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Psilocybin mushrooms, more commonly known as magic mushrooms or shrooms, is the name used to describe any species of mushroom that contains the psychedelic compounds psilocybin and psilocin. Psilocybin mushrooms have been used for centuries in religious ceremonies throughout the world. The majority of psilocybin-containing mushroom species are found in North America. Psilocybin and psilocin are classified as Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970; however the mushrooms themselves are not classified. A Schedule I drug is described as having a high potential for abuse and no recognized medical value in the US.

In modern times, using psychedelic mushrooms recreationally is usually done in a social setting and is commonly referred to as tripping. Mushrooms are usually ingested orally; however, they can be sniffed or injected in powder form. They also can be brewed to make tea or incorporated into other foods, like chocolate, to mask their unpleasant bitter taste. The drug may take anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours to take effect and can last up to 6-8 hours.

The effects of using psychedelic mushrooms may vary greatly from person to person depending on several factors, including the setting the mushrooms are used in and the personality of the user. The effects of the drug are often compared to those experienced when using Peyote or LSD and may include the following: heightened sensory experiences, euphoria, hallucinations, synesthesia (melding of the senses such as seeing sound or hearing color), feelings of unity with the environment and/or intense spiritual experiences. On the contrary, some people may have a negative experience called a bad trip. A bad trip may include frightening hallucinations, confusion, disorientation, paranoia, agitation, depression, panic, and/or terror.

The physical side effects from ingesting mushrooms may include the following: nausea and vomiting, muscle relaxation, lack of coordination, pupil dilation, tearing, facial flushing, increased heart-rate, sweating and facial numbness. The risk of death from ingesting mushrooms is relatively non-existent especially when compared to other illicit drugs. That is not to say that mushrooms are not dangerous; they may have serious emotional and psychological consequences for some individuals. The most dangerous aspect of using psychedelic mushrooms is the risk of consuming mushrooms mistaken for psilocybin mushrooms. Misidentification can result in poisoning and sometimes even death.

Although mushrooms are classified as a Schedule I drug there is some scientific evidence that indicates the fungi may have medical value, especially for those struggling with depression or OCD. Also, contrary to the drug’s illegal status, it is not generally considered to be a highly addictive substance.

For more information, please visit:
Drug Fact Sheet – Psilocybin Mushrooms

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