Mushrooms aren’t just things that you can occasionally throw on a pizza. Nope, mushrooms have another side, one that produces significant effects on those who consume them.
We’re talking about psychedelic mushrooms, of course. While they are a Schedule I drug in the United States, their medicinal efficacy is up for debate with researchers. We’ll go into a little bit about the drug, followed by an overview of mushrooms addiction and abuse.
Mushroom Addiction Statistics
Mushrooms containing psilocybin are commonly referred to as “magic mushrooms.” Because they are a Schedule I drug, most of the descriptions of them are vague and negative, as people don’t have access to them and don’t often talk about their experiences on highly illegal drugs.
They are typically grown in some form of dung, and can actually be found growing in cow pastures and other places where large animals defecate. As strange as that sounds, the mushroom is far-separated from the dung by the time it is consumed.
General Statistics on Addiction to Mushrooms
There is no research to show that mushrooms are addictive. The percentage of people who take mushrooms is also relatively low. It’s something that many people report to have done once or stayed away from for fear of having a “bad trip.”
That being said, there is a body of people who use psychedelics regularly. A study showed that there are roughly 32 million people in the United States who are lifetime users of psychedelics.
The same study showed that use was highest among males, aged 21 to 49 years old. It studied lifetime psychedelic users in general but did shed some light on the users of mushrooms. It appears that mushrooms are most common among younger people, as those who were older were more prone to use LSD.
Signs of Mushroom Abuse
A person will have a hard time functioning in society if they’re abusing mushrooms. Signs of abuse include withdrawal, psychosis, difficulty eating and sleeping, and trouble holding attention.
There’s a range of reports on what mushrooms do to a person when they are consumed. The actual experience will be highly dependent on the user, as the effects are highly subjective.
Media suggests that people who eat mushrooms begin to have distinct visual hallucinations of inanimate objects talking to them in an Alice in Wonderland-esque dreamscape. There’s little evidence that those things actually happen.
Effects are reported to begin somewhere from 20 to 40 minutes after consumption. The immediate feeling is said to be one of light to intense euphoria, depending on the amount taken. The peak experience comes after around two hours, and the following 4 to 6 hours are a gradual decline back to sobriety.
The experience, as we’ve stated, is said to be very subjective. A common term to describe the quality of a trip is “set and setting.” This refers to the fact that the people you’re with and the place you’re in will directly change your experience.
By many accounts, mushrooms put a person in a very vulnerable emotional state. This is likely because it is a novel experience, and being in an altered, intense state of mind is a difficult thing to do while being social. At the same time, being emotionally vulnerable does not mean that it will be a bad experience.
The value of magic mushrooms comes from the idea that they could produce highly significant spiritual experiences. Whether these experiences relate to a conversation with a friend, a realization of some kind of love, or a level of nuanced understanding of the person’s environment while they are on the drug, many people have experiences that they deem significant.
On the other hand, it’s possible to have intensely negative experiences. The drug lasts upwards of 8 hours in many cases, and there’s a chance for one bad experience to last throughout the entirety of that time.
The anxiety of being in an unfamiliar state of mind paired with emotional vulnerability and hallucinations can lead to hellish and damaging experiences. This is where the negative end of mushrooms rears its head.
The Danger of Mushroom Abuse
While mushrooms don’t have addictive properties, they can be habit-forming. Abusing mushrooms is uniquely damaging in that the side effects aren’t ones that you would expect from drug abuse.
Most drugs have distinct physical effects and withdrawal symptoms. There’s also a danger of overdose with most scheduled drugs. The long-lasting effects of mushroom abuse, on the other hand, are emotional and psychological.
Mushrooms cause people to experience things in unique and convincing ways. The state of mind that one enters opens up a wealth of new ideas and interpretations of things that a person might have thought they understood about themselves or the world.
While there is merit to opening up to new ideas, it can be difficult to draw the line between what is reasonable and what is a result of the psychedelic drug. Because the experience can be so convincing, there’s a possibility that someone will internalize delusional experiences as fact.
Most people don’t experience drastic changes if they use magic mushrooms because they have time to sift through their thoughts while they are sober. If, however, someone continuously takes the drug, they lack the cognizance to discriminate between fact and delusion.
Microdosing, or taking very small doses, is a common trend among mushroom users. These small doses produce a minimal effect, and there’s little research to show whether or not there are long-term psychological issues as a result. Taking larger doses regularly, however, is likely to do this.
Even one large dose could have long-lasting effects on a person’s personality. Each strain of mushroom is going to have different levels of intensity, and it’s difficult to test for psilocybin so it’s doubtful that anyone knows how powerful a mushroom is until it’s ingested.
After large doses of mushrooms, people can experience “flashbacks” that imitate the experiences of the trip. These can come back at any time and sometimes last for hours. While they are rare, they pose the threat of putting a person in danger by changing their state of mind.
Is Someone You Know Abusing Mushrooms?
Mushrooms addiction and abuse can be a difficult thing to confront. If someone in your life is going down the path of psychedelic abuse, you have options.
Visit our site to learn more about what can be done to get your loved one out of abuse and back on track.