Psychedelics Science

Cultivation of Homebrewed Psilocybin for Researchers

Written by Anthony DiMeo

In recent months, it seems that every week, a new study or report hails the potential for psilocybin to be used as a widespread therapeutic to improve a vast cross-section of quality-of-life conditions, addictions, and compulsions. The significance of these now-regular findings and the recent shift in attitudes, both public and political, brings with it a demand for more research and subsequently more access to psilocybin. Aiming to dramatically circumvent the often-lengthy period of time to traditionally cultivate psychedelic mushrooms, “homebrewed” psilocybin has the potential to expand biosynthesis exponentially.


Homebrewed biosynthesis & cultivation

As any magic mushroom cultivator can attest to, the entire growing process is not exactly refined nor is it typically time-efficient. Incredibly, biosynthesis of psilocybin has been achieved to a successful degree via recombinant microorganism technology that utilizes fungal (Aspergillus nidulans), prokaryotic (Escherichia coli), and yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) fermentation-based hosts to produce psilocybin on a much larger scale. [1]

In this process, such hosts like E. coli that contain the psilocybin containing plasmid are introduced in a homebrew style environment with appropriate media can produce 247 mg/L of psilocybin in just 72 hours. Addition of ampicillin (an antibiotic) augmented the concentration to 319 mg/L. [2]

These researchers performed a cost analysis to determine that each 3-day yield of this homebrewed fermentation process (with ampicillin) was equivalent to 11 times the typical street value or dose of magic mushrooms – averaged at about $35 per eighth ounce or 1 dose. [3] Such a high yield in such a dramatically short time would be a major catalyst to researchers’ access to psilocybin to further uncover its therapeutic potential.


Regulating access for safety & future legitimacy

The researchers of this study also pose the possibility that such an easy cultivation method could be adopted by the average at-home psilocybin cultivator at a high risk. Because this homebrew method requires the introduction of potentially infectious recombinant microorganisms such as E. coli and crucial yet hazardous substrates like 4-hydroxyindole that are “essential to both the bacterial-based biosynthesis and traditional chemical synthesis approaches”, Gibbons et al argue regulations are a must. [1]

The non-commercial availability of recombinant microorganisms and hazardous substrates like 4-hydroxyindole alone make them mostly inaccessible to the average public. However, Gibbons et al also mention a regulatory structure “similar to the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx), which regulates the over-the-counter sale of pseudoephedrine, could be appropriate to implement in the case of 4-hydroxyindole” as a common-sense and probable solution to restrict access accordingly.

With the hope of getting more research to affirm the relative safety and viability of psilocybin as a life-changing therapeutic, it’s important to implement such regulations to ensure psychedelic compounds and substances have a completely legal and accessible future for the public in just a few short years ahead.



[1] Gibbons WJ Jr, McKinney MG, O’Dell PJ, Bollinger BA, Jones JA. Homebrewed psilocybin: can new routes for pharmaceutical psilocybin production enable recreational use? Bioengineered. 2021;12(1):8863-8871. [journal impact factor = 3.269; times cited = 0]


[2] Adams AM, Kaplan NA, Wei Z, et al. In vivo production of psilocybin in E. coli. Metab Eng. 2019;56:111–119. [journal impact factor = 9.783; times cited = 27]


[3] Tsujikawa K, Kanamori T, Iwata Y, et al. Morphological and chemical analysis of magic mushrooms in Japan. Forensic Sci Int. 2003;138(1–3):85–90. [journal impact factor = 2.676 times cited = 75]

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Anthony DiMeo

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