The Occurrence of Psilocybin and Psilocin in Finnish Fungi

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The Occurrence of Psilocybin and Psilocin in Finnish Fungi

Post by Kalastaja »

Mielenkiintoinen artikkeli....

The Occurrence of Psilocybin and Psilocin in Finnish Fungi
E.Ohenoja, J. Jokiranta, T. Mäkinen, A. Kaikkonen ja M.M. Airaksinen
Journal of Natural Products Vol. 50, NO.4 , pp. 741-744,Jul-A~g 1987

Journal of Natural Products
Vol. 50, NO.4 , pp. 741-744,J ul-A~g1 987
74 I


E. OHENOJA,~ Botanical Museum, University of Ouh, SF-90570 Oulu, Finland
J. JOKIRANTA, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University ofKuopio, SF-7021 1 Kuopio, Finland
T. MAKINEN, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Kuopio, SF-7021 I Kuopio, Finland
A. KAIKKONEN, Botanical Museum, University of Oulu, SF-90570 Oulu, Finland
and M.M. AIRAKSINEN Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Uniwrsity of Kuopio, SF-7021 I Kuopio, Finland

The use of hallucinogenic fungi containingpsilocybin and or psilocin (1) has, during the past few decades, spread from Central America to the whole western world (2-4). Psilocybin (4-phosphoryloxy- N, N-dimethyltryptamine) and psilocin (4-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine) were first isolated from Psilocybe mexicana (5) but have later been reported from more than 30 species of the genus and from several species of other genera.

In the Scandinavian countries, the most common psilocybin-containing fungus is Psilocybe semilancuta (6,7); in all, about ten active species have been reported from Norway and Denmark (8,9). In this study, a variety of Finnish fungi were screened for their psilocybin and psilocin content using two methods of hplc (10,ll).


The fungus specimens were collected for analysis from different parts of the country, most of them, however, from eastern and northern Finland. A few specimens from Denmark, Scotland, and Germany were also analyzed. The material was collected partly randomly, but an emphasis was placed on the fungi that are assumed to be hallucinogenic on the basis of the literature, and, in addition, on blue species and species that turn blue or black.

A total of 61 species belonging to 30 genera were analyzed, and the whole screening procedure involved about 450 analyses. Most of the fungi studied belong to the order Agaricales, and three species belong to the order Boletales. The fungal material was collected mainly in the autumn of
1983. Some older samples were also analyzed, because not all the desired species were found during the season. A series of specimens of P. semilanceata collected in the years 1843, 1869, 1954, and 1976 was analyzed in order to test the stability of psilocybin and psilocin in the fruiting body.

The analyses were performed on fresh, deepfrozen, or dried material. The identification was, in some cases, made in the field with the aid of fresh characteristics, but several species were also determined microscopically. Some species were identified or confirmed by outside specialists. Parts of the samples analyzed are preserved in the herbarium of the University of Oulu (Herb.

The fresh samples (each about 500 mg) were frozen right after harvesting until analysis. They were ground in an homogenizer (Ultra-Turrax) with 2 ml of MeOH; whereafter 5 ml of MeOH was added, and the mixture was agitated for 60 min.

The dry samples, including the herbarium specimens, were dried overnight at 45", ground into powder, weighed, and shaken for 60 min with 7 ml of MeOH. Both samples were then centrifuged for 15 min (3000 rpm). The supernatant (5 ml) was stored at -70' until analysis.

The hplc-system used (excluding the stationary and mobile phases) has been described in an earlier publication (7). The stationary phase consisted of a prepacked FBondapak RP-C 18 column (Waters, Milford, Mass.). All the samples were screened with method A, and the positive and suspected ones were reanalyzed with method B. In method A the mobile phase consisted of MeOH-H,O (60:40), and the paired ion chromatography (pic) reagent was heptanesulfonic acid buffered to pH 3.5 with HOAc (10). In method B the mobile phase consisted of MeOHH, O-cetrimoniumbromide (40:60:0.15, v/v/w). The buffer was 0.25% Na2HPO4+O. 15%
NaH2PO4*H,O (wlv), pH 7.6 (1 1). The mobile phases were degassed with an ultrasonic bath and filtered through a 0.45 pm filter (Millipore). The flow rate was 2 ml/min, the injection volume 10 ~ 1a,nd the wavelength of the detector 280 nm (bandwidth 2nm). The pure standards for psilocybin and psilocin were from Sandoz AG (Basel).



Altogether ten species belonging to seven genera were found to contain psilocybin andor psilocin (Table 1). The highest concentrations (over 0.5% ofdry weight) of psilocybin were detected in Conocybe cyanopus (Atk.) Kiihn. And Psilocybe semilanceata (Fr . ) Kumm . , and fairly high ones in Pluteus salicinus (Pers. ex Fr.) Kumm. and Panaeolus subbalteatus (Berk. & Br.) Sacc. Smaller amounts (below 0.1% of dry weight) were measured in Pluteus atricapillus Sing., Panaeolus olivaceus Moller, Panaeolina fmisecii (Pers. ex Fr.) R. Maire, Psatbyrefla candolleana (Fr.) R. Maire, and Conocybe kuebneriana Sing. and in a species of Agrocybe. C. cyanopus, C. kuebneriana and Pa. oliuaceus have not been recorded earlier from Finland. PI. atricapilfus, C. kuebneriana and Pa. ofivaceus are not reported in the literature Jul-Aug 19871 Ohenoja et al. : Psilocybin and Psilosin 743 to contain these compounds. One reason might be that the concentrations of psilocybin and psilocin are very low and cannot be detected from dry material. Of the specimens that contain psilocybin andlor psilocin, PI. atricapillus, Panaeolina foenisecii, Ps. semilancuta, and Psathyrella candolleana are common species in Finland.

The difficulties in the taxonomy of fungus species may be one source of notable confusion and error in the literature; in addition, our material has included problems. We analyzed a specimen, identified as Psilocybe atrobrunnu by Guzman, which contains much psilocybin and psilocin. Its morphological characteristics agree fairly well with those given by GuzmPn (12), but the ecology is different. Ps. atrobrunnea was described from Sphagnum vegetation; our specimen grew on lawn. In this study it is included with Ps. semilancuta. We have seen also the specimens analyzed by Hoiland (13) and reported as Ps. atrohunnu. They have smaller and paler spores, for example, than Ps. Atrobrunnu has.

Rald (14) considers Pa. fimicola and Pa. oliuaceus synonymous, but Gerhardt (15), who identified our material, has found those two species distinctly different. Stijve et al. (16) are of the opinion that Panaeolina foenisecii cannot contain psilocybin or psilocin at all. Two of our analyses were, however, positive. The genus Conocybe is very little known in Finland and even in whole Fennoscandia. According to Watling (17), C. kuehnerima is fairly common in the British Isles, but it is not known to be hallucinogenic.
The genus Agrocybe is considered psychoactive according to Koike et ai. (18), who found psilocybin in A. farinarea. Our collection was inadequate for exact identification.

During the course of this study, some old herbarium samples were also analyzed in order to detect the length of time that psilocybin and psilocin can persist in fungal fruit bodies. The specimens were from the year 1843, 1869, 1954, and 1976, all being ofPs. semilancuta. Psilocybin was found to be very stable in dried fruit bodies. Even the 115- year-old collection still showed a measurable amount of psilocybin, namely 0.014% ofdry weight (Table 1). The oldest specimen, on the other hand, did not show any activity. The concentration of psilocybin had a linear negative correlation with the age of collections. Psilocin seemed to be much less stable, and it was only detected in fresh specimens or in species that contained high concentrations of psilocybin.

The chromatography column used was found to be reliable and stable; about 450 samples were analyzed without significant changes in the retention volume or the peak configuration. Because interfering peaks of method A were not present in method B, we consider both methods essential for reliability. The same selectivity can also be obtained by using simultaneous multiple detection (19).


The chemical analyses were made in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the
University of Kuopio, and the samples were identified in the Botanical Museum of the University of Oulu. Some identifications were made and confirmed by Dn. E. Gerhardt, Berlin, FRG; G. Guzmin, Xalapa, Mexico; E. Rald, Copenhagen, Denmark; R. Watling, Edinburgh, UK; J. Vauras, Turku, Finland; and E. Vellinga, Leiden, The Netherlands, to whom the authors wish to express their gratitude.


1. R.E. Schultes and A. Hofmann, “The
Botany and Chemistry of Hallucinogens,”
2nd Ed., Charles C. Thomas, Springfield,
Illinois, 1980.
2. S.H. Pollock, J. Psyched. Drugs, 7, 73
3. S.H. Pollock, Drug Psyched. Depend., 1,
445 (1976).
4. E.R. Badham, J. Etbnopbarmaco!., 10,249
5. A. Hofmann, R. Heim, A. Brack, and H.
Kobel, Experientia, 14, 107 (1958).
6. A.L. Christiansen, K.E. Rasmussen, and
F. Tonnesen, J. Cbromatogr., 210, 163
( 198 1).
7. J. Jokiranta, S. Mustola, E. Ohenoja, and
M.M. Airaksinen, Pkmta Med., 50, 277
8. A.L. Christiansen, K.E. Rasmussen, and
K. Hoiland, Planta Med., 45, 34 1 (1984).
9.S. Larris, Svampe, 9, 23 (1984).
10. M.W. Beug and J. Bigwood, J .
Chnrmatogr., 207, 379 (1981).
11. B.M. Thornson, J. Forensic Scienres, 25,
779 (1980).
12. G. Guzrnin, Beih. Nwa Hedw., 74, 1
13. K. Hoiland, Nww. J . Bot., 25, 111
14. E. Rald, Suampe, 10, 57 (1984).
15. E. Gerhardt, Beitr. Kenntnis Pilze Mitteleumpas, 1, 3 1 (1984).
16. T. Stijve, C. Hixhenhuber, and D.
Ashley, Zeitscbr. Mykol., 50, 361 (1984).
17. R. Watling, “British Fungus Flora.
Agarics and Boleti, 3.” Her Majesty’s Stationery
Office, Edinburgh, 1982, p. 72.
18. Y. Koike, K. Wada, G. Kusano, S. Nozoe,
and K. Yokoyama, J. Nut. Prod., 44, 362
19. A.L. Christiansen and K.E. Rasrnussen, J.
Chromatogr., 270, 293 (1983).

Post by h.s.t. »

Ton taulukon mukaan toi conocybe cyanopus(sinityvikuupikka) ois kans aika varteen otettava, ainakin ku suippomadonlakkeja ollu ettimässä, ni on mielstäni tullu noitaki vastaan.
Kokemuksia kellään?