Psilocybin ('magic') mushrooms

Originally Published: September 11, 1998 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: April 13, 2012
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Hi Alice,

I have been thinking of trying psilocybin mushrooms. Please tell me what effects it has on the brain, body, and whatever else you can tell me... I have heard shrooms are safer than LSD and even that shrooms are harmless!!! Also tell me if it is common that shrooms are laced with LSD. Thanx and I love your site!

Dear Reader,

Why thank you! Glad you like the site. Now, let's get right down to business. Psilocybin mushrooms (a.k.a. 'shrooms, "Magic" mushrooms) are a hallucinogen that are either eaten in their dried mushroom form or consumed as a white powder. The term "hallucinogen" means that taking this drug causes the user to experience an altered sense of reality, a.k.a. "tripping." Used in smaller amounts, psilocybin mushrooms produce a feeling of relaxation and visual distortions. For example, users experience a sensation of being detached from their body and observing themselves, see brilliant arrangements of color and light, or see fantastical images before them. In larger doses, users may experience physical sensations, such as lightheadedness; numbness of the tongue, lips, and mouth; shivering or sweating; nausea; and, anxiety. Use of this drug can also change one's perception of time, making minutes seem like hours.

In general, a trip begins with some feelings of nausea, jitteriness, and a mild increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing. However, if a user experiences anxiety or fear during a trip (also known as having a “bad trip”), the body's reactions to these feelings may be difficult to endure. For this reason, it's important to consider where and with whom one might try this drug. When experimenting with any drug, it is essential to be in a safe environment with people you trust, preferably including some who are not using any alcohol or other drugs.

Psilocybin mushrooms do not generally cause dangerous physical reactions, nor is addiction or physical dependence likely. However, individual users' experiences vary widely, based on a number of factors. A person's expectations, physical and/or emotional health, previous drug experiences, mood, the amount of the drug consumed, and the setting all play a part in what kind of effects the drug produces. In addition, pre-existing mental conditions, such as depression, can cause unpredictable reactions to psilocybin mushrooms, as can use with another drug, such as marijuana. Hallucinations range from the intriguing and pleasurable to the frightening and anxiety producing. Intense experiences can be physically and emotionally uncomfortable, and the memory may stay with the user for a long time. Flashbacks of trips are also common among frequent users of the drug.

It is difficult to identify the psilocybin variety of mushrooms, both in the wild and in its dried form. Taking the wrong type of mushroom could cause severe health problems. There are similar-looking fungi that cause hallucinations, but which are much more dangerous. Taking toxic mushrooms by accident is, in fact, the single most dangerous thing about mushroom use: the wrong type can be deadly.

Psilocybin mushrooms and LSD are both hallucinogenic drugs, thereby leading to similar effects on the user. However, LSD's effects last longer. Also, while it is unlikely that LSD would be mixed with other drugs, there are a plethora of possible chemicals in street-LSD. LSD sold on the street may actually be a combination of different chemicals that produce similar effects. Although it is possible to create synthetic psilocybin and psilocin (the hallucinogenic compounds in psilocybin mushrooms), law enforcement has not reported the sale of synthetic ‘shrooms on the street.

You asked whether or not psilocybin mushrooms could be laced with LSD. LSD is most commonly used in one of two forms. It is either absorbed in its liquid form onto a piece of paper (a blotter), and chewed or taken as a pill. It may be possible to soak psilocybin mushrooms in this liquid, but this is highly unlikely.

For more information on hallucinogens and other drugs, search through the Go Ask Alice! Alcohol & Other Drugs archives. Another good resource is the book, Buzzed: The Straight Facts about the Most Used and Abused Drugs from Alcohol to Ecstasy, by Cynthia Kuhn, Scott Swartzwelder, and Wilkie Wilson.


March 7, 2008


To readers:

I'm a 26 year old male and have taken a few recreational drugs in the past. Although I do consider myself to be healthy, I tend to worry about my levels of anxiety after a night...

To readers:

I'm a 26 year old male and have taken a few recreational drugs in the past. Although I do consider myself to be healthy, I tend to worry about my levels of anxiety after a night out. I vowed never to take halucinogenics ever again i.e. LSD (which I've taken) or mushrooms (which I hadn't).

Last week however, a friend came round as I was getting drunk. He had mushrooms and made me a brew. I can't believe I took them. An hour later I was fully in the trip. Colourful lights and paterns could be seen. I had a sense of being disconnected from my mind and had no sense of time. In the end I fell asleep, but woke up in morning and had a small glass of wine to cure the hangover. Within 20 minutes I realized the trip hadn't left me or rather "I hadn't left the trip." My mind and thoughts were totally beyond my control and the level of anxiety was horrible. I was totally freaked out.

When I was tripping 3 days later, I began to realize I was in trouble. I started to believe I was never going to return to myself. Even thought about going to the doctors and everything. I had to take the week off work while my partner stayed by my side in the bedroom. HOW SCARY. Over a week later. I'm back at work and back to earth. Maybe it was my state of mind and beliefs I had about hallucinogenics that caused me to be this way. If I didn't care, I believe I'd have been fine. I know one thing though... NEVER AGAIN.

PLEASE NOTE: I am an individual and these things affect other individuals in different ways.

thanks, J