The term psilocybin is sometimes used interchangeably with the term "magic mushrooms". Magic mushrooms are any type of mushroom that contain the alkaloid psilocybin and psilocin. These alkaloid or chemical compounds can also be created synthetically in a laboratory and result with similar if not identical effects.
Psilocybin is a psychoactive and hallucinogenic compound found naturally in wild in many different parts of the world including: North and South America, Northern Europe, Australia, south India and more. It is one of the most well-known and used psychedelics in the world for the last 60 years.
- Other Names for Psilocybin
- Psilocybin vs. Psilocin
- When was Psilocybin Isolated?
- Other Magic Ingredients In Magic Mushrooms
- The Effects of Consuming Psilocybin
- Side Effects of Psilocybin
- Types of Magic Mushrooms
- The most common species include:
- Less Common Species Include
- How Long Does It Take for Shrooms to Kick In?
- Why Do Magic Mushrooms Turn Blue? (Blue Bruising)
- Why Do Shrooms Make Me Cry?
- Sex on Psilocybin Magic Mushrooms (Shrooms) Explained
- What Happens When Dogs Eat Magic Mushrooms?
- Psychedelic Magic Mushroom Blue Honey Recipe
- How to Make Psilocybin Magic Mushroom Chocolates
- Do Psilocybin Shrooms Show Up on a Drug Test?
- Should You Eat Food While On Magic Mushrooms?
- How Long Does Psilocybin Take to Take Effect?
- How Long Do Shrooms Stay in Your System?
- Psilocybin Mushroom Detox and Withdrawal
- Is Psilocybin Addictive?
- How is Psilocybin Taken?
- Psilocybin Dosages
- What Are the Benefits of Psilocybin?
- What Are the Recreational and Spiritual Uses?
- Psilocybin Research
- The Legal Status of Psilocybin and Magic Mushrooms
Other Names for Psilocybin
Magic Mushrooms, Shrooms, Mushies, Blue Meanies, Liberty Caps, Philosopher’s Stones, Amani, Agaric, Boomers, Zoomers, Simple Simon, Little Smoke, Sacred Mushrooms, Purple Passion, Cubes.
Psilocybin vs. Psilocin
Both psilocybin and psilocin occur naturally within magic mushrooms, and both are equally psychoactive. When magic mushrooms are ingested, psilocybin is broken down into psilocin in the digestive tract by the enzyme alkaline phosphate.
What is Psilocybin?
Psilocybin is an indole-alkylamine with a similar structure to LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide). It has a psychedelic/hallucinogenic effect due to action on the central nervous system serotonin receptors.
What is Psilocin?
Psilocin is the psychoactive metabolite of psilocybin and will sometimes appear on banned substance lists. When psilocybin is consumed, it is converted to psilocin which causes the psychedelic effect.
When was Psilocybin Isolated?
Psilocybin was isolated by Dr. Albert Hofmann in 1958, who also discovered lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).
Other Magic Ingredients In Magic Mushrooms
Mycologist and chemist Erowid Jochen Gartz has found that some species of mushroom containing psilocybin also contains aeruginascens which changes the pharmacological aspects of psilocybin to produce a euphoric mood during ingestion. This alleviates the anxiety and confusion some magic mushroom users experience when taking the substance.
How Do You Know Whether a Mushroom is Psychedelic?
Psilocybe can be identified by its stems, color, and shape. Many wild-grown Psilocybe has a bluish hue caused by an interaction between psilocybin and oxygen.
Some amateur mycologists purport that any mushroom that turns blue when bruised contains psilocybin. However, poisonous boletes containing no psilocybin will also turn blue when pressed or bruised.
It’s best not to consume wild mushrooms unless a specialist has positively identified them.
The Effects of Consuming Psilocybin
Psilocybin is a hallucinogen. It activates the serotonin receptors in the brain, affecting mood, cognition, and perception. The effects can vary. Psilocybin doesn’t always cause active visual or auditory hallucinations but can distort how the user perceives objects and people around them.
Effects may include:
- Affected response to stimuli
- Improved mood
- Intense Mood Fluctuations
- Intense Emotional Experiences
- Extreme Relaxation
The effects will vary according to the quantity of the drug, expectations, past experiences, the mushroom potency, how it is consumed, and whether or not it was dried. Dried mushrooms contain ten times more active ingredients than fresh ones.
How Do They Feel?
Most magic mushroom users will tell you that the experience is hard to define. Journalist Michael Pollan wrote about his and his wife’s experience with magic mushrooms in the Atlantic.
His wife Judith had “interesting visuals” and found the entire experience unpleasant, saying that “her mind and her body seemed to be drifting apart.” Michael, on the other hand, felt that he suddenly gained the ability to communicate with plants!
Side Effects of Psilocybin
Some of the side effects users may experience when taking psilocybin includes:
- Introspective Experiences
Types of Magic Mushrooms
There are more than 180 identified psilocybin mushrooms in the world, with different levels of potency.
It's important to note that there are several other non-psilocybin magic mushrooms that also have a psychedelic effect.
The most common species include:
Psilocybe Cubensis (golden cap or Mexican mushroom) is the most common species. The cap is reddish-brown, with a white or yellowish stem and a conic shape. It is commonly found in spring, summer, and fall in the southern United States, mainly growing in cattle manure.
Psilocybe Semilanceata (liberty cap) is found in damp, grassy fields. It is small, light yellow or brown, with a very pointed cap. It has been located on the west coast of the United States. Its potency is similar to that of the Psilocybe Cubensis.
Psilocybe Azurescens (flying saucer mushroom) is the most potent of all Psilocybe mushrooms. It grows in wood chips and sandy soils and is found in several states, including Oregon, California, New Mexico, and Wisconsin. It is brown or caramel and turns nearly dark blue or black when bruised.
Less Common Species Include
Wavy Cap, Panaeolus Cyanescens, Gymnopilus Luteoviridis, Conocybe Velutipes, Psilocybe Mexicana, Gymnopilus Purpuratus, Gymnopilus Luteus, Gymnopilus Aeruginosus, Pholiotina Smithii, Psilocybe Subaeruginascens, Mycena Cyanorrhiza, Conocybe Siligineoides, Pluteus Cyanopus, Pluteus Nigroviridis, Pluteus Glaucus, Gymnopilus Braendlei, Pluteus Brunneidiscus, Gymnopilus Cyanopalmicola, Gymnopilus Subearlei, Gymnopilus Intermedius, Pluteus Villosus, Pluteus Phaeocyanopus, Psilocybe Muliercula, Gymnopilus Validipes, Psilocybe Villarrealiae, Gymnopilus Luteoviridis, Conocybe Velutipes, Conocybe Cyanopus, Panaeolus Cinctulus, Laughing Gym, Psilocybe Allenii, Gymnopilus Luteofolius, Inocybe Aeruginascens, Pluteus Salicinus, Psilocybe Samuiensis, Gymnopilus Viridans.
Read Move About Psilocybin
How Long Does Psilocybin Take to Take Effect?
The hallucinogenic effects occur within 30 minutes of ingestion and can last between four and six hours. Some individuals may experience changes in their sensory perception or thoughts for several days.
How Long Do Shrooms Stay in Your System?
Magic Mushrooms will stay in your system for six to twelve hours. Psilocybin will show up in hair follicles for up to ninety days.
Psilocybin Mushroom Detox and Withdrawal
Many individuals will develop a tolerance to Psilocybin with four days of regular use and need to wait until they have gone through a hallucinogen detox to feel the effects again. This can take up to three days, depending on the potency of the mushroom.
What Does Psilocybin Mushroom Withdrawal Feel Like?
After a period of abstaining from Psilocybin usage, particularly after a period of regular consumption, a person may feel withdrawal symptoms within 24 to 48 hours. The symptoms may vary from person to person, although most withdrawal symptoms won’t be physical.
Withdrawal symptoms are rate but may include:
- Drug cravings
- Visual disturbances
- Difficulties separating reality from hallucinations
Is Psilocybin Addictive?
Psilocybin is not addictive as human beings quickly build up a tolerance to the substance. Therefore, it is difficult to experience any effects from psilocybin after four days of continuous use, even with higher dosages.
Do Different Species of Psychedelic Mushrooms Produce Different trips?
Mushroom species vary in potency and active ingredients. It is believed that some species of mushrooms are less likely to see users experience anxiety and panic (“a bad trip”) than others. The effects of psilocybin on the human body can vary dramatically from person to person.
How is Psilocybin Taken?
Psilocybin is often taken as a brewed tea or prepared in food as it can be bitter. It may also be crushed and ingested in capsule form. Raw mushrooms are often sold in cubes and chewed.
Dried mushrooms contain ten times more active ingredients than fresh ones.
Unlike many other recreational drugs, bodyweight does not affect dosages for psilocybin, and the effects of various dosages can vary from person to person. Therefore, the dosages below are general guidelines, and effects may vary.
Microdosing and Low Dosage
Microdosing is considered a 10th - 20th of an average dose that would produce psychedelic effects. In general, a microdose is 0.1-0.25g. Microdosing should not affect your ability to function. Anything dosage under a gram is considered a low dosage and is suitable for use in busy environments (parties, events).
1 to 3 grams is considered a moderate dose. It may cause confusion and is not suited for use in outdoor environments or events. It’s best to use moderate dosages with friends in a controlled environment.
High Dosages and Heroic Doses
3 to 4 grams is considered a high dosage, while 5 grams is regarded as a heroic dosage. This is usually used in psychedelic retreats and controlled environments. A sober friend with experience in mushroom usage should accompany users for this dosage.
Can You Overdose on Magic Mushrooms?
You cannot physically overdose on Magic Mushrooms, but large dosages can result in highly unpleasant symptoms, including:
- Panic attacks
- Fear and feelings of loss of control
- Delusional Thinking
What Are the Benefits of Psilocybin?
Researchers have experimented with psilocybin as a possible treatment for headaches, anxiety, and addiction. The Beckley Foundation, led by Robin Carhart-Harris, Ph.D., studied the effects of psilocybin on the brain and how it can be applied in psychotherapy. While Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., of the same facility, is piloting a study examining how psilocybin can benefit addiction treatment.
What Are the Recreational and Spiritual Uses?
Psilocybin was first used for mystical or spiritual rituals in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican societies and continues to this day. Many advocates for magic mushroom rituals state their experiences with the drug to be the most significant spiritual experience of their lives.
A 2011 study found increases in Openness among participants taking high doses of psilocybin. Openness refers to someone’s attitude towards new experiences, creativity, and aesthetic appreciation.
Psilocybin is used recreationally in dance clubs, nature parties, and raves or by groups seeking transcendent spiritual experiences.
There have been very few clinical trials into the effects of psilocybin on the human body and brain. Still, pioneering research by the Beckley Foundation into the application of psychedelics in psychotherapy and other treatments may change that.
Lancet University Study: Treatment-Resistant Depression and Psilocybin
Lancet University conducted the first clinical trial into the effects of psilocybin on treatment-resistant depression in 2016. The study was led by Dr. Robin L Carhart-Harris of the Centre of Neuropsychopharmacology for the Imperial College London. The twelve volunteers’ depressive symptoms were markedly reduced after three months, with sustained improvements noted for anxiety and anhedonia.
Beckley Foundation Study Measuring Psilocin and Brain Activity
The Beckley Foundation (led by Dr. Robin L Carhart-Harris) is currently researching the effects of psilocin on the brain. They hypothesize that psilocin may be used to lower repression and facilitate autobiographical recollection.
Beckley Foundation Pilot Study: Psilocybin-Facilitated Addiction Treatment
The Beckley Foundation (led by Dr. Roland Griffiths) is studying the effects of psilocybin on nicotine addiction in cigarette smokers. They are testing the hypothesis that hallucinogen-induced mystical experiences may boost the immune system and provide treatment for nicotine-addicted individuals that have been resistant to other treatments.
A similar study conducted by John Hopkins found that participants achieved 80% abstinence (from smoking) after six months.
The Legal Status of Psilocybin and Magic Mushrooms
The United States and Canada
Psilocybin is illegal to purchase or distribute in the United States (classified schedule I) and Canada (classified as Level 3), although it has been decriminalized in Oregon.
The European Union (EU)
Psilocybin mushrooms are illegal in most of the EU. However, they have been decriminalized in Austria. They are also legal for sale as “magic truffles” in the Netherlands, fully taxed and openly sold.
Countries Where Psilocybin Mushrooms are Legal
Magic Mushrooms are legal in the Bahamas and the Netherlands, although psilocybin is a controlled substance by the United Nations Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
Psilocybin is illegal in Brazil, but not the fungal species itself. They are sold without prosecution on the Internet in Brazil, and there are no records of Brazilians facing charges for selling or possessing psilocybin mushrooms in the country.
Magic Mushrooms are currently legal in Jamaica, Nepal, and Samoa. Psilocybin mushrooms are widely found in Samoa, known as Pulouaitu, and the Samoan government plans to prohibit the sale and use thereof shortly.
If you decide to experiment with psilocybin, always do so responsibly. It’s best not to identify and sample wild-grown mushrooms on your own, so start with cultivated varieties with a lower potency. It’s recommended to have a sober partner with you when you experiment with magic mushrooms for the first time, as the experience can be overwhelming.
Human beings have gravitated towards psilocybin for thousands of years, and it holds spiritual significance for many. However, as it’s a naturally occurring substance, the effects can vary dramatically from user to user.