mushrooms

Modified: 22nd Jul 2019

In the U.S., there are about 30 million psychedelic drug users. This encompasses everything from psychedelic mushrooms to lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) to mescaline (peyote and other cacti).

When someone says they’ve taken mushrooms, chances are they don’t mean the type of fungi you eat in popular culinary dishes. This type of hallucinogenic mushroom is a psychedelic drug used for recreational purposes. 

People take psilocybin mushrooms as well as other hallucinogens like LSD and MDMA (commonly known as ecstasy or molly) to distort a person’s perception of reality.

Below, we’re going to focus specifically on mushrooms. We’ll uncover how they work, how people take them, and their potential side effects.

What Are Mushrooms?

Psilocybin and psilocin are naturally-occurring psychedelic compounds found in more than 200 species of mushrooms. These mushrooms are what we consider today as “magic mushrooms.” 

Mushrooms are one of the most popular recreational psychedelics drugs in the world, especially across the U.S. and Europe. 

Another reason these drugs are dangerous is that they’re often mistaken for extremely poisonous varieties. 

Definition

Psychedelic mushrooms are most commonly referred to as magic mushrooms or “shrooms.” Other slang terms for this drug are Alice, Boomers, Buttons, Caps, Hongos, Magic Mushies, Pizza Toppings, Tweezes, or God’s Flesh. 

When you consume a magic mushroom, you’re consuming psilocybin and psilocin. When psilocybin enters the body, it’s broken down into more psilocin. This is the substance that creates the psychedelic effects you soon experience.

Psilocybin and psilocin are serotonin receptor agonists. This means they interact with serotonin receptors in the brain. This receptor deals with your sensory experiences which is why on a mushroom “trip” you experience sensory variations. 

How Are They Taken?

Magic mushrooms are often sold dried. They’re usually consumed by steeping the dried mushrooms in tea or mixed into food. You can also consume them raw. 

Mushroom dosage is tricky because the amount of psilocybin and psilocin contained in any given magic mushroom is unknown and vary from one to another. Therefore, it’s hard to assure that you are getting a specific dosage of psychoactive components.

In the famous John Hopkins study of this drug, they isolated psilocybin from the mushroom. The study shows 30mg of oral psilocybin seems to have similar psychological effects as that of about 5g of dried Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms (a decently high dosage).

If eating the mushrooms raw, you’ll have to multiply the dosage by about 10 since mushrooms are about 90% water.  

Who Takes Them?

People 34 years and younger most commonly take mushrooms. They’re popular at raves.

Many people use psychedelics or hallucinogens for intense relaxation or a break from reality. Many use it to detachment from their self and their environment. Others use it as a spiritual or religious experience. 

Brief History of Mushrooms

Throughout history, various cultures (mainly the Mayan and Aztec cultures of Mesoamerica) use the hallucinogenic properties of magic mushrooms as a therapeutic and spiritual tool for growing, healing and religious purposes.

However, it wasn’t until 1958 when Dr. Albert Hofmann isolated the psilocybin component from the mushroom itself. He’s also the person who discovered lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).

The FDA classified them as a schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act but has not approved them for therapeutic use.

Mushroom Effects on the Body

Mushrooms produce visual and auditory hallucinations, feelings of detachment from one’s environment and oneself, and distortions in time and perception.

Often people report mixed senses, like hearing colors or seeing sounds and surfaces moving or rippling.

While some cultures believe that mushrooms are a harmless high, used as sacred herbs to attain superior spiritual states, there are some serious side effects that can occur. 

It’s reported that psilocybin is about 100 times less potent than LSD and 10 times less potent than mescaline. But, it doesn’t mean it’s safe. Although natural, using a mind-altering drug like a mushroom isn’t without risks.

The amount of psilocybin and psilocin varies in each mushroom and you can’t be entirely sure what you’re ingesting is natural. Let’s dive into the short-term and long-term effects of using mushrooms. 

Long and Short-Term Health Effects 

If using shrooms on a short-term basis, you might experience the following: 

  • Fast heartbeat
  • Faster breathing
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Psychosis 
  • Intensified feelings and sensory experiences
  • Changes in sense of time 
  • Increased body temperature
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia 
  • Out of body experience
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Sweating
  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Detachment from reality

These symptoms can last as long the trip itself, it not longer. If using mushrooms often or in high doses, you may start to experience:

  • Memory loss
  • Speech problems
  • Flashbacks
  • Anxiety
  • Weight loss
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts

Tempted to try magic mushrooms? We urge to rethink your decision, as it’s more dangerous than you think. You’re not always getting what you pay for.

Pharm Chem Street Drug Laboratory produced a study which sampled 886 shrooms.

Only 28% were hallucinogenic. 31% of the mushrooms were store-bought laced with LSD or PCP. A whopping 37% had no chemicals at all. 

Using Mushrooms with Other Drugs

Because of the idea that mushrooms are “safe,” many teens and young adults mix mushroom use with other drugs. They do this to increase the hallucinogenic effects. 

What Common Drugs Are Used with Mushrooms? 

The most common combination people take with mushrooms is alcohol. Other popular drugs like LSD, mescaline, and other hallucinogens are also consumed with magic mushrooms.

This is especially dangerous as the drug interactions aren’t known and can cause extreme side effects or alter your trip. Many users experienced increased blood pressure, sleeping disorders, and excessive sweating. Others went on a “bad trip” as their feelings of sensory and sense of time got confused.  

Are You or Someone You Know Addicted to Psychedelic Drugs?

It’s possible that several hallucinogens are addictive and one may develop a tolerance to them. If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction to psychedelic drugs like mushrooms or any drug, help is available.

At Northbound Addiction Treatment Services, we’ll help you find treatment. You’re not alone. Contact us today

Article Reviewed by Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPA

Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPADr. Keerthy Sunder, MD is an accomplished and internationally recognized expert in the field of addiction. He has earned diplomates from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, the American Board of Addiction Medicine, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.