What Does Blue Bruising Mean On Magic Mushrooms?
3 min

What Does Blue Bruising Mean On Magic Mushrooms?

3 min
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Many magic mushrooms develop blue spots over time. While bruises are believed to lower the potency of your mushrooms, they are also an indicator that mushrooms contain the chemical constituents needed to produce psychedelic effects.

If you consume or grow magic mushrooms, you may have noticed that some of them tend to develop blue spots over time. These spots are considered "bruises", and may be indicators of a magic mushroom’s potency. While no one knows exactly why blue bruises occur (although there are theories), they can appear on both fruit bodies (the mushrooms themselves) and the mycelium they grow from. Keep reading to find out more about mushroom bruising and why it happens.

What Is Magic Mushroom Bruising?


Bruising, otherwise known as "bluing", is a natural process that occurs in psilocybin mushrooms. Despite the fact that bluing is incredibly common and has been discussed extensively, it’s yet unclear exactly why this happens.

However, it is widely believed that bluing occurs due to the degradation of psilocin by enzymes within the mushroom’s cells in response to oxidation. In other words, bluing occurs due to the decomposition of some of the psychoactive compounds in magic mushrooms.

Because of this, the bluing of a mushroom effectively confirms that psilocin and/or psilocybin is, or at least was at one time, present in the mushroom. Additionally, more potent mushrooms are believed to develop blue bruising more easily than less potent ones.

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Several non-psychoactive strains of mushrooms have also been known to develop blue bruising. However, it is believed that the bluing reaction in those mushrooms is somewhat different, leading to different shades of blue, probably produced by a different reaction and different compounds than those found in psilocybin mushrooms.

Moreover, some species of mushrooms that have been confirmed to contain psilocybin do not bruise at all. Therefore, not all magic mushrooms will experience bruising. If yours do not, it is not necessarily a sign that they are ineffective.

Bluing should not be confused with blackening, despite the fact that heavy blue bruising can sometimes appear black. If mushrooms develop black spots that smell unpleasant, this is a sign of mould/rot, indicating that your mushrooms may no longer be safe for consumption.

When Does Bruising Occur?


Mushrooms are believed to undergo bruising when they’re exposed to oxygen, and when handled or manipulated. It is thought that this damage to a mushroom’s structure, and its subsequent oxidation, leads to the degradation of psilocybin.

However, a 1967 study[1] found that the bluing reaction does not necessarily require exposure to oxygen in order to occur.

This has led many to believe that the presence of a metal compound (likely copper-based) inside of mushrooms is at least partially responsible for causing the reaction. This compound is likely produced by an enzyme present in some, but not all, psilocybin mushrooms. This would explain why the presence of psilocybin is required for bruising, despite the fact that not all mushrooms containing psilocybin bruise. It is possible that only those containing this copper-based compound may bruise, also explaining why some non-psychoactive mushrooms also bruise.

Can Mycelium Get Bruised As Well?


Yes, mycelium can also experience blue bruising. Substrates may develop blue bruising when exposed to oxygen or handled roughly.

Some inexperienced mushroom growers may think that their substrate is contaminated when it is actually just experiencing bruising. A Q-tip test can be used to determine whether your mycelium is just bruised or actually contaminated. Simply wipe a fresh Q-tip across the affected area. If the blue colour rubs onto the Q-tip, then the substrate is likely contaminated. If it does not, then it is simply bruised.

Does Bruising Influence The Potency Of Magic Mushrooms?


Yes, bluing is believed to influence the potency of psilocybin mushrooms. This is because psilocin must degrade and break down for the bluish bruises to occur. This means, the more bluish bruising on your shrooms, the more psilocin has degraded, and the less active amount there is to produce psychedelic effects upon consumption.

As such, when harvesting psilocybin mushrooms, it’s recommended to be as careful as possible to avoid unnecessary bruising. A tiny bit here and there isn’t the end of the world, but you don’t want to carelessly damage your entire flush.

Do All Psilocybin Mushrooms Bruise Blue?


Whereas some strains of magic mushrooms are especially known for their tendency to bruise, others are known for never bruising at all. As previously mentioned, psilocin and/or psilocybin (or said copper-based element) are required in order for blue bruising to occur, but that does not mean that all magic mushrooms containing these compounds will bruise blue.

Most magic mushroom species bruise. For example, Psilocybe cubensis is well known for bruising shades of blue or blue-green. Moreover, some mushrooms are well known for their high psilocybin/psilocin content and their above-average tendency to bruise blue. For instance, Psilocybe azurescens has been measured to contain up to 1.78% psilocybin and 0.38% psilocin, and displays an incredible tendency to develop blue bruises.

David AB

Written by: David AB
Writer and cannabis enthusiast from Western Canada. When he's not writing, you can probably find him on the slopes of the Rockies or kicking back with a cold one!

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We are not making medical claims. This article has been written for informational purposes only, and is based on research published by other externals sources.

External Resources:
  1. Formation of Blue Oxidation Product from Psilocybin | Nature -

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