Nov 14, 2023 - News

Inaugural Psychedelic Cup fuels curiosity over magic mushrooms

Mushrooms on display during the Psychedelic Cup. Photo: Courtesy of the Psychedelic Club of Denver

Denver's first-ever Psychedelic Cup was a rousing success β€” for fungi and the public.

Why it matters: The event's popularity shows curiosity about psychedelic mushrooms is growing, bolstered by their Colorado decriminalization and an increasingly mainstream appeal, which elevates their potential for medicinal and recreational use.

Driving the news: Nearly 200 growers submitted 511 mushrooms for sampling at the competition earlier this month at Mile High Station in Denver β€” far above organizer Jonathan Cherkoss' expectations.

  • "It really went wild," he told Axios.
  • The sold-out event, coordinated by the Psychedelic Club of Denver, drew more than 400 attendees as well as growers from Colorado and out-of-state.

Zoom in: Competitions for "best in show" and "most envious" led to long lines for people eager to pick their favorite fungi during the award ceremony, he said.

  • Additional award categories included tests for psilocybin β€” the psychoactive compound in magic mushrooms β€” and ranged from highest to lowest detectable levels.

What they're saying: "They want to know what [the mushroom] is, they want to learn about it," Cherkoss tells us. "They want to see what other people are doing."

Between the lines: There was no consumption at the event. Growers were awarded for psilocybin levels based on testing completed by Englewood-based Altitude Consulting.

  • According to lab manager Colton Brook, it's the only lab in the country to earn an international accreditation for psychedelics testing.
  • The firm tested the mushrooms using liquid samples and separating them under pressure.

The big picture: So many samples were submitted, event organizers say they've compiled the largest ever public database of psychedelic mushrooms.

  • Brook said the majority of growers who submitted samples had never had their mushrooms tested for psilocybin levels.
  • He hopes the information can be useful for researchers and clinical trials.

What we're watching: Altitude microbiologist Chase Quatela says he's interested to see how people use data from the awards to change their magic mushroom products.


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