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What Is Psilocybin?

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Psilocybin is a structural analog of psilocin, the main psychoactive component in Psilocybe Cubensis. The psilocybin and psilocin compounds have similar chemical structures but differ in pharmacological properties.

Several dried and fresh hallucinogenic mushrooms produce psilocybin (4-phosphoryloxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine) and psilocin. A central nervous system serotonin (5-HT) receptor is probably responsible for hallucinogenic (psychedelic) effects. The psilocybin compound is a tryptamine classified as an indole-alkylamine (tryptamine). Its hallucinogenic and euphoric effects are abused to produce a “trip,” It has a structure similar to lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).

For millennia, Indigenous peoples and religious groups have used hallucinogenic mushrooms, such as peyote (mescaline). Two chemicals, psilocybin and psilocin, are found in over 180 different species of mushrooms. It is also possible to manufacture both psilocybin and psilocin synthetically.

How Does Psilocybin Work?

Psilocybin affects mood, cognition, and perception by activating serotonin receptors in the prefrontal cortex; hallucinogens also trigger arousal and panic responses in other brain regions.

Psilocybin effects can be influenced by how much of the drug is consumed, past experiences, and expectations. People often experience disorientation and distorted perceptions of the environment and reality after taking psilocybin. This is not due to active visionary or auditory hallucinations.

As a result of the hallucinogenic drugs effect of psilocybin, people are usually experiencing hallucinations within 30 minutes after consuming the substance. In some cases, the hallucinogenic effects can last up to six hours.

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Why are Psilocybin Mushrooms So Effective?

psilocybin containing mushrooms

The following list some of the most common effects of magic or psilocybin mushrooms.

  • You feel energized and full of good vibes. It is euphoria or an overwhelming sense of well-being and contentment.
  • Realistic distortions. A new perspective on the existing world. A glimpse behind the curtain.
  • There’s something new and exciting in that creepy cupboard under the sink! An altered sense of time and space. What seems close can appear far away.
  • The feeling of oneness with the universe. This kind of spiritual experience is similar to the platonic ideal of tripping.
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations perception. Things become disproportionately large or small, or they bend and ripple.
  • Sounds become distorted. Music becomes unbearably beautiful. This remains the only explanation for listening to “The Grateful Dead.”

Recently Approved Uses of Psilocybin

According to a 2018 study from Johns Hopkins University, psilocybin should be reclassified from Schedule I to Schedule IV to permit medical use.

According to Johns Hopkins researchers, psilocybin is an effective substance use disorder treatment for depression, nicotine addiction, and alcohol abuse. Magic mushrooms have been shown to reduce emotional distress in people with life-threatening cancer diagnoses.

Psychedelics are also being studied by Johns Hopkins’ Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research for a variety of conditions, including:

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Opioid addiction
  • Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

The use of small doses of psilocybin to self-medicate delayed headaches without causing any psychoactive effects. A month later, Oakland followed Denver in decriminalizing mushrooms. Other U.S. cities have followed suit, including Santa Cruz and Ann Arbor. Magic mushrooms are not legal, but the city is prohibited from imposing criminal punishment on people who possess them. Psilocybin therapy became legal in Oregon in 2020.

The Benefits of Psilocybin or Magic Mushrooms

It is an entheogenic substance that produces a psychedelic experience.

Psilocybin produces several effects such as altered states of consciousness, vivid and lucid dreams, euphoria, changes in perception and thought process, a sense of unity, and increased spiritual awareness.

Psilocybin is often used by people facing life-threatening diseases such as cancer and terminal illnesses to help them cope with their condition better. It helps them to overcome fear, anxiety, and depression.

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People can also use magic mushrooms to overcome addiction problems like alcoholism or drug abuse by helping them recognize their addictive behavior and how it affects them daily so that they can make a change in their lives for the betterment of their health and their mental state.

This drug is considered one of the most potent psychedelics due to its unique mechanism of action on serotonin receptors in the brain.

It is believed that these drugs can help patients suffering from anxiety and depression by providing them with an alternative treatment option.

Psilocybin Use

Magic Mushroom stems are long, slender, grey or white, covered by caps with dark gills on the underside. Dried mushrooms generally have a reddish-brown color with isolated white spots. These mushrooms may be consumed orally as mushroom tea or blended into other foods. Psilocybin has a bitter, unpalatable flavor.

The effects of psilocybin are generally unpleasant or even terrifying. Dried mushrooms contain only trace amounts of psilocin and only 0.2% to 0.4% psilocybin. A bad trip can result from any dose of psilocybin, which is unpleasant or frightening. In recreational use, an amount of psilocybin can take up to two hours, resulting in a six-hour peak effect.

People’s tolerance and dose of mushrooms can vary depending on the hallucinogen content, the method of preparation, and the type of mushroom. To identify the hallucinogen or species in a mushroom, it may be safer to start with smaller doses and evaluate the effects over a more extended period when using psilocybin recreationally.

The Risks of Magic Mushrooms

A persistent, distressing alteration in perception can occur in some people who take psilocybin in the form of magic mushrooms or other methods of ingesting. An intensely upsetting experience is often recalled as a visual flashback. Using the hallucinogen can cause flashbacks for weeks to years afterward. It is now diagnosed as hallucinogen-persisting perception disorder.

The use of psilocybin may also cause anxiety, fear, confusion, psychosis, delirium, and syndromes that resemble schizophrenia. Most of the time, these effects are treated with medication, such as benzodiazepines. Psilocybin usually wears off in 6–8 hours.

Finally, although the risk is small, psilocybin users can be poisoned accidentally by eating a poisonous mushroom. Confusion, muscle spasms, and delirium may be symptoms of mushroom poisoning. These symptoms should be reported to an emergency room as soon as possible.

Almost every living environment includes hallucinogenic and poisonous mushrooms, so people should regularly remove any mushrooms that children can consume from areas where they are frequently present. It is uncommon for accidental mushroom ingestion to result in serious illness, and only severe cases require medical attention.

Effects of ‘Psilocybin Mushroom’ Use

Magic mushrooms containing psilocybin

The effects of psilocybin are often described as similar to those of LSD but with a more relaxed, social, and carefree feeling. Psilocybin users can experience vivid hallucinations and feel an intense sense of euphoria.

In the short term, people who use magic mushrooms report feeling lightness and being disconnected from their surroundings. This is known as the “shroom” or “fungi” effect, which can be compared to the “trip high” that some people experience on lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) or other drugs.

Some users have described psilocybin’s effects as similar to meditation or yoga in that it can help them focus on the present moment without worrying about the past or future — a practice called mindfulness.

Side effects of magic mushrooms can include both physical and mental effects.

Physical effects:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Yawning
  • Headaches
  • Increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and temperature
  • Muscle weakness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Nausea

Mental illness effects:

  • Distorted sense of time, place, and reality
  • Hallucinations (visual or auditory)
  • Euphoria
  • Having introspective (spiritual) experiences
  • Panic reactions
  • Paranoia
  • Nervousness
  • Psychosis

Signs of Magic Mushrooms Use

A person who uses magic mushrooms might experience nauseous feelings and paranoia. While using mushrooms, they should always be aware of changes in sleeping or eating patterns, mood, personality, and social interactions.

Hallucinogenics can cause disorganized thoughts, mood changes, paranoia, and vision disturbances. As a result of a hallucinogenic persistent perception disorder, a person may experience hallucinations or visual disturbances long after taking the drug. These episodes are commonly referred to as flashbacks and can be misdiagnosed as brain tumors or strokes.

Hallucinogens can cause dissociative effects in your loved one, including:

  • Amnesia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Inability to move
  • Hallucinations
  • Increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature
  • Loss of memory
  • Loss of coordination
  • Mood swings
  • Numbness
  • Panic
  • Psychotic symptoms
  • Seizures
  • Speech difficulties
  • Suicidal attempts
  • Weight loss

Are Psilocybin Mushrooms Still Illegal?

The control substances act of the federal government classifies psilocybin under Schedule I, which means it has a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment, and no established safety for use under medical supervision.

In November 2020, Oregon legalized psilocybin for those aged 21 or older under Measure 109. Psilocybin was decriminalized in another vote. In Oregon, advocates of legalizing psilocybin promote its use to treat depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The new law will make psilocybin more accessible to people who need them clinically.  The enactment of Measure 109 will occur after a developmental stage is completed, which is expected to take two years. Psilocybin was decriminalized in Washington, DC in November 2020.

Since psilocybin is listed as a Schedule I drug by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), doctors cannot use it in the clinical setting. Other drugs in federal Schedule I include marijuana, LSD, and heroin. Reclassifying psilocybin as a Schedule II drug would require it to have a currently accepted medical use. Still, it would have severe restrictions due to its addiction potential before it can be prescribed to patients. In addition to marijuana, LSD, and heroin, researchers may only be able to obtain access to the illegal compound through special waivers from the FDA. It remains to be seen if legalization will make it easier for researchers to study psilocybin.

What is the Average Length of Time that Mushrooms Stay in Your Body?

Standard workplace drug screens usually do not detect common hallucinogens except phencyclidine (PCP). If a legal authority, medical staff, or employer desires, advanced laboratory techniques can be used to detect any drug use or metabolite, including psilocybin.

The psilocin mushroom metabolite can remain in your system for up to three days when detected through the urine. Individuals’ actual detection periods may be affected by their metabolic rate, weight, age, medical conditions, drug tolerance, and urine pH.

FAQs Psilocybin

Psilocybin mushrooms come in various forms, including mushrooms and tablets. The mushrooms contain the most potent form of psilocybin and are usually dried or freeze-dried before sold. Dried magic mushrooms can be processed into powder form, which is then mixed with water or another liquid to make a tea. The most potent form of psilocybin is found in the dried form, while the least potent is found in the fresh (unprocessed) form.

Psilocybin tablets are also available, but they do not contain any active ingredients. These tablets are hallucinogenic and can cause nausea and vomiting if ingested in large quantities.

Hallucinogens cause your brain to release chemicals called neurotransmitters that alter your perception of reality and cause hallucinations. Common hallucinogens include LSD, mescaline (also known as peyote), ibogaine, DMT, and psilocin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms). Hallucinogens can also be combined with other drugs like marijuana or alcohol to heighten the effects further.

They are most commonly used as a recreational drug but can also be used medicinally in some cases. In more recent years the research into mental health and psilocybin is showing great progress, especially for depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

As Schedule I illegal substances under the federal Controlled Substances Act, psilocybin and MDMA are not approved for medical use outside of clinical trials by the FDA. They are also illegal in many states.

Magic mushrooms are also known as:

  • boomers

  • shrooms

  • mushies

  • zoomers

  • simple Simon

  • purple passion

  • mushroom soup

  • little smoke

  • sacred mushrooms

  • cubes

Psychedelic or Magic mushrooms are mainly composed of psilocybin (PY, 4-phosphoryloxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine) converted to psilocin after ingestion.

A dried powder is also available as psilocybin in capsules and tablets. You can dissolve synthetic psilocybin in water or process it into pills. It appears as a white, crystalline powder.

If you have taken too many magic mushrooms, you will experience symptoms such as:

  • Anxiety

  • Dizziness

  • Lightheadedness

  • Nausea and/or vomiting

  • Excessive sweating

  • Delusional thinking

  • Flushing of the skin

  • Slowed perception of time

  • Confusion



1UpMaps is a community resource that serves as a one-stop-shop for credible information, including a strain library as well as products and doctors/healers who are able to offer trip sitting during or integration therapy after an experience.

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