What are Magic Mushrooms?
- Magic mushrooms are any of a variety of mushrooms that contain psilocybin or psilocin.
- Psilocybin and psilocin are psychedelic drugs that belong to the tryptamine family and have effects similar to LSD, but shorter acting.
- Magic mushrooms have been used for thousands of years by indigenous cultures around the world to induce altered states of consciousness during celebratory, medicinal, and religious rituals.
- Recent scientific studies have used psilocybin to ease end-of-life anxiety in terminally ill patients.
- Magic mushrooms are usually eaten raw or brewed into a tea. They can be consumed fresh or dried for later use.
What are the effects?
- At low doses, magic mushrooms produce feelings of relaxation and sedation, similar to cannabis.
- At higher doses, colors appear sharper, moving objects leave “trails” behind them and flat surfaces may appear to “breathe.” Closed or open eyed visuals may begin to appear, as well as complex emotions and thought processes.
- Users often report laughing a lot and finding things funnier than they would normally.
- A mushroom “trip” tends to last about four to five hours.
- Many people say the mushroom experience is more “earthy” than other psychedelics, increasing emotional awareness and causing less psychological confusion.
What is a Normal Dose?
- The amount of psilocybin or psilocin in magic mushrooms can vary greatly between strains as well as within the same strain, making it difficult to dose precisely.
- A typical dose of the popular strain, Psilocybe Cubensis, is about two dried grams. A threshold dose (one you can just barely feel) is considered around 1/4 dried gram, and five dried grams is considered a very strong dose.
- Starting out with a smaller dose and waiting at least an hour to see how it feels is always a good idea to avoid having too strong of a trip.
- On an empty stomach, the full effects should be felt within 30 minutes to an hour. On a full stomach it could take much longer.
- The greatest physical danger associated with taking magic mushrooms is accidentally ingesting poisonous mushrooms instead. There are about 200 species of edible magic mushrooms, but only a handful of them are common. Learn how to identify them and always buy from a known, trusted source.
- Magic mushrooms can induce very intense experiences that may exacerbate or bring out mental health conditions, especially mood or psychotic disorders. There is no hard and fast rule, but individuals with a personal or family history of mood or psychotic disorders have a higher baseline risk level when ingesting magic mushrooms.
- Mushroom trips can sometimes be frightening, inducing extreme anxiety and panic. Although rare, some people relive the experience days, weeks or even years later in episodes known as “flashbacks.” Flashbacks are not unique to hallucinogenic drugs – they can result from any intense psychological trauma.
- Magic mushrooms can impair judgment. Never drive while under the influence of magic mushrooms.
- Magic mushrooms are illegal. Possession can result in long prison terms. Supplying mushrooms to someone else (whether or not money was exchanged) and growing mushrooms (even for personal use) can carry even longer sentences.
More Harm Reduction Tips
- Some users experience nausea during the first hour after consuming magic mushrooms. Gently boiling the mushrooms into a tea before consuming them can reduce the chances of becoming nauseous.
- As with all psychedelics, ‘set’ and ‘setting’ are important factors in determining whether someone has a positive or challenging experience. “Set” is the mental state a person brings to the experience— their thoughts, mood and expectations. “Setting” is the physical and social environment in which the drug is consumed. Being in a good mental state with trusted friends in a supportive environment before taking magic mushrooms reduces the risk of having a difficult trip.
- Be self aware! If you choose to use magic mushrooms, knowing why is the best way to maximize the benefits and reduce the risks. Whether it’s for therapeutic, psychonautic or purely recreational purposes, knowing your intentions is necessary to asses whether or not they are being met.