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Critical Weight - "Wow, I Think I Took Too Much"

A great article extolling the virtues of accurate scales.

Most folks interested in home grown magic probably have dealt with weights and measures of the plastic baggie kind. It goes something like this: "Ummmmmmm. Yeah. I guess that looks like about an ounce." Right?

One fine morning, much to our delight and still to our surprise, we find ourselves staring at a small mound of carpaphores lying right there on our kitchen table. They are staring back. What now?

Chances are we're gonna eat 'em. And the question arises: How many???

Rumor has it that the LD50 (lethal dose in half the incidences) of Psilocybae cubensis is one's body weight in shrooms. If anyone out there tries that and survives, PLEASE send your trip report to The Shroomery! We'd also love to hear all about your growing techniques.

So we're not going to die, even though we might think so for a minute or four. (The temporary poisoning meme/delusion seems to be fairly consistent among many mushroom psychonauts at 3 trip levels.) The difference between a three gram experience and a four and a half gram experience can be extreme.

The problem of "how much to take" arises when [1] we realize the effects of increased dosage are exponential and not linear, and especially [2] when we consider an ayahuasca analogue such as mushrooms combined with a Syrian Rue harmala extract.

Unlike that baggie of weed you and your friendly supplier agree is "about an ounce", you want to know more precisely how much that pile of mushrooms on the kitchen table weighs, particularly if you've taken steps to dry them.

If you want to use the "By Guess and By Golly" approach, you can assume that a level teaspoon of dry, powdered mushroom might weigh about a gram. If you are then going to limit yourself to no more than three of these level teaspoons, no problem. You may get more than you bargained for, but it won't be totally out of hand. Note that here we are talking about measuring spoons, not about your Aunt Mary's teaspoons from her silverware set.

On the other hand, if you want to be able to gauge psilocybin strength in your crop and if you want to be able to file good flight plans for future trips, you're going to want to take some accurate measurements.

Even if you're dealing with fresh shrooms, it's most convenient to know what that soon-to-be-eaten pile weighs.

A pretty good estimate of wet-to-dry weight is that spanking fresh mushrooms will go bone dry to one-tenth of their original weight. (Isn't it interesting that mushroom water/body weight ratio is so similar to human water/body weight ratio?) So, if you want a mild buzz for the evening, you'd want maybe two grams dry. Heck, let's go for three! To eat the equivalent of three dry grams when the just-picked shrooms are begging you to begin, you'll need to weigh up thirty grams of the little babies.

So you make a tiny mistake. You accidently eat thirty-five grams of fresh shrooms. (A U.S. five cent piece weighs 5 grams.) So what? You're still only at a 3.5 dry gram tripping level. You can deal with it.

When working with dry weights, the scope of weighing errors increases ... ten fold! You think you're eating three grams and you might really be eating five grams. (A U.S. penny weighs 2.5 grams.) You thought you were going to groove to the tunes, giggle and laugh, knock off some cool sex. Suddenly, instead, a giant preying mantis is bearing down on you in the middle of a totally alien cityscape but it doesn't really matter because you've no idea where your body went. Except for the fact that you've no idea who you are. Hey, you don't even know WHAT you are.

Now you may be less sensitive to psilocybin than the author of this article. He is fortunate in that he is extremely sensitive to this particular molecule. Not feeling that he is at all unique, he knows there must be many others out there who are equally sensitive.

Even if you are not so sensitive to the effects, when you share some of your wondrous magic with a friend you certainly want to take the responsibility of offering a carefully measured dose.

So how do we get from here to there?

We gotta buy some scales!

The downside is that this is going to cost money. Those $6.95 specials at the headshop are NOT going to do. They are barely acceptable for weighing up letters to determine postage.

There are also the $24.95 models and the $39.95 models. These headshop products are no better. A bit more accurate, maybe, but not good enough.

The headshop is also going to offer you something much better. The problem here is that the analytical scale they will offer is going to be priced at 250 percent of it's actual retail value. After all, they think they're dealing with rich cocaine dealers. If your local headshop is less caustically capitalistic, congratulations.

The one exception to this rule is Ohaus balance beam scales. This company maintains some control over point-of-sale pricing. The Ohaus is a very reliable scale. If you go this route, be sure to get at least the Ohaus 750 model. If you can afford the extra bucks, go for the Ohaus 1650; it is distinguished by an adjustable dial for fine tuning of small weighs. These scales should cost no more than $85 and $120, respectively. These scales weigh to 0.1 gram increments.

Of particular interest are the Ohaus Cent-O-Gram 311 Balance and the Dial-O-Gram 310 Balance which both weight to 0.01 gram increments! Should you ever become interested in Phalaris grass extractions for DMT these would be very useful. These scales should be priced at $120 and $150 respectively.

You can read about these scales at:


Now, these are "mechanical" balances. Nothing wrong with that. They've been used for hundreds of years and have only gotten better. But if you'd like a nifty scale with a cool LED readout, no problem. In fact, they often are cheaper.

To find out more, point your browser at:


There you will see a wide range of scales. Not only that, you will find you don't have to spend a hundred bucks to get with it. From the web page noted just above, you can go to:


Where you will find the Deering 10 Gram Pocket Scale priced at $27. We consider this a Best Buy if you don't want to shell out a buncha bucks. This is the minimum weighing device you should own. Although you'll need your reading glasses, it offers measurements to 0.01 grams! Think about it. If you bought "three grams" of shrooms from the local dealer you'd spend more and wouldn't have any idea what you were getting weightwise or otherwise.

If you go to this web site, be SURE to check out their weekly specials at:


This is by no means an endorsement of the company which hosts the web sites mentioned above. Buyer beware. If you contact them, do NOT mention your special interests. The reason this site was singled out from many other precision measurement companies is that we did an extensive search and found this company has the widest range of products and offers the best prices. Should you choose to buy from a local source, check the URLs mentioned above to arm yourself with reasonable purchase prices.

As a self-disclaimer to this article, the author admits he is conservative in matters such as these. While he seeks envelope-pushing experiences, the author has a great respect for entheogens and a profound humility toward them. Furthermore, the author would be the last to discourage entheogen use by emotionally stable adults. In fact, he would encourage envelope-pushing experiences. By knowing the weights of the substances consumed this becomes a reasonable proposition. And, certainly, you wouldn't want to UNDERDOSE!

You may find your mileage varies. You may be perfectly comfortable chomping down on an unmeasured handful of entheogens.

Yet, allow us to quote Terence McKenna:

"What's going on at thirty milligrams [pure psilosybin]? Forty-five or sixty? These are not dangerous doses physically, but they're terrifying doses to contemplate from the point of view of the fragile constructs of the mind. As you cross the five, six, seven gram barrier with mushrooms, it becomes less like a drug in the ordinary sense and more like a happening, an experience that is unique."

Whatever you do, realize you should probably arm yourself with a precision weighing instrument. When the stuff kicks in and things begin to get weird you will be able to tell yourself, "I took a somewhat reasonable dose".

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