Psychedelic mushrooms or magic mushrooms are one of the newest trends in the health and wellness industry. Just like cannabis, these organisms have gained a lot of popularity in recent years. If some of this interest is due to their incredible mycelium, surely, it is also related to their naturally occurring psychedelic compound: psilocybin.
It is estimated there are about 180 varieties of mushrooms that contain psilocybin. Beyond psilocybin, these magic mushrooms may also contain neurotropic compounds such as psilocin, baeocystin, and aerugisnacsin.
Magic mushrooms have a history of religious and spiritual importance and are currently one of the preferred recreational drugs in the United States. Recent research has found that shrooms can be used to treat a variety of disorders and illnesses including anxiety, depression, cluster headaches and addiction. Psychedelic mushrooms are illegal for use in most parts of the United States though a few states have decriminalized their use and allowed controlled studies to learn more about their potential health benefits.
What are Psychedelic Mushrooms?
Psychedelic mushrooms are a specific kind of either cultivated or naturally-growing mushrooms that contain the naturally occurring psychoactive compound, psilocybin. Psilocybin is a well-known psychedelic drug that is classified as Schedule I and therefore not permitted for recreational use in the country. Magic mushrooms look like normal mushrooms but often have their flesh bruising bluish, which is a sign of the presence of psilocin, the other psychoactive alkaloid. This type of mushroom exists in a verity of genera but are mostly common to the Psilocybe genus. Magic mushrooms have been used for thousands of years for their mind-altering effects. Often associated with spirituality, religion, and divinity, they offer the consumer a connection to an altered state of consciousness, they offer another way to see and feel. Magic mushrooms can be prepared by drying and consumed mixed into various foods and drinks or they can be consumed fresh. It is said the Aztecs preserved them in honey, which had for effect to keep the psilocybin levels untouched. The Aztec people would consume the mushrooms in pairs and eat only chocolate before and during the ceremony. Have a look at Psilocybe aztecorum if you’re curious to know more.
Guide to Psychedelic Mushrooms: What Do They Do?
Consuming psilocybin-containing mushrooms can cause altered and enhanced senses where textures, sounds, and colours may be more vibrant. Surely, the effects of magic mushrooms depend on a number of factors, while some may experience synaestesia, others may feel sleepy or feel suddenly numb. If each magic mushroom is unique, we can all agree to say, each consumer is as well; this phenomenon may be attributable to the entourage effect of the compounds as it could be relatable to our entourage effect (mindset, setting, health). Mushrooms are powerful and should never be taken for granted, dosing, setting, and mindset are most important factors to consider.
Magic mushrooms have a history of being associated with spiritual upliftment and divinity. History shows tribes worldwide consumed psychoactive fungi as sacred medicine, to cultivate their spirituality, to heal, and to connect. Mushrooms will make those who consume them experience an altered sense of time, space, and euphoria. The compound psilocybin present in these mushrooms gets converted into psilocin in the body and is able to affect the serotonin levels in the brain. This causes unusual, unreal and altered perceptions. The effects of psychedelic mushrooms can be felt within 20-30 minutes and last for up to 6-8 hours. However, the effects can vary depending on various factors including age, weight, dose, environment, emotional state and illnesses. It is important to be in the right mindset and setting before any voyage.
What Are Some of the Therapeutical Potential of Psychedelic Mushrooms?
Psychedelic Mushrooms can be consumed in raw form. They are generally dried before ingesting. Another popular method is to make tea or treats using these mushrooms. They are used for therapeutic effects ranging from addiction to mood disorders.
Anecdotal reports suggest that psilocybin is an effective treatment for cluster headaches. A number of patients have reported improvement in their condition with the recreational use of psilocybin. A survey indicated that psilocybin can be an effective treatment for cluster headaches as compared to existing medications with about 50 percent of patients reporting it as a highly effective remedy.
Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Real-life studies have suggested psilocybin to be a potential treatment for mood-related disorders like anxiety and depression. A study performed on advanced-stage cancer patients showed the impact of the compound on anxiety and depression levels. A research also suggests that psilocybin can treat major depression and treat the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in patients who don’t respond to other treatments. The latest study on OCD and psilocybin is from Japan, and uses a species indigenous to there named Psilocybe argentines.
Promising results were seen in the 50s and 60s when psychedelics were used to treat addiction symptoms. Again in 2014, a study showed significant reductions in alcoholism after the treatment with psilocybin. It is also a potential tool to help people quit nicotine-addiction. Recent trials have seen a success rate of 80 percent in smoking cessation among participants.
Past and current studies on microdosing involving the use of psychedelics suggest that people report long-lasting changes in their personality, attitude, values and behavior. Research has found that personality measures in participants remained high even after a year of experience with psychedelic mushrooms. The experience is that of a feeling of unity and connectivity with people and things, feeling of joy and peace, feeling of spirituality and a feeling of transcending space and time.
Recent research has also shown that psychedelic mushrooms can enhance spiritual practice. A study conducted on 75 participants over a course of six months involved awareness, meditation and self-reflection. They were given varying doses of psilocybin over this period. At the end of the period, it was noted that those who received higher doses showed greater improvements in spiritual aspects.
Effects of Mushrooms
When taken in a moderate dose of 1-2.5 g, psychedelic mushrooms offer a typical trip that includes enhanced introspection, emotional experiences and altered psychological functions. Other effects include perception changes like emotional shifts, illusions, altered sense of time and others. Such experiences start in about an hour after ingesting the serving. The user starts noticing changes in visual perception as well and sees geometric patterns upon closing the eyes.
The thoughts and emotions begin changing. It is common to start feeling openness to feelings that you avoid otherwise. Another common feeling is a sense of delight with the people and things around you along with a feeling of peace and oneness with the world. Users can experience intense emotions, both good and bad. Those who report negative emotions also experience a sense of peaceful acceptance.
Common side effects of psychedelic mushies can vary from one person to another and range from changes in blood pressure and heart rate, nausea and tremors to dilated pupils, restlessness and trouble with movement.