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Buying Shroom Spores: Legality, Types & Cost



So you’ve just come out of your most recent mushroom trip with a newfound outlook and purpose in life. However, obtaining more mushrooms to keep the good vibes going with a microdose regimen or occasional cup of mushroom tea is proving to be a hassle.

Your friend of a friend is just too unreliable, while the guy you got some caps and stems from at the Phish show is long gone. Or maybe you just can’t afford to keep buying shrooms for however much they cost in your area.

If you’re ready to take the next step toward fulfilling your interest in magic mushrooms and decide to grow your own, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a breakdown of the very first step in growing your own mushrooms—obtaining spores.

What are psychedelic mushroom spores?

Just as all plants start from seeds, mushrooms begin as spores. Spores contain the genetic material required to create various subspecies of mushrooms.

We aren’t talking about run-of-the-mill shiitake spores for making mushroom bisque soup here—we’re discussing psilocybe cubensis spores, the most common cultivated psychedelic mushroom. Spores for other types of psilocybin mushrooms, like psilocybe cyanescens and others, can also be obtained. For the sake of an easy learning curve, let’s begin with cubensis.

Once a medium is inoculated with spores, or introduced and absorbed into the host substrate or medium, a network of stringy white branching filaments called the mycelium will form.

The mycelium grows best within substrates like brown rice flour, coco coir, manure or other enriched mediums. Once entirely colonized by mycelium in a healthy white concentration, the substrate is then incubated with proper temperature, humidity, and light, to allow mushrooms to start growing, or fruiting.


How to grow psychedelic mushrooms for the first time

What is a spore print?

Spores develop in the gills of a mushroom and shoot out or fall from a fully mature mushroom that has already fruited. Cultivators can make spore prints from the gills of fresh mushrooms by placing a sheet of plastic, paper, or foil beneath the mushroom cap. Over the course of several hours the residue that constitutes the spore print should be visible.

Prints can then be scraped for powder and put into a spore syringe.

What are spore syringes?

Spore prints are placed in spore syringes to best deliver them into a substrate to achieve their main goals—colonization and germination. These syringes consist of sterilized water and spores of a particular mushroom species. Vendors produce these spore solutions and syringes in a sterilized lab to eliminate any possible contamination.

Syringe sizes are typically 10cc (or 10mL). An average of 2-4cc of spore solution is usually necessary to achieve proper colonization. It’s recommended to not exceed the typical injection amount of 2-4cc, in order to reduce excess moisture within substrate containers, which could lead to irreversible mold formation. Any spore solution left over can be used for additional substrates if properly stored and sterilized.

Spore vendors will also ship a sterile needle attachment that can be affixed to a syringe to introduce or inoculate the spores directly into the substrate. Even though these needles are shipped sterile, as with most mushroom cultivation practices, always re-sterilize them before use.

Possession of psilocybin is illegal in the US. Psilocybin is not present in spores themselves, but it will develop later as the mushroom grows. Because of this, there is a haziness in the legality of shipping and possessing spores that will turn into psychedelic mushrooms.

Spore vendors will typically ship to 47 out of 50 US states—California, Idaho, and Georgia currently have bans in place that restrict the sale of spores, even though they don’t actually contain psilocybin. Be sure to check your state’s specific laws.

Trusted vendors often sell spores only for educational purposes, and often do not sell cultures to customers under 18.


Where are psychedelics legal or decriminalized in the US?

How and where to buy magic mushroom spores

Web forums like have numerous comment threads from a worldwide community of mushroom growers. We can’t vouch for any company personally, but we do recommend doing research—the most reputable companies have sustained their businesses for a number of years with proven procedures, trusted products, and strong customer service. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a specific vendor with an email or phone call should you have any questions or concerns.

How much do shroom spore syringes cost?

Expect to pay somewhere between $18-25 per spore syringe, not including shipping costs. Many vendors offer bundle discounts for multiple syringes of the same subspecies or offer mix-and-match options for those seeking a wide variety of subspecies to grow.

Spore syringes can easily be purchased online from a trusted vendor via credit or debit card. Some vendors accept digital payments through Cashapp, Applepay, and Bitcoin for discreteness, while others are more old school in their payment procedures and require a phone call or cash (yep, CASH) to place orders.

How are spore syringes packaged and shipped?

Spore syringes are usually mailed domestically via USPS or carriers like UPS, in plastic ziplock bags, and inside plain cardboard boxes.

Most spore vendors operate under common sense principles—this means no identifiable info will be visible that indicates what the package contains. Many spore companies also use alternate shipping names for themselves on the label for an added measure of anonymity.

Check your local laws before ordering, and be sure to confirm discretionary shipping practices and the contents of the package with your vendor.


How to forage for magic mushrooms

How do I store spore syringes?

Keep spore syringes in the refrigerator until ready to use, especially if you choose not to inoculate immediately, or if you have some spores left over from an inoculation. They should remain in a clean and sterile Ziplock bag in the fridge so they can remain viable for the longest amount of time. This practice keeps syringes away from airborne contaminants and any changes in humidity that might affect spores.

There is some back-and-forth as to how long properly stored and clean spore syringes can still be successfully used. Some mycologists believe any spores kept after six months are going to degrade. Others claim to have successfully germinated shrooms with spores several years to several decades old! It’s all about how many mushrooms you plan to grow at once, sterilization and storage methods, and quality of spore genetics involved.

However, the best way to optimize your purchase is to inoculate sooner than later, ideally within six months.

What subspecies of mushrooms should I grow?

With an ideal temperature and humidity, and a sterile environment, many subspecies of psychedelic mushrooms will practically grow themselves.

For a safe bet, start with a cubensis subspecies like B+, Golden Teachers, Penis Envy, Ecuadorian, Amazonian, or Cambodian spores. All of these grow easily and aggressively, both the mycelium in the substrate, and the fruiting bodies. These subspecies are often more forgiving of minor changes in temperature, humidity, and habitat.

Can I make my own spore syringes?

Many experienced cultivators make their own spore prints and syringes. However, if you are new to mushroom cultivation, we recommend that you first master the basics of the mushroom growing process. Once you’ve got the whole process down and have checked your local laws, take it to the next phase by making your own prints and syringes.

The spore print process—much like mushroom cultivation in general—relies heavily on successful sterilization procedures.

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Can lemon-smelling weed cause less anxiety than others?




Top study takeaways:

  • Ever eat mangos to help you get higher? Maybe pound some lemonade to prevent anxiety
  • Test subjects who vaped lots of the terpene limonene with their weed reported lower anxiety in a small study

Leafly Ph.D Nick Jikomes dissects the hype new study on the smell molecule limonene below. Report your findings in the comments section.

The “entourage effect” is the idea that the psychoactive effects of cannabis result from a combination of different plant molecules. The idea is widely used in the cannabis industry to help explain the distinct effects that cannabis strains are reported to have–each one contains a different combination of THC, terpenes, and other compounds. These claims have been largely theoretical, with limited empirical evidence to show that specific combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes reliably induce measurably different effects in humans.

A new study, however, investigates whether the common cannabis terpene limonene, when consumed together with THC, results in different effects compared to THC on its own.

A bit of limonene is in many weed varieties

Limonene is one of the most abundant terpenes found in commercial cannabis. Cannabis strains with the highest limonene levels typically contain between 1 to 3% limonene by weight. Commercial THC-dominant cannabis flower today often has THC content in the 20-25% range, meaning that the most limonene-rich strains will have a roughly 20:1 ratio of THC to limonene. 

Limonene is found naturally in many citrus fruits. On its own, it has a pleasant, citrus aroma. A limited number of animal studies have observed anti-anxiety effects in rodents given limonene. Similar observations have been made in human studies, although they had small sample sizes or lacked important controls. Given that anxiety is a common side effect of THC—especially when relatively large doses are consumed—it has been hypothesized that limonene may be able to mitigate these effects. If true, this would suggest the possibility that THC-dominant strains high in limonene might be less likely to elicit anxiety than those with lower limonene content. 

Vaping limonene and THC—for science!

A robust terpene profile in weed adds to the flavour and overall experience. (MysteryShot/Adobe Stock)
(MysteryShot/Adobe Stock)

In this new study, researchers at Johns Hopkins administered different combinations of THC, limonene, and a placebo of distilled water to twenty human subjects in a double-blind trial. Each person participated in several separate vape sessions where they received one of the following:

  • Limonene alone (1mg or 5mg)
  • THC alone (15 mg or 30 mg)
  • THC + limonene together (15 or 30 mg THC + 1 mg limonene)
  • THC + limonene together (15 or 30 mg THC + 5 mg limonene)
  • THC + limonene together (30 mg THC + 15 mg limonene)
  • Placebo (distilled water)

The subjects were healthy adults who used cannabis intermittently. A hand-held Might Medic vaporizer (made by Storz and Bickel) was used for administration. Subjects consumed 15 and 30 mg doses of THC because, based on previous research, those doses often trigger small (15 mg THC) to moderate/large (30 mg THC) psychoactive effects, with the larger dose expected to trigger more side effects like anxiety. Researchers assessed participants using standardized questionnaires. One of these, the “Drug Effect Questionnaire,” asks subjects to rate various subjective drug effects on a 0-100 scale. Another, the “State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-S),” assessed their anxiety/distress levels before and after drug administration. Researchers also tracked heart rate, blood pressure, and plasma levels of THC and limonene. (For more details on the study methods, including the standardized procedures, check out the paper itself.)

What did they find? Did the presence of limonene affect the subjective effects of THC, or reduce side effects like anxiety and paranoia?

Three limonene-dominant hype strains

A photo of Connected Gelonade — Lemon Tree and Gelato. (David Downs/Leafly)
Gelonade. (David Downs/Leafly)

And the results come in

I recently spoke with the lead author of the study, Dr. Ryan Vandrey of Johns Hopkins University, about how his team designed the study and built in important controls. For one: test subjects received the real deal molecules, not some burned-up version.

“We made sure that when we heated it at this temperature, this device, we didn’t convert these things into something else,” Dr. Vandrey explained. “So we were very careful to get our dosing methods secure, and to work with this. We opted for inhalation and vaporization in particular, so we know that our doses are being delivered fully and completely.”

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Consumption of THC went as planned. The control placebo containing 0 mg THC did not cause substantial subjective effects, anxiety or paranoia, or changes in heart rate. Consumption of 15 or 30 mg of THC did trigger these changes, with the higher dose producing larger effects on average.

“We picked two doses of THC, 15 milligrams and 30 milligrams, which to the occasional cannabis user will get people moderately high at pretty dang high,”

Dr. Ryan Vandrey, Johns Hopkins University


How to order weed delivery online with Leafly

But did consumption of limonene together with THC lead to different effects compared to the same dose of THC alone? Yes—if you’re limonene-maxing.

When limonene was administered alone, without THC, its effects did not differ compared to the placebo.

But with co-administration of THC and limonene, however, the team saw differences compared to THC alone, but only at the highest dose of limonene (15 mg).

Compared to 30 mg of THC alone, consumption of 30 mg THC + 15 mg limonene resulted in lower subjective ratings for “anxious,” “paranoid,” and “unpleasant drug effect.”

Subjective ratings of “anxious” and “paranoid” were less than half of those seen with 0 mg limonene.

Subjective ratings of “anxious” and “paranoid” were less than half of those seen with 0 mg limonene.

Although the result was statistically significant at the highest limonene dose (20 mg), the sample size (n=20) was small and it’s not clear if most subjects saw this effect, or a small minority experienced large differences.

The presence of limonene did not influence physiological measures like heart rate, nor did it lead to differences in the intensity of THC’s subjective effects or blood levels of THC.

“That’s important… because it suggests that limonene isn’t somehow interfering with THC absorption. It’s not somehow changing the pharmacology. It’s not blocking THC’s ability to bind to the cannabinoid receptor,” Dr. Vandrey told me.

Did test subjects detect any lemon?


Because limonene has a taste, smell, and influences vapor quality, blinding may have been an issue, especially at higher doses of limonene.

Put another way, if subjects could taste or smell this terpene, or noticed that the vapor felt different, it could have colored their experience.

According to Dr. Vandrey, however, the team’s drug delivery design minimized the subjects’ ability to discern what they were consuming via taste or sight.

“We did everything to maintain the blind in this study,” he said. “The drugs were sealed inside of the vaporizer, but they couldn’t see it, they couldn’t smell it or anything like that.”

Weed’s entourage effects remain hard to pin down

While the results of Vandrey’s study proved statistically significant, the size of the effect was quite modest. Co-administering THC with 15 mg of limonene resulted in decreases of anxiety, but not 1 mg or 5 mg of limonene.

It’s important to note a key caveat: Subjects were not consuming whole-plant cannabis products like those we can buy in dispensaries. They were only consuming specific combinations of THC and/or limonene.

The modest effects they saw were only seen with 30 mg of THC with 15 mg limonene, which is a 2:1 THC:limonene ratio. This is not a combination found in commercial cannabis flower. Expect a roughly 20:1 THC:limonene ratio for even the most limonene-rich strains.

Taken at face value, the results of the Johns Hopkins study indicates maxing out on limonene may reduce The Fear.

However, they do not demonstrate that limonene-rich, THC-dominant cannabis purchased from a dispensary contains enough limonene to accomplish the same goal.

If limonene or other cannabis terpenes can indeed reliably modulate the effects of THC in commercially-available cannabis products, future research will have to focus on them. Such products contain more complex mixtures of THC and a variety of terpenes and other molecules, many of which are present at low levels. Does the “entourage effect” really explain all the effects of weed? Researchers will need to carefully measure the effects of real-world stuff to know for sure.

For more detail on this study, listen to my full conversation with Dr. Ryan Vandrey. Mind & Matter is a science column by Nick Jikomes, PhD focuses on how psychoactive drugs influence the mind & body. It is inspired by the long-form science podcast, Mind & Matter.

What do limonene strains do to you? Sound off in the comments below.

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“A big deal”: What the feds’ move to reclassify marijuana means for Colorado cannabis




Cannabis advocates in Colorado cheered the Biden Administration’s reported move to reclassify marijuana and said the decision likely would reduce businesses’ tax burden significantly.

Industry leaders cautioned that such a move — if finalized — would not resolve some major challenges facing the industry, such as limited access to banking. But they pointed to the symbolic importance of preparations by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to downgrade the substance’s drug classification.

A man pours cannabis into rolling papers as he prepares to roll a joint the Mile High 420 Festival in Civic Center Park in Denver, April 20, 2024. (Photo by Kevin Mohatt/Special to The Denver Post)

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Study: Cannabis can make workouts more fun, but it’s no performance-enhancer




The study of 42 runners, published Dec. 26 in the journal Sports Medicine, comes almost exactly 10 years after Colorado became the first state to commence legal sales of recreational marijuana, at a time when cannabis-users increasingly report mixing it with workouts. “The bottom-line finding is that cannabis before exercise seems to increase positive mood and enjoyment during exercise, whether you use THC or CBD. But THC products specifically may make exercise feel more effortful,” said first author Laurel Gibson, a research fellow with CU’s Center for Health and Addiction: Neuroscience, Genes and Environment (CU Change).

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