What is the difference between psilocybin and psilocin?

Answer: Both are present in hallucinogenic mushrooms, but psilocin is the psychoactive compound while psilocybin is the precursor.


Hallucinogenic mushrooms are a psychoactive drug that can cause people to experience euphoria and altered perception such as visual or auditory hallucinations. In some cases, they may cause adverse reactions such as anxiety or panic. These mushrooms are classified as Schedule I drugs according to the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Food and Drug Administration.

The drug that actually causes a person to experience the symptoms of drug exposure is called the “psychoactive compound.” Most hallucinogenic mushrooms contain both psilocybin and psilocin. However, the psychoactive ingredient of these mushrooms is psilocin. Psilocybin is degraded into psilocin. They are both strongly psychoactive on their own, but psilocin has a longer time course of action.

Both drugs exert their pharmacological action by acting as an agonist at both the serotonin 2B and 2C receptors.

Although there has been very little research into dissociative hallucinogens since the 1980’s, they are making a resurgence as their psychoactive properties are being used to help people with various disorders. One major line of research indicates that psilocybin / psilocin can be used to increase the activity of areas of the brain that generally do not get much activity in adulthood.