Author: John Carter

Health Benefits of Magic Mushrooms: Uses, Risks, and Safety

dangers of magic mushrooms

Please note while forming your response, if your article is accepted, you may have the opportunity to make the peer review history publicly available. The record will include editor decision letters (with reviews) and your responses to reviewer comments. The specificities analysis, indicating the index of co-occurrence between the words, can be seen in Fig 4 (cluster1), Fig 5 (cluster2), Fig 6 (cluster 3) and Fig 7 (cluster 4). The average half-life of psilocybin ranges from one to two hours and it generally takes five to six half-lives for a substance to be eliminated from your system. Other U.S. cities have followed suit, including Santa Cruz in California and Ann Arbor in Michigan. Microdosing involves taking very small amounts of a drug to test its benefits while minimizing unwanted side effects.

Regular use may also cause an individual to become tolerant to the effects of psilocybin, and cross-tolerance occurs with other drugs, including LSD and mescaline. Because hallucinogenic and other poisonous mushrooms are common in most living environments, people should regularly remove all mushrooms from areas where children are routinely present to prevent accidental consumption. If the user has a mental health condition or feels anxious about using the hallucinogen, they face a higher risk of having a bad experience. The effects of psilocybin vary between people, based on the user’s mental state, personality, and immediate environment. According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), the hallucinogenic effects of psilocybin usually occur within 30 minutes after a person ingests it and last 4–6 hours. The quantity of the drug a person consumes, their past experiences, and their expectations of how the experience will take shape can all impact the effects of psilocybin.

Taking the wrong kind of mushroom is a serious risk.

There is evidence that indigenous people in Central America used them for healing and spiritual rituals as far back as 3000 B.C. Scientists began studying psilocybin decades ago, along with related substances like lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), to examine their potential to treat mental illness, including substance use disorders. Psilocybin (4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine) comes from certain types of mushrooms found on nearly every continent. The mushrooms, which are also known as shrooms or magic mushrooms, are typically consumed dried or powdered. Research suggests that some psychedelics can reduce anxiety and depression in people with cancer, and can promote well-being, quality of life, and acceptance of their illness and related issues. The National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, is funding a follow-up multi-site clinical trial to investigate the use of psilocybin to treat cancer-related mental health issues.

Preliminary research indicates that psilocybin may be helpful in treating substance use disorders, including tobacco use disorder. NIDA is funding a large, multi-site study on the effectiveness of psilocybin versus a nicotine patch, in combination with therapy, to help people stop smoking. This therapy may work, in part, through its effects on certain personality traits. One small-scale study involving subjects with treatment-resistant depression found that, after engaging in psilocybin therapy, their neuroticism scores decreased while their scores in extraversion, openness, and conscientiousness increased. In addition, people with pre-existing mental health conditions may be more likely to experience adverse effects from psilocybin. If its classification is changed, psilocybin mushrooms could then potentially be available by prescription.

  1. Dr. Weinstein warned that users who try to harvest their own mushrooms in the wild are especially at risk of accidental poisoning from toxic species since it can be easy to mistake a harmful fungus for a hallucinogenic mushroom.
  2. Some people who take psilocybin may experience persistent, distressing alterations to how they see the world.
  3. Data from the 2019 Global Drug Survey indicates that among the 20 drugs used most prominently over the past year, 6 were psychedelic drugs [3].
  4. In a 2016 study, 51 cancer patients with life-threatening diagnoses were given either a very low dose or a high dose of psilocybin.
  5. Researchers theorize that the substance was used to bring about a mystical state during rituals.

“The signs of addiction are someone who is spending more time obsessing or thinking about them, missing work to get high, or overusing or misusing mushrooms on a daily basis,” said Dr. Estes. The PLOS Data policy requires authors to make all data underlying the findings described in their manuscript fully available without restriction, with rare exception (please refer to the Data Availability Statement in the manuscript PDF file). The data should be provided as part of the manuscript or its supporting information, or deposited to a public repository. For example, in addition to summary statistics, the data points behind means, medians and variance measures should be available. Participant privacy or use of data from a third party—those must be specified.

Users of magic mushrooms typically welcome the hallucinations and sense of altered reality that the fungi can bring. However, this altered perception of the world can potentially lead individuals to take unusual risks or unknowingly placing themselves in dangerous situations. Another rare but serious potential side effect of tanking psychedelic mushrooms is the possibility of developing something called hallucinogen-induced persisting perception disorder, or HPPD.

Psychedelic and Dissociative Drugs

Psilocybin mushrooms look like dried ordinary mushrooms with long, slender stems that are whitish-gray and dark brown caps that are light brown or white in the center. Dried mushrooms are a rusty brown color with isolated areas of off-white. After several days of psilocybin use, individuals might experience psychological withdrawal and have difficulty adjusting to reality. Current research suggests psilocybin is not addictive, and no physical symptoms occur after stopping use.

dangers of magic mushrooms

Individuals are also curious to see how psilocybin might affect their way of thinking and living. According to a survey published in 2021 of more than 7,000 people, some 7%—or about 500 people—reported having used psilocybin mushrooms in the past year. People who use them may hope to have fun, to improve their well-being, or to self-treat a medical disorder such as depression or anxiety. Anyone dealing with psychological problems or mood disorders should think twice before taking magic mushrooms. Because of the way psilocybin works on the brain, taking mushrooms might have negative consequences for someone whose mental health is already compromised. NIDA is conducting and supporting preclinical (laboratory) research into psilocybin’s effects on the brain and body, and whether there are similar substances that may have the same benefits without side-effects such as hallucinations.

Might help stave off substance misuse

Authors explain the need for that kind of research approaches and sustain what is said in scientific literature. Nevertheless, I think it is possible and desirable to go much further on references used, since this is a hot topic with increasing stiduies available. For example, to address the growing use of psychedelic substances, authors make reference to the Global Drug Survey. This is valid source but there are others (like UNODC or EMCDDA reports) that can be combined with this one.

If you have anxiety or bipolar disorder, magic mushrooms might make you experience worsened anxiety at the time of tripping.

Among adolescents, shrooms are frequently taken in combination with alcohol and other drugs, increasing the psychological and physical risks. 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. Psilocybin is considered one of the most well-known psychedelics, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Psilocybin is classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning that it has a high potential for misuse and has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

Psilocybin is capable of promoting intense perceptual changes that include hallucinations, synesthesia, and alterations in temporal perception, as well as changes in emotion and thoughts, which may lead to risk of harmful use [23]. The relationship between bad trip episodes and certain mental states and/or physical settings is also relevant to consider subjective aspects as important triggers of anxiogenic outcomes related to the use of psychedelic substances. Understanding the specific circumstances in which psilocybin may lead to negative outcomes may have important implications for the future clinical use of this substance, also providing relevant information for harm reduction initiatives.

Considering that data was public, in agreement with national ethics regulation [31], application for ethics committee approval was dispensed [31; p. 2]. If your loved one is taking shrooms, they might display unusual behavior due to altered perceptions or impaired judgment, such as jumping out of a window or other dangerous actions. Psilocybin has been used in various cultures and locations across the world, potentially as far back as 8,000 years ago, according to a 2022 review. In some individuals, changes in sensory perception and thought patterns can last for several days. Always establish a safety plan ahead of time and make sure someone in your group stays sober. Don’t do shrooms alone and only take them if you know they’re not going to make you sick.

In the case of drug use, it’s always important to pay attention to any changes in sleep and eating patterns, as well as shifts in mood, personality, and social activities. This does not mean that shrooms are legal, but that the city is not permitted to “spend resources to impose criminal penalties” on people in possession of the drug. However, in 2020, Oregon became the first state to establish a legal framework for receiving psilocybin therapeutically. In 2018, researchers from Johns Hopkins University recommended reclassification of psilocybin from Schedule I to Schedule IV in order to allow for medical use. Magic mushrooms have been used for thousands of years for both spiritual and medicinal uses among indigenous people of America and Europe.