall belt of Queensland, New South Wales and Northern Victoria, generally provide adequate climatic environments for the growth of psilocybian mushrooms, especially after heavy rains. It has been suggested that "Psilocybe cubensis was introduced into Australia accidentally by early settlers along with their livestock." This same spore dispersal mechanism also probably applies to Copelandia cyanescens, Panaeolus subbalteatus and several additional species known to occur in or around the dung of other ruminants. This includes Psilocybe semilanceata and the non-hallucinogenic "haymaker's" mushroom Panaeolina foenisecii. While cattle are raised in all Australian states, as well as in the central lowlands, recreational users have been known to export these psychoptic species to various areas in Australia from areas where they were collected. In the case of New Zealand, hereafter referred to as NZ, cattle are the primary source for Copelandia cyanescens, but the "liberty cap" mushroom Psilocybe semilanceata only grows in the manured soil of four-legged ruminants and not directly from manure (Jansen, Pers. Comm., 1988). The identification section of this guide documents reported locations for more than 1 dozen species of psilocybian mushrooms in Australia and NZ which most likely have been used at one time or another for recreational purposes. Most recreational users of Psilocybe cubensis (when grown in vitro) require a dosage of
Those who ingest Copelandia cyanescens, known in Mind-altering (psilocybine containing) mushrooms have been traditionally used in religious healing and curing ceremonies by native There are more than 1 dozen species of "magic mushrooms" in Australia and New
Mind-altering (psilocybine containing) mushrooms have been traditionally used in religious healing and curing ceremonies by native peoples in Mesoamerica for more than 3,000 years. Today, the recreational use of hallucinogenic fungi by Westerners is widespread, especially in various regions of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Great Britain, Europe (especially in the Netherlands), Scandinavia, South America, Southeast Asia, India, Bali, Samoa; Australia and New Zealand. The modern, non-traditional use of
hallucinogenic mushrooms has been stimulated, by media reports in newspapers, magazines, word-of-mouth communication, the
World Wide Web and Internet, and also by the scholarly and popular journal publications of the renown ethnomycologist R. Gordon
Wasson, (Harvard psychologist Timothy Leary, traveler Jeremy Sanford, health guru Andrew Weil, and others (see Allen , Merlin &Jansen, 1991).This field guide reviews the history of both the accidental and purposeful use of psychoactive mushrooms in Australia and New
Zealand. Information in this guide has been gathered from personal experiences in Australia by the author and from reports in the scientific literature, news items appearing in the popular press, and personal communications with Australian and New Zealand (NZ)
professionals (Unsigned 1970; O'Neill, 1986). It has been suggested by an Australian physician that the general public in Australia, as well as members of its drug using subculture, Most recreational users of Psilocybe cubensis (when grown in vitro) require a dosage of
Existing evidence indicates that man in the Old World —Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia—has made less use of native plants and shrubs for their hallucinogenic properties than has man in the New World. There is little reason to believe that the vegetation of one half of the globe is poorer or richer in species with hallucinogenic properties than the other half. Why, then, should there be such disparity? Has man in the Old World simply not discovered many of the native hallucinogenic plants? Are some of them too toxic in other ways to be utilized? Or has man in the Old World been culturally less interested in narcotics? We have no real answer. But we do know that the Old World has fewer known species employed hallucinogenically than does the New World: compared with only 15 or 20 species used in the Eastern Hemisphere, the species used hallucinogenically in the Western Hemisphere number more than 100! Yet some of the Old World hallucinogens today hold places of primacy throughout the world. Cannabis, undoubtedly the most widespread of all the hallucinogens, is perhaps the best example. The several solanaceous ingredients of medieval witches' brews—henbane, nightshade, belladonna, and mandrake—greatly influenced European philosophy, medicine, and even history for many years. Some played an extraordinarily vital religious role in the early Aryan cultures of northern India. The role of hallucinogens in the cultural and social development of many areas of the Old World is only now being investigated. At every turn, its exte The first livestock to arrive in Australia were brought from the Cape of Good Hope in It has been suggested by an Australian physician that the general public in Australia, as well as members of its drug using subculture,
CATTLE AS A POSSIBLE DISPERSAL MECHANISM FOR PSYCHOACTIVE DUNG FUNGI
One may ask the question, "how did these mushrooms arrive in Australia and New Zealand?" Well some species may be endemic,that is, they were already there naturally. Other species such as the above described dung-inhabiting mushrooms most likelyappeared after the introduction of cattle on the subcontinent.The first livestock to arrive in Australia were brought from the Cape of Good Hope in1788, and included 2 bulls and 5 cows, along with other domesticated farm animals. Byl803, the government owned approximately 1800 cattle, most of which were importedfrom the Cape, Calcutta, and the west coast of America. It was during this period thatsome of the visionary mushrooms mentioned in this field guide probably first appeared inAustralia (Unsigned, 1973). According to Australian mycologist John Burton Cleland(1934), "fungi growing in cow or horse-dung and confined to such habitats, must in thecase of Australia, all belong to introduced species". It is believed to have been the SouthAfrican dung beetle which may have actually spread the spores. According to Englishmycologist Roy Watling of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Glasgow, Scotland, "it must beremembered that fungi can change substrate preferences and there are coprophilousfungi on kangaroo droppings etc." Some mycologists who have studied the "magicmushrooms" in Australia and NZ claim that the "use of P. cubensis as a recreational drugtends to confirm the belief that some farmers in early times may have added one or two basidiomes gilled mushrooms to a mealto liven it up and still do Margot & Watling, 1981)."
There are more than 1 dozen species of "magic mushrooms" in Australia and New Zealand. Four of these species are dung (manure) inhabiting mushrooms. They include Psilocybe cubensis and/or Psilocybe subcubensis (known locally as "gold caps" and/or "gold tops"), Psilocybe subaeruginosa, and Copelandia cyanescens (the latter is known locally as "blue meanies"). These four species contain the mind altering alkaloids psilocybine and psilocine and are the most common hallucinogenic mushrooms in Australia. In New Zealand, the most commonly used species are Copelandia cyanescens and Psilocybe semilanceata, the latter species is recognized throughout the world as the "liberty cap"). This species only occurs in manured soil and does not grow directly from the dung of cattle, sheep or other four legged farm animals. Psilocybe cubensis the most popular of these species, is well known throughout much of the world; however, this species is not known to occur in New Zealand. Other species described in this guide are known to occur in manured soil, in pastures, meadows, grazing lands, some lawns and in the bark mulch and woodchips of deciduous woods. The majority of adverse physical effects or negative psychological reactions produced by "magic mushrooms" generally result from inappropriate set and expectation, or because of improper dosage, which may vary considerably among consumers, different mushroom species, or even within an individual species. The question of dosage is often confused by the variation in the source of the hallucinogenic mushroom species which is consumed. For example, Psilocybe cubensis, when picked and eaten from its natural dung (manure) habitat, produces a relatively mild mindaltering experience, which is evident from the large amounts of fresh specimens needed to achieve a threshold experience. However when grown in vitro (indoor laboratory cultivation and/or illicit cultivation), Psilocybe cubensis apparently can produce a more potent strain capable of inducing a very intense visual, sometimes quite disturbing, experience. This dosage assumes that the consumption of 1 to 3 gm of dried material would be too low if the mushroom specimen came from a wild source. This low potency for Psilocybe cubensis has been confirmed by research scientists Margot & Watling, (1981), who were surprised by the comparatively small amounts of psilocybin and psilocin which they extracted from wild specimens collected from five different locations in Australia. This suggests that a much larger dose would be required to produce significant hallucinations. It is possible that the chemicals most likely degenerated between the time that they were harvested and the time of analysis. However, it should be noted that a strain of Psilocybe cubensis producing different flushes (harvests) will vary somewhat in potency between flushes.
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