You only need to look at the stats, the scientific studies supporting their health benefits or the fact that functional mushrooms can now be found in everything from coffee to smoothies to realise that we are in the midst of a fungi-focused wellbeing revolution. Read on as we explore the common question: Are functional mushrooms safe?

From the research that is done, no harmful side effects have been discovered so far. As they do not contain any psychoactive components, there is no risk of getting ‘high’ when taking these mushrooms

Functional mushrooms are currently considered some of the leading health supplements globally and with good reason – they improve clarity, energy and vitality while promoting a clearer, calmer mind.

As they gain traction, there’s still some confusion about how safe they are to take. Some are concerned that functional mushrooms are the same as hallucinogenic mushrooms (the illegal type that produces a ‘high’). 

Do these mushrooms have any similarities to magic mushrooms? Are there any side effects to worry about? Are all mushrooms functional? What about dosage and potential contra-indications? We delve into all of these questions below. 

Functional vs Hallucinogenic Mushrooms

The most common concern that many have is whether functional and hallucinogenic mushrooms are the same thing. These two types of mushrooms have as much in common as regular culinary mushrooms and functional mushrooms: they are all mushrooms, but that’s about as far as the similarity goes.

Mushrooms are the fleshy fruit of a fungus that is produced in soil, above ground or, in some cases, on a living food source. There are many, many types of mushrooms. These include mushrooms used for cooking, mushrooms used for their medicinal properties, mushrooms containing psychoactive components, and mushrooms containing toxins. 

Not All Mushrooms Are Edible or Safe

Understanding the differences between these types is essential. You can safely use cooking mushrooms that have been classed as non-toxic. Unless you are an experienced mushroom forager, you shouldn’t consume any mushroom you find. 

Because there are many extremely toxic mushrooms growing in forests and even gardens, there is a very real danger of mushroom poisoning. Instead of simply assuming that every mushroom is safe, you would choose species of mushroom that you know are safe to consume. 

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Functional vs Psychedelic Mushrooms

The same applies to functional and psychedelic mushrooms. The former include specific types of mushrooms used for their health properties. The latter include mushrooms that are used to produce a sense of being ‘high’. 

Hallucinogenic mushrooms contain a component known as psilocybin, which has a psychoactive effect. These mushrooms are not legal in South Africa and many other countries. As they are illegal, they are not regulated. This means that they may have harmful side effects that can be dangerous. Dosage and contraindications with medicine are also not regulated.

Functional or medicinal mushrooms are completely legal. They have been used in East Asian cultures for thousands of years, promoting vitality, enhanced focus, improved energy, and many other benefits. 

Today, they’re used in modern Western culture. They are typically consumed in powdered capsule form. This ensures that dosage is carefully controlled. To date, no research has revealed any harmful side effects.

The Power of Functional Mushrooms

As the types used in functional medicine are non-toxic and completely safe to consume, there is no risk of mushroom poisoning, either. Taking them in capsule form means that the optimal dose is already prepared.

Of course, just as you would do with any other supplement, it’s best to speak to your GP about specific usage. Some nutrients may need to be taken in moderation for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers. Likewise, some nutrients may not be ideal when taken with specific medications

With no known side effects and plenty of benefits, functional mushrooms are the ideal solution for people leading busy lifestyles. From Lion’s Mane (packed with memory, focus and concentration benefits) to Reishi (known for its immune-boosting properties) and Cordyceps (made to increase stamina and energy), these mushrooms will help you live life to the fullest.

The GOODMIND™️ collection includes sustainably sourced Lion’s Mane, Reishi and Cordyceps mushrooms. Try our premium functional mushrooms to experience all the goodness that they offer.