Magic mushrooms, commonly known as psilocybin mushrooms, mushrooms or shrooms, are a polyphyletic, informal group of fungi that contain psilocybin which turns into psilocin upon ingestion. Biological genera containing psilocybin mushrooms include Copelandia, Gymnopilus, Inocybe, Panaeolus, Pholiotina, Pluteus, and Psilocybe. Psilocybin mushrooms have been and continue to be used in indigenous New World cultures in religious, divinatory, or spiritual contexts.
They may be depicted in Stone Age rock art in Africa and Europe, but are most famously represented in the Pre-Columbian sculptures and glyphs seen throughout North, Central and South America. According to the United Nations 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, Psilocybin is a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse and serves no legitimate medical purpose.
Individuals use psilocybin as a recreational drug. It provides feelings of euphoria and sensory distortion that are common to hallucinogenic drugs, such as LSD.
Researchers at John’s Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research published a landmark study in 2006 on the safety and positive effects of psilocybin.
In October 2020, Oregon became the first state to legalize psilocybin. This allows for a 2-year period to consider regulatory and prescribing requirements. Although medical bodies do not consider psilocybin to be an addictive substance, users can experience disturbing hallucinations, anxiety, and panic from using the drug.
How Long Do Mushrooms Stay in Your System?
Common hallucinogens, with the possible exception of phencyclidine (PCP), are not usually tested for on standard workplace drug screens. However, if desired by legal authorities, medical personnel, or an employer, it is possible to perform laboratory assays that can detect any drug or metabolite, including psilocybin, via advanced techniques.
When tested via urine, the psilocybin mushroom metabolite psilocin can stay in your system for up to 3 days. However, metabolic rate, age, weight, age, medical conditions, drug tolerance, other drugs or medications used, and urine pH of each individual may affect actual detection periods.
What are the effects of ‘Magic Mushroom’ use?
According to Drugs.com, Psilocybin effects are similar to those of other hallucinogens, such as mescaline from peyote or LSD. The psychological reaction to psilocybin use include visual and auditory hallucinations and an inability to discern fantasy from reality. Panic reactions and psychosis also may occur, particularly if large doses of psilocybin are ingested.Hallucinogens that interfere with the action of the brain chemical serotonin may alter:
- sensory perception
- body temperature
- sexual behavior
- muscle control
Physical effects of psychedelic mushrooms may include a feeling of nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, confusion, and a lack of coordination. Combined use with other substances, such as alcohol and marijuana can heighten, or worsen all of these effects.
Other effects of hallucinogenic drugs can include:
- intensified feelings and sensory experiences
- changes in sense of time (for example, time passing by slowly)
- increased blood pressure, breathing rate, or body temperature
- loss of appetite
- dry mouth
- sleep problems
- mixed senses (such as “seeing” sounds or “hearing” colors)
- spiritual experiences
- feelings of relaxation or detachment from self/environment
- uncoordinated movements
- lowered inhibition
- excessive sweating
- paranoia – extreme and unreasonable distrust of others
- psychosis – disordered thinking detached from reality
Larger psilocybin doses, including an overdose, can lead to intense hallucinogenic effects over a longer period of time. An intense “trip” episode may occur, which may involve panic, paranoia, psychosis, frightful visualizations (“bad trip”), and very rarely death. Memory of a “bad trip” can last a lifetime.
Abuse of psilocybin mushrooms could also lead to toxicity or death if a poisonous mushroom is incorrectly thought to be a “magic” mushroom and ingested. If vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach cramps begin several hours after consuming the mushrooms, the possibility of poisoning with toxic mushrooms should be considered, and emergency medical care should be sought immediately.
Tolerance to the use of psilocybin has been reported, which means a person needs an increasing larger dose to get the same hallucinogenic effect. “Flashbacks”, similar to those occur in some people after using LSD, have also been reported with mushrooms. It is reported that people who use LSD or mescaline can build a cross-tolerance to psilocybin, as well.