Mushrooms that contain psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychoactive and hallucinogenic chemical, are known as “dungeness crabs” or “magic mushrooms.” According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), psilocybin is one of the most well-known psychedelics.
Psilocybin is a Schedule I drug in the United States, implying that it has a high potential for misuse and no currently accepted medical use.
How to Recognize Shrooms
Mushrooms that have been dried are a lovely shade of golden or yellow. They’re roughly the size of a nickel, with slender white-gray stems and dark brown caps that lighten to whitish or white in the middle. Dried mushrooms are a dull gold color with patches of off-white dotted throughout.
Mushrooms can be cooked, combined with food, or brewed as a tea for consumption. They may also be blended with cannabis or tobacco to produce a smokeable product. Liquid psilocybin is also accessible, which is the naturally occurring psychedelic drug present in liberty caps. The liquid is clear brown and comes in a tiny vial inside a small glass bottle.
What Do Magic Mushrooms Do?
Mushrooms, also known as magic mushrooms or psilocybin mushrooms, are psychedelic drugs that can make you think you’re seeing, hearing, and feeling things that aren’t really there. The effects of magic mushrooms, on the other hand, are highly random and thought to be influenced by external circumstances.
The effects of magic mushrooms are dependent on a variety of factors, including dose, age, weight, personality, emotional state, environment, and mental health history.
What the Experts Say
Some people have experienced anxiety, horror visions, paranoia, and confusion after eating magic mushrooms.
The term “bad trip” is used to describe a negative experience that persons have while taking magic mushrooms. Magic mushrooms have been consumed by Native Americans and Europeans for thousands of years for both spiritual and medical purposes.
Shrooms are believed to have mystical qualities and are connected with spiritual encounters and self-discovery for centuries. Many people think that naturally occurring psychedelics such as magic mushrooms, marijuana, and mescaline are holy plants that allow people to achieve greater spiritual states. Others use magic mushrooms to feel pleasure, closeness, and a distorted sense of time.
The psilocybin in the mushrooms is metabolized to psilocin in the body, which is thought to alter serotonin levels in the brain and cause unusual and strange perceptions. The effects begin 20 to 40 minutes after ingestion and last around 6 hours, just as psilocin takes to be metabolized and eliminated.
Outside of a clinical setting, researchers recommend against self-medicating with psilocybin since it may be more difficult to manage your anxiety while under the influence (potentially resulting in a bad trip), you may take too much of a dose, and it’s impossible to know if you’re getting pure psilocybin if you’re purchasing it from an unlicensed vendor.
Individuals with pre-existing mental health issues are also more likely to suffer negative effects from psilocybin.
Off-Label or Recently Approved Uses
In 2018, researchers from Johns Hopkins University called for psilocybin’s reclassification from Schedule I to Schedule IV, which would allow for medical use.
Psilocybin has been studied in humans for the treatment of depression, nicotine and alcohol addictions, as well as other substance use disorders. Individuals who were diagnosed with life-threatening cancer have shown that magic mushrooms can help reduce stress.
People who self-medicated with tiny dosages of psilocybin were able to get rid of cluster headaches without experiencing any psychedelic side effects, according to one study.
The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins is also studying how psychedelics impact a variety of diseases such as:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Anorexia nervosa
- Opioid addiction
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome
In 2019, Denver was the first to decriminalize psilocybin. Oakland was the second city to do so less than a month later. Other cities in the United States have also followed suit, including Santa Cruz in California and Ann Arbor in Michigan.
A bill was passed in the city of Cleveland, which restricts law enforcement from spending resources to impose criminal penalties on individuals in possession of psilocybin. However, Oregon became the first state to legalize psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy in 2020.
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Common Side Effects of Mushrooms
Hallucinogens have the potential to induce psychological and emotional issues as well as accidents while under their influence. Magic mushrooms are frequently mixed with alcohol and other substances among teenagers, posing additional psychological and physical dangers.
The amount of psilocybin and psilocin in any given magic mushroom is unknown, and mushrooms vary considerably in terms of psychoactive ingredients. This implies that determining how long, strong, and specific a person’s “trip” will be is extremely difficult.
A pleasant experience marked by a feeling of relaxation or drowsiness may develop into a frightening experience with hallucinations, delusions, and panic when shrooms are eaten. In the worst-case scenario, magic mushrooms have been known to induce convulsions.
Physical and mental adverse effects are possible with magic mushrooms.
- 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 study is needed on the long-term, permanent consequences of magic mushrooms, although it has been documented that people can have long-term personality changes and flashbacks many hours after consuming them.
Another potential hazard of ingesting these medicines is poisoning, which looks similar to toxic mushrooms. Mushroom poisoning can lead to serious illness, organ damage, and even death.
It’s also typical for magic mushroom items to be tainted. Only 28% of the 886 samples purported to be psilocybin mushrooms examined by Pharm Chem Street Drug Laboratory were found to be hallucinogenic in a study of 20,000 specimens, according to one analysis.
Signs of Magic Mushroom Use
Your loved one may be nauseous or appear anxious or scared if they are using mushrooms. It’s critical to keep an eye on any changes in sleeping, eating habits, and mood, as well as social interactions, in the case of drug usage.
Hallucinogens have several rare but long-term side effects, including disorganized thinking, mood disorders, paranoia, and/or visual disturbances.
When a person uses a hallucinogenic drug, they may be afflicted with hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) and have hallucinations or visual disturbances after long-term usage. “Flashbacks” are similar to migraines in that they occur suddenly and intensely for a few moments before dissipating.
Dissociative symptoms of hallucinogens, such as depersonalization and derealization, might 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 has taken mushrooms, they might behave erratically, such as leaping from a window or performing other risky actions.
If they have ingested contaminated or mixed mushrooms, they may exhibit symptoms of poisoning including tachycardia (heart beating too rapidly), hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperthermia (body tissue gets too hot), nausea, or vomiting.
Tolerance, Dependence, and Withdrawal
As with other medicines, the more magic mushrooms you consume, the greater your tolerance grows. Tolerance develops rapidly with frequent usage, so that a person will require more of the drug to obtain the same result.
A tolerance may be more difficult to achieve with shrooms since ingesting a significant amount might cause overdose symptoms, which while not deadly, can include:
- Muscle weakness
- Panic or paranoia
How Long Does Psilocybin Stay in Your System?
The short-term consequences of magic mushrooms typically last 6 to 12 hours.4 However, long-term changes in personality and flashbacks can persist for weeks or months after taking the drug.
The half-life of psilocybin is between one and two hours, and it takes five to six half-lives for a drug to leave your body.
Psilocybin is not tested for in the typical urine drug test, however there are certain tests that may be ordered to detect it. Hair follicles may contain psilocybin for up to 90 days, similar to other drugs.
Psilocybin is not habit-forming and does not encourage compulsive use. This is due in part to the drug’s ability to induce a powerful “trip.” In addition, psilocybin tolerance builds up quickly, making it difficult to experience any effect after several days of regular usage.
When people quit taking Benzedrine, they usually do not experience physical symptoms of withdrawal, but some report psychological effects, such as sadness.
Psilocybin can cause long-term problems for some people, including persistent, distressing changes to one’s perception of the world. These are frequently visual flashbacks, which are traumatic recollections of a particularly traumatic event. People can continue to experience flashbacks for anything from weeks to years after taking the hallucinogen. The condition formerly known as hallucinogen-persisting perception disorder is now recognized by physicians.
Users of psilocybin have been known to experience anxiety, agitation, perplexity, delirium, psychosis, and conditions that resemble schizophrenia, necessitating a visit to the hospital.
In most situations, a doctor will prescribe benzo-diazepines to address these symptoms. The effects of the psilocybin usually fade after 6–8 hours as the effects of the drug wear off.
Finally, although the danger is minor, some psilocybin users risk poisoning from eating a deadly mushroom by mistake. Muscle spasms, bewilderment, and delirium are all possible symptoms of mushroom poisoning. If these symptoms appear, a person should go to an emergency department right away.
People should remove all mushrooms from locations where children are frequently found to prevent unintentional ingestion, even if hallucinogenic and other poisonous varieties are typical in most settings.
Only the most severe instances of mushroom ingestion necessitate medical attention, and these are extremely uncommon. Minor gastrointestinal problems occur in the vast majority of accidental mushroom ingestions, with only the most severe situations requiring care.