Turkey Tail mushroom, also known as Trametes versicolor(1), is one of the most prized medicinal mushrooms for its health and wellness benefits. However, there are some whispers about the psychedelic nature of the mushroom, causing many people to avoid it. So, is Turkey Tail mushroom psychedelic?
No, turkey tail is not a psychedelic. Moreover, the possibility of any psychoactive effects is not supported by scientific research.
Let's uncover why some people think Turkey Tails have psychedelic effects below. We will then answer some of your common queries about this glorious-looking mushroom.
Turkey Tail Mushroom: What Is It?
Turkey Tail mushroom goes by different scientific names: Trametes Versicolor, Coriolus Versicolor, or Polyporus Versicolor. However, all three Latin names for turkey tail mushrooms refer to the same common medicinal mushroom. The term Versicolor accurately describes the fungus that displays various colors.
The mushroom is available all year long worldwide. Turkey tail mushrooms typically flourish on fallen hardwood branches and decaying hardwood stumps. Sometimes, they can even develop on conifers.
As more people learn about medicinal mushrooms, the health benefits of turkey tail mushroom supplements have made this fungus popular. In the modern world, more people are adopting turkey tail products because of their ability to boost immunity, fight oxidative damage, fight inflammation, and much more.
Surprisingly, turkey tail treats cancer too. The mushroom prevents cancer growth and mutation. It also helps cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy fight the side effects of these conventional cancer treatments.
The big question, however, is will you suffer hallucinations to enjoy the turkey tail benefits? Below, we will give a more detailed answer on whether consuming turkey tail mushrooms is equivalent to using a psychedelic medication.
Read on to learn more!
Are Turkey Tail Mushrooms Psychedelic?
Functional mushrooms are often confused with magic mushrooms. Magic mushrooms are wild or cultivated mushrooms that contain psilocybin, a naturally occurring hallucinogenic and psychoactive compound. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), psilocybin is one of the most well-known psychedelics.
Turkey Tail mushrooms are not psychedelics like psilocybin mushrooms. Nor do they cause hallucinations. However, people may believe it to be psychedelic mushrooms for various reasons, including its look (which resembles some psychedelic mushrooms) and the presence of psychoactive ingredients.
However, the concentrations of these substances are typically too low to have noticeable effects. In other words, it's unlikely that eating turkey tail mushrooms will cause you to have any hallucinations.
However, the turkey tail mushroom carries some health benefits often associated with psychedelics. But, since turkey tail extract is not psychedelic, the turkey tail powder will not cause side effects like hallucinations.
Some of the "psychedelic-like" benefits of turkey tail mushrooms include:
1. Turkey Tail Fights Depression And Anxiety
Various research studies have shown that psychedelics play a vital role in the fight against depression. For example, one research study conducted in 2022(2) determined that psychedelics significantly reduced depression and anxiety symptoms and improve emotional well-being.
With increasing exposure to psychedelics, these benefits became more pronounced, with a ceiling effect. However, improvements were seen only after a single lifetime use.
Another research study conducted in 2021(3) arrived at the same results regarding the ability of psychedelics to fight depression. In addition, the research study noted that serotonergic psychedelics are currently displaying encouraging outcomes in early clinical trials for depression.
On the other hand, one of the most researched medicinal mushrooms, the Turkey Tail mushroom, is a natural anti-depressant that helps with mood regulation. It balances the brain's neurotransmitters, the chemicals that carry signals across the body.
The mushroom increases dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine levels in the brain, regulating stress levels and mood. Turkey tail mushrooms can also help with anxiety.
Read More: See how Lion's mane fights anxiety.
The mushroom increases GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) production in the brain. GABA is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter that helps to regulate nerve cells and muscles. Increasing GABA, the turkey tail mushroom can help with irritability, mood swings, and restlessness.
The fact that turkey tail helps fight depression, improve mood, and fight anxiety, just like psychedelics, could make some people think that the mushroom is also a psychedelic.
However, the mushroom operates very differently from psychedelics. Therefore, adding turkey tail to your diet and taking advantage of its nutrients to build a healthy immune system and fight depression won't predispose you to adverse psychedelic effects.
Read More: See how Lion's mane fights depression.
2. Turkey Tail Boosts Memory
Several research studies have shown that psychedelics can boost some types of memory. For example, a research study conducted in 2021(4) determined that classic psychedelics make autobiographical memories more vivid and frequently prompt their recall and re-experiencing. These memories are often emotionally charged (positively or negatively valenced) and were previously avoided or forgotten.
One of the best mushrooms for brain health, turkey tail may also help improve its users' memory. Turkey Tail mushrooms are an excellent source of polysaccharides, which are beneficial for memory and cognitive function. Numerous studies show polysaccharides promote brain cell proliferation and inhibit neuroblast differentiation.
The fact that turkey tail can also improve memory can make people think that the mushroom is psychedelic. However, this traditional Chinese medicine separates itself from psychedelics because it operates very differently. Also, unlike psychedelics which can impair some parts of your memory, turkey tail—like Chaga, Reishi, and Lion's mane—does not harm your memory.
3. Turkey Tail Mushroom Supplements Promote Neurogenesis
The term neurogenesis refers to the growth and development of nervous tissue. Research studies have confirmed that continued use of psychedelics can aid in neurogenesis.
For example, a 2021 study(5) analyzed the impact of psychedelics on neuroplasticity and neurogenesis. After reviewing a total of 20 different studies, the scientists concluded that a single dosage of a psychedelic causes rapid alterations in plasticity processes at the molecular, neuronal, synaptic, and dendritic levels.
After a single dose of psychedelics, the expression of genes and proteins involved in plasticity, such as Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), changes, which leads to altered neuroplasticity; the latter had more incredible dendritic intricacy and persisted longer than the psychedelic's short-lived effects.
Up to a month following treatment, repeated administration of a psychedelic boosted BDNF mRNA levels and directly triggered neurogenesis. Findings from the review showed that psychedelics cause cellular and molecular changes connected to neuroplasticity, implying that they co-occur and may underlie the therapeutic effects of psychedelics.
Most people know Lion's mane promotes neurogenesis. However, very few people understand that turkey tail also helps with neurogenesis.
As noted earlier, the turkey tail mushroom carries many polysaccharides. Polysaccharides activate neurogenesis. However, the fact that both turkey tail and psychedelics promote neurogenesis does not mean that the two are the same thing.
4. Turkey Tail Helps With Alzheimer's Treatment
Research studies have shown that psychedelics can effectively treat Alzheimer's disease.
For example, a research study conducted in 2022(6) concluded that clinical studies on humans point to a potential role for high-dose psychedelic administration in the symptomatic management of anxiety and low mood in early-stage Alzheimer's Disease. In addition, preclinical research suggests that low- or high-dose psychedelic treatment regimens may be able to prevent or halt the onset of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and improve cognitive function.
In the mushroom realm, most people only know Lion's mane treats Alzheimer's. However, other mushrooms may also be effective in treating Alzheimer's disease.
For example, turkey tail is also effective in the fight against Alzheimer's disease. First, turkey tail mushrooms seem to slow the accumulation of Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and free radicals in the brain. Cognitive illnesses, including Alzheimer's and dementia, are caused by the steady production of AChE and the presence of free radicals.
According to a study(7) in the Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry, Turkey Tail mushroom water extracts have the advantage of inhibiting AChE and having antiradical capabilities. The mushroom may effectively prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease. However, this does not make the turkey tail mushroom extract a psychedelic.
How Can You Tell Whether A Mushroom Is Psychedelic?
Psilocybin mushrooms or magic mushrooms resemble dried ordinary mushrooms, having slender, long, gray-white stems and dark brown caps with a white or light brown core. The color of dried mushrooms is a rusty brown with occasional off-white patches.
On the other hand, the Turkey Tail mushroom has a highly variable color range, most often within the brown to red pallet, resembling a turkey's tail. It is a polypore mushroom, and the underside displays tiny holes visible to the naked eye.
Turkey Tail fungus is a ubiquitous mushroom in North American woods; magic mushrooms grow in woods and meadows in the subtropics and tropics. Psilocybin-containing mushrooms grow in soils rich in humus and plant debris.
Are Turkey Tail Mushrooms Addictive?
Turkey Tail contains no addictive qualities. So, you won't get addicted like people who eat magic mushrooms.
Even with psychedelic mushrooms, the risk of addiction is low. Psilocybin mushrooms lack the same addictive potential as more common drugs of abuse (e.g., stimulants, opioids), although psychological dependence can still develop.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Turkey Tail Mushrooms?
Eating Turkey Tail mushrooms may cause mild symptoms if you have a slight allergy to mushrooms. Included are signs of the cold and flu, diarrhea, constipation, a rash, darkened nail color, and heartburn.
Turkey Tail mushroom consumption, however, has never been linked to deaths or irreversible side effects in humans.
You should stop using Turkey Tail mushroom supplements, tea, or any other form immediately and see a doctor if you suffer any adverse effects.
However, those who don't have a mushroom allergy can eat Turkey Tail mushrooms without fear of any harmful effects.
How Long Does It Take For Turkey Tail Mushroom To Work?
If you have just started using supplements Turkey Tail mushroom, it could take up to three weeks for the body to show its health benefits. Therefore, double the recommended daily dosage of 2000 mg for the first three weeks for the body to assimilate the bioactive compounds.
Read More: See the turkey tail mushroom dosage for different conditions.
Does Turkey Tail Give You Energy?
Turkey Tail mushrooms support energy levels. An eight-week-long clinical trial found that people suffering from fatigue reported increased energy levels(8) after taking the mushroom supplements for two weeks.
Read More: See how cordyceps mushrooms boost energy levels.
What Cancers Does Turkey Tail Mushroom Help?
Based on the results of various scientific studies, Turkey Tail mushrooms help fight colon, breast, lung, and stomach cancers.
There is no scientific evidence of Turkey Tail mushroom psychedelic effects. Nor is the mushroom addictive.
The mushroom, however, does offer benefits similar to those often provided by psychedelics. But since the mushroom is not a psychedelic, you will not suffer from the side effects commonly associated with psychedelics.
Have you used turkey tail mushrooms? How was your experience with the fungus? Let us know in the comments.
- Immunomodulatory Properties of Coriolus versicolor: The Role of Polysaccharopeptide, (1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5592279/
- Effects of Naturalistic Psychedelic Use on Depression, Anxiety, and Well-Being: Associations With Patterns of Use, Reported Harms, and Transformative Mental States (2)https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2022.831092/full
- How do serotonergic psychedelics treat depression: The potential role of neuroplasticity, (3)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8209538/
- The acute effects of classic psychedelics on memory in humans, (4)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33420592/
- Psychedelics and Neuroplasticity: A Systematic Review Unraveling the Biological Underpinnings of Psychedelics, (5)https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.724606/full
- Psychedelics as Novel Therapeutics in Alzheimer's Disease: Rationale and Potential Mechanisms, (6)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34734390/
- The lignicolous fungus Trametes versicolor (L.) Lloyd (1920): a promising natural source of antiradical and AChE inhibitory agents, (7)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6010034/
- Medicinal Mushrooms: Bioactive Compounds, Use, and Clinical Trials, (8)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33435246/