So, with all this spiritual aspiration and creative potential at the mainstream table, what’s the difference between shrooms and ayahuasca? It’s clear to see that both of these psychedelics are used to transcend the every-day mindset, and have both been used for eons for healing, ritual, mystical experiences.
With psychedelics now coming into a resurgence within modern medical research, and mainstream culture, many unexplored minds may be curious as to which path to venture down. So what’s the difference between shrooms and ayahuasca, and what other similarities do they hold? Here are a few comparisons of the two.
1. Chemical makeup
Ayahuasca and psilocybin both create similar internal chemical happenings when ingested.
The vine of ayahuasca includes the compounds of harmaline, harmine or d-tetrahydroharmine, while the shrubs contain the compound N-Dimethyltryptamine, otherwise known as DMT. The alkaloids in the vine inhibit the enzymes and create the transformative experience of ayahuasca.
Shrooms come in a variety of nearly 200 different types that contain the compounds needed to spur a psychedelic trip. The main chemicals found in these mushrooms are Psilocybin, and Psilocin.
Both magic mushrooms and ayahuasca have tryptamines, but ayahuasca needs a round of alkaloids to create the experience.
2. Consumption and Ceremony
Traditionally used in South America for thousands of years, ayahuasca is normally experienced within a ceremony led by a shaman. The preparation stage leading up to the ceremony itself includes food restrictions which must be followed for a few weeks prior. Ayahuasca is then turned into a drink which is drunk at night, so visions are more clearly seen.
Magic mushrooms have been used in ceremonial contexts as well, however with its wide and varied availability across the globe, there is no centralized ceremony. Shrooms are most often eaten dried, as a pill or tea, and taken at lower doses. Despite the lower dose, magic mushrooms can still be potent based on the physiological make-up of the user and if 5g or more is consumed.
Your personal physical makeup, mindset, mood, and environment are powerful influences when it comes to tripping. There is no copy-and-paste experience, and everyone will undergo their own journey.
Ayahuasca often results in a “purge” which at times can take on quite tangible aspects such as vomiting, shaking, sweating and trips to the bathroom. This purge is seen as a clearing so that the user can gain insights from their trip. It is often said that during an ayahuasca trip, users experience a sense of oneness and spiritual encounters that offer insights to challenges they are navigating.
Magic mushrooms ensue less of an initial physical reaction, however, can cause some nausea after ingesting. Psilocybin has demonstrated its ability to help a wide range of conditions such as cluster headaches, depression, PTSD and substance abuse. Users typically mention feelings of connectedness and a positive change in perspective.
At the end of the day, shrooms and ayahuasca hold much in common when it comes to why people are drawn to it. Both psychedelics can help an individual experience deep insights and breakthroughs that will continue to have positive effects after their trip. Whichever path you choose to venture down, set an intention, create a safe space, be with safe people, and you’ll be sure to reap the benefits of what these plants will reveal to you.