Psychedelic Mushrooms differ from Ayahuasca Tea in that they are orally active (immediately) form of DMT while Ayahuasca Tea requires a brewing process to allow the DMT present to become psychoactive. People also note experiential and dosage differences between the two.
In this article, I asked 81 people to describe what the difference is between Mushrooms and Ayahuasca in terms of experience and healing. I asked them via Reddit and Facebook groups dedicated specifically to Ayahuasca. It is common for Ayahuasca users to have also tried Psychedelic Mushrooms and as such they are good places to ask people who have had both experiences.
Table of Contents:
- Similarities between Ayahuasca and Psilocybin Mushrooms
- Chemical differences between Ayahuasca and Psilocybin Mushrooms
- Consumption differences
- Ceremonial differences
- Differences in dosage
- Ayahuasca Experience vs Mushroom Experience
- DMT Experience vs Ayahuasca DMT
Similarities between Ayahuasca and Psilocybin Mushrooms
When I asked Reddit and Facebook users about the differences many people didn’t see a lot of difference in their effects and in fact even Dennis McKenna, famous psyconaut and researcher, says the Psilocybin is basically just the orally active form of DMT. While I do think they have different effects for people they can also be very similar for some people.
““Star Wars” to “Interstellar” 😂🙏”Facebook Ayahuasca Group
“You are the difference”Facebook Ayahuasca Group
“They’re just different spirits. Both teach. Both can be gentle and harsh. Mushies are definitely more alien imo.”Facebook Ayahuasca Group
“Two KEYS … That open the same door.”Facebook Ayahuasca Group
Chemical differences between Ayahuasca and Psilocybin Mushrooms (psilocybin)
In Ayahuasca it’s DMT or Dimethyltryptamine which elicits the psychedelic experience while in Psychedelic Mushrooms its psilocybin. These are technically different chemical compounds but as mentioned elsewhere in this article Dennis McKenna thinks that psilocybin is just the orally active form of DMT.
Dennis says this because you can simply find, dry and eat psilocybin mushrooms to elicit the psychedelic experience whereas with Ayahuasca in order to make the DMT psychoactive you have to combine it with an MAOI inhibitor (for example the Chacruna plant in Ayahuasca) in a brewing process to allow the DMT to be psychoactive.
You can read more about the DMT in Ayahuasca and how it interacts with MAOI’s in another article where I went into detail about how Ayahuasca is brewed and how it becomes a psychedelic tea.
Mushrooms are usually, grown, dried and then eaten or drunk after being ground up. You can eat them ground or sprinkle some in your food of choice or make a tea from them (just add hot water to make a tea of it). Mushrooms are often used as a micro-dose (ie non hallucinatory levels) to treat anxiety on a daily or weekly basis for example.
Ayahuasca is almost exclusively drank as a tea as you need the brewing process in order to make the DMT within it psychoactive.
- It is also possible to micro-dose Ayahuasca which may be of interest you.
- It’s also possible to make plant medicines from The Ayahuasca Vine by itself to treat depression and anxiety but would not have the psychoactive DMT ingredient which is not actually in The Ayahuasca Vine but instead in another plant, often Chacruna.
Both Psychedelic Mushrooms (aka ‘Shrooms’) and Ayahuasca DMT can be taken in a ceremonial setting or more casually perhaps on a hike or in the quiet of your home. I suppose this depends on the desire of the user but I would say that with Ayahuasca the ceremonial tradition is more common. With psilocybin its more common to consume them more casually and not necessarily with the same preparation.
NOTE: These are general trends only you can do both ceremonially or casually although the healing and/or spiritual effects will be less in this scenario.
Differences in dosage
That is not to say that one is more potent than the other in a gram for gram comparison. From Reddit and Facebook people mentioned that one was more potent than the other but, I would like to point out that each can be very very potent indeed and that people who say this probably were not in control of the dosage of the substances they took or even understood this aspect.
Mushrooms are often taken in smaller doses (ie micro-dosing) but can be taken in ‘heroic’ levels to elicit stronger effects. With psilocybin anything over 5g would be considered a heroic dose (think very intense psychedelic experience) while 2-3g would be still a strong and significant dose and could even be considered a heroic dose for some people. A micro-dose would be more like 0.5-1g depending on you.
NOTE: This is assuming the content of psilocybin is the same per gram. For example, comparing your batch of mushrooms to another persons batch may lead to issues as they may have different amounts of psilocybin in them. Comparisons between different amounts of the same batch, assuming they are ground to spread the dosage around, would be a more consistent comparison.
Ayahuasca is more commonly considered stronger because the brew is deliberately made to be of a ‘heroic’ level whereas Psychedelic Mushrooms is more often dialed up or down in terms of dosage. To increase the dose you can just add more ground mushrooms to your tea or food. With Ayahuasca, I suspect, you would need a more lengthy process to dilute an already strong mixture but it could be done.
- Micro-dosing Psilocybin has been associated with decreased anxiety, increased productivity and increased feelings of ‘oneness’ so if you have anxiety then this may be a great way to dial down your anxiety on a day to day basis without the stronger hallucinogenic effects of a heroic dose.
“Just try both. There are some similarities but also major differences. I think most people, for whatever reason, don’t take a dose of mushrooms nearly as big as ayahuasca. If you take an epic dose of mushrooms, believe me, you will go deep. Also, not all mushrooms are created equal. 10 grams of one variety of dried mushrooms might have the same strength as 4 or 5 small caps of fresh mushrooms of a different variety. The strongest mushrooms I have ever had are in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico. Literally just 3 fresh caps with stems in hot water. It was powerful. Amazing.”Facebook Ayahuasca Group
“They both have their benefits but ayahuasca is just more potent.”Facebook Ayahuasca Group
Ayahuasca Experience vs Mushroom Experience
Some people from Reddit and Facebook did both and could articulate various difference in effects between them. I note that most people fell into this camp.
“For me, ayahuasca is more direct and clear. Mushrooms more abstract and funnier. In the end, pretty much the same results. It did take me longer with mushrooms, but that might have also been because of the facilitators/guides”Facebook Ayahuasca Group
“Ayahuasca is much harder on the body, is a longer experience, and generally involves traveling to some retreat. Mushrooms are much more accessible and you can probably do them more often. The healing experiences otherwise are similar. Different doors to the same places 🙂”Facebook Ayahuasca Group
“Psylocybins altered reality in extreme ways, clearly exposed the fractal nature of this construct we are in. Aya seems to be more extra dimensional.”Facebook Ayahuasca Group
“For me ayahuasca is a much more varied experience. Sometimes deep and intense, sometimes literally nothing. Mushrooms have always packed a learning/growing wallop, every time.”Facebook Ayahuasca Group
“Mushrooms show you and ayahuasca tells you”Facebook Ayahuasca Group
“For me, mushrooms are more insightful and Ayahuasca is more physically taxing. I personally prefer mushrooms for healing and spiritual exploration, but I have a lot of respect for both. The quality of the ceremony and the skill of the shaman is much more important to me then what medicine I work with though.”Facebook Ayahuasca Group
“For me Ayahausca was enlightment,was a ritual, a ceremony. Spirituality. Was above everything. Completly another thing. I think Mother Ayahausca comes exactly when the universe knows it’s the moment. So, if you meet our Mother, enjoy and surrender. With love from me!”Facebook Ayahuasca Group
“If you afraid , not ready …. don’t try it …. during ceremony can happen almost everything ….. could be scarry , could be easy …. anything can happen like in real life”Facebook Ayahuasca Group
“Mushrooms tend to give me more anxiety and ayahuasca gives me more of a powerful euphoria and love. I like both and they both are great teachers. I think the ayahuasca ceremony and shaman give me the experience I am needing more then mushrooms. But that’s just me”Facebook Ayahuasca Group
“yeah anxiety you are right. Sometimes😊”Facebook Ayahuasca Group
“for me, both are equally profound wisdom teachers that clear blocks, lift the veil to reveal unspeakable Truth, rewrite reality. Visuals are often a more significant part of experiences with Aya. There is sometimes a ‘voice’ with fungi, while Aya is usually a ‘knowing’ for me. Psilocybin often has a more forceful trickster energy, like it’ll push you into the infinite, giggling. Aya has a gentler quality to me, when she pushes it’s more like a mother pushing a child.”Facebook Ayahuasca Group
“Both incredible teachers. For me sitting with the mother is a deeper journey in to myself and other dimensions. Mushrooms are very healing and have a very special “zone” very insightful, wise and sometimes fun. I never felt “fun” with the mother pure love and profound teaching yes. Plus the ability to heal karmic dust and cellular healing that is definitely just with mother aya for me🙏”Facebook Ayahuasca Group
“Aya is a conversation…Mushrooms are a lecture.”Facebook Ayahuasca Group
“They are two different spirits”Facebook Ayahuasca Group
“Both powerful and wise teachers to me, for me aya is more about myself and my personal growth and where my blokkages and inhibitions lie. Mushrooms have more to do with connection to the world and the interrelations of everything and contact with mother earth. Also more visual to me. If you think it more fun you probably didn’t take enough. Have had very fun aya experiences as well. Always different.”Facebook Ayahuasca Group
Differences in availability
Psychedelic Mushrooms can be found/sourced in many more places than Ayahuasca – even in urban environments – and as such are far easier to get around the world. Mushrooms can grow after a rainfall randomly in the field next to your house while the main two plants used to brew Ayahuasca are not commonly found outside of the Amazon Jungle although they could be grown in some warm tropical climates in other parts of the world.
DMT Experience vs Ayahuasca DMT:
I should note that the DMT within an Ayahuasca brew is different from what is known as a ‘DMT experience’. This is because it’s also possible to buy a lab made synthetic DMT known as N,N-Dimethyltryptamine. The effects of this synthetic DMT are much more intense than psilocybin mushrooms and an Ayahuasca trip. A synthetic DMT trip also last only 10-20 minutes whereas a mushroom or ayahuasca experience can last between 4 and 6 hours.