Magic Mushrooms Versus LSD: What's The Difference?
8 min

Magic Mushrooms Versus LSD: What's The Difference?

8 min

If you take enough LSD or magic mushrooms, you'll end up on an exciting, eye-opening trip for the next several hours of your life. The particular substance you take, however, will have an impact on several key factors of the experience, including the duration, the mental and physical sensations, and the exact nature of your hallucinations.

If you’ve picked up some LSD, or perhaps a few magic mushrooms, one thing is for certain: take a high enough dose, wait for their active ingredients to kick in, and you’ll enjoy a vivid, mind-melting, and eye-opening trip. That being said, while they offer the same general experience, there are several key differences when it comes to the amount you should take, the particular sensations you'll experience, and the duration of the trip itself.

We’ve whipped up this guide to walk you through the exact differences between LSD and magic mushrooms in various contexts.

Magic Mushrooms vs LSD: Everything You Need To Know

We could go on with a preamble about how these substances were discovered or became popular, but you’ll be far better off getting to know LSD (aka acid) and shrooms directly. We’ll break down the trip distinctions soon enough, but we can’t do that without laying down a foundation of facts.

What Are Magic Mushrooms (Psilocybin)?

What Are Magic Mushrooms (Psilocybin)?

Lots of mushrooms may taste magical, but what actually distinguishes a “magic mushroom” from its non-psychedelic peers?

As it turns out, the distinction comes down to a particular chemical. This substance is known as psilocybin, and it can be found in a variety of species across the mushroom kingdom. It’s mainly understood to work with our brain’s serotonin receptors, but the mechanics beyond that aren’t well-known.

How Many Types of Magic Mushroom Are There?

But wait, how many types of magic mushroom are out there? While many believe it’s just a single kind, scientists have found over 200 different species that contain psilocybin. Over 100 alone are even named after it, being specifically classified in the genus Psilocybe. Two of the most popular species in this genus are Psilocybe cubensis and Psilocybe mexicana.

Similar to peppers and their capsaicin levels, you’ll also find that different species of mushrooms have varying levels of psilocybin. Some only contain moderate amounts of it, for example, while others boast significantly more.

This doesn’t mean you should just go outside and pick whatever fungi on the ground seem the most potent. As you likely know, there are a staggering amount of different mushrooms in the world, and the high majority have either no psychotropic effect, or are extremely toxic.

Related article

Magic Mushroom Hunting: A Field Guide

Thankfully, though, there is not much of a mystery as to which mushrooms you should be looking for. Thanks to scientists and enthusiasts alike, there are detailed analyses and reports that can help you identify any magic mushroom.

What Is LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide)?

What Is LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide)?

While psilocybin is nature’s hallucinogen, and has been enjoyed for thousands of years, LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is a lab-made substance that wasn’t even discovered until 1943. It first saw use as a potential psychotherapy treatment in Europe in the 50s, and the CIA tried to use it in mind control experiments around that time as well. By the 60s, however, people around the world were using it recreationally.

As is the case with mushrooms, we know that LSD functions by interfacing with serotonin receptors, but also understand that there are various detailed mechanics we cannot yet grasp. Unique from other psychedelics, especially those that work with serotonin, LSD also works with all the known dopamine receptors in our bodies.

Interestingly enough, it’s also devoid of colour and odour while being quite concentrated, and it mainly exists in liquid form. As a result, it’s often dripped onto small, colourful pieces of paper, or “blotters”, and distributed in that form. It can also be dropped into gel tabs, which just contain a blend of LSD and gelatine.

Related article

LSD 101: An Overview

Dosing LSD vs Magic Mushrooms

When forming a distinction between these two substances, we have to start out by considering dosing. If you tried to take the weight equivalent of your LSD dose in shrooms, you might not feel much of anything. Try to do the reverse, however, and you could end up experiencing more than you’d like.

Considering these potential risks, let’s go over what a low, standard, and high dose would look like if you’re taking one or the other.

Magic Mushrooms

Dosing Magic Mushrooms

Since you’re not weighing the exact amount of psilocybin, but instead weighing the mushrooms, you end up in an interesting situation when dosing shrooms.

On the one hand, it’s easier to measure out shrooms since you’re dealing with grams. The mushrooms themselves are large enough to easily weigh out, and taking a little bit more isn’t as much of an issue. On the other hand, since different kinds of mushrooms have different psilocybin contents, you’ll have trouble figuring out exactly how much of it is in your dose.

Fortunately, the amounts in different shrooms don’t differ that dramatically, and people are generally able to figure out their dose based on the weight of the mushrooms themselves.

There’s a bit more to it than that, however. See, your ideal dose can vary depending on factors like your weight, the type of fungi, and whether they’re fresh or dry, along with the particular intensity you’re looking for. That may seem like a lot to calculate, but we’ve got you covered! Using our magic mushroom dosage calculator, you can figure out your exact dose based on all of these factors with just a few clicks.

Magic mushroom dosage calculatorCalculate

If you weigh around 100 kilograms and have some dry mushrooms, and you’re looking to take a standard dose, take around 3 grams and see how it goes. If you’re around the same weight, however, and you want to take a high dose of some fresh magic truffles, you’ll need around 22 grams to hit your sweet spot. If you’re just trying to take it easy, though, around 9.4 grams of those truffles would set you up right. As you can see, doses can vary dramatically depending on these variables.


Dosing LSD

With LSD, you’ll find yourself dealing with measurements that are precise in some ways and vague in others. In general, the standard amount present on one tab of acid will be somewhere between 50–150 micrograms; usually 100. This, as it turns out, is also an ideal starter dose for trippers of average weight and height. It’s not very much liquid at all, though, so just one extra drop on a tab can change the user’s experience dramatically.

That, of course, is how doses can end up quite vague. See, someone can always say they put 100 micrograms on their tabs, but they very well might have under-dosed the tabs to save profit. This, in turn, would lead to a weaker trip, which would be kind of annoying. However, the real issue that can occur, which thankfully doesn’t happen that often, is getting tabs dosed with too much LSD.

After all, if someone adds a drop or two beyond the standard dose, you can’t even tell from observing or touching it. The only way to know, besides a lab test, is to take it, and you’ll end up having a far more intense experience than you were expecting, making the trip potentially distressing.

Overall, when it comes to dosing LSD, you need to take it slow and only bother with tabs from reliable sources. Start with either a half or full tab, depending on your weight and tripping experience, and see how it feels. If you could do with a more intense experience, take another half and self-assess.

Really, we don’t recommend taking more than two tabs per session, as doses beyond that can be especially intense, unless you’ve used psychedelics for a long time. Take it low and slow, and you’ll get to experience the effects in smooth waves.

Effects of Magic Mushrooms vs LSD

Speaking of effects, while many think shrooms and acid induce identical trips, there are some key differences you can expect between the two.

Magic Mushrooms

Effects Of Magic Mushrooms

Given that psilocybin is a natural psychedelic, it makes sense that mushroom trips will have you feeling more connected to nature. That sensation (for most people, anyway) ties into a general feeling of unity that this drug tends to inspire.

That feeling, however, doesn’t necessarily lead to one actively connecting with the people around them. In fact, many people who take shrooms report feeling more introverted than usual. That, interestingly enough, leads to them not bothering to feign sobriety.

Out of all these sensations, however, ego death is the most curious effect psilocybin can have on our minds. It happens to varying degrees in different users, but the general effect is the same: one no longer feels fully connected to their sense of self.

Related article

What Is Ego Death (AKA Ego Loss)?

In that moment, they may feel like just another being amongst beings. They may also question their own behaviour and personal identity, which can lead to distress, but it can also lead to emotional breakthroughs.

The high also tends to hit the body especially hard, with the physical sensations getting nearly as intense as those going through the mind. Your emotions will be pretty volatile as well, and you can end up feeling sullen or elated at the drop of a hat.

Mushroom trips are also heavy on visuals in most cases, and your sense of colour and shape will be significantly warped. There are also some who claim they see people, animals, or other strange creatures that aren’t there, but that’s extremely rare and shouldn’t be expected.


Effects Of LSD

If psilocybin is the psych you take to feel at one with nature and the world, LSD is the one you take to connect with the people around you. Well, to an extent, anyway.

See, having a good LSD trip comes down to handling two key factors: set and setting. Those variables are important during a shroom trip too, but acid will have you less trapped in your head and more enraptured by the world and people around you.

Related article

Set & Setting: Two Essential Variables For A Psychedelic Trip

That being said, whatever’s going on in your head will have a significant effect on how you take in the outside world. In turn, your surroundings will have a notable impact on your mindset, so feeling comfortable and safe should be a priority.

You can still have a great time out on the town, or even at a loud, intense concert! When you feel like it’s time to head in and get cosy, though, it’ll feel weird being anywhere else but wrapped in some blankets on a comfy couch. Getting centered and in control is the main goal.

It’s also worth noting that LSD trips are more centered in the mind than the body, and you’ll feel more euphoric and bubbly in general. You may still experience some emotional ups and downs, but it’ll be pretty easy to lift your spirits.

As far as visuals, you’ll likely experience some on a standard dose, and they’ll be exponentially more intense if you have two or three tabs instead of one. They may not be as intense as the ones you experience on mushrooms, although this can vary.

Duration of a LSD Trip vs Magic Mushroom Trip

Duration Of A LSD Trip Vs Magic Mushroom Trip

Lastly, these two substances differ significantly in terms of duration. They’re both pretty lengthy experiences, and you shouldn’t make many other plans on days you take either, but there’s still a distinction to be made.

It’s also worth noting that effects can differ vastly between people, especially considering weight, dose, and the time since your last trip.

Magic Mushrooms

If you have a couple of things to do after you plan on tripping, we’d suggest you go for some magic mushrooms. They’ll start to hit about an hour or so after taking them, and the trip will last somewhere between 6–8 hours. It’ll peak around two hours in, though, and steadily taper off after that.


Like shrooms, LSD will take an hour or two to hit after you put the tabs on your tongue. After that, though, you’ll be in for a much longer ride. It won’t even peak until two to three hours after the effects start to set in, and can last anywhere from 10–12 hours and beyond. Needless to say, the trip will likely be the focal point of your day and/or night.

Are Magic Mushrooms Safer Than LSD?

Are Magic Mushrooms Safer Than LSD?

So, considering all this, are magic mushrooms safer than LSD? Is the reverse true? Well, the fact of the matter is, it all depends on the dose and your mindset.

In a sense, magic mushrooms are more reliable as long as you identify the specific mushroom and take things slow. We know what species are out there, after all, and have a good idea of how much psilocybin is in each. However, if you take too many, you can end up in a very uncomfortable, anxious, and volatile state of mind.

Now, LSD is perfectly safe if you take it in measured doses, and you can even stay safe taking a tab or two more than usual if you’re prepared. It’s worth considering, though, that you have no way of knowing how much LSD is on each of your tabs in the moment.

We get that you’re not gonna delay your trip to have a test done, so just take it in small bits if you’re not sure how your tabs are dosed.

Can You Combine Magic Mushrooms and LSD?

Can You Combine Magic Mushrooms And LSD?

We’re sure some of the more adventurous aspiring psychonauts amongst you have had another question lingering: can you take both LSD and magic mushrooms at the same time?

It won’t be fatal or immediately harmful in the majority of cases, sure, but we highly recommend you don’t take them at the same time. There are a variety of reasons, but it comes down to the fact that they work with similar receptors in distinct ways. These conflicting signals can lead to fatigue, mood issues, and a variety of other related problems.

You’ll have more than enough entertainment taking one at a time, and staying safe is a major part of getting the most out of a psychedelic experience.

Which Is Better: Magic Mushrooms or LSD?

So, when it comes down to it, which is better: magic mushrooms or LSD?

Hopefully, we’ve shown that there’s no right or wrong answer here. They both offer wonderful experiences in the right doses and situations. The key to your ideal trip, then, is looking within yourself and at the world around you.

Whichever you pick, we hope you have an exciting, eye opening, and safe trip!

Adam Parsons
Adam Parsons
Professional cannabis journalist, copywriter, and author Adam Parsons is a long-time staff member of Zamnesia. Tasked with covering a wide range of topics from CBD to psychedelics and everything in between, Adam creates blog posts, guides, and explores an ever-growing range of products.
Products Shroomshop
Search in categories