Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Patricia Sullivan, MD MPH
Are Magic Mushrooms safe? Many turn to psychedelic drugs such as magic mushrooms for intense experiences, spiritual insights, and sometimes even to cure depression or anxiety.
While merit has been found in micro-dosing psychedelic mushrooms, true and serious concerns still exist for recreational use. Recreational meaning, use of magic mushrooms for non-therapeutic purposes.
This educational resource hopes to answer the question: “are magic mushrooms safe?” and provide insights to consider before using recreational psilocybin mushrooms.
- Overview of Hallucinogens
- What are Magic Mushrooms?
- Rehab Services for Addiction and Dependency
- Detoxing from Magic Mushrooms
- Getting Help for Dependency
Overview of The Drug Class of Hallucinogens
Hallucinogens are psychoactive drugs that can cause hallucinations and changes in thought, emotion, and consciousness. There is a diverse group of hallucinogens, ranging from artificial to plants. There are classic hallucinogens, such as LSD, and Dissociative drugs, like PCP. Some examples of classic hallucinogens are:
Some examples of dissociative drugs are:
Classic hallucinogens can cause a disturbance in the chemical systems of the brain to the spinal cord and interfere with serotonin levels, which regulate:
- Sensory Perception
- Body temperature
- Sex Drive
Dissociative drugs can cause interference with glutamate, which controls:
- Pain perception
- Responses to the environment
Hallucinogens work partially by disturbing the chemical systems in the brain and spinal cord, and the effects of most of the drugs occur in the prefrontal cortex.
Under the influence of both kinds of drugs, people often report rapid, intensely emotional and mood swings and having experiences that are not real (hearing, seeing, and feeling.)
People mostly use hallucinogens for religious and healing rituals. Still, there have been increased reports of people using them for recreational purposes, such as for fun or to relieve pain, in recent years.
180,000 Americans aged 12 and older have reported using LSD, and 32,000 using PCP. Effects of these drugs begin within 20-90 minutes of use and can last as long as 12 hours, such as LSD.
However, others only last for around 15 minutes, like synthetic DMT. There are many ways in which hallucinogens can be used, such as:
- Mixed with tea
- Absorbed with paper pieces in the mouth
Hallucinogens are not physically addictive but can be psychologically addictive. Co-occurring disorders might be the real reason for the problem, and social detox can help at the beginning of treatment.
What are Magic Mushrooms?
“Psilocybin mushrooms,” commonly known as “magic mushrooms” or “shrooms,” is a mushroom with hallucinogenic properties. Once ingested, it is converted into psilocin.
These mushrooms can make people hallucinate, such as seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not real. They can be taken in several ways, such as eating fresh, brewed in tea, or smoked.
Sometimes, when they are smoked, they are smoked with marijuana or tobacco. Effects of magic mushrooms can begin in 30 minutes when eaten fresh and 5-10 minutes in tea. The effects can last around 4-6 hours.
However, mushrooms affect everyone differently. Many factors contribute to the effects, such as body weight, size, health, tolerance level, the amount taken, and the type of mushroom taken.
Tolerance develops with continued use of the drug, but halting mushrooms for about a week can make the original level of tolerance return.
People experience many different things while under the influence of shrooms, such as:
- Change in consciousness, mood thought, and perception
- Dilation of pupils
- Perceptual changes (hallucinations)
- Stomach discomfort and nausea
- Irregular heartbeat
- Increased body temp
Some people also report “bad trips,” which are uncomfortable, scary, or intense hallucinations. Some emotions involved with a bad trip are anxiety, paranoia, panic, and fear.
As the effects of the drug start to wear off, some uncomfortable feelings might occur. This is commonly called “coming down,” Some of these feelings include exhaustion, depression, and anxiety.
Mushrooms can be taken with other drugs, such as tobacco or marijuana. Ecstacy with mushrooms can increase the chances of experiencing a bad trip and can induce panic.
There is no risk of physical dependency when using mushrooms. However, psychological dependence can occur. Because of this, medical detox is not required before rehab.
The real danger of mushrooms comes from not understanding them. Some look like poisonous mushrooms, and people can take the wrong kinds thinking they are something that they are not.
What Makes Magic Mushrooms Dangerous
While not physically addictive, magic mushrooms can have negative effects and dangers, depending on many factors.
If one has a family history of schizophrenia or other mental illnesses, it makes having a “bad trip” or experiencing negative effects more common.
The quantity and quality of the drug, past experiences, and expectations of the high all impact how psilocybin will affect you. The potency of the mushrooms depends on species, origin, growing conditions, and eating either fresh or dried. The active ingredients in dried mushrooms are about ten times higher than fresh ones, so that the high intensity will be affected.
Using mushrooms can affect mood, cognition, and perception and make people drive while under the influence. They can distort how people perceive objects and people, and sensory perception and thought patterns can be impacted for several days.
The most dangerous risk of using mushrooms is not understanding which kinds are magic mushrooms and poisonous. These mushrooms can look very similar, and it is easy to mistake them for one another.
Physical Side Effects of Psilocybin Mushrooms
While there is no risk of physical addiction, some physical side effects can be harmful and uncomfortable. Some examples are:
- Disturbing hallucinations
- Lack of coordination
- Muscle spasms
- Distorted thinking
- Derealization (feels like surroundings are not real)
None of these physical effects are deadly but can be difficult to deal with. However, there is a risk of psychological dependency. This type of dependency can be treated by avoiding the substance for about a week or two.
Psychological dependency takes longer to form and can be harder to treat because nothing is physical. During rehabilitation, it might be necessary for the patient to go through social detox.
Rehab Services For Addiction And Dependency
In rehab, the goal is to help the patient reach sobriety. Those employed in treatment centers are not only qualified, but they are also compassionate and understanding. Those in rehab centers want to see you succeed.
Patients deserve an understanding group of people to help guide them through the recovery process. Support from family and friends is crucial for recovery, but it is also important for those working in the treatment centers to support the patient.
No one should go through the recovery process alone. There are plenty of services and treatment plans available at many rehab centers that the patient can participate in. Depending on many factors in a patient’s unique struggle with addiction, some services will be necessary for success. Some of these services are:
- Inpatient treatment
- Outpatient treatment
- Partial hospitalization
- Daily trips to the gym
- Nutritional meal planning
- Peer groups
- One-on-one therapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Educational programs
These treatments and services work together to help the patient recover from addiction. Many people only focus on the physical aspect of addiction, but it is also important to address the psychological aspects of addiction.
Services offered at rehab centers address psychological addiction, which takes longer to form and is harder to treat. This is why medical detox should occur for certain substances before treatment can begin.
However, this may not be necessary for everyone. A social detox is an option for certain drugs, such as magic mushrooms or methamphetamine.
Either way, the patient will not go through detox alone.
Rehab centers do not want patients to do it by themselves. Professional medical help is necessary, as detox can be painful and even dangerous.
There are medications available for those going through medical detox that help the withdrawal symptoms. You are in good hands in a treatment center.
Detoxing From Magic Mushrooms
When it comes to using magic mushrooms, medical detox is not necessary. Magic mushrooms are not physically addictive. However, psychological dependence can occur.
Social detox will be necessary before rehab, where the patient forgoes the drug and speaks with a counselor about which treatment plan is best for them and which services will address their specific issues.
Services will be necessary to help treat psychological dependence, such as one-on-one therapy or peer groups. Getting the mind off the substance is the first step in addressing psychological addiction.
The next step, and what will be built upon during the whole duration of the program, is changing thinking patterns and behaviors. No one can change and get better if they continue to do the same thing every day or hang around the same people.
These aspects of a patient’s life might be enabling reasons for their use, and if these triggers are not removed, then the psychological addiction cannot be treated. This reason is why rehab centers and those employed there are so compassionate and willing to help.
Getting Help For Dependency
Deciding to get help for addiction is an important first step towards recovery. The first step is always admitting there is a problem. The psychological dependence on magic mushrooms can interfere with a person’s life, from job responsibilities to social obligations.
It can be difficult to admit that you have a problem, but no one has to go through this alone. Treatment centers have the services and treatment plans to help every individual get better, no matter the substance or length of abuse.
Having a dependency on magic mushrooms is a unique process, as there is no physical addiction aspect of the issue. The recovery process will be heavily dependent on services, such as one-on-one therapy or group therapy, instead of other drugs that do have a physical addiction, such as heroin.
Because of the psychological addiction, willpower is crucial for the patient to have. However, this is not the only thing that can help them through rehab. A strong support system made up of family, friends, and rehab employees are necessary to increase the patient’s chances of getting better.
Sometimes, it is the only way to help someone. Feelings of shame are already prevalent in many people suffering from addiction, and when family and friends make it worse, relapse is more likely to happen.
Dependency can be a difficult thing to go through and recover from. However, there is help out there and people who care.
A treatment center near you can help guide you through the recovery process and help you figure out what will help with your unique, specific issues and struggles.
Call today at (385) 327-7418 for more information on how a rehab center can help you on your journey towards sobriety.