You could be eating psilocybin mushrooms for self-knowledge, to feel one with the universe, or to see trees breathe like you did the first time you took them. Whatever the reason, you’re probably not eating them for the flavor or texture of dehydrated mushrooms. Much like their psychoactive effects, everyone has a different tolerance for the taste of psychedelic mushrooms.
Considering their flavor can range anywhere from dirt to dookie, people with a taste for magic mushrooms likely acquired it over time. Unfortunately, others trying shrooms for the first time probably will have different enthusiasm for eating dried mushrooms than someone that has already had several positive experiences with them.
So, it doesn’t come as a surprise that first-time consumers and those that prefer not to gag their way through a dose have found comfort in the convenience of having their mushrooms mixed into something more accessible to consumers, like chocolate.
How Legal are Psilocybin Mushroom Chocolates?
Since multiple states have decriminalized psilocybin, the popularity and availability of mushroom chocolates have surged to the point where they are found in about half of the smoke shops, bodegas, and illicit cannabis shops currently taking advantage of the lax enforcement of drug laws around New York City that I have walked into during the weeks leading up to writing this article.
It’s worth noting that even with a few states relaxing their laws against psilocybin mushrooms, they aren’t legalizing it like cannabis—to be grown and sold in certain states. Most states that have decriminalized psilocybin have not legalized the cultivation or sale of it.
At best, Oregon’s version of psilocybin legalization will eventually allow individuals to have legal access to psilocybin but only at a state-licensed service center, under the supervision of a state-licensed facilitator.
Currently, no state has an established legal framework that would allow for the production and sale of lab-tested psilocybin products. Which begs the question, where are these mushroom chocolates coming from, and how do we know what is actually in them?
Let’s start by looking into some of the most popular branded mushroom chocolates sold in smoke shops, bodegas, and online today. Two of the most common ones I encountered in storefronts and online are OneUp and Polkadot Mushroom Belgian Chocolates. The former utilizes Nintendo references and artwork to appeal to consumers. The latter uses attractive packaging, popular snack candy names, and logos like Reese’s as flavors to help push their product. Anyone can find packaging for both on websites like DHGate, Etsy, Amazon, and others. So go ahead and Google it yourself.
Can You Rely on QR Codes to Verify Authenticity?
People trying to cope with their purchases or selling these chocolates will try to convince you that they are reliable if they have a QR code. But what does that prove? OneUp packaging on DHGate comes with QR code stickers. And if you research long enough, you will find at least two different types of QR stickers on Polkadot chocolate bars, and some of the packaging sold online comes with QR code stickers too. So, just having a QR code on it that leads somewhere isn’t sufficient proof of authenticity.
One of the two QR code stickers on Polkadot chocolates points users to a verification site called CannaSafe, which as of last year, is now a closed-down cannabis lab. If you attempt to visit the website listed on the sticker, it is not secure and asks you to scan the QR code for verification.
The other QR stickers found on an alternative Polkadot packaging that people claim is the real Polkadot do not mention any verification service. However, after scratching to reveal the QR code, it leads consumers to a website called “eatpolkadot” which suggests the product is authentic. It also mentions the flavor and the number of times you scanned the QR code.
On the same page, there are also claims about the strains used to make the scanned chocolate bar and the % of psychoactive ingredients like psilocybin in the chocolate, with no mentions of the lab that tested it to make the claims on each package that they lab test to “ensure quality control” feel extra authentic.
The QR code on the packaging, not the sticker, leads to one of two places. One is Polkadot’s backup Instagram page which only has one post and less than 10k followers because their main one is allegedly down. The other is to a Telegram group that calls out the Polkadot packaging that contains TheCannaSafe QR stickers as unauthentic and mentions a few ways to confirm your Polkadots are from the only trusted source directly, not one of the many fakes out there.
It is worth noting that the Telegram points to the size of the bar, the one-time scan sticker, Polkadot logos printed directly on the bars, and an air-tight plastic wrapping to confirm authenticity, which those bars do have. However, the online packaging on DHGate and other sites appears outdated compared to some in stores.
From what you can see online, they come with a mold that doesn’t contain the Polkadot logo. It also has foil wrappers instead of plastic ones, but they do claim to ship with QR code stickers that are not pictured. The Telegram page also states that some fakers have already figured out how to mimic the Polkadot logo directly on the chocolates.
Lab Testing Mushroom Edibles
Regardless, it’s not like you can scratch any QR stickers off to reveal a code that you would then type into some officially regulated website to confirm the authenticity like you might be able to with legally tested and tracked cannabis products. Instead, you scan the code and get taken to a website that tells you what you want to hear. Even if brands lab tested for every batch, the technology required to test the psilocybin content of mushroom edibles isn’t quite there yet.
According to Ian M. Bollinger, an awarded entheogen researcher and co-founder of Hyphae Labs in Oakland with experience testing for psilocybin, there is no single method that he has seen available that can effectively test for psilocybin or any of its analogs in chocolates or edibles yet.
“We have R&D methods, but there are too many similarities between tryptamines, xylenes, and sugars to separate them all for analysis effectively; recoveries tend to be low or skewed,” he stated.
How could you even confirm that the lab test results from a mushroom chocolate brand came from the same batch of mushrooms used to make the specific chocolate you purchased? Who is going to hold them accountable if they make it up? No one.
From the look of it, there are tons of alleged official Polkadot Telegram groups, all claiming the others are fake and asking you to only place orders directly with them. Almost all have the same marketing video of a few attractive women holding their products while strolling around a beach.
Remember to sprinkle in some posts of celebrities like Berner and Diplo seen with Polkadot products to lend to their credibility.
When there is no apparent website or Instagram page that officially hosts information about either company, and there are a bunch of clear copycats out there, how do you decide where to place your trust?
When there is no legal, regulated source of psilocybin chocolates, where can a QR code take you that can guarantee that the packaging claims are equal to what you get? Nowhere.
Mushroom chocolates with appealing black market packaging are quickly devolving into the pre-rolls of the psychedelic world in the sense that you rarely know what people are putting in them.
Dosage is a Gamble
Even if you believe you can access a reliable source for the real OneUp or Polkadot brand, their labels don’t mention the strain of mushrooms used. So how is one expected to tailor their dosage? Most bars say the weight of the mushrooms before producers mix them into the chocolate. Unfortunately, that doesn’t fill you in on the exact strength, especially if you don’t know the strain. An experienced user of psilocybin mushrooms knows that certain strains like Penis Envy can provide intense experiences in smaller doses than other cultivars.
Chocolates and edibles, similar to THC-infused products, appeal to many beginners who trust the packaging to instruct them on the dosage. Still, things won’t be as consistent or clear-cut as legal lab-tested cannabis edibles. For example, some mushroom chocolate bars mention a strain name on the packaging. In contrast, others don’t list any strain or wait for you to scan a QR code after purchase to find out which mix of mushroom strains (and not what quantity of each) is in your chocolate, making it hard to figure out a consistent dosage.
Stop Paying More for Mushroom Edibles Than Cannabis Edibles
Let’s address the unwarranted premium people hustling these chocolates are putting on these products compared to cannabis edibles or magic mushrooms. First, it’s not like making these requires a full-on extraction lab or license, as some cannabis edibles might. Sure, there might be an additional risk involved. Still, most of these trending mushroom chocolates are made by grinding up mushrooms into a powder and mixing them into melted chocolate. None have advertised extracted infusions.
With the current legal status, producers aren’t paying any taxes or facing regulations that would require costly lab testing, and these bars are moving to any and every state in massive bulk. Despite this, these chocolate bars with an alleged 3.5 – 4 grams of psilocybin mushrooms in each are going for anywhere from $40 to $80, depending on what storefront I walk into and how hard I haggle. How does one justify a premium like that on a black-market product whose quality can’t be verified?
The whole situation reeks of greed that induces nightmarish flashbacks to when the cannabis black market started to flood with products like “Mario Carts” and edible products that copied popular snack brands. Smoke shops and bodegas are still pushing similar boof dressed in pretty packaging. It has been a way for trappers to increase the appeal of their low-quality products at the expense of unknowledgeable custies in the cannabis black market, and it’s sad to see history repeat itself as psilocybin moves toward legality.
How many times do we need to learn this lesson?
Whether we are talking weed or mushrooms, any cultivator putting out a consistent quality product does not need to rely on hype-building packaging or the intellectual property of others to make a name for themselves. On the contrary, some of the most impressionable cannabis and hash I’ve ever had came in unmarked jars.
With companies producing and marketing magic mushroom chocolates that contain 23 carats of gold to sell for well over $100 a pop, packaging that appeals to children, and fakes spreading rapidly, it’s clear this industry is already heading down the wrong path towards maximizing profits at the expense of potential patients and consumers.
Anyone who benefited from the life-changing experiences psilocybin mushrooms can provide would cringe at the sight of psychedelics blatantly abused for financial gain. It’d be hard to argue any of the companies mentioned above are looking to help make mushrooms more available to anyone that might need them when the prices they charge are far from affordable to most.
When just about anyone and everyone with cash can get their hands on some of these popular mushroom chocolate brands, it is unlikely that they all come from a single source. How anyone believes that one group can grow enough mushrooms to supply every bodega, smoke shop, illicit dispensary, and Instagram trapper to slide in their Telegram DM’s across the nation is beyond me.
There are a lot of claims online that some of the mushroom chocolates sold en masse contain easy-to-obtain research chemicals in place of psilocybin. I am still looking for concrete evidence to confirm this. Contrastingly, many of the ones I spotted in New York shops have mushroom bits.
I’ve had a friend tell me a Polkadot he purchased in a smoke shop in Brooklyn worked as much, if not better, than unprocessed psilocybin mushrooms. On the other hand, I have also met a few people who have said that Polkadots did just about nothing or made them sleepy. I’ve heard a similar variety of experiences with OneUp bars as well.
To make myself clear, I’m not saying that it isn’t possible to purchase chocolates packaged in the brands mentioned earlier that contain psilocybin mushrooms. I am saying there is no way to be sure of its origin, the dosage, or even any actual psilocybin in the ones your local plug sells. So you’d be better off making your mushroom edibles with magic mushrooms you grind yourself.
With the number of different entities online claiming to be representatives of these companies and sharing public Telegram links to place your orders, trying to purchase them online or over Telegram is a risk I would not take. Don’t end up like this heated dude on Reddit who had to learn the hard way after sinking hundreds of dollars trying to purchase mushroom chocolates from what he thought was OneUp’s official website.
If you want to avoid all the uncertainty, take my advice and stop buying mushroom chocolates from randos. Instead, take the time to find a cultivator you can trust, and grind the damn things up yourself to make chocolates, gummies, or a smoothie. And if you’re feeling extra lazy, sprinkle them onto something like pizza or a peanut butter sandwich and fully send it.