It was my birthday last week and my girlfriend surprised me by gifting me two packets of magic truffles. She’s a keeper all right! But what exactly are magic truffles? And are magic truffles legal in the UK?
No, magic truffles are not legal in the UK. Due to the fact they contain the psychedelic compounds psilocin and psilocybin, both magic truffles and magic mushrooms are designated as Class A drugs.
However, just because they are illegal does not mean that are not fascinating, potentially very useful in treating mental health issues, and may soon be legalised for medicinal purposes in the UK.
What are magic truffles?
Magic truffles are the sclerotia of psilocybin mushrooms (otherwise known as magic mushrooms).
The sclerotia is the part of the fungi that exists underground, while the above-ground fruiting body is known as a mushroom. It’s made of a hard mass of mycelium, which is the vegetive part of a fungus, similar to a plant’s roots.
Therefore, the sclerotia and mushroom are both parts of the same organism and both contain psilocybin and psilocin, the compounds responsible for the hallucinogenic effects of ‘magic’ mushrooms and truffles.
There are many different species of psychedelic mushrooms and, thus, psychedelic truffles.
Effects of magic truffles
While not as potent as the mushroom fruiting body, psilocybin-containing ‘magic’ truffles can still pack quite a punch.
Generally, when consuming magic truffles, people report effects including euphoria, an alteration of perception, hallucinations and a distorted sense of time. At higher doses, it’s not uncommon for users to have meaningful spiritual experiences.
In fact, a recent study found that a large percentage ranked their experience with psilocybin as one of the most spiritually significant experiences of their life.
Benefits of magic truffles
Psilocybin has recently been gaining the attention of scientists and researchers thanks to its potential to treat a range of mental health issues.
One remarkable study from late last year found psilocybin, when used alongside psychotherapy, produces long-term antidepressant effects that are up to four-times more effective than commonly prescribed SSRI antidepressants. It may do this by promoting the formation of new brain cells.
Risks of magic truffles
While psilocybin has been found to have a low toxicity, addiction potential and general harm potential, the chance of unpleasant experience is possible.
In one study, up to 20% of subjects experienced adverse reactions such as nausea and anxiety. With medium to large doses, nausea is probably the most commonly reported side effect but it tends to fade away quite quickly.
Small to medium doses offer a much lower chance of producing negative effects. Microdosing, in particular – which is when the dose is so low that effects are barely noticeable – appears to have limited side-effects and is a great place for beginners to psilocybin to start.
Legal status of magic truffles in UK
Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, the UK has classified psilocybin-containing mushrooms and truffles and Class A drugs – the most restrictive category, home to cocaine, heroin and MDMA and methamphetamine.
Therefore, the people of the UK are not permitted to use, possess, or sell psilocybin or psilocybin-containing products.
Being caught with magic truffles can result in a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment and a fine. For supply, theoretically one could receive a life sentence and an unlimited fine. In practice, however, maximum penalties are rarely used.
The UK law on psilocybin has come under criticism by a number of experts, including Professor David Nutt. Nutt used to be a government advisor before being let go after publishing a study that showed psilocybin and cannabis to be far less harmful than tobacco and alcohol.
Additionally, the UK is a leader in psychedelic research and much of the research on the medicinal effects of psilocybin has been conducted in the UK.
Are magic truffles legal in the Netherlands?
When you think of magic truffles, the first place to spring to mind is probably Amsterdam. In fact, the Netherlands is well known for its relaxed views on drugs. However, all drugs are technically illegal in the Netherlands, including cannabis and magic truffles. Some are just tolerated.
Before 2008, magic mushrooms were considered “soft drugs” and were tolerated just like cannabis in the Netherlands. However, following the death of a young woman who consumed magic mushrooms and jumped to her death from a bridge over a canal, mushrooms were reclassified as hard drugs and their sale was restricted.
The new law on mushrooms didn’t extend to sclerotia (truffles), mycelium or spores, though. Which is why today there are many ‘smart shops’ throughout the Netherlands openly selling magic magic truffles, mushroom spores and mushrooms grow kits.
There’s also a number of psychedelic retreats in the country. These retreats offer customers the chance to have a psychedelic experience in a therapeutic setting, guided by a professional.
Can you order magic truffles from Holland to the UK?
Up until recently, you could order truffles to the UK from the Netherlands relatively risk free. However, that is no longer the case as customs and border officials have started to crack down on the import of these packages.
Obviously, there are ways around it – as my girlfriend discovered – although you’ll probably have to find a company that’s willing to brea the law and disguise the contents of the package they send.
Psychedelic truffles are the screlotia (or the subterranean mycelium) of psilocybin mushrooms. While they have numerous mental health benefits, they are illegal in the UK, designated as Class A drugs.
With mounting research and proving their safety and efficacy, however, it may not be too long before they are legalised in some form in the UK.