What Do Magic Mushrooms Do?
Magic mushrooms are hallucinogenic drugs, meaning they can cause you to see, hear, and feel sensations that seem real but are not. The effects of magic mushrooms, however, are highly variable and believed to be influenced by environmental factors
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One study found that people who self-medicated with small dosages of psilocybin were able to relieve cluster headaches while avoiding any psychoactive effects of the drug.7
This type of practice is often referred to as microdosing, or taking very small amounts of a drug to test its benefits while minimizing unwanted side effects.
What are magic mushrooms?
It should be noted that researchers tend to advise against self-medicating with psilocybin because, outside of a clinical setting, it may be harder to manage your anxiety while under the influence (potentially leading to a bad trip), you may take too high of a dosage, and it’s hard to know the purity of the drug if you’re purchasing it from an unregulated source.8
In addition, people with pre-existing mental health conditions may be more likely to experience adverse effects from psilocybin.
Common Side Effects of Psilocybin Mushrooms
All hallucinogens carry the risk of triggering mental and emotional problems and causing accidents while under the influence. Among adolescents, magic mushrooms are frequently taken in combination with alcohol and other drugs, increasing the psychological and physical risks.
The amount of psilocybin and psilocin contained in any given magic mushroom is unknown, and mushrooms vary greatly in terms of the amount of psychoactive contents. This means that it is very hard to tell the length, intensity, and type of “trip” someone will experience.
Consuming shrooms can result in a mild trip, with feelings of relaxation or drowsiness, to a frightening experience marked by hallucinations, delusions, and panic. In the worst-case scenario, magic mushrooms have even been known to cause convulsions.11
Side effects of magic mushrooms can include both physical and mental effects.
Physical effects of psilocybin mushrooms include:
- Dilated pupils
- Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature
- Lack of coordination
- Muscle weakness
Mental effects of shrooms are:
- Distorted sense of time, place, and reality
- Hallucinations (visual or auditory)
- Having introspective (spiritual) experiences
- Panic reactions
More research is needed on the long-term, lasting side effects of magic mushrooms. But it has been reported that people can experience long-term changes in personality, as well as flashbacks, long after taking mushrooms.
Since magic mushrooms look similar to poisonous mushrooms, poisoning is yet another potential risk of taking these drugs. Mushroom poisoning can cause severe illness, organ damage, and even death.
Magic mushrooms are a special kind of hallucinogenic mushroom treasured for their ability to produce strong psychedelic effects.
The most common kind of magic mushrooms fall under the Psilocybe genus. This genus includes over 200 different mushrooms containing psilocybin, the main compound responsible for producing psychedelic effects (such as hallucinations and altered perception).
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More than 180 psilocybin-containing mushrooms species are found all around the world. When eaten these can induce hallucinogenic/psychedelic effects. The key ingredient found in these mushrooms is psilocybin. Psilocybin is a so-called pro-drug which means that it is converted in the body to psilocin which is the chemical with the psychoactive properties. Additional chemicals commonly present in minor amounts include psilocin itself, baeocystin and norbaeocystin although the extent to which these contribute to the overall effects is unclear. Psilocybin mushrooms are often called magic mushrooms or shrooms. The small and potent liberty cap mushroom (Psilocybe semilanceata) is probably the most common and widespread species found in Europe. Other species occur in the wild, and Psilocybe cubensis is cultivated indoors