Penis envy is one of the most infamous Psilocybe cubensis varieties around. These phallic fungi are shrouded in mystery and misinformation and renowned for their potency as much as their appearance.
In this article, we reveal the truth about these mushrooms’ origins and how they differ from other cubensis strains. We will also discuss dosage, legality, and cultivation.
Penis Envy Magic Mushrooms
When it comes to magic mushrooms, penis envy really stands out from the crowd. These fungi are named for their thick stems and small caps that have more than a passing resemblance to male genitalia.
They are one of the best-known and most popular cubensis varieties, not just because of their novelty value but also due to their extreme potency. Because they are stronger than most other strains, far lower doses are required to feel penis envy mushrooms’ effects.
Let’s dive deeper and find out what makes penis envy so special and why they are a favorite among psilocybin enthusiasts worldwide.
What Are Penis Envy Mushrooms?
Penis envy is a variety or “strain” of the magic mushroom species Psilocybe cubensis. There are many different cubensis strains, although there is some dispute within the mycology community regarding how much they vary.
While some types tend to grow larger or more vigorously than others, many argue that “a cube is a cube,” and there is not much difference between them.
But penis envy is unique both in terms of its appearance and potency. It is the result of years of selective breeding and, in evolutionary terms, shouldn’t exist at all. We will explore penis envy’s intriguing backstory later, but first, let’s look at the basics.
What Do Penis Envy Mushrooms Look Like?
As their name suggests, fully developed penis envy mushrooms have a phallic appearance with dense, thick stems and small caps. In fact, the caps rarely grow much wider than the stems and often adhere to them rather than opening fully.
Their caps are paler than other cubensis varieties, and these mushrooms readily bruise blue when handled. This bluing reaction indicates that these mushrooms have a high psilocybin content and are stronger than average.
So, what do penis envy mushrooms look like while growing?
Like other mushrooms, they first form primordia which appear as small raised sections of mycelium. These primordia will develop into pins, tiny mushrooms that will (hopefully) continue to grow until harvest time. However, penis envy is known for being slower to pin than other varieties, so patience is required.
It is also well-known that penis envy can sometimes form “blobs” rather than pins, especially during the first flush. This feature is due to their unusual genetics and is nothing to worry about. Although they are not as attractive as the fully formed mushrooms in all their glory, these blobs can be harvested and are usually quite potent.
Penis Envy Mushrooms Varieties
There are several penis envy varieties, including:
- Albino penis envy (APE): A cross between penis envy and another cubensis strain (likely either PF albino or albino A+). They are smaller than regular penis envy mushrooms and harder to grow.
- Albino penis envy revert (APER): A mutant sub-strain of APE. They have a more typical mushroom-like appearance but retain the high potency of standard penis envy.
- Penis envy uncut: Another albino cross, these are considered the most potent form of penis envy. They have slightly darker caps that stick to the stems, meaning that spores must be collected using a swab rather than a print.
- Penis envy #6: A cross between penis envy and a Texan cubensis strain. It is known for producing more spores than other penis envy varieties.
- Trans envy: A cross between penis envy and the South African Transkei strain. They have more open caps than regular penis envy but retain the thick stems and high potency that made these mushrooms famous.
Penis Envy Mushrooms Potency
We have mentioned potency several times, so by now, you may be wondering, “exactly how strong are penis envy mushrooms?” Estimates vary, but most sources suggest they are at least 50% more powerful than other cubensis varieties.
However, lab tests are not routinely carried out on these mushrooms, so their actual psilocybin content is unclear. Furthermore, mushrooms are a natural product; each one will contain a slightly different amount of the psychedelic compound.
That said, a 2021 review suggests that 1g of mushrooms generally contains around 10mg of psilocybin. At 50% stronger, penis envy mushrooms could contain as much as 15mg per gram.
Therefore, penis envy mushrooms’ dosage can be reduced by one-third compared to other cubensis strains.
For reference, most research studies use psilocybin doses of 20-30mg, which is considered moderate to strong.
Penis Envy Effects
Expect a trip that is visually stimulating and euphoric in nature. Many people report experiencing synesthesia and increased introspection. These effects usually last between four and five hours in total.
Of course, as with all mushrooms, some people may become anxious or frightened. Therefore, it is essential to prepare adequately for the trip, find a safe and comfortable setting, and consume an appropriate dosage for one’s experience level.
We recommend enlisting a trained guide or therapist to offer support throughout the trip wherever possible.
The Enigmatic History of Penis Envy Mushrooms
Penis envy does not grow naturally and is, in fact, genetically maladapted for survival. So how did it become one of the most famous mushrooms on the planet?
There are two different stories about how penis envy magic mushrooms came to exist. One is more sensational than the other and has probably added to the mystique of these fungi over the years. However, it is also probably untrue.
In 2009, journalist Hamilton Morris wrote an article for Vice titled “A Nice, Thick, Uncut 12-Inch Shroom.” In it, he describes how penis envy originated from spores Terence McKenna sent back from his Amazonian expedition in the 1970s.
As the story goes, he sent the spores to a mycologist colleague, Steven Hayden Pollock, who cultivated the strain over several years. Pollock allegedly selected fruits with thick stems and pale caps until he reliably reproduced these characteristics. Eventually, he created the first-ever “penis mushroom.”
In 1981, Pollock was murdered. His office was ransacked, and he was shot point-blank in the head. According to Morris’ account, a large, penis-shaped mushroom was found lying beside his corpse. The police confiscated and destroyed Pollock’s life’s work, 1,753 jars of magic mushrooms, and 10 pounds of truffles. The three suspects were never prosecuted.
Following Pollock’s death, a spore print simply labeled “penis” mysteriously arrived in the hands of another mycologist, Richard Gee (real name Richard Gutierrez). Gee reportedly kept the penis envy strain alive, which is why we still have access to these mushrooms today.
However, Gee has a very different tale to tell.
The Truth About Penis Envy Mushrooms
Hamilton Morris tried to get an interview with Richard Gee for years without success. The mycologist was something of a recluse and did his best to remain out of the public eye.
However, in 2022, Morris’ persistence paid off, and he finally managed to speak with Gee. He made their interview available in a podcast episode titled “The True Story of the Penis Envy Mushroom.”
Gee’s account is rather different from the one above. He claims a hair-stylist friend gave him a bag of dried mushrooms, not spores. He concedes that these mushrooms may have come from spores originally sent back from the Amazon by McKenna. However, that is where the similarities between the two stories end.
Gee had been working in a lab studying yeast mutations and was experienced in the field of cultivation. He managed to extract some spores from the dried mushrooms and grew them using his pioneering aquarium technique.
The spores produced three different mushroom strains. Two were normal, but the third was mutated, producing floppy mushrooms with bent-over heads and many aborts. Gee noticed that these aborts stained a deep shade of blue, indicating a high psilocybin content.
He was fascinated by these strange mushrooms and continued experimenting with them, eventually resulting in what we now know as penis envy. In fact, his book Cubensis Aquarium Gardening features some very phallic-looking mushrooms on its front cover.
Apparently, the name “penis envy” was born when a group of strippers commented that the mushrooms looked like “donkey dongs.” Gee asked whether they had penis envy, and the moniker stuck.
Of course, this story is just as difficult to verify as the alternate version presented above. However, Richard Gee is one of the few living people connected to penis envy and has no apparent reason to lie.
Either way, we have to credit Hamilton Morris for the great lengths he has gone to in order to uncover the truth about these mysterious mushrooms.
Psilocybin Mushrooms’ Legal Status
Psilocybin is a Schedule I controlled substance and is federally illegal to possess and use outside research settings.
Magic mushroom spores do not contain psilocybin. Therefore, they are legal to purchase and possess in most states, providing they are never germinated. The exceptions are California, Georgia, and Idaho, where even the possession of spores is prohibited.
Decriminalization of Psilocybin in the USA
At the time of writing, psilocybin has been decriminalized in several places. However, the laws are constantly changing, and individuals should check online for the most up-to-date information regarding their locality. Currently, psilocybin is decriminalized in:
- Santa Cruz
- Ann Arbor
- Washtenaw County
Penis Envy FAQ
Is It Easy to Grow Penis Envy Mushrooms?
Penis envy is more challenging to grow than other cubensis strains. They have a slow colonization rate and are prone to contamination. They also produce fewer spores than other varieties, and these spores are difficult to access due to the cap being so compact.
However, like other cubensis strains, penis envy will grow in various setups, including PF Tek, Monotub Tek, and Uncle Ben Tek. It is also possible to grow penis envy on various substrates, including manure, compost, or coir.
Where Can I Get Penis Envy Spores?
Penis envy mushroom spores are available online in the form of spore swabs and liquid cultures. Many people prefer liquid cultures as they can go “straight to grain” without having to culture the spores on agar first.
Penis envy is a best-selling strain, and most suppliers will keep these spores in stock.
What Is the Best Time to Harvest Penis Envy Mushrooms?
The best time to harvest most cubensis mushrooms is just before the veil breaks, and the spores begin to drop. However, since penis envy mushrooms do not tend to drop spores, it is possible to wait an additional 3–5 days so that they have a chance to reach their full potential.
How Much Do Penis Envy Mushrooms Weigh?
Penis envy mushrooms can grow to an impressive size, sometimes reaching lengths of 12 inches or more. However, there can be a lot of variation, even within the same flush. Therefore, it is impossible to give an average estimate.
What we can say is that dried penis envy mushrooms are usually around 10% of the weight of fresh ones. For accurate dosing, it is recommended that individuals dry their mushrooms thoroughly and use a scale to weigh them before ingestion.
What Is the Average Cost of Penis Envy Mushrooms?
Penis envy mushrooms can vary significantly in cost depending on the area. Some people have reported paying as little as $8 for a gram of penis envy. Considering their potency, this should be enough to induce mild to moderate effects for most people.
Many people consider growing penis envy mushrooms to be more cost-effective. Although the initial outlay is higher ($20-$45 for spores, plus the cost of other equipment), it produces far larger quantities. However, growing magic mushrooms is illegal in most places, and individuals do so at their own risk.
Penis Envy Mushrooms: Final Thoughts
Penis envy is a unique mushroom strain that is as visually pleasing as it is potent. For many years, it has been shrouded in mystery, but it seems that the truth may have finally been revealed. Although the reality may not be as compelling as the original story, penis envy has risen to fame and become one of the most notorious fungi in the world.