Psilocybin Mushrooms Abuse and Addiction Treatment Options
Mushrooms have become all the rage as one of the latest trends in psychoactive drugs. Psilocybin Mushrooms (also called “magic mushrooms” or “shrooms”) are wild or cultivated mushrooms that people often consume to experience the psychedelic effects they cause.
This article provides a detailed overview of what psilocybin mushrooms are, how they affect the body, whether they’re addictive, and how to deal with addiction.
Addiction can wreak havoc on people’s lives and those around them. If you or someone you know has a psilocybin mushrooms addiction, get substance use help like that available at Zinnia Health.
What Are Psilocybin Mushrooms?
More than 10,000 different types of mushrooms exist worldwide, including a couple of thousand edible mushroom species. Although some people think mushrooms are plants, they’re plantlike fungi. Just as plants have a stem and reproductive parts (flowers or fruit with seeds), mushrooms have a stem and a cap with spores.
Fungi can be found in various habitats but thrive best where it’s dark, humid, and damp. Depending on the species, mushrooms can grow from forests to grasslands on wood, soil, and even cow pellets. Occasionally, you’ll find them in urban settings as well.
One group of mushrooms is known for being a hallucinogen—psilocybin mushrooms. Psilocybin mushrooms contain a chemical called psilocybin, a psychedelic and hallucinogenic substance. More than 100 mushroom species contain psilocybin, with most classified under the genus Psilocybe, gill mushrooms. These include:
- Psilocybe mexicana
- Stropharia cubensis
- Psilocybe semilanceata
- Psilocybe pelliculosa
- Panaeolus subbalteatus
- Psilocybe cyanescens
- Psilocybe baeocystis
The genus name Psilocybe comes from the Greek words psilós (“bare”) and kúbe (“head”). These small brown-colored mushrooms are characterized by loose skin over their cap, which resembles a bald head. They’re also called gill mushrooms because they have lamellae, thin platelike structures under their cap that produce spores.
Common Street Names Psilocybin Mushrooms
You’ll hear people call hallucinogenic mushrooms by any number of different street names:
- Blue meanies
- God’s flesh
- Golden tops
- Las mujercitas
- Liberty caps
- Little smoke
- Magic mushrooms
- Mexican mushrooms
- Sacred mushroom
- Silly putty
Mushrooms are commonly used with other illicit substances, particularly MDMA (the party drug also called “ecstasy” or “molly”). This is often called:
- Hippie flipping
- Flower flipping
- Candy flipping
What Are Psilocybin Mushrooms Used For?
Psilocybin mushrooms can be found growing worldwide. Researchers identified 144 species worldwide, with Latin America and the Caribbean having over 50 species. At the country level, most hallucinogenic mushrooms are found in Mexico (53 species) and the US and Canada (22 species).
Psilocybin mushrooms have been used for thousands of years. Evidence shows pre-Columbian Mesoamerican societies used mushrooms in 3000 BC for religious ceremonies. Olmec, Zapotec, Maya, and Aztec people used mushrooms, peyote cactus, and Morning Glory seeds containing psychoactive substances to put themselves into a trance-like state. Mesoamerican shamans and healers still use mushrooms for healing and rituals.
In the mid-twentieth century, psilocybin mushroom researchers began studying their potential therapeutic use in the field of psychiatry. However, research stopped in the 1960s and 1970s as people started using mushrooms outside medical research. Scientific interest returned in the twentieth century due to evidence that psychoactive mushrooms helped terminally-ill cancer patients with depression and anxiety and people with alcohol abuse and addiction.
Who Uses Psilocybin Mushrooms?
Nowadays, recreational drug use of psilocybin mushrooms has increased as it has become a recent trend throughout the US.
According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, psilocybin mushrooms are popular with teenagers and young adults who frequent raves, clubs, and college campuses.
- 9% of high school seniors used hallucinogens (excluding LSD) at least once in their lifetime.
- 2% of high school seniors used hallucinogens (excluding LSD) in the past month.
A 2013 research study indicated that over 30 million Americans use psychedelics, including mushrooms, cacti, and LSD.
How Are Psilocybin Mushrooms Consumed?
Psilocybin mushrooms have gained popularity for both their medicinal use and recreational use. These psychoactive mushrooms are available as fresh or dried stems with caps and dark brown gills on the underside.
Mind-altering mushrooms are consumed in various ways, depending on if they’re fresh or dried. Dried mushrooms can be crushed and made into powder. Other ways that people consume mushrooms:
- Eat raw or cooked
- Drink brewed in tea
- Ingest as capsules or tablets (usually synthetic psilocybin)
- Smoke (often mixed with cannabis or tobacco)
- Snort (though rare)
- Inject powder (extremely fatal)
Fresh mushrooms have whitish stems, whereas dried mushrooms are rusty brown with some off-white areas underneath. Psychedelic mushrooms tend to taste bitter and look like the typical brown mushrooms you commonly see. Psilocybin can be synthetically produced as a white powdery substance. It’s usually packaged as a pill and swallowed.
How Do Psilocybin Mushrooms Affect the Body?
Throughout history, these mushrooms have been used from Central America to the Middle East and Ancient Siberia to Ancient Greece, as depicted in artwork. Ancient Egyptians referred to them as “food of the gods.”
The psychoactive effects of psilocybin mushrooms were first documented in a sixteenth-century manuscript called the Florentine Codex, which a Spanish priest wrote. He created illustrations showing the mushrooms used by Aztec medical specialists to communicate with “the underworld” to find cures for illnesses. They called them teonanacatl mushrooms, which means “sacred mushroom” or “flesh of the gods.”
Psilocybin (4-phosphoryloxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine) is the primary psychoactive ingredient in psilocybin mushrooms. They typically contain 0. 2 to 0.4 percent psilocybin with only trace amounts of psilocin, which is also hallucinogenic. It only takes a few milligrams of these mushrooms to receive an active dose of psilocybin, but 10-25 mg is commonly used for clinical research.
When consumed, psilocybin is broken down in the liver, where it’s converted into psilocin. The resulting chemical is psychoactive because it alters the brain. Specifically, hallucinogens block the brain’s ability to communicate by altering the actions of serotonin.
Serotonin is a “feel good” hormone that regulates mood, appetite, digestion, sleep-wake cycles, sensory perception, body temperature, and sexual behavior. Both psilocybin and psilocin have a chemical structure that is similar to serotonin.
Most Common Effects of Psychoactive Mushrooms
Users of psilocybin mushrooms may experience a range of short-term and long-term effects. The effects are both physical and psychological in nature. This is due to how psilocybin inhibits serotonin.
Common effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Excessive sweating
- Muscle weakness or spasms
- Lack of coordination
- Altered perception
- Floating sensation
Large doses can cause more extreme effects, such as:
- Panic attacks
- Psychosis (a “bad trip”)
The effects of psilocybin can be experienced within 20-30 minutes or as soon as 5 minutes if in tea. The results typically last for about 4-6 hours. However, research by John Hopkins Medicine shows some effects can last up to a year after only two doses.
Are Psilocybin Mushrooms Addictive?
Although psilocybin mushrooms have psychoactive properties, they’re not considered to be addicting or have a high potential for compulsive use. That’s because the active ingredient produces intense mental and physical effects that make people use it infrequently. Also, the body quickly builds up a tolerance to psilocybin, making the effects less intense and desirable.
Physical symptoms are minor, though they vary from person to person. It’s unlikely that long-term physical health risks exist with prolonged psychoactive mushroom use. However, there’s no doubting the psychological implications. In fact, the physical effects are primarily side effects of the emotional intensity of taking mushrooms.
Are Psilocybin Mushrooms Illegal?
Yes, psilocybin mushrooms are illegal because psilocybin is classified as a Schedule I Substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Like LSD and heroin, Schedule I drugs are believed to put people at a high risk of abuse and don’t have accepted medical uses.
These hallucinogens can’t be legally bought or sold for recreational use. There are steep penalties involved with having psilocybin mushrooms. Schedule I Substance possession is a felony that could cost you years of jail time and thousands in hefty fines.
The Dangers of Magic Mushrooms
On the surface, you may think psilocybin mushrooms are relatively harmless. The physical health risks are low, and the chances of becoming a compulsive user are slim compared to other illegal drugs. However, aside from the psychological effects, there are hidden dangers to being a user of shrooms, mainly because they’re a controlled substance that’s not regulated.
- Some mushrooms are fake. You could end up with store-bought mushrooms laced with PCP, LSD, opioids, or other harmful psychoactive drugs.
- Lookalike mushrooms are poisonous. Psilocybin mushrooms look like poison mushrooms, so you could be given the wrong one.
- Mushrooms can permanently alter your brain. Psilocybin knowingly changes the brain and can cause lasting psychosis like schizophrenia.
- Impaired judgment and mobility increase the risk of injuries. Psilocybin mushrooms can make you drowsy, confused, and weak, which can be dangerous while operating motor vehicles, machinery, etc.
- Mushrooms lower sensitivity to other drugs. Your body’s ability to tolerate psychoactive mushrooms with continued use can also make other drugs less effective. This may cause you to take larger doses of other substances, leading to harmful effects or an overdose.
- Risk of neglecting responsibilities. Although not addictive, magic mushrooms can affect you enough that you ignore doing things you enjoy or are required to do.
What Is Psilocybin Mushrooms Addiction?
There are many risks to consuming shrooms, whether by drinking, eating, or smoking. Its abuse can cause detrimental physical and mental health conditions. Overuse can lead to addiction, overdose, and even the potential of death. Occasionally, people mistake poisonous mushrooms for psilocybin mushrooms, putting them at risk of dangerous poisoning.
Psilocybin mushrooms addiction is similar to other drug abuse problems. In the case of hallucinogens, users could find themselves unable to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. Panic and psychosis are familiar, especially if you take a large dose of the active ingredient.
Even though mushrooms may not be addictive, you can develop a tolerance over time, which can be just as potentially harmful. When combined with addictive drugs like opioids, psilocybin mushroom addiction becomes more of a psychological craving.
While “good trips” are why people often take mushrooms, they’re not always guaranteed. “Bad trips” can lead to psychosis and other unpleasant effects. Also, even when you stop using psilocybin mushrooms, it’s possible to experience flashbacks, irritability, and fatigue.
Treatment Options for Psilocybin Mushroom Addiction
Addiction treatment is crucial if you find that you’re obsessing over or craving mushrooms. Continued substance abuse can significantly impact your overall well-being. Getting help can bring you back to being in touch with reality and avoid the repercussions of being caught with an illegal substance.
Drug addiction programs include:
- Detox Therapy – 24-hour care to manage drug withdrawal symptoms comfortably
- Inpatient Treatment – a distraction-free environment that provides support during treatment
- Intensive Outpatient – supportive therapy for those who don’t require around-the-clock care
- Outpatient Treatment – helps substance users to confront their addiction and other issues
- Recovery Residences – residential homes to help users transition back to an everyday life
Various treatment center programs exist for mushroom addiction. These types of therapy are especially important if you have a dependency on a combination of drugs. It’s not uncommon for mushroom users to experience a lower sensitivity to other drugs, requiring them to increase doses and become even more addicted.
Get Help With Your Substance Use Issue
Psilocybin mushrooms, most commonly called magic mushrooms or shrooms, are more popular now than they have been in the past. Hallucinogenic mushrooms have a long history of being used for religious ceremonies and ritual healings. Some research has even shown evidence that its use in clinical settings could help terminally ill cancer patients and alcoholics.
As a controlled substance, these mushrooms are illegal and have the potential to cause psychological effects, including psychosis and even death. As such, it’s vital to seek immediate assistance if you or a loved one have a substance use disorder.
Substance abuse can drastically lower your quality of life. In addition to affecting your physical and mental health, it can impact every aspect of your life at home, work, and school. Zinnia Health has a number of convenient treatment facilities where you’ll find a range of treatment programs. If you need help, contact Zinnia Health to find treatment options for psilocybin mushroom addiction.