by Troy Ivan (IchiBanCrafter)

Stories about the great healing power of psychedelic mushrooms (shrooms) are everywhere these days for good reason; the stories are true and improving countless lives every day.  I was introduced to shrooms many moons ago in high school, but my profound journey didn’t start until a few years ago.  That initial part of my journey is well documented in my Magic Journal post where I was focused on chasing down a reliable extraction technique that regular people could perform at home.  I succeeded in making an extract with great characteristics and effects, but the stability and potency retention were not ideal.

My motivation for developing a reliable extraction method came from the discovery that the extract eliminated the stomach discomfort and nausea I suffered from every time I used mushrooms in any form.  The stomach discomfort was a severe problem for me using mushrooms. I believe many people who suffer the same would rather forgo consuming the shrooms for the medicinal and mental health benefits to avoid intense nausea.  The incredible health benefits can reach more people if stomach discomfort can be eliminated.  This was my mission.

Once I had the extract process down, I was ecstatic about the performance of the end product, but it was a lot of work for something that wasn’t stable enough to be stored for extended periods.  Throughout human history, we have consumed shrooms simply by eating them or making tea and many people don’t suffer from stomach discomfort at all.  It felt like there should be an easier answer, maybe there was a better way with less hassle?  I wanted to get to the easier way if there was one, but at the same time, I was concerned that people reading my Magic Journal would end up investing in equipment and waste valuable material working on the extraction advice I’d given without having the full story of what else I was searching for.  So, in the interim, I took down the Magic Journal post while I looked for the answers and tried to figure it out myself with firsthand experience.


Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remembered reading that freezing can cause cellular disruption that breaks up chitin and makes it easier to digest, thus reducing the risk of stomach discomfort.  I wanted to chase this freezing lead down since chitin has been the main suspect in causing my stomach discomfort (it may not be, we don’t know for sure).  The big problem is you can’t freeze mushrooms and thaw them regularly because they immediately turn black and rot right in front of your eyes as they defrost.  It appeared that the only way to freeze mushrooms without ruining them was through freeze-drying them.  I couldn’t find any credibly documented information on what I wanted to know, so I waited and continued to search for answers. For about a year, I looked for a way to test this for myself without spending thousands of dollars on something that was merely a hunch I didn’t believe would work.  In a twist of fate, while working with someone on a different business venture, they happened to have a few freeze dryers they weren’t using and offered to let me borrow one.

I got straight to work.  The great thing about the freeze dryer is it’s straightforward to use and is hands-off for the whole process.  Just push a button to start the process, then collect the finished product 24-36 hours later.  Skeptical that my hopes would be realized, I loaded the machine with a few strains and pushed the button to start the process.  If it didn’t work, it was fun to try something new.  The load took about 30 hours because of the summer heat, and I was prepared for the worst, but when I pulled out the finished product, they were glorious. 

They looked fresh, almost exactly like they did when I loaded them into the machine but they were dry and just a fraction of the weight.  The aesthetics were amazing, but what I wanted to know was how the effects of consuming them contrasted with regularly dried shrooms.


To give myself the best chance of experiencing stomach irritation and nausea I chewed about 1 gram of the dried material as is, swallowed it, and waited for the moment of truth.  How long would it take to start feeling ill?  I waited.  I could feel the effects creeping into my consciousness and waited for the sick feeling to set in.  It never came, I didn’t feel even a hint of nausea!!!  I was shocked and finally knew firsthand the effects of freeze-drying shrooms.  Eliminating nausea was incredible but I was blindsided by another benefit I had no reason to anticipate.  There was an obvious and very identifiable absence of body load, or as I like to call it “drag.”  Eliminating body load and drag is great for two reasons.  First, by getting rid of the weighted down feeling the high is more enjoyable.  Second, there’s no heavy lethargic come-down at the end, it fades away more agreeably.  In addition to getting rid of nausea and body load, I feel the onset was quite fast.  It makes sense that you would feel the effects faster if the chitin was destroyed and more of the active compounds were saved with freeze-drying. 

It blows my mind that the major benefits of my extract, no nausea, no body load, and fast onset, are all consistent with what I found with freeze drying.  I can’t explain why the freeze-dried shrooms are so different from the regularly dehydrated/dried shrooms, so there’s more work to do.  Someone out there probably already has the answers, but if they don’t tell me, we’ll figure it out eventually.  To this point, I’ve only dosed up to 2 grams of freeze-dried APE, so more testing and heavy dosing will be happening soon with more people to validate the experiences, but I don’t anticipate much will change.


To put numbers alongside the anecdotal effects observations, we had side-by-side analytical lab testing done. Two samples were prepared from the same grow and harvest; one was dehydrated traditionally, and another was freeze-dried. The testing was an extended tryptamine panel performed with HPLC-DAD. The difference in results was quite stark. Traditional dehydration measured total analyzed actives at 0.975% while the freeze-dried sample was 1.357%, an increase of active compound retention of nearly 40%!


The big question is, what does this mean for the extract?  Freeze-drying is a much easier process than making the extraction and it provides the same two very important characteristics as the extraction, no stomach issues and no body load. This makes freeze-drying extremely attractive. On the other hand, there are still advantages to the extract as well.  There’s no solid plant matter in the extract so it’s much easier to consume or incorporate into edibles like gummies and chocolates than the fluffy texture of ground-up freeze-dried mushrooms.  Also, the high is much shorter so it works well for times when you need a predictable duration of intoxication.  I think there’s a place in the market for extracts and freeze-dried products, both of which are quite superior.


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