Shroom House followed none of Oregon’s laws during its brief, lucrative run selling psychedelic mushrooms from a store on West Burnside Street in November.
Among the regulations it ignored was testing its product at a state-certified laboratory. We know that because there were no state-certified labs operating then. There still aren’t.
Only one testing facility has applied for a license from the Oregon Health Authority: Rose City Laboratories LLC, a tidy high-tech lab in Southeast Portland that started out testing cannabis in 2012 and has since branched out into asbestos detection and other areas to insulate itself from the slumping weed market.
Rose City has been certified to test psychedelic mushrooms by the Oregon Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program, a first step toward licensure. So, we brought the lab the mushrooms we bought at Shroom House on Dec. 1, a week before police shut it down.
It turns out Shroom House was selling real shrooms. Ours contained 4.73 milligrams of psilocybin per gram of dried fungi, or about 0.47% by weight. Psilocybin is the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, along with psilocin. Our sample didn’t contain enough psilocin to be detected, which is not unusual, Rose City says.
The shrooms we bought were called Penis Envy (so named because they look like little dicks). Penis Envy is a substrain of Psilocybe cubensis that, according to shroom sites on the internet, has higher levels of psilocybin than other strains. The clerk at Shroom House told us the same thing, which is why we bought them.
But our Penis Envy shrooms were a little flaccid.
“It’s a pretty middle-of-the-road sample,” Bjorn Fritzsche, research chemist at Rose City, told us in an email. “Most Psilocybe cubensis samples come in at around half a percent psilocybin.”
Given the figures, Fritzsche says, it would take 1 or 2 grams of Shroom House Penis Envy to feel an effect, 4 to 5 to trip, and 6 or more to trip balls (our words, not his). We did a one-subject human trial confirming that a gram made for an interesting evening.
Another test of Shroom House products went less well, Fritzsche says. A member of his staff brought in some “Magic Kingdom” gummies that, in addition to completely ripping off Walt Disney imagery (down to suggesting that you’d feel like Mickey Mouse if you ate the whole package), purported to be made from Penis Envy mushrooms.
In fact, the gummies contained no natural psilocybin or psilocin. Rather, they contained a synthetic compound called acetylpsilocin, Fritzsche says. It was first synthesized in the 1960s by Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who discovered LSD, to use for research.
“It’s nothing bad,” Fritzsche says, “but it’s not mushroom derived.”
The Magic Kingdom gummies wouldn’t have passed muster with Oregon regulators. But, then again, nothing about Shroom House did, and that’s why it’s gone.
Rose City Laboratories Test Results:
Subject: Penis Envy from Shroom House
Psilocybin: 4.73 milligrams per gram (0.47% by weight)
Psilocin: Below the LOQ*
Total Potential Psilocin: 3.4 milligrams per gram (psilocybin metabolizes into psilocin, which produces psychedelic effects)
*The “limit of quantification,” the lowest amount of analyte—the substance tested for—that Rose City can reliably quantify.