Morphological and chemical analysis of magic mushrooms in Japan

Forensic Sci Int. 2003 Dec 17;138(1-3):85-90. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2003.08.009.


Morphological and toxicological analyses were performed on hallucinogenic mushrooms that are currently circulated in Japan. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) indicated a three-dimensional microstructures in the mushrooms. The complementary use of SEM with an optical microscope was effective for observing characteristic tissues, such as basidiomycetes, spores, cystidia and basidia. Hallucinogenic alkaloids were extracted with methanol and determined by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with a UV detector set at 220 nm. The psilocin/psilocybin contents in Psilocybe cubensis were in the range of 0.14-0.42%/0.37-1.30% in the whole mushroom (0.17-0.78%/0.44-1.35% in the cap and 0.09-0.30%/0.05-1.27% in the stem), respectively. The hallucinogenic alkaloids in Copelandia were 0.43-0.76%/0.08-0.22% in the whole mushroom (0.64-0.74%/0.02-0.22% in the cap and 0.31-0.78%/0.01-0.39% in the stem). It thus appears that P. cubensis is psilocybin-rich, whereas Copelandia is psilocin-rich.

MeSH terms

  • Agaricales / chemistry*
  • Agaricales / ultrastructure*
  • Alkaloids / analysis
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Forensic Medicine
  • Hallucinogens / chemistry*
  • Japan
  • Methanol
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Plant Stems / chemistry
  • Psilocybin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Psilocybin / chemistry
  • Solvents
  • Spores, Fungal / ultrastructure


  • Alkaloids
  • Hallucinogens
  • Solvents
  • Psilocybin
  • psilocin
  • Methanol