What are “Magic Mushrooms”?
Magic Mushrooms are simply any of the more than 150 species of mushrooms that contain the active ingredients psilocybin or psilocyn. These chemicals serve as powerful hallucinogens that disrupt the serotonin system in the brain. Mushrooms can be purchased on the black market as spores to be grown at home, pre-grown in either a raw or dried state, or they can be harvested in the wild as they grow naturally in many parts of North America.
Mushrooms grow wild, but they are still illegal: they are federally labeled as a Schedule 1 narcotic in the United States. This means that mushrooms are illegal to possess, use or distribute in any quantity.
Magic Mushrooms are often perceived to be much less harmless than they really can be
Other than Magic Mushrooms, the most common name for hallucinogenic mushrooms is simply “shrooms”. Other, less common names include:
How are They Taken?
Mushrooms are ingested orally. They are normally eaten or brewed as a tea. Mushrooms are often included in other dishes, like a salad In rare instances they are smoked.
Mushrooms provide a high that lasts somewhere from 6-10 hours. A typical reaction to the drug includes visual and auditory hallucinations. A user may experience synesthesia, a condition where the senses mix and the user may see sounds and taste colors. Also, they will suffer from delayed reaction times, an inability to communicate clearly, and general disorientation.
A user will often find time becomes distorted, as it seems to speed up and slow down.
The results of a trip can be very unpredictable. A person may inexplicably suffer from a “bad trip”. When this happens, the user may feel an incredible sense of paranoia and panic. Many people will withdraw internally to the point where they cannot communicate.
The amount of mushrooms taken in order to achieve a high can vary greatly according to several factors, including: the strength of the mushrooms, whether they are raw or dried, the person taking them and the method of ingestion. Because of these factors, often a person will take much more than is needed and have longer and much stronger “trip” than they desired.
The strong hallucinogenic effects of mushrooms can put a person in serious danger as a result of poor decision-making and an inability to properly interact with the world around them. A person simply walking alongside a roadway can be a danger to themselves or others as they may lose their ability to stay out of the way of traffic; never mind the thought of a person trying to drive while on them.
Another risk of mushrooms is the fact that since they are often picked in the wild, there is a real danger of poisonous non-hallucinogenic mushrooms being gathered by mistake. Unfortunately one of the side effects of “real” magic mushrooms is often an upset stomach, so it would be easy for a poisoned individual to discount their sickness until damage has already been done.
As with other hallucinogens like LSD, is the possibility of “flashbacks”. Flashbacks are re occurrences of hallucinations for periods that can occur long after taking the drugs.
Although mushrooms do not have any physical withdrawal symptoms, the intoxicating effects can lead to psychological addictions. Also, the mental upheaval felt during a bad trip can have lasting effects including depression, paranoia and anxiety.
Disturbing Long Term Mental Effects
Our treatment center has long noted the disturbing trend of young men and women who come for treatment for drug addiction or alcoholism but are also suffering from a mood disorder or an anxiety disorder. We find that drugs like mushrooms and ecstasy which are associated with the youthful electronic music movement are often precursors to our clients experiencing these negative effects. Often during the course of co-occurring disorder treatment we are able to treat the depression or anxiety and we notice that with continued sobriety the secondary diagnosis is greatly alleviated.