Colorado’s first Psychedelic Cup celebrates mushroom home growers

Colorado’s mushroom season will extend into the fall this year with an event geared toward celebrating home growers who specialize in cultivating the psychedelic variety.

Denver’s inaugural Psychedelic Cup, coming to Mile Station, at 2027 W. Colfax Ave,) on Nov. 2, aims not only to bring local growers together but also to collect data to learn more about what’s in the fungi.

Competition coordinator Jonathan Cherkoss said the idea for the Psychedelic Cup came from seeing similar ones happen around the country. Colorado is uniquely suited for such an event, he said, since voters opted to decriminalize several psychedelic substances last November. That includes psilocybin and psilocin, two compounds found in “magic mushrooms.”

LAKEWOOD, CO - AUGUST 11 : Harvested home-grows psilocybin mushrooms by John Bigley at his home in Lakewood, Colorado on Friday, August 11, 2023. (Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)
Psilocybin and psilocin, two psychoactive compounds found in “magic mushrooms,” were decriminalized in Colorado last November by voters, meaning it is no longer illegal to grow, consume, possess or share a personal amount of the substances. (Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

Even though it’s no longer illegal to grow, possess, consume or share ‘shrooms within the state, few people understand exactly what’s in them, Cherkoss said.

“The impetus here is to have people start testing mushrooms so that we can have informed conversations about what we’re growing and eating and gifting and treating people with because right now we don’t have the language to even start,” he said.

Cherkoss said growers appear enthusiastic about the idea. So far, almost 100 people have purchased tickets to the event, and about three-quarters are growers. After the cup, The Psychedelic Club of Denver, which is hosting the event, plans to make all the testing results publicly available as a resource that offers a real-life snapshot of mushrooms that currently exist within the local psychonaut community. Cherkoss hopes that will help some understand dosing in a way that’s “not just based on vibes.”

Cultivators seeking to participate in the competition can drop off samples in person at Altitude Consulting (3262 S. Platte River Dr., Englewood), which will analyze the mushrooms for various alkaloids and potency. Entries, which cost $40 each, will be accepted through Oct. 17 and growers can submit up to five each. (They’ll also need to purchase a $35 ticket to attend the event.)

The Psychedelic Cup will reveal the results on Nov. 2 and award prizes to those growers with the highest potency, lowest potency, and the most compounds, among other competition categories. In all, Cherkoss will hand out 12 awards – six to mushrooms in the psilocybe cubensis species (the most well-known of the psychedelic mushrooms) and six to other species.

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