Extraction Technology

Optimized Extraction Methods for Psilocybin and Psilocin

Written by Antonio DeRose

The therapeutic potential of psychedelic substances like psilocybin and psilocin are continuing to become more widely known. The Biden administration has already mentioned to the press that it anticipates psilocybin and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) will most likely be approved by the FDA as treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) within the next two years. [1]

Decriminalization efforts in the United States are removing barriers to access. Campaigns to increase public awareness of different psychedelic therapies are piquing interest. All of this together is driving a wave of innovation throughout the psychedelic, medical, and scientific communities.

Various psilocybin and psilocin extraction techniques already exist. Water extraction was a popular method before better ways to extract the psychoactive substances from magic mushrooms were found. Methanol and ethanol extraction techniques were previously found to provide higher yields.


New Psilocybin and Psilocin Extraction Study

The recent wave of innovation drove a group of researchers in Spain to test newly optimized extraction methods and conditions for psilocybin and psilocin isolation. Scientists tested the use of microwave-assisted extraction (MAE) technique, which is already proven to be an efficient extraction method for many other plant compounds. [2]

The goal of the experiment was to see if MAE could be used to successfully improve the extraction yields of different alkaloids found in Psylocibe cubenis mushrooms. To begin, mushroom culture kits were purchased online. Then the mushrooms were cultivated according to the seller’s instructions before being harvested, freeze-dried, and ground down to <40 μm particles.

Multiple extraction conditions were tested analyzing the effects of different stirring intensities, the duration of the heating and cooling phases, extraction temperature and extraction time.

Once data were collected, a statistical Box-Behnken design was used to determine the best possible combination of extraction conditions. “Based on the Box–Behnken design, 50 °C temperature, 60% methanol as extraction solvent, 0.6 g: 10 mL sample mass:solvent ratio and 5 min extraction time were established as optimal conditions”. [2]

The statistically calculated MAE extraction conditions were confirmed producing higher yields, with shorter extraction times and higher levels of repeatability compared to extractions without using microwaves.

As our global journey through the psychedelic renaissance pushed forward, so will the science of extracting psychedelics. We will see more optimized methods for extracting psilocybin, psilocin, and other alkaloids that might be discovered and isolated in the future. It is still only the beginning.




[1] Elbeshbishi, S. Psilocybin therapy prompts states to reconsider laws about ‘magic mushrooms’. USA Today. 8.6.2022 https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2022/08/06/psilocybin-therapy-states-legalize-magic-mushrooms/10188105002/?gnt-cfr=1


[2]Polo-Castellano, C., et al. Microwave-Assisted Extraction of the Psychoactive Compounds in Hallucinogenic Fungi (Psylocibe cubensis). J. Fungi. 2022. 8(6), 598; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8060598. [Times Cited = 0] [Journal Impact Factor = 5.724]


Image: Green House Healthy

About the author

Antonio DeRose