Mushrooms versus Ayahuasca – Teaching through playfulness and kindness

We’ve recently spoken of differences and similarities between Ayahuasca and Peyote and that inspired us to do the same for anybody questioning the difference between Ayahuasca vs Magic Mushrooms. 

In the same line of the story, if Ayahuasca is considered the Grandmother within the spirit world, Magic Mushrooms would then be the children. If the Grandmother teaches through gentleness and allowance, Mushrooms teach through playfulness and games. 


What do Ayahuasca and Magic Mushrooms have in common?

They are both: 

  • Master Plants and part of what we call psychedelic family.
  • Used in the ceremonial setting under the guidance of previously trained shamans in an individual or group setting.
  • Have an effect that lasts for 4 to 6 hours (depending on dosage), and rises within the body in about 40 minutes after the intake.
  • Altering the consciousness-inducing visions, dilutions of time, and depth of feelings. They are both known to interconnect unusual dots, making colours taste and air feel like water. 
  • Wildly expansive when it comes to awareness which requires set and set up to be safe, quiet, and free from interruptions or interferences. 
  • Used by indigenous cultures to connect and communicate with the spirit, as well as the dead, and for healing.


Mushrooms versus Ayahuasca - Teaching through playfulness and kindness

What are then the differences between Ayahuasca and Magic Mushrooms? 

  • Origins 

Mushrooms can be found everywhere: from Alaska to Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Hawaii, Japan, Asia, Japan, and Mexico (the country with the highest variety of mushrooms). There are various records of this fungus being used around the world since ancient times. Samples dating from 7000 – 9000 BCE were found in the Sahara desert, and representations dating from the Upper Palaeolithic to the Middle Neolithic eras were found in Cuenca, just to name some. 

Although Ayahuasca is mostly known and associated with the Amazonian people, the origin of Ayahuasca and its use is unknown. Unlike mushrooms, there are no archeological remains. 


  • Active components 

Ayahuasca is a brew generally made with the leaves of Psychotria Viridis and Banisteriopsis caapi vine. The alkaloids present in Ayahuasca are tryptamine derivates (Psychotria Viridis) and beta-carbolines (B. Caapi.) Their unique combination allows DMT to become active in a unique way. 

The active components of mushrooms are psilocybin (4-PO-DMT), psilocin (4-HO-DMT), and baeocystin (4-HO-NMT). Psilocybin is the main component among all three.


  • Variety

There are more than 180 species of mushrooms that contain psilocin and psilocybin. While Psilocybe is the most known (117 species), Gymno-pilus (13 species), Panaeolus (7 species), Copelandia (12 species), Pluteus (6 species), Inocybe (6 species), Hypholoma (6 species), Cnocybe (4 species) and Mycena and Agrocybe. 

When it comes to Ayahuasca, according to Wikipedia, there are several varieties of caapi, also known as “different colours” that vary in effects, potencies, and usage. 

What brings variety to Ayahuasca is less the species of the main ingredients but rather the other plants that are being added to the brew based on purpose and traditions. 


  • Dosage and ways of serving it 

In Ayahuasca ceremonies two or three doses are given throughout the night. The power of a dose can vary based on the intensity of the brew which is usually kept liquid. Rarely, Ayahuasca brew is being served in a very concentrated form, where it’s almost solid. 

Mushrooms are served fresh, dry, straight up, or combined with other ingredients like honey or cacao.

The dosage of Magic Mushrooms varies depending on the species and whether they are being served dried or fresh. Here’s a general guideline offered by ICEERS:

  1. For pure psilocybin: Microdose: < 4mg, Low dose: 4 – 8mg, Average dose: 6 – 20mg, High dose: 20 – 35mg, Very high dose: > 35mg
  2. For dried mushrooms: Microdose: < 0.25gr, Low dose: 0.25 -1gr, Average dose: 1 – 2.5gr, High dose: 2.5 – 5gr, and Very high dose: > 5gr. 


  • Growth

The full growth cycle for Magic Mushrooms takes from 4 to 6 weeks while that of the Ayahuasca vine takes up to 15 years. Needless to say why mushrooms are a lot more accessible and cheaper than Ayahuasca will ever be. And to give you an idea, according to the published study from 2017 by the Global Drug Survey, mushrooms take the 8th position in consumption. According to the same study, approx 25% of the public consumed them at one point in their life.


  • Legality

While they are both considered Schedule I controlled substances according to the 1971 United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances, Mushrooms are a lot freer than Ayahuasca. Many countries allow the commercialization of growing kits as long as the mushrooms are not being further sold. 


  • Effects

Ayahuasca ceremonies are considered to be a much stronger experience than mushrooms, although a larger dose of them might eventually bring the two to the same level of intensity. The ease around Mushrooms that society displayed, led to a lot more studies on the effects of mushrooms than those of Ayahuasca. Magic mushroom ceremonies are seen as more predictable in effects as long as the dose is respected. Aside from mystical experiences, mushrooms are being used in treating anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, depression, addictions, and overall well-being. 

For that reason, they have become very popular when it comes to micro-dosing and recreational use. 

Being soulful psychedelics, Ayahuasca and Mushrooms are not a risk of becoming addictive or harming in any way, as they are not a form of escapism from the world. 


Los Niños Santos

We can’t possibly cover an article on Mushrooms and not mention Maria Sabina. She was a shaman and a poet from Southern Mexico (Sierra de Oaxaca, Huautla de Jiménez) that cured her life and that of many others with the help of mushrooms. Her devotion didn’t go unseen and led to an increase in popularity concerning her healing and wisdom. She didn’t know how to write, and she only spoke her native language, Mazatec. That didn’t stop others from translating and turning her wisdom into books. 

She is probably one of the key figures in the world of healing with the help of “los Niños Santos” as they are called in Central America. 

We would like to share a great poem that has been translated, coming from the Magic Mushrooms, through Maria Sabina and it goes like this: 


Cure yourself with the light of the sun and the rays of the moon.

With the sound of the river and the waterfall.

With the swaying of the sea and the fluttering of birds.

Heal yourself with mint, with neem, and eucalyptus.

Sweeten yourself with lavender, rosemary, and chamomile.

Hug yourself with the cocoa bean and a touch of cinnamon.

Put love in tea instead of sugar, and take it looking at the stars.

Heal yourself with the kisses that the wind gives you and the hugs of the rain.

Get strong with bare feet on the ground and with everything that is born from it.

Get smarter every day by listening to your intuition, and looking at the world with the eye of your forehead.

Jump, dance, and sing, so that you live happier.

Heal yourself, with beautiful love, and always remember: you are the medicine.


Embracing the desire for well-being is our birthright and we are thrilled to meet your curious mind on these pages. Avalon’s Ayahuasca retreats in Europe not only works with Ayahuasca but also with Mushrooms because many times a small step can be a complete game changer and just what one needs. Are you ready for a gentle step or a wide jump now that you know about the benefits of ayahuasca vs magic mushrooms?

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