By Troy Ivan
(Disclaimer: This journal is a collection of ideas for entertainment and educational purposes only. Much of what is presented here as executed extractions are simply conjecture and results were arrived at using legal proxies to simulate similar outcomes since mushroom extracting is similar between regular and “magic” mushrooms. Nothing here should be considered medical advice and no one should use the information in this article to break any laws.)
The mystique of fungi and the role it plays in nature is amazing, but the possible key role magic mushrooms may have played in evolution of human brain development is nothing short of mind blowing. After working with the medicinal properties of cannabis and hemp for a long time, looking at the growing popularity of magic mushrooms for improving health and lifestyle was irresistible for me.
I’ve been around what we call “shrooms,” “mushies,” or “caps” since the late 80’s. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s we used to buy mushrooms, 60x salvia divinorum and Blue Mystic legally in stores in Tokyo. Things changed in Japan when a young Japanese celebrity went a little wild in the parking lot of the 7-11 convenience store near my house. The police were called to assist him as he was laying face down in the parking lot in his underwear gripping the concrete, convinced he would be sucked up into space if he let go. By the time the media got done with the story and legal magic mushroom sales got socially scrutinized, their sale was made illegal in 2002. I know that was a bit of a tangent but a fun story nonetheless.
My point is simply that I’ve been familiar with mushrooms for a while but I was never a huge fan because of the body load and nausea it causes me. Even though they’ve been fun to a certain extent, I always become nauseous and often vomit. The fun has never been worth the discomfort and there were definitely better ways to enjoy myself.
After working with ethanol extractions with so many different botanicals I started thinking about applying the process to mushrooms. A few years ago I began doing some light research and was soon discouraged by the flood of advanced chemistry, unfriendly solvents, laborious processes, and a lot of other stuff I wasn’t interested in chasing down the rabbit hole. Everything seemed to indicate that straight ethanol extraction wasn’t possible due to the solubility characteristics of psilocybin. The advanced chem guys made it sound impossible so I decided to find out for myself and begin with a simple ethanol extraction and see where it went.
My first ethanol extraction was a basic 48-hour soak of ground up material, filter and process with a Source Turbo. The results, purged down to a thick, uneven liquid that was like mud. It didn’t look good but it sure smelled like great mushrooms so I figured something had to be in there and I tried some. After listening to all the naysayers I expected nothing to happen, but much to my surprise and enjoyment the comfort of the mushies settled over me and I had hope. Two things were obviously missing. First, the relative potency of the extract to the material used was very low, making it obvious that the process wasn’t very efficient. Second, and most importantly for me, there was no nausea or body load. I had my first data points, low potency with no adverse physical effects.
I’ve been pursuing this for a while now and there are still so many questions to answer but this is where the rest of the journey begins. This magic journal will discuss numerous extraction considerations, different approaches to processing, present the resulting extract, attempt to explain what can be learned from it, then work to improve. I’m not going to delve deep into the science because I don’t have the qualifications to do so and I don’t think it’s necessary. I’m simply trying to find the safest, easiest, most affordable way for individuals at home to harness the healing power of mushrooms with the cleanest and most enjoyable experience. So far I’ve had a couple incredibly positive healing results; one with a friend’s physical pain that I will share and one extremely personal one that I’ll share when I’m brave enough. In the end there will most likely be more questions than answers and it’s even entirely possible we find extraction simply isn’t worth the effort and expense. On the other hand, we might find something great so we’ll take this magical journey together and see where we end up. Stay lifted my friends, I’ll be back soon!
Figuring Out WHAT I’m Going to do TO GET STARTED
Once I established the “why” of what I’m doing I have to figure out “what” I’m actually going to do. As a reminder, the “why” is because I believe there’s great healing power in our fungi friends, I want to find a cleaner way of ingesting mushrooms without adverse discomfort, and the simple ethanol extraction did show a little promise. Now, what am I going to do? I don’t really know, but I’ll start with what I already “know.”
- Mushrooms have been used since our ancestors first came out of the trees so at least some benefits should be very easy to accomplish.
- Eating mushrooms whole is the oldest way of consumption.
- Eating mushrooms whole is the oldest way of consumption.
- Over time new consumption techniques appeared.
- Making tea
- Lemon tech
- Blue Honey
- Ingestion of mushroom plant material makes me ill.
- Straight alcohol extraction shows minor potential.
- Mushrooms are like some other botanicals that do better with a double extraction, meaning you perform both a water and alcohol extraction separately to collect as many of the available compounds as possible.
- Tolerance to magic mushrooms builds very quickly over just a few days of consumption but luckily returns to normal just as quickly without consuming.
- People all over are reporting great results mentally and physically with micro-dosing.
- Many people have a fear of mushrooms due to unfamiliarity or past bad experience.
- The primary target compound in magic mushrooms is psilocybin.
- There are a lot of very smart people that have been working on this same stuff at a much higher level for a long time.
Well, I don’t seem to know much and it doesn’t really give me much to go on does it? I’ll get started with baby steps:
- Try the different traditional consumption techniques with a consistent dose, using the same material I’ll be working with in extraction in order to be able to compare outcomes effectively.
- Search resources and information from those that have been working on this before me to identify,
- How the mushroom biology is actually structured.
- What compounds, both desirable and undesirable, I might be able to pick up and what might not be possible.
I’m going to get this stuff rolling and will be back with an update soon!
Experience From CONSUMING Raw Mushrooms Directly and LEMON TECH
The following is my experience and understanding of common experience of consuming both fresh or dried mushrooms directly or using Lemon Tech. It should go without saying that everyone is going to have different experiences due to differences in individual biology, consumed quantity, mushroom material, and mushroom preparation but I work to minimize the variance in my reporting. The first way I’m hoping to do that is to establish a baseline unit reference of 1 gram of the same material in ground up form. Any experience I attempt to describe and results will refer back to this common benchmark for comparison of effectiveness to other processing results going forward.
Some may think that 1 gram is not sufficient dosage but for my purposes it is more than enough. I’m looking at sustainable, regular use to achieve great medical benefit while maintaining mostly clear functionality. The target is to work on micro dosing for health and not as much recreation so the dosage I’ll be concentrating on is 1 g and less, often in increments of 0.1 grams. For those that just want to blast off, I think this is going to be just as applicable for that as well but outside of the scope of comment for my current focus.
Consuming the mushroom material or tea is essentially the same as the lemon tech, but with worse stomach discomfort and a little slower acting. Because the experience would be so similar I’m only going to include notes on what the 1 g of ground up Lemon Tech looks like for me.
Notes: Lemon Tech During Experience
Preparation: 1g dried material, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 30 min soak, drink/eat on empty stomach at 9:00 am
– start very minor feels
– begin to set in
– lift off, stomach discomfort coming.
– If I had food in stomach it wouldn’t be good .
– REALLY heavy body and head load, tired, not clear but functional.
1 hr 30 min
– some happy lift, mental side clearing but body load really heavy and falling asleep at 9:22 a.m.
1 hr 45 min
– catastrophic fatigue even after a good night’s sleep last night.
– super heavy.
– Not unpleasant, not “fun” but couch lock to tune out.
– Clear cognition, just tired.
– all good, just drag.
Next morning, nearly 24-hours later still feel like a slight hangover.
At my age and activity level experiences like that just aren’t worth the hassle and extended drag. What I call “drag” is the dragging heaviness of the whole experience that I don’t think adds any benefit for me. In fact, if that’s the only way mushrooms can provide a lift I wouldn’t be interested. Here’s the main problem. The experience is more like being clobbered than lifted, like heavy couch lock with a hangover. The best parallel I have is people who over decarb cannabis infusions or extractions and confuse the clobbering CBN kick to the back of the head as potency (yes, I know the possible benefits and some people like a CBN beatdown, but that’s a different conversation). What I am trying to get at is I think the heavy drag of consuming mushroom material directly actually enhances the perceived psychoactive influence. I understand that the body load is part of the psychoactive influence as well but I’m more interested in the positive mental shift and not the physical. I will go so far as to say that the drag actually counteracts the positive mental shifts because it causes lethargy that can lead to negative health and mental conditions. Fortunately, I’m confident there’s a way to address this and that’s why we’re here. By eliminating the debilitating drag, medicating and staying functional makes this medicine infinitely more feasible for me. Without eliminating the drag there is just no way I can use mushrooms and experience the incredible healing it provides. This is what I am chasing with this inquiry.
For the next entry. After a lot of reading and “research” I’m close to formulating a new set of “what I know” along with setting up the idea of how to move ahead with a process. In the next entry I’ll share what I’ve learned from those that have paved the way and share how to use that for my first proposed process. Stay tuned and stay lifted!
Adding to What I Know and Preparing For First Proposed Process
After spending a year casually snooping around, reading, discussing, conjecturing, and looking for answers I’ve found that there isn’t a whole lot of new information out there that we haven’t already known for a while. The high level chem guys have made a progress but that’s beyond my scope here where the focus is on what can be done by the home enthusiast to increase quality of health and lifestyle. With that goal in mind, here are a few things I learned that added to my very small set of mushroom knowledge and will be important going forward.
I came across a site called mycotopia.net that’s been working on developing mushroom knowledge for a while with an incredible breadth of shared experience and knowledge, hats off and thank you to everyone there! Here’s a pretty cool thread with all kinds of the science that’s fun to read through and see how the rabbit hole twists and turns https://mycotopia.net/topic/88626-ethanol-extract/.
Psilocybin was the only mushroom component I was familiar with but learned of two more: Psilocin and Baeocystin. It turns out Psilocin is important to my inquiry for two reasons. First, psilocin is actually the active compound that leads to the psychedelic activity associated with magic mushrooms, not psilocybin. It’s naturally present in mushrooms or after the dephosphorylation of psilocybin. This means my end focus is really psilocin and psilocybin is the pathway there. Second, while psilocybin solubility in ethanol is quite low, psilocin’s is much higher. I’m not going to rewrite what’s already been written about many times, but for more information on psilocybin, psilocin, and dephosphorylation this article by the Psychedelic Review in very good https://psychedelicreview.com/the-pharmacology-of-psilocybin-and-psilocin/.
Baeocystin was discovered quite a while ago but clues to how it actually functions were much less understood until quite recently. It appears to be as potent as psilocybin but degrades so fast that it doesn’t have time to have an effect on a person consuming mushrooms so at this point I’m not going to concern myself further with this component. More information on this is available in another great article by Psychedelic Review https://psychedelicreview.com/compound/baeocystin/.
The next thing I learned was an important aspect of the mushroom structure where the target compounds (Psilocybin, psilocin, baeocystin) exist. Unlike cannabis where the oil is on the outside of the plant and easy for solvents to collect from the trichomes, the target compounds in mushrooms are protected intracellularly as well as within a protective chitin encasement. This is only a minor complication but makes a difference in extraction method.
The last thing I learned is that there are no disclosed examples of ethanol extraction that address all fundamental considerations that would give ethanol extraction the best chance of success. While the chem guys really go after the advanced processing I haven’t seen one actually breakdown ethanol extraction in a meaningful way. Maybe it’s just a waste of time? On the other hand, there’s no shortage of less sophisticated attempts at ethanol extraction with various problems, results and feedback that confuse the topic completely. Even the “Basic Alcohol Extraction” section of the book “The Psilocybin Mushroom Bible” is incredibly bad.
My only real path forward is to start with a clean slate, using my ethanol extraction experience and applying what I have learned about mushrooms to examine if it can be done successfully by a home enthusiast or not. It may take a while to figure it out but it’s worth trying. I’m going to start from the beginning with what I know so far.
I know that due to the poor solubility of psilocybin in alcohol, straight extraction will have limitations, but now that we know psilocin does better in alcohol this could be a clue why some people have had better results than others? Each species has at least some natural psilocin ranging from negligible amounts to equal with the psilocybin component. A chart on page 8 of The Psilocybin Mushroom Bible credits the following breakdown of the components of these species to Paul Stamets (Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World: An Identification Guide, 1996, San Francisco: Ten Speed Press).
Azurescens 1.800% 0.400% 0.400%
Bohemica 1.400% 0.100% 0.025%
Semilanceata 1.000% 0.025% 0.400%
Baeocystis 0.900% 0.600% 0.100%
Cyanescens 0.900% 0.400% 0.025%
Tampanensis 0.700% 0.300% 0.000%
Cubensis 0.600% 0.600% 0.025%
Knowing psilocin is more soluble in alcohol than psilocybin, we have at least one clue to why people may have variance in success with ethanol extraction. I do know that even with the highest psilocin content species simple ethanol extraction on its own won’t deliver a concentrate even closely comparable to the potency of eating mushrooms directly or with lemon tech.
I have a good idea about what makes sense with how to do this but it’s going to take a couple tricks and will unfortunately require some expensive equipment for the first attempt. My idea is to throw everything at the first process, get a reference benchmark, then try to pull it back to a process that will be more achievable for everyone. The ideal extraction would achieve a number of things…….
1) accommodate the water solubility of psilocybin
2) shift as much psilocybin to psilocin as possible to increase ethanol solubility
3) degrade the chitin to extract contents
4) maintain viability of the target components
5) eliminate body load and adverse stomach issues
6) maximize overall potency transfer
7) increase potency per volume (for cooking, gummies, etc)
8) end product remains stable for long periods
9) increase the quality of our health and lifestyle
The elephant in the room (no I’m not tripping seeing elephants…) is, will the effort and cost of the extraction be worth it especially considering how easy it is to just consume mushrooms other very easy ways?
Before moving forward with new ideas about extraction we need to take a look at the original, simple and traditional form of mushroom extraction, making tea. In the next entry, let’s focus on simple water extraction like making mushroom tea and I’ll lay out my plan of attack for a possible process. We’ll make a lot more progress once we get past this foundation building. Stay lifted my friends.
Making Tea, The Traditional Water Extraction
We know that psilocybin is easily picked up by water and aside from eating raw mushrooms is probably the oldest form of magic mushroom consumption. If we’re going to consider extraction, this is the logical place to start and the best place to develop a comparative to ethanol extractions that I will look at.
Here’s what I expect a hot water tea extraction to look like. I’m again assuming 1 gram of the same ground material for comparative continuity for what we’ve already looked at and where we are going.
To make the tea: steep 1 g ground mushroom material for 30 min with green tea in about 150 ml of boiling water, filter through fine mesh and enjoy drinking tea normally while watching the Great British Baking Show.
What would then happen:
12 minutes to drink hot tea
20 min – edges softening
30 min – getting tired and falling asleep
40 min – setting in well
42 min – even on empty stomach it will be sketchy for me
55 min – depth perception shift
– pretty intense, not really bad body load but still there and heavy
1 hr – intensity is good and building, stomach not great, not really functional
1hr 20min – much less body load, but feel pretty borderline/not great.
1hr 45min – at this point the predominant part of the experience is just drag.
2hr – veil beginning to come off
2hr 10m – continues to normalize, going to eat something
2hr 30m – at this point eating is no problem. Still experience considerable drag
3:00 – all clear, no real lingering drag
Sleep well but definite (slight) hangover and lethargy
Making the tea is preferable to eating the mushroom material because it’s a cleaner feel with less body load and drag. I think even though it’s less body load, the hood of the body load and the distraction of the stomach issues makes it not so nice and it’s again hard to separate those from the nice/positive/“beneficial” parts. Do the probable healing benefits outweigh the negative? Probably. However, I’d be much less inclined to include it in my regular routine than something less intrusive.
Follow up later: 1) Is it possible very fine filtration removes very small particles that irritate the stomach? 2) Could a smaller micro-dose work well enough to shift without drag and stomach issues?
I’ll readdress those questions at a later time. This was a normal and traditional approach so with the data points it’s time to move on.
The First Ethanol Extraction Process Idea: Throwing Everything at it
– 14 g dry weight, ground.
– 180 ml distilled water.
– Shift pH of distilled water to around 3 with citric acid.
– Add ground up material to pH adjusted water.
– Hit with high power sonification/cavitation for around 5 minutes .
– Use 4 L of 200 proof ethanol and the azeotrope to absorb water: 180 ml is 4.5% of 4 L
to move 200-proof to 190-proof.
– Distill down to liquid volume of about 1ml = .25 g dry weight by volume.
IMPORTANT: There is no testing that would make it possible to speak in absolute potency measures so we have to speak comparatively of staring material weight and end product volume. For example, just above I said, “Distill down to liquid volume of about 1ml = .25 g dry weight by volume.” What I mean by this is that 1ml volume of the resulting end product carries the same weighting of approximately 0.25 g dry weight of the original material. I call this DRY WEIGHT EQUIVALENT (DWE). For example, if 14 g of dry weight were processed and the extraction was distilled down to 28 ml, then I would call 1ml a DWE of 0.5 g. Similarly, if I made 56 gummies with an extraction from 14 g of material I would say each gummy is 0.25 g DWE.
Results of 1g DWE
10 min feel things softening
20 min minor light shift
30 min coming but light and clear
1hr fully functional, feeling good!
– Peak around 90-min
– Gone in 2-hours.
– A little tired but no drag
– It’s enjoyable compared to consuming material or tea
– I believe the extract in DWE is pretty close to even 1ml to 1g but it’s hard to say. It’s difficult to separate and isolate just the positive and beneficial medicinal attributes and claim that they would be even to the experience of eating or making tea but removing the stomach, load, and drag issues. I would say that it is close but it’s going to take a lot of thinking and comparison to validate this even to myself.
Here’s a true short story about the FIRST time I tested an extraction like this. It was about 0.5 g DWE in ethanol tincture. I’m a golfer and live on a golf course. In the morning I played 9-holes that was so bad I was disgusted. I shot 48 and was actually quite lucky to break 50, a horrible round for me and I was quite dejected. Later that afternoon my neighbor shouted over the fence and asked if I wanted to play 9-holes at 3:00? At first I said no because I wanted to test a new mushroom extract. Then I thought, what the hell, I’ll test and play golf and see what happens. I played and was absolutely on fire. I could not miss a shot. I would stand over the ball, not tripping or messed up but fuzzy enough that it felt like if I swung hitting the ball was unlikely. Incredibly, even with the fuzzy feels every single shot was perfect, almost without trying. Long story short, after 6-holes I was 6-under par with a hole-in-one!!! It was nothing short of a golfing religious experience and reminded me of the priest in Caddyshack. A heavy thunderstorm stopped play after 6-holes and we finished up later. That experience was something so much different than sitting on the couch with the huge body load and stomach issues. THIS is what I’m after.
Strange things that can happen during processing:
– Drop out of waxy substance as distillation condenses
– Critic acid precipitates out later after setting
– Sugars crystallize later after setting
Problems with process:
– Sonification equipment is very expensive
– Using 4L of 200-proof only one time to be left with 190-proof at the end is expensive. The cost can be minimized because 190 can be used for other extractions, but a new bottle of 200-proof is necessary for every run.
– Because of the 4 L volume, larger equipment like the EtOH PRO is necessary. There’s a chance a normal distiller may work but I haven’t tried yet.
Considerations for improvement:
– Reduce alcohol content to increase potency per volume.
– Better citric acid precipitation process. It’s not that bad and not a deal breaker.
– Know what is actually falling out.
Questions to keep in mind and address:
-It’s way better than consuming 1g material but is it better than micro-dosing material?
-It’s way better than 1g in tea, but is it better than lower dry weight tea?
-Is it worth the effort?
Next comes the hard task of trying to compare apples to oranges while not making them into coconuts and somehow come to some kind of conclusion. It’s going to take a long time to sift through everything and I have no idea where this is going, where it will end, or if it will all just lead back to where we started. What I do know is that I have an incredible personal healing experience myself that even though sharing is unbelievably uncomfortable I think I have to in order to demonstrate why this journey is worth it. That’s coming up in the next entry.
My Personal Experience That Changed Me And Is Driving This Journey
This entry is exceptionally difficult and uncomfortable for me to share but the gravity of this experience I think is undeniable and can help many people. I don’t share this looking for advice nor sympathy, I’m very old-school and neither would be appreciated. This is what changed me and is driving me on this journey.
What many people know. I was involved in one of the most horrible parental alienation cases I’ve ever heard of. My ex-wife accused me of the most disgusting things a father can be accused of and caused me to be separated permanently from my two sons, Troy and Richard, who I loved tremendously. The courts, law enforcement, and child protective services quickly dismissed the allegations and found them completely uncredible and unsubstantiated which was inevitable because they were all complete lies. My sons ended up being removed from my ex-wife’s care and placed in foster care for 3-years because of her actions and mental abuse of the boys. All the while also blocking me from trying to get custody or even visit my son’s while in foster care. The whole story is so terrible and unbelievable it’s been very difficult for me for many years and to this day I haven’t seen my sons since they are about 9 and 5 years old. This part of the story I speak about freely and many people know from me sharing the story. I’ve even written a book about the entire thing that I may publish someday.
What only a some people know. This is where it becomes very difficult for me and very few people know about because I simply can’t talk about it. I always had the idea in my head that when my sons were older I would be able to reunite with them and share my story and my life with them. I grew up with parents that loved me and were always there for me, and it’s beyond comprehension for me to imagine the hole that not having me there for them would have made and the pain it would have caused. There was literally nothing I could do, the more I would push to be involved, the more amped up the child alienation efforts would increase by their mother and would only hurt them more. All I could do is wait. They were finally coming of age and my time was slowing nearing. In 2019 the boys were 24 and 21 and I was working through scenarios on how to approach them and had an investigator working on locating them, then my world imploded. I received notification that on 7/10/19 my oldest son had taken his own life. He left behind an 8-page handwritten letter detailing how abusive and destructive his mother had been and how he had no chance at happiness. I was probably the only one that could have saved him and I failed to be there for him.
What absolutely nobody knows. As a grown man with three beautiful young children and an amazing wife to provide for, while building and running a very complex high growth company, I didn’t have time to breakdown. I was raised, grew up, and I’ll always be old-school, it’s just how I am. It just wasn’t an option to talk about it. Besides not knowing what to say about Troy’s suicide, I was completely shattered and simply had no words. I still don’t. What nobody knows is that every single day for nearly 2-years when I was alone I’d be overcome and cry at least once a day usually more. It comes on unexpectedly while I’m working alone on the computer or when I’m in my car alone. This profound sadness was compounded by a constant barrage of very real suicidal tendencies. If it weren’t for the idea of leaving my beautiful children I probably would not have made it through. My days were made up of continuous thoughts of self-harm, uncontrollable sadness of loss, and crushing guilt of failing my son while trying to maintain a steady life.
Why this is important. I really didn’t want to share all of that, but I need people to understand the depth of where I was and what I was fighting out of. I don’t know how long it would have lasted or what the outcome would have been if it continued. What I do know is something amazing has happened. Something changed me. Remember the golf story I shared in the previous entry? That day was the first time I tested the mushroom ethanol extraction and the last day I’ve cried or thought about ending my own life. Even without regular use something has changed for the better and has freed me from what was nearly intolerable. I know seven people (all from the cannabis industry) that have taken their own lives since Covid began and I’m wondering if I would have been next without the mushrooms, or if they may have been saved with them? If mushrooms were only able to be consumed by eating them, lemon tech or with traditional tea I would have never found this for myself. The extraction experience has changed the world for me. I believe this work is life or death and I have to follow the journey and figure it out.
Micro Dosing Delivery Method Comparison
To begin, let’s think about what micro-dosing is. Micro-dosing is using just a small fraction of a gram of magic mushrooms to enjoy the beneficial mental health they offer without entering into the heavier psychedelics that come with larger doses. This is a pretty safe area for most people because the effects of the mushrooms are very subtle and while enjoying mostly normal cognition there is relaxation, re-tuning of negative thought processes, slight shift in light, mood enhancement, and a good night’s even if you micro-dose in the morning and don’t go to bed until a regular time. Just like the micro-dose is small, the perceivable changes at the time of medicating are also small, but it still results in big and noticeable long-term positive effects in a relatively short period. A typical micro dose is 0.01-0.25 g, while some people may go up to 0.5 g but the shifting and lifting can start crossing the line at that point. Keep in mind that all species and grows are going to have different potency and chemical makeup, so with every change in material with have to be a reevaluation of what micro-dose works best. Also, understand that micro-dosing isn’t recommended for every day due to the tolerance ramping. Tolerance builds very quickly, but it also self corrects very quickly with abstinence. I believe just a couple times a week is plenty, but it’s such a highly personal thing that people have to experiment with it to identify what works best.
A good starting point is 0.1 g since it is highly unlikely to be too strong. It’s best to test when it’s calm and quiet and focus can be given to the feel what’s happening. The changes and shifts at these levels are very slight and difficult to notice but important for you to experience so you can evaluate what level is comfortable and for comparison if the testing proceeds to 0.2 g and so on. Micro-dosing can be done by eating the dry material (preferably ground), making tea, lemon tek with ground material, or efficient extraction method gummies. I stress “efficient extraction” because the all in extraction method I mentioned previously seems to be the only one with comparable effects.
While I am not a fan of consuming the mushroom material in larger doses due to the stomach issues, intense load and drag, it’s not a concern at micro-dose levels. I would say, that up to 0.2 g for most species of moderate potency mushrooms eating material (recommend to grind), making tea, lemon tech, and making capsules are pretty equal in performance. I could split hairs, but they are so close I don’t think the minor differences matters. The lemon tech showed a small increase in intensity, but for micro-dosing it’s not really what we are after. Of these choices I think making capsules is my favorite even though it requires a little upfront effort to put them together they are easy to handle, store and use. Putting a micro-dose in a morning cup of tea, the most traditional way works just fine as well. The trajectory and effects of these consumption methods are very similar and look something like this if you pay close attention:
0 min – Consume
10 min – Maybe feel a tiny relaxation creep into the body if you are quiet and looking for it.
20 min (a little quicker with lemon tek) – Notice a minor shift in color and slightly lifted mood.
30-40 min (a little quicker with lemon tek) – More noticeable feelings of relaxation with a little heaviness/sleepiness also setting in.
60 min – Not really mentally compromised but you can notice a focus shift. A relaxed, better attitude, lifted focus shift.
90 min – Maybe just a little drag and heaviness.
2 hrs – Most all perceivable effects will disappear, but the positive effects will last for a long time.
That night – You will sleep well even if you micro-dose early in the day and sleep later that night.
I worked on these and paid acute attention to every minute of each example because it’s one of the main questions of whether extractions are useful or not for normal micro-dosing people. What I’m finding is that all of the micro-dosing consumption methods perform very closely but the extraction gummies definitely come through cleaner, quicker, and leave lighter. Having said that, is the marginal improvement in the micro-dosing worth the time and expense required for the extraction? I don’t think it’s necessary. I think it’s nice, but not necessary.
There is a very interesting user case I’m close with that kind of throws a wrench into what I just said. This person has a large portion of the upper portion of her jaw missing that is replaced with a prosthetic. My understanding from her description is it’s similar to phantom pain that people with missing limbs have. For 17-years she’s been on serious pain meds as well as cannabis but still suffers from constant and at times debilitating pain. Her doctor recommended giving mushrooms a try and we had a discussion. She tried the micro-dose gummies and within minutes she was nearly in tears as she was completely pain free for the first time she could remember in a very long time. It’s crazy how fast and how clear the relief came. She has since gone through and tried tea, lemon tek, and just the material itself to compare and nothing comes even close to the speed and relief she gets from the gummies. She swears by the gummies (i.e. extraction) and contends that the other consumption methods are not even close to the healing power of this extraction. For her, the time and expense of the extraction are undoubtedly worth it.
This stuff is so interesting and amazing.
Golden Mushroom Extract (GME) – You Can Do It!
It’s taken exactly 1-year to get to this place where I can confidently share an absolutely simple and basic approach to mushroom extraction. It took a long time because I began with the most complicated and effective process then worked backward into simple and basic applications to insure I wasn’t losing effectiveness with simplification. Also, getting feedback and comparing all the iterative results against all forms of traditional consumption was very time consuming. I’m very happy to finally report that even with the simplifications we can achieve the same high quality results.
I am so pleased with the results that I’m positive this could be used to create a lucrative venture in the rec market. However, I’m really sick of the money driven selfish world in which we live. I want everyone to have the benefits of improved health and lifestyle without getting fleeced at every turn. I hope this contribution makes a positive difference in people’s lives. I know it has mine.
I’m calling the process “GME” for “Golden Mushroom Extract,” pronounced “gim·me” like “gimme some of that golden deliciousness!” We needed something short to call it so we can identify the process like with QWET, FECO and RSO and that’s the best I could come up with that’s short, makes sense and easy to remember.
What To Expect
There are going to be people incredibly excited about this new approach to mushroom consumption and there will be vocal naysayers. We don’t have to fight about it. What’s best for one person might not be best for another. There’s no better or worse, they’re just different. To that end let’s clarify what this is NOT and what it IS.
This is NOT:
- A way to exactly replicate what it’s like to eat magic mushrooms.
- Meant to replace traditional mushroom consumption.
- A scientific analysis of compounds included, left out or alkaloid behavior.
- Based on any quantitative testing because there’s no testing available.
- A new approach to use the magic of the mushroom.
- Very similar to techniques that have been around for a while, just cleaned up a little.
- A way to make enjoying the health benefits of the mushrooms accessible to those that wouldn’t not be able to otherwise (like myself).
- A way to eliminate the negative effects of traditional mushroom consumption.
- A great way to medicate edibles.
How to Make the GME
- Grind dry material to fine powder.
- Load into jar or beaker.
- Cover well with lemon juice and mix well.
- Set jar in warm sonicating jewelry cleaner for 30-60 minutes.
- Combine with 190-proof ethanol.
- Soak overnight with periodic agitation.
- Strain and Filter with Buchner.
- Distill away ethanol.
- Remove water from semi-concentrate.
- Collect the extract.
- Using GME.
1. GRIND DRY MATERIAL
Completely dried material works best. Compounds we’re after are buried inside the plant material so getting at them is easier if the material is well ground. I use a simple electric spice grinder to do this. It’s very quick and easy.
One word of caution, you may want to wear a protective mask when doing this. There’s a lot of fine mushroom power that floats into the air when you open the grinder and it’s hard to avoid inhaling. I don’t think you want mushroom spores in your lungs so take care here. You can minimize the floating particles if you allow the contents of the grinder to settle for a few minutes before opening.
2. LOAD INTO JAR OR BEAKER
I use pint jars that hold up to around 60 grams of ground material and what’s needed in the next two steps. The fine powder will easily take to the air here as well so using a mask is recommended.
3. COVER WITH LEMON JUICE AND MIX WELL.
As a rough estimate, the juice of 1 large lemon is good for about 10 grams of ground material. I always buy more lemons than I need just in case. Squeeze the lemon juice into the material and mix until it is very well wetted and saturated.
I also tested with the premade lemon juice in the lemon shaped bottle and it worked. However, if you look at the list of ingredients it contains only 30% lemon juice and the rest is water and citric acid. It worked but I think the juice from real lemons made a stronger end product (emphasis on ‘I think’).
In earlier testing I used citric acid for dephosphorylation; the hypothetical idea that we can shift psilocybin to psilocin to increase the ability for faster bioavailability and ethanol solubility. It’s based on the widely used “lemon tek” process for consuming mushrooms. I’m not able to test and validate how well this works, but for our purposes I’ve worked with it enough to have some faith that we are on the right track. Instead of messing with citric acid and measuring PH levels, lemons are just simple to use since they are already at the target PH level we want. The added benefit of using lemon is the vitamin C appears to works as an antioxidant and aids in preventing oxidation.
4. SONICATE JAR FOR 30-60 MINUTES (this may be optional)
I’ve been using an inexpensive jewelry cleaner for adding agitation as the lemon dephosphorylates and breaks down the chitin. This step may be optional, I’m not completely sure yet. I’m using it because it stands to reason that it should work and comparatively the end product seems to be better…….maybe.
This was simplified from the high power sonication equipment I was using previously. It makes sense to me that if the stomach can break down and process the raw material relatively quickly then the high power sonication is probably overkill. Working backward into the cheap, low-power sonication does not seem to sacrifice quality. It might even be the case that the lemon juice is doing all the heavy lifting and sonication isn’t necessary at all, but I’m not there yet so I’ll leave it as optional.
5. COMBINE WITH 190-PROOF ETHANOL
Combine the material that has been steeping in lemon juice with 190-proof ethanol to at least triple the volume. For example, if the material and lemon juice is about 300 ml add enough ethanol so the total is around 900 ml or so. Ultimately, it has to be eyeballed so there’s a great abundance of extra ethanol washing around. A larger jar to accommodate the larger volume will probably be necessary. I normally use a pint jar for step 4 then transfer to a 2L jar for this step.
I was previously using 200-proof ethanol in crazy large volume to allow the ethanol to absorb the water component of the citric acid bath due to performance limitation for the ExtractCraft equipment I was using. Two things allowed me to fix that. First, using lemon cut down on the water volume necessary for dephosphorylation. Second, my DIY Vacuum Still was designed for this project to overcome the limitations of the other equipment and improve processing control. I’ll talk more about that in Step 9.
6. SOAK OVERNIGHT
It’s hard to say I have the optimal soak time nailed down because I’m only working with very limited anecdotal comparison and very limited feedback. So far there doesn’t seem to be a difference between soaking overnight or 1-week. This may change as more people experiment but at this point I believe overnight is plenty. If for some reason you need to leave it soaking longer I haven’t seen anything that indicates it will cause problems.
7. STRAIN AND FILTER WITH BUCHNER
The ground up material contains very small particles that will clog up a filter very quickly. To make this process flow most easily I suggest three steps.
First, do a quick rough strain into a bowl (important: use something that’s easy to pour out of and won’t spill) with metal or nylon mesh of about 25u-40u to remove the bulk of material.
Second, do a Buchner filtration with fast filters (about 20u). Lastly, Buchner filtration with a slow filter (3u).
This well filtered, predominantly ethanol liquid gold is called the “wash.”
You can get away without winterizing if you don’t have time or just don’t want to. I prefer the more uniformed end product when winterized. What falls out during winterization is partly active so getting creative and consuming it separately can provide a little lift, though unpredictable and inconsistent.
If you’re not familiar with winterization I have a post on cannabis concentrate winterization you can checkout, it’s the same process. First, put the filtered wash in a jar and place into the freezer for 24-hours (48-hours for cannabis) without touching or disturbing. For mushrooms, the coagulated contents will fallout and collect on the bottom of the jar. Second, remove from freezer and filter through Buchner with a slow filter. This is going to clog up very quickly so only run a small amounts at a time and swap with a new filter as often as necessary. Do not dump the entire thing into the Buchner funnel at once, it will completely clog. Third, inspect to make sure you have a beautiful and very clean wash ready for removing the ethanol.
9. DISTILL AWAY ETHANOL
This is the step where the wash metamorphosizes into a beautiful concentrate by removing the ethanol content and concentrating all other components of the wash.
For those without extraction experience this is the only part that will required some studying. It’s really not that difficult, you just have to dive in and get over the learning curve. I have a blog post Ethanol Extraction: Complete Breakdown that can be used as an introduction. For our purposes with mushrooms, the ‘Strain & Filter’ and ‘Distill Ethanol Away’ sections are the most applicable. Then, the DIY Vacuum Still posts will help with putting together your own system.
ExtractCraft equipment probably won’t work for our purposes due to the increased water content in the wash, but other old school methods might. I haven’t tested these but in a pinch you can try a rice cooker or water distiller to evaporate off the majority of the ethanol. Just make sure that you are aware of ALL dangers of working with highly flammable ethanol and it’s evaporated vapors and anyone using these techniques does so at their own risk.
The majority of the wash will evaporate in the vacuum still pretty easily. As the wash becomes more concentrated toward the end it may slow down or stop boiling and evaporating due to the water content. You’ll have to slightly increase vacuum and/or temp to keep moving toward the end. The final liquid will have a large water component which will be difficult to evaporate off so we stop the process when the wash is still in a liquid state. It’s possible to take it all the way to the concentrate but it’s not my preferred method because it concentrates very tightly on the sides of the loading vessel.
When the wash has reduced almost all the way it’s time to stop the process. Before pouring out the contents of the loading vessel use a silicone spatula to rub the remaining liquid around the wall of the loading vessel to collect whatever may have concentrated on the walls. Pour the contents into an appropriate containment for the next step of removing the water.
10. REMOVING WATER FROM SEMI-CONCENTRATE
By the time the process is stopped in Step 9 most of the ethanol is gone and what’s remaining is a liquid composed of some residual ethanol, a lot of water and the mushroom extract in a semi-concentrated state. Now we want to get rid of as much of the residual ethanol and water as possible. So far I’ve been most happy with putting the contents silicone mat boat and placing that on a heated pad around 100°F with a fan blowing over it overnight.
There will be uneven areas of concentrating. Splotchiness is expected because some parts condense faster than others. In the end this should all even out. If you’d like you can stir it up to even it out. The more condensed parts should easily incorporate back into the liquid.
11. COLLECT THE EXTRACT
How far you allow the extract to concentrate is up to you and what’s best for your purposes. Collecting off the mat is pretty easy to do with a silicone spatula.
12. USING GME
The end product is suitable only for oral consumption and will taste of lemon and mushrooms. Some people will love it and some won’t. It can be consumed as is or mixed into almost any edible form, you want to experiment with. It’s surprisingly easy to work with.
Typically, mushrooms are recommended to be consumed on an empty stomach so whatever the concentrate is combined with should also be light and easy. I’ve stuck with gummies to have a very tight frame of comparative reference for effects and outcomes while working with the process but I’m excited to see what other ways people put this to use.
I’ve not been able to establish the shelf life or how long the concentrate is viable for but I would recommend using it as soon as possible. I’ve frozen gummies that kept well with no apparent degradation for 6 months. Without freezing I suspect (but don’t know for sure) the extract will go bad pretty quickly.
Update (8/2/22) on storage: it seems at room temp the potency degrades substantially in just 2-3 days. This flags an obvious question of, how much degradation is happening during the drying process? Maybe getting cold asap will prove to be more potent? Higher potency or not, to conserve potency cold storage appears to be important. If it can improve potency by getting cold quicker that would be great information. I’m working on that now, stand by.
(updated from Entry 6)
IMPORTANT: There’s no testing that would make it possible to speak in absolute potency measures so we have to speak comparatively of starting material weight to end product volume. I call this DRY WEIGHT EQUIVALENT (DWE). For example, if 14 g of dry weight were processed and the extraction was distilled down to 28 ml, then I would call 1ml a DWE of 0.5 g. Similarly, if I made 56 gummies with an extraction from 14 g of material I would say each gummy is 0.25 g DWE.
Results of 1g DWE (updated for this method)
10 min – Feel things softening.
20 min – Minor light shift.
30 min – Coming but light and clear.
1 hr – Shifted, mostly functional, feeling good!
1.5-2hr – Peak.
3-4 hr – Recognizable affects mostly subsided.
No real residual drag and continue rest of the day unhindered.
Very enjoyable compared to consuming material any other way for me.
I’m incredibly excited to see how this all works out and what people think of it. I’m sure we’re going to learn things along the way that change so this should not be considered the ultimate guide but a starting point…….
Very importantly, remember a few things. 1) This is all fiction and no real material was ever used. 2) This is for educational and entertainment purposes only. 3) Anyone that does attempt anything in this article or anything else I have written about about does so at their own risk.
If you have any questions please post them in our FB Group “IchiBan’s Extraction Lounge.”
As always STAY LIFTED MY FRIENDS!!!!