Mushroom (Psilocybin) Use: Effects & Dangers

Psychedelic mushrooms contain psilocybin, which has hallucinogenic properties. Some indigenous cultures have used these mushrooms as part of religious and ceremonial rituals.1

Keep reading to learn about the effects and dangers of psychedelic mushrooms and treatment options for drug addiction.

What Are Mushrooms (Psilocybin)?

The substance psilocybin is a hallucinogen found in certain mushrooms that grow in South America, Mexico, and the United States.1 Psilocybin is considered a Schedule I controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Schedule I substances have no accepted medical use and carry the potential for misuse.3

Psychedelic mushrooms may be referred to as:4

  • “Little smoke.”
  • “Magic mushrooms.”
  • “Purple passion.”
  • “Shrooms.”

Psilocybin mushrooms are often eaten by themselves. However, they may also be brewed in tea or added to other foods and consumed.1

Effects of Mushrooms

The effects of mushrooms and other hallucinogens vary and are often unpredictable. Desired hallucinogenic effects may include seeing images, hearing sounds, or feeling things that are not there.1

Other short-term effects and symptoms of ingesting mushrooms may include:4

  • Enlarged pupils.
  • Drowsiness.
  • An altered perception of time.
  • An inability to tell fantasy from reality.
  • Weakness in the muscles.
  • Movement issues.
  • Nausea or vomiting.

People typically experience the hallucinogenic effects of mushrooms within 20 minutes after ingesting them and these effects may last for around 6 hours.1

The effects and intensity of someone’s trip may vary depending on factors like:5

  • The dosage of mushrooms taken.
  • The person’s age, health, and biology.
  • The person’s experiences with drugs.
  • The person’s mood, expectations, and surroundings.

Psilocybin causes its effects by interrupting the interaction of nerve cells and serotonin in the brain.1 Serotonin has an effect on mood, hunger, body temperature, sexual behavior, muscle control, and sensory perception.1

Risks & Dangers of Mushrooms

While the effects of mushrooms are not typically life-threatening, there are cases where serious adverse effects may occur, especially if someone takes high doses or when in the wrong mood, mindset, or environment.6

Potential risks and dangers associated with ingesting mushrooms may include:5,6

  • Losing consciousness.
  • Having difficulty breathing.
  • Panic episodes.7
  • Injury due to dangerous behaviors.
  • Seizures.
  • Self-harm or suicide.

There are several case reports that associate psilocybin use with long-term effects like flashbacks, mental illness, and memory impairments.1

Can You Overdose on Mushrooms?

Overdosing on mushrooms is unlikely.5 In fact, the lethal dose of psilocybin is an estimated 1,000 times larger than an individual would typically take at a given time.6

What is more likely is that the user may experience a “bad trip,” which may lead to dangerous behavior and injury.1

Another danger is the risk of accidental poisoning due to ingesting the wrong kind of mushroom.4 Some deadly types of fungus may be misidentified as psilocybin.1

Are Mushrooms Addictive?

It is currently unknown whether someone can become addicted to mushrooms, as more research is needed.4 However, mushrooms are sometimes used in combination with other substances with addiction potential, such as cannabis or alcohol.5

While there is currently no clinical diagnosis for mushroom addiction, The Diagnostic Statistical Manual, 5th Edition (DSM-5) does recognize addiction to hallucinogens under the broad category “hallucinogen use disorder.”5,8

Treating Hallucinogen Use Disorder in Nevada

Desert Hope Treatment Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, offers treatment options if you or your loved one is struggling with hallucinogen use. Treatment for hallucinogen use disorder typically involves behavioral therapy, peer support, and psychoeducation.9

The levels of addiction treatment that this facility provides include medical detox, inpatient addiction treatment, outpatient rehab programs, sober living, and rehab aftercare planning. To learn more about treatment options, the administration process, and insurance or payment options, reach out to one of Desert Hope’s admissions navigators at .

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