Ah yes, there you are! Welcome, did a friend suggest during your trip to Amsterdam that you should take some of those famed truffles — and they’re probably not talking about the gourmet and ridiculously expensive item for your pasta. So sit back and read up on everything you need to know about taking truffles in the Netherlands that we can possibly tell you in 2020.
Drugs can be a means to heighten our spiritual experience. Some drugs are manmade (MDMA, cocaine) and others are natural (marijuana). Some are celebrated (alcohol) and some are stigmatised (methamphetamine). Regardless of their chemical compound, society refers to all under the same sweeping term — “drugs”.
Truffles are a narcotic couched under the “drug” label and outlawed in most countries such as US, Norway, UK, Germany, Australia and Belgium. But you’ve come to Amsterdam and been persuaded by your friend who is on a study abroad that it is “so Dutch” to “experiment” with drugs. So you’re going to try truffles… But what actually are they? Are they really dangerous? Do they have profound healing effects? Are truffles in the Netherlands even legal?
What are truffles?
Truffles are a by-product of the well known Magic Mushrooms. Truffles and Magic Mushrooms are often used interchangeably although there is a slight difference. Truffles grow underground and never break the earth’s surface whereas mushrooms are the fruit that sprouts above ground. Both parts of the vegetable produce psychedelic effects.
First-hand accounts show that truffles trips are often a little milder whereas mushroom trips tend to be deeper and more intense and introspective. However given that the chemical compounds of both a truffle and a mushroom are identical, there shouldn’t be a qualitative difference. A possible reason why truffles are milder is perhaps that they come in set quantities, so consumption is more standardised. We’ll get to why it’s important to know about the differences between magic mushrooms and truffles in the Netherlands later (spoiler: one is banned.)
Truffles and magic mushrooms: what are the effects?
Truffles and magic mushrooms contain a compound called psilocybin which enhances serotonin activity in the brain. Doing truffles in the Netherlands can make the user euphoric, feel at peace in the world and searingly introspective and insightful (and probably give you a bit of anxiety in regards to the crappy weather in the Netherlands). Colours and geometric patterns become more vivid. Some accounts do report nausea as a side effect of the trip.
The trip lasts between four and six hours but time is often distorted while you are tripping. It depends on the strength of the truffle and the mood or state of mind the user is in whilst taking it. Some people cope okay with this but others panic themselves into believing they’re stuck in a never-ending time warp. In a similar vein to people who say “time heals all” while going through a bad breakup, I won’t tell you “it’s just a trip, don’t panic”. All you can do is get through it and have a reassuring friend to calm you down and watch over you.
Altering your mindset for the good?
Magic mushrooms are proven to have profound healing effects. Clinical psychologist Ros Watts, PhD, of Imperial College London, is one of the leading researchers on psilocybin. She explains that the brain is more malleable whilst on the drug “We think this is why many study participants are able to break out of rigid, restrictive patterns; after the session, they often describe being able to see, feel, and do things in a new way.”
How do you eat truffles?
They are edibles but taste foul. They were once described to me as “chewing an old and soft nut that has been rubbed in dirt.”
Unfortunately, unlike a shot of Jägermeister, they cannot be downed quickly. In order to release the psilocybins effectively, you need to chew them slowly before swallowing. But it might be a smart idea to mix em up with some chips or put the shrooms on a pizza.
A loophole in the law: Magic mushrooms are illegal so how come you can buy truffles in the Netherlands?
The Dutch try as much as possible to decriminalise the use of drugs, making it a private matter of each individual, and not a matter for the enforcement apparatus.
However, protests against hallucinogenics broke out in 2008 after a girl jumped out the window while under the influence. The girl’s parents blamed the state of the Netherlands because the drug was legal. Following this, several politicians lobbied to ban the sale of mushrooms.
A list of mushrooms were banned under the legislation but one type was omitted from the list: the truffle! That’s why you can still legally buy truffles in the Netherlands and mentally trip throughout your whole physical trip through Amsterdam.
Where can you buy truffles?
Truffles in the Netherlands can be bought from a smart shop (which is different to a coffee shop). Smart shops opened in 1993 and sold items like herbal drinks and vitamins. A wee while after, they became known for selling magic mushrooms.
Like weed in coffee shops in Amsterdam, there are ridiculous names and descriptions for truffles in the Netherlands. Mexicana’s, Dragons Gynamite, Tampanensis just to name a few.
Ask the shop owner for advice on what type to buy or even better, head along with an experienced friend you trust and who knows your limits.
Three smartshops for buying truffles in Amsterdam:
Kokopelli: Very close to the red light district in the Warmoestraat you will find this very curious smart shop. Even if you are not interested in tripping this shop is worth a visit.
Mediamatic Fabriek: Here you can actually learn the growing process. Mushroom-loving futurists Mediamatic offer mushroom-growing workshops every few months, covering either the magic kind or the boring (oyster) kind. Sign up for their newsletter to find out when the next one’s scheduled.
Tatanka Smartshop Amsterdam: A big and spacious smart shop with helpful and knowledgeable staff.
Truffles can also be bought online from sites like Truffle Magic.
How much should I take?
It is recommended that each person takes between 5-10 milligrams. Truffles in the Netherlands are usually sold in 15 or 20 milligrams. Each box has a potency indicator. A box ranges in price but typically costs between €10 and €40.
What to do (and not to do) when you’re high on truffles
- DON’T do what my friend did and go to the Van Gogh museum. Trippy Van Gogh paintings are unlikely to calm you enough against the hordes of people glaring at you as you try and keep your cool under a no-talking policy.
- DO take them with people you feel totally comfortable with and trust
- DON’T consume them if you are in a bad mental state
- DO take them in a safe or peaceful environment such as an apartment or forest or a park.
- DON’T panic — if the trip is getting too intense, tell a friend, breath deeply and repeat to yourself that it will be over soon.
- DO eat sugar if you want to lessen the high as dextrose is known to calm the effects
- DO have a sober trip-sitter who can watch over you while you’re high. On that note…
How to be a conscientious trip-sitter
Taking one of the team and remaining sober while you’re friends have a great time? Here are some pointers to be a good trip-sitter
|DO’s for helping truffle takers in the Netherlands||DO NOT’s for helping truffle takers in the Netherlands|
|Be soft-spoken and reassuring||Be condescending|
|Offer drinks and food||Disregard their requests|
|Bring distractions like glow sticks and interactive games to heighten the experience||Mock or laugh|
|Engage with their weird chat||Panic if someone else is panicking|
Psychedelic microdosing in the Netherlands
Unsure if the shroom trip is for you? Why not start your truffles in the Netherlands experience with a microdose? This way you can safely test if you vibe with the drug. Consuming minor amounts of psychedelics is noted to be highly beneficial and firsthand accounts almost unanimously hail the benefits.
One study, at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, showed a mushroom trip eased the anxiety of people with life-threatening cancer and led to dramatic improvements in mood and wellbeing.
One user’s account showed how microdosing dramatically helped his ability to cope the grief of losing his child. He comments “On the days I took the dose, my mind felt more open and free-ranging…I would feel closer to nature, which would appear more beautiful, and I felt more “present” in the moment, better connected to my family and to my own emotions, more likely to spark up conversations with strangers. The dose was too small to cause visual disturbances. It was more a feeling of energised openness — I would notice details that had previously passed me by.”
Doing truffles in the Netherlands, when the user is informed and sensible about the drug, can be an eye-opening experience with long-lasting effects. You must always be wary of the possible side-effects and use them appropriately but once informed, don’t shy away from having new experiences.
Do you have any extra tips for taking truffles in the Netherlands? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to join our DutchReview Facebook group.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in July 2019 but was updated for your reading pleasure in September 2020.