Detecting psychoactive drugs in the developmental stages of mushrooms

J Forensic Sci. 2000 May;45(3):527-37.


The following questions regarding the detection of psychoactive drugs in mushrooms are addressed: At what stage of the mushroom development can the psychoactive drugs psilocyn and psilocybin be identified, and what effect does light have on the growth of these mushrooms. To answer these questions, Psilocybe cyanescens Wakefield mushrooms were grown from their spores in a controlled setting. At various times of their development, samples were taken and analyzed for psilocyn and psilocybin. Knowing what stage of development the psychoactive drugs can be identified may be useful to law enforcement personnel and forensic chemists. Methanolic extracts of various samples were analyzed by TLC and by GC/MS. It was determined that the mycelium knot stage of the mushroom was the earliest stage at which the psychoactive drugs could be detected. It was observed that light affected the time of development and the appearance of these mushrooms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Agaricales / chemistry
  • Agaricales / growth & development*
  • Chromatography, Thin Layer
  • Forensic Medicine
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Psychotropic Drugs / analysis*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Psychotropic Drugs