Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic chemical that is found in some mushroom varieties, which are mostly grown in Europe, South America, Mexico, and the United States. Mushrooms that contain psilocybin are known as Magic Mushrooms.
Psilocybin is used as a recreational drug because of providing feelings of euphoria and sensory exaggeration that are very common in hallucinogenic drugs like magic mushrooms.
In 2006, Researchers published a landmark study on the safety and positive effects of psilocybin. They have also researched whether it may be used to treat various medical conditions.
According to the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), Psilocybin is a Schedule 1 substance, has a high potential for abuse, and serves no legitimate medical purpose. Although medical bodies do not consider psilocybin addictive, users may experience disturbing hallucinations, anxiety, and panic after taking the drug.
What is Psilocybin?
Psilocybin is a hallucinogen that is found in certain types of mushrooms, people can ingest it for pleasure.
How do Psilocybin works?
Psilocybin works by activating serotonin receptors, most often in the prefrontal cortex, a brain part. This part of the brain is responsible for perception, mood, and cognition. Hallucinogens also target other regions of the brain that manage arousal and panic responses. Psilocybin does not always cause active visual or auditory hallucinations. Instead, it misinterprets how some people that use the distinguish objects and people already in their surroundings. The effects of the drug also relate to the quantity, their past experiences, and their expectations of how the experience will take shape can all impact the effects of psilocybin.
The hallucinogenic effects of psilocybin are generally seen within 30 minutes after a person consumes it and it lasts up to 4 to 6 hours. In some individuals, changes in sensory perception and thought patterns can last for several days.
The potency of a magic mushroom depends on various factors like:
- Growing Conditions
- Harvest period
- Whether a person eats them fresh or dried
The percentage of psilocybin in dried mushrooms is about 10 times more than found in their fresh counterparts.
How does an Individual consume Psilocybin-containing Mushrooms?
Mushrooms containing psilocybin are small in size and brown or tan. People often mistake choosing mushrooms in the wild, they can’t differentiate between Psilocybin-containing mushrooms and poisonous mushrooms. Consumers usually take psilocybin as a brewed tea or prepare it with a food item to mask its bitter taste. Manufacturers also prepare powder from crushing dried mushrooms and transform them into the capsule. They are also available in chocolate bars.
So, there are lots of ways to consume magic mushrooms or psilocybin-containing mushrooms.
Extent of Use
According to a National Survey on Drug use and Health in 2015, it is suggested that 8.5% of people in the U.S. had consumed magic mushrooms at some point in their life.
Psilocybin is used for mystical or spiritual purposes by Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican societies from ancient times and the rituals are continued to this day. Magic Mushrooms are often used recreationally at dance clubs or by people looking for a transcendent spiritual experience.
By the health professionals, psilocybin is used for treating cluster headaches, depression, stage cancer anxiety, and other forms of anxiety. Some scientists have questioned its effectiveness and safety as a therapeutic measure.
Common names for Magic Mushrooms
- Simple Simon
- Little Smoke
- Sacred Mushrooms
- Purple Passion
- Mushroom Soup
Effects of Magic Mushrooms or Psilocybin
The effects of magic mushrooms are generally similar to those of LSD. They include changing the perception of time and space and also mood and feeling.
The effects of psilocybin vary between people, it depends on the consumer’s mental state, living surroundings, personality, and medical illness. If the user is suffering from a mental health condition or feels anxious about using the hallucinogen, they face a higher risk of having a bad experience.
Some Common effects of Psilocybin:
- Distorted thinking
- Dilated Pupils
- Spiritual awakening
- Derealization, or the feeling that surroundings are strange
- Visual alteration and distortion, such as seeing the radiance of light
- Drowsiness and yawning
- Unusual body sensation
- Lack of coordination
- Frightening hallucinations
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle weakness
Psychological specialists use psilocybin as a treatment for depression. Researchers have found the ability of psilocybin to reduce depression symptoms without abating emotions. Researchers investigated that psilocybin may be successful in treating depression with psychological support.
Risks of using Psilocybin
Some Individuals who take psilocybin may experience persistent, distressing alterations to the way they see the world. These often take the form of a visual flashback, which is an alarming recall of a severely upsetting experience. The experience flashbacks may continue from weeks to years after using the hallucinogen. Physicians now diagnose this condition as a hallucinogen-persisting-perception disorder.
Some people who consume psilocybin may also experience confusion, agitation, delirium, psychosis, and syndromes that resemble schizophrenia, requiring a trip to the emergency room. In most cases, these effects can be treated with medication, such as benzodiazepines. Symptoms often resolve in 6-8 hours as the effects of the psilocybin subside.
The risk is not severe, some people risk accidental poisoning from eating a poisonous mushroom by mistake. After consuming poisonous mushrooms, the consumers feel confusion, muscle spasms, and delirium. If users feel these types of symptoms, they should visit an emergency room immediately.
Hallucinogenic and other poisonous mushrooms are common in most living environments, people should regularly remove all mushrooms from children’s areas to prevent accidental consumption.
Most accidental mushroom ingestion results in minor gastrointestinal illness, with only the most severe instances requiring medical attention.
Psilocybin is not an addictive drug, and after stopping use, no physical symptoms occur. However, after several days of psilocybin use, individuals might experience psychological withdrawal and have difficulty adjusting to reality.
Regular use can also cause an individual to become tolerant to the effects of psilocybin, and cross-tolerance occurs with other drugs. Individuals who use these drugs must wait at least several days between doses to experience the full effect.