Magic mushrooms are naturally occurring psychoactive and hallucinogenic mushrooms that contain psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychoactive and hallucinogenic substance. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations, psilocybin is one of the most well-known psychedelics (SAMHSA).
Although certain civilizations have used the hallucinogenic qualities of certain mushrooms for generations, Dr. Albert Hofmann discovered psilocybin in 1958, along with lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).
Magic mushrooms are frequently dried and consumed by being blended into food or drinks, while some people consume freshly plucked magic mushrooms.
Also known as: Magic mushrooms are also known as shrooms, mushies, blue meanies, golden tops, liberty caps, philosopher’s stones, liberties, amani, and agaric.
Drug Class: Psilocybin is a hallucinogen.
Side effects: Magic mushrooms are known to cause nausea, yawning, drowsiness, introspective experience, anxiousness, paranoia, panic, hallucinations, and psychosis.
How to Identify Mushrooms
Psilocybin-containing mushrooms resemble dried common mushrooms in appearance, with long, slender, whitish-gray stems and dark brown caps with light brown or white centers. The color of dried mushrooms is a rusty brown with sporadic off-white spots.
Magic mushrooms can be consumed by eating them, mixing them with food, or brewing them like tea. They can also be smoked when combined with cannabis or tobacco. Liquid psilocybin, the naturally occurring psychedelic chemical found in liberty caps, is also available. The liquid is a clear brown liquid in a tiny vial.
What Are Magic Mushrooms Used For?
Magic mushrooms are hallucinogenic substances, which means they can make you see, hear, and feel things that aren’t real. However, the effects of magic mushrooms are highly variable and are thought to be impacted by contextual circumstances.
The effects of magic mushrooms are influenced by a variety of factors, including dosage, age, weight, personality, emotional state, surroundings, and a history of mental illness.
What the Experts Say
While magic mushrooms are often sought after for their calming effects, shrooms have been observed to cause anxiety, scary hallucinations, paranoia, and confusion in certain people.
3 Hospitalizations resulting from the use of magic mushrooms are frequently associated with what is referred to as a “bad trip.”
Native Americans and Europeans have utilized magic mushrooms for thousands of years for both spiritual and therapeutic purposes.
Shrooms have long been associated with spiritual experiences and self-discovery. Many individuals think that naturally occurring substances such as magic mushrooms, cannabis, and mescaline are sacred herbs that allow them to achieve higher spiritual states. Others use magic mushrooms to feel euphoria, connect with others, and have a warped sense of time.
Shroom psilocybin is converted to psilocin in the body and is thought to influence serotonin levels in the brain, resulting in altered and odd sensations. The effects take 20 to 40 minutes to begin and can continue up to 6 hours—the same amount of time it takes for psilocin to be metabolized and eliminated.
Researchers generally advise against self-medicating with psilocybin since it may be more difficult to manage your anxiety while under the influence (possibly leading to a horrible trip), you may take too high of a dosage, and it’s difficult to know the quality of the drug if you buy it from an unregulated source.
Additionally, those who already have mental health issues may be more sensitive to negative effects of psilocybin.
Off-Label or Recently Approved Uses
In 2018, Johns Hopkins University researchers proposed reclassifying psilocybin from Schedule I to Schedule IV to enable for medical use.
Johns Hopkins researchers discovered that psilocybin was an excellent treatment for depression, nicotine and alcohol addictions, as well as other substance use disorders.
Magic mushrooms have been found in studies to be useful in reducing the emotional distress of persons with life-threatening cancer diagnoses.
According to one study, those who self-medicate with modest doses of psilocybin were able to cure cluster headaches while avoiding the drug’s euphoric effects.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research is also investigating how psychedelics affect a number of disorders such as:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Anorexia nervosa
- Opioid addiction
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome
Common Mushroom Side Effects
All hallucinogens have the potential to result in mental and emotional issues, as well as accidents when used when intoxicated. Magic mushrooms are usually mixed with alcohol and other drugs among teenagers, raising the psychological and physical risks.
The amount of psilocybin and psilocin in any given magic mushroom is unknown, and the amounts of psychoactive substances vary widely. This implies that predicting the length, intensity, and sort of “trip” someone will have is extremely difficult.
Consuming mushrooms can range from a light trip with sensations of relaxation or tiredness to a terrifying experience with hallucinations, delusions, and fear. Magic mushrooms have been known to produce convulsions in the worst-case situation.
Side effects of magic mushrooms can include both physical and mental effects.
- Dilated pupils
- Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature
- Lack of coordination
- Muscle weakness
- Distorted sense of time, place, and reality
- Hallucinations (visual or auditory)
- Having introspective (spiritual) experiences
- Panic reactions
More research on the long-term, long-lasting adverse effects of magic mushrooms is needed, but it has been claimed that people can experience long-term personality changes as well as flashbacks long after taking mushrooms.
Poisoning is another potential risk of using these medicines because magic mushrooms resemble toxic mushrooms. Poisoning from mushrooms can result in serious disease, organ damage, and even death.
Magic mushroom products are also frequently contaminated. Only 252 (28%) of the 886 samples that Pharm Chem Street Drug Laboratory claimed to be psilocybin mushrooms were genuinely hallucinogenic, while 275 (31%) were common store-bought mushrooms spiked with LSD or phencyclidine (PCP), and 328 (37%) contained no drug at all.
Signs of Magic Mushroom Use
If your loved one is using mushrooms, they may feel nauseated, frightened, or paranoid. When it comes to drug usage, it’s critical to be aware of any changes in sleeping and eating routines, as well as changes in mood, personality, and social activities.
Hallucinogens have rare but potentially long-term negative effects such as confused thinking, mood changes, paranoia, and/or visual problems.
Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) happens when a person has hallucinations or visual problems after using a hallucinogenic drug for an extended period of time. These are sometimes known as “flashbacks,” and they can be confused with a brain tumor or stroke.
You may notice that your loved one is experiencing dissociative effects of hallucinogens, which may include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Inability to move
- Increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and/or body temperature
- Loss of coordination
- Loss of memory
- Mood swings
- Psychotic symptoms
- Speech difficulties
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
- Weight loss
If your loved one is eating mushrooms, they can act strangely or risk their safety by jumping out of windows or performing other risky behaviors.
If the mushrooms they ate were contaminated or mixed with other substances, individuals may exhibit symptoms of poisoning such as tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperthermia (body tissue becomes excessively hot), nausea, or vomiting.
Tolerance, Dependence, and Withdrawal
The more you use magic mushrooms, like other drugs, the more tolerance you build. Tolerance develops quickly with regular usage, which means that a person will require more of the drug to obtain the same effect.
Developing a tolerance to shrooms is especially dangerous because consuming too much can result in overdose symptoms, which, while not lethal, can include:
- Muscle weakness
- Panic or paranoia
How Long Does Psilocybin Stay in Your System?
Magic mushrooms’ short-term effects usually fade off in 6 to 12 hours. However, long after using the drug, people can experience long-term personality changes and flashbacks.
Psilocybin has an average half-life of an hour to two hours, and it usually takes five to six half-lives for a chemical to be removed from your system.
There are specialist tests that can be ordered to test for psilocybin instead of the standard urine drug test used for employment. For up to 90 days, magic mushrooms, like many other substances, can be discovered in hair follicles.
Psilocybin is not addictive and does not cause compulsive behavior. This is due in part to the drug’s ability to induce a powerful “trip.” Furthermore, psilocybin tolerance can develop quickly, making it difficult to have any effect after several days of frequent use.
While physical withdrawal symptoms are rarely reported when people quit using the drug, some do have psychological repercussions, which may include depression.
How to Get Help for Mushroom Misuse
If you suspect a loved one is experimenting or using magic mushrooms on a regular basis, try having a firm yet caring dialogue with them about the risks of psychedelics, especially when taken with alcohol or other drugs. It’s crucial to stress at this point that you are there to support and assist them.