Are Shrooms Poisonous?

You might be asking the same question with others who are not mushroom eaters. Are shrooms poisonous? 

Many people hesitate to eat mushrooms as they think they are poisonous in general. Well, some shrooms are poisonous while some are edible. The edible ones are often used as ingredients in different recipes like pizza and spaghetti. 

Foraging wild mushrooms can be so dangerous if you lack knowledge of what to pick and what to avoid. Therefore, you need to arm yourself first with more facts and pieces of information that can help you distinguish edible shrooms from the toxic ones. 

Are Shrooms Poisonous? Not Everyone. Just Stay Away from Poisonous Mushrooms

Don’t let their beauty deceive you. Sometimes, the beautiful, innocent-looking wild mushrooms you can see in the woods are the dangerous ones. Toxic shrooms can contain different harmful substances that range in the level of toxicity. 

The signs of shroom poisoning may include gastric upset or something worse like organ failure leading to death. Severe symptoms don’t often occur right after you ate. 

In some cases, the signs to watch out appear when the toxins affected your vital organs, such as the liver or kidneys. Thus, it can take days or even weeks for the signs to appear. 

Gastric upset is the most usual effect of consuming poisonous shrooms. It happens because many of the harmful mushrooms have gastrointestinal irritants. Those substances cause diarrhea and vomiting that can be unbearable. You must be rushed to the nearest hospital for immediate action. Luckily, these gastrointestinal irritants do not leave anything that can lead to chronic damage. However, some species are proven to be life-threatening and deadly.

To simply put, learning about toxic mushrooms is very important if you want to forage and consume wild mushrooms. In case you picked and ate the wrong mushrooms, you may likely experience dizziness or severe diarrhea that can put your life into danger. You can’t afford to die just because you made a mistake. 

Mushroom foraging is not as dangerous as many have thought. For as long as you know what to eat and what to leave untouched, you’re good to go. Many people have been safely eating wild mushrooms because they know how to pick them correctly. 

It is so important to learn how both good and bad mushrooms look like. If you’re in doubt, it is best not to pick them at all. In case you want to try new wild mushrooms the first time around, get a smaller portion, eat it, and observe yourself in the next 24 hours to see any negative effect. In case you got a stomach discomfort, take medicines, and seek help from a doctor when needed. 

Magic Mushrooms – The Edible Shrooms

As said before, not all shrooms are toxic. Aside from the common mushrooms added to pizza, salad, and pasta, the magic mushrooms or hallucinogenic mushrooms are extremely popular and safe for consumption. 

These shrooms contain the naturally occurring substance called psilocybin that has hallucinogenic and psychoactive properties. The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Serviced Administrations said psilocybin is classified as a psychedelic compound.

Categorized as a Schedule I drug in the US, psilocybin is more likely to be misused. Likewise, it is not even recognized as good for therapeutic use. However, some cultures were known to make use of the psychedelic properties that exist in some mushroom species for a long time. In 1958, Dr. Albert Hofmann initially isolated psilocybin. He was also the person behind the discovery of the LSD or lysergic acid diethylamide.

The magic mushrooms are usually prepared in dried form. You must consume them by blending them with your food or drink. You can also consume freshly picked shrooms. 

Identifying Edible Shrooms

Look for the mushrooms that do not have white gills. Those mushrooms with white gills are extremely dangerous. Don’t ever try to touch them. Instead, look for the ones with either tan or brown gills. They are safe and edible. 

Some mushroom species with white gills are safe to eat, but many of them are deadly and toxic. It can be extremely difficult to differentiate them. Many of them are members of the scary Amanita family. 

Likewise, choose the mushrooms with white or brown stems or caps. Stay away from those with red stems or caps. Edible mushrooms typically have tan, brown, or white stems and caps. In most cases, the ones in red are eye-catchy but poisonous. These mushrooms use this coloring as a warning to any animal and humans to stay away. 

Did you see mushrooms that do not have scales on their caps? Well, those shrooms are edible. Steer clear of those mushrooms that have light or dark scales or patches on their caps. These markings may look like spots that are more common in toxic mushrooms. More often than not, white shrooms have brown or tan scale-like patches on their caps. 

Lastly, check the stems of the mushrooms you picked for any ring. You will see this underneath their caps. This tissue ring looks like a veil or a small-cap under the actual cap. Skip once you see anything beneath the cap. A lot of mushrooms with rings under their caps are toxic. 


Be extra careful when ingesting mushrooms. Do not consume any mushroom unless you’re 100% certain of its safety. If you don’t know what it is, it is better to skip that mushroom. So, you must do foraging wild mushrooms with extreme caution considering that most toxic and non-toxic varieties do not have many differences. 

Some mushroom varieties may alter their appearance based on the growing conditions that make identification extra challenging. For instance, the mushrooms of one variety may develop different colors depending on their exposure to direct sunlight. 

Experts are suggesting to not eat any type of mushroom that you never encountered at least 3x in the forest. You must bring it to a professional for proper observation and confirmation beforehand. 

So, are shrooms poisonous? Some of them are indeed poisonous. Many of them are edible. It’s just a matter of careful observation to determine which one to consume.

Leave a Reply