Psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychedelic and hallucinogenic substance, is found in magic mushrooms, which can be either wild or domesticated mushrooms. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations, psilocybin is one of the most well-known psychedelics.
Psilocybin has a significant potential for abuse and no currently recognized medical use in therapy in the United States, making it a Schedule I drug. However, many states are decriminalizing the substance, and there have been studies supporting the potential medical benefits of psilocybin.
What are Magic Mushrooms?
Any fungus containing psilocybin, a chemical component that when broken down into psilocin produces psychedelic experiences and an altered state of consciousness, is referred to as “magic mushrooms.” Psilocybe semilanceata, which is widespread in North America and Europe, and Psilocybe cubensis, which was first scientifically described in Cuba and is native to much of South and Central America, are examples of psilocybin mushrooms—often shortened to “shrooms”—that are frequently sold in the United States.
Human communities have been using psilocybin mushrooms for thousands of years, and both Mesoamerican and European ancient art depicts them. During the Spanish invasion, Catholic priests did their best to curtail the usage of hallucinogenic mushrooms in America, but they were still employed in native rites in Mexico. Life magazine reported the narrative of two ethnomycologists who took part in a ritual like this in 1957. Their voyage was financed by the CIA’s Project MKUltra, it was discovered in 2016. Albert Hoffman, a Swiss scientist who created LSD first, discovered the hallucinogenic substance psilocybin a year later. Through the 1960s, psychedelic pioneers and researchers like Timothy Leary, Terence McKenna, and Robert Anton Wilson helped spread the word about the magic mushroom.
Psilocybin, which is found in magic mushrooms, is converted to psilocin in humans. Psilocin binds to serotonin receptors in the brain, specifically receptor 5-HT2C, which controls the release of neurotransmitters that affect appetite, cognition, anxiety, imagination, learning, memory, mood, and perception. Psilocin causes a decrease in activity in the area of the brain in charge of your ego, or feeling of who you are as a person, while increasing activity in the visual cortex.
What Do Magic Mushrooms Look, Taste, and Smell Like?
Pickers frequently mistake deadly mushrooms for magic mushrooms because they often have a similar appearance. A deadly mushroom has caused serious illness or even death in some people. In locations where they are legal, magic mushrooms are frequently sold either raw or dried. The most popular varieties are fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) and liberty caps (Psilocybe semilanceata) in the United States and the United Kingdom. The genus Psilocybe has a large number of psilocybin mushrooms, however species from numerous other genera also contain the medicines.
Liberty caps resemble little brown mushrooms in appearance. Fly agarics resemble toadstools with red and white spots. It’s crucial to understand that certain varieties of magic mushrooms are more potent than others. The fly agaric mushroom, for instance, often has a higher potency than the liberty cap mushroom.
The use of liquid psilocybin is an alternative to magic mushrooms. It is a transparent pale brown substance that is created by extracting psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychoactive substance found in mushrooms like liberty caps.
Liberty caps often have a strong earthy flavor and a rubber-like texture, which makes them incredibly chewy. They are typically eaten uncooked. They don’t taste like the mushrooms you would often use in cooking, so some people try to mask the flavor by adding them to cooked food or tea.
The Short-Term Effects of Magic Mushrooms
At modest dosages, mushrooms can distort your sense of sight and hearing, bending surfaces and superimposing repeated geometric forms over your field of vision. Auras surrounding light sources, breathing surfaces, and afterimages or tracers are examples of hallucinogenic effects. Higher dosages can result in synesthesia, alter time and space perception, and give the user a feeling of blending in with the surroundings. Although seldom mistaken for reality, more sophisticated open- or closed-eyes visual hallucinations are also conceivable. Additionally, using mushrooms has subjective emotional consequences that might vary from increased humor to anxiety. Additionally, magic mushrooms widen pupils.
The Long-Term Effects of Magic Mushrooms
Using mushrooms while pregnant is not advised. How mushrooms affect expectant mothers and the developing fetus is unknown. Sometimes other medicines are put in mushrooms, harming your unborn child. Combining mushrooms with other substances or alcohol may make you more susceptible to developing further health issues.
Are There Benefits to Using Magic Mushrooms Recreationally or Therapeutically?
Possibly. Shrooms have the potential to help cure addiction, eating disorders, and depression, but research into psychedelics and how they may be used in medicine and psychology is still in its infancy due to the drugs’ Schedule I designation and the US War on Drugs. However, when used in conjunction with psychotherapy, mushrooms have shown promise. Although comparing subjective effects is difficult, using psychedelics, particularly psilocybin can have spiritual benefits similar to those of meditation or other mystical experiences.
In a 2006 study by Roland R. Griffiths that was published in the journal Psychopharmacology, it was discovered that even two months after taking psilocybin mushrooms, users continued to report feelings of joy and extreme happiness along with improvements in how participants rated their “positive attitudes, mood, social effects, and behavior.” Increases in extremely happy emotions were observed by volunteers.
When compared to the birth of a first child, 67 percent of the 36 patients in the trial research said that taking magic mushrooms was either the most important event of their lives or one of the five most important experiences of their lives. Nobody in the study said that using psilocybin decreased their sense of safety or life satisfaction.
Griffith discovered long-lasting benefits of psilocybin usage in two follow-up studies that were released in 2011 and 2017. These benefits included increased openness, appreciation, forgiveness, coping, and death transcending. Studies have also revealed that magic mushrooms work better than pharmaceuticals at treating cigarette addiction and lowering despair in cancer patients.
Are Magic Mushrooms Dangerous?
Based on the reported rates of emergency medical care, magic mushrooms are among the safest recreational substances. More dangerous than MDMA, cigarettes, cocaine, alcohol, and cannabis are mushrooms. Nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, loss of coordination, and elevated blood pressure are examples of potential adverse effects. It is virtually difficult to overdose on mushrooms due to their extremely low toxicity (the average person would need to eat several pounds to approach fatal toxicity.) People who choose their own magic mushrooms and identify them incorrectly pose the greatest risk.
Shroom usage should be avoided when combined with antiretrovirals, St. John’s Wort, or antidepressants (SSRIs, tricyclics, and MAOIs have been observed to lessen or increase psychedelic effects, making shrooms unpredictable), even if interactions with other medicines are not well understood.
Magic mushroom usage is not advised for anybody with a family history of psychotic diseases like schizophrenia since psychological side effects are also likely. The relationship between magic mushrooms and mental illness is unclear, much like the relationship between cannabis and schizophrenics, who consume it more frequently.
Magic mushrooms have been connected to the poorly understood condition known as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder, or HPPD, which causes users to report persistent distortions in their perception even years after using the drug. This condition has also been linked to cannabis, LSD, and other hallucinogens. Minor vision difficulties to unsettling hallucinations are all possible symptoms. Although it is unclear how common HPPD is or how many people have it, LSD users are most at risk for developing it. According to estimates, HPPD affects one to four percent of LSD users and one in 50,000 ordinary drug users.
Shrooms have not been found to be psychologically or physically addictive. Users develop a short-term tolerance to the active substances, psilocybin and psilocin, which lessens the effects of repeated doses. For tolerance to restore to normal levels, many weeks to a month may pass.
Are Magic Mushrooms Legal?
Psilocybin is a Schedule I substance, same like marijuana. Drugs listed as Schedule I have a high risk of abuse and are not currently used in therapy in the United States. But in 2018, Johns Hopkins University researchers proposed reclassifying magic mushrooms as a Schedule IV substance for medicinal purposes. They could aid in the treatment of substance use disorders, depression, and anxiety, according to the researchers.
Currently, Bulgaria, Jamaica, Brazil, Samoa, and the Netherlands allow the use of magic mushrooms. Numerous other nations have decriminalized the ownership and production of mushrooms, while others just outlawed dried mushrooms.
Magic mushrooms are still prohibited in all 50 states in the US, nevertheless. Both Denver, Colorado and Oakland, California have passed laws decriminalizing magic mushrooms, allowing scientists to investigate any potential health benefits. Magic mushrooms have traditionally been utilized for healing, wisdom, creativity, and spiritual connection, according to Oakland City Council Member Noel Gallo.
Magic mushroom consumption for recreational purposes is still prohibited nationwide, although advocates in some areas are pressing for legalization to occur more frequently. Magic mushroom legality in the US may gradually alter as more study on their therapeutic and medicinal uses is conducted.
What is Microdosing?
As the title of this guide suggests, there’s nothing “magic” about magic mushrooms. They are simply organisms that can create a specific reaction in the brain– and microdosing psilocybin could have some potential health benefits.
Regularly taking very small doses of a psychedelic chemical is known as microdosing. The dosage should be sub-perceptual in order to be effective. Therefore, there is no need to worry about freaking out and seeing floating rainbow clouds while you are at work because those who microdose do not experience any psychoactive effects. People microdose a wide range of organic plants and fungi, but in this tutorial, we’ll concentrate on psilocybin. People who microdose are frequently quite passionate about it and enthusiastically enumerate the advantages it has given them. These first-person tales are amazing and really inspiring.
The use of small doses of psilocybin is supported by a significant body of scientific research. There is evidence that psilocybin encourages individuals to think creatively and beyond the box. Psilocybin has been identified by the FDA as a possible Breakthrough Treatment for a number of mental conditions, including OCD and depression. By reducing the sense of pain, microdosing psychedelics may aid in pain alleviation. The idea that taking little amounts of psilocybin might make you feel joyful has received resounding acceptance in polls.
Reminder: If the usage of psilocybin mushrooms is prohibited by federal law in your state, country, or region, do not microdose there.