The psychedelic effect of shrooms is attributed to the presence of compounds called psilocybin and psilocin. These compounds are listed as Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. It must be noted that the mushrooms themselves are not scheduled. However, the possession of such mushrooms for personal use or selling to others is illegal in the United States.

Known by different names such as magic mushrooms, liberties, liberty cap, mushies, or happies, shrooms contain a hallucinogenic compound called psilocybin, which breaks down into psilocin after ingestion. These compounds are believed to be present in more than 75 species of mushrooms that are native to the tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia, South America, Mexico, Europe, and the United States.

Psilocybin and psilocin have a high potential for abuse due to their mind-altering effects. Their consumption is associated with the phenomenon of tripping, which is characterized by altered sensory perception. This is mainly due to the effect that psilocin has on a neurotransmitter called serotonin. Since there are many similarities in the chemical structure of psilocin and serotonin, it is taken up by the receptor site, which in turn gives rise to physical and behavioral effects.

Physiological Effects

Magic mushrooms can be consumed in their raw form or mixed with food. These might even be brewed to make a tea. Their hallucinogenic properties vary, depending on the type and age of the mushroom. Their use can cause good or bad trips. The effect might be felt about thirty minutes to a couple of hours after consuming them, and the trip might last for 3-6 hours. During a trip, the user might experience the following physical effects:

Dilation of pupils
Elevated blood pressure
Sweating followed by shivering or chills
Increase in heart rate
Rapid breathing
Lack of coordination
Muscle weakness
Numbness of tongue, lips, or the mouth
Dry mouth

In some cases, the user might experience other untoward physical effects such as abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.

Psychological Effects

The effects of mushies are somewhat similar to a drug called lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). However, the effects are milder than LSD. The effects will vary, depending on the dosage and the emotional state of the user and his/her environment. The user might experience:

An altered sense of reality
Distorted perception of time and space (minutes may seem like hours)
Heightened sensory experiences
Visual distortions (visuals of warping patterns or surfaces moving in waves)
Halos around objects
Size distortions
Distorted sounds
Ability to see clearer details in the surroundings
Visuals with bright colors and light
Feelings of transcendence
Intense feelings
Closed eye visuals of geometric patterns
Nervous euphoria
Feeling detached from the body
Synesthesia (entwining of two or more senses)
Inability to discern fantasy from reality
Inability to focus or concentrate
Sensing involvement with Nature or a higher power

Risks Involved

Both the physiological and psychological effects associated with the use of mushies might vary from person to person. Though in small doses, some of the users have reported a feeling of relaxation, there have been cases of bad trips or adverse reactions as well.

Bad Trip
There's no way of determining whether their use will provide a relaxing experience or a bad trip. A bad trip might be characterized by the following effects:

Frightening visual or auditory distortions
Delusional thoughts

The aforementioned effects might also be accompanied by untoward physical symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramps, nausea, vomiting, etc.

Hallucinogen Persisting Perceptual Disorder or Flashbacks
This is a rare disorder that is characterized by visual distortions or disturbances that continue to occur long after the ingestion of the psychedelic substance. Flashbacks are transient episodes wherein one might experience the symptoms encountered during a drug experience again.

Accidental Ingestion of Poisonous Mushrooms
Some of the shrooms look quite similar to inedible mushrooms that are poisonous by nature. Adverse reactions can occur, if one accidentally ingests wild poisonous mushrooms, mistaking them to be mushies. In some cases, the ingestion of poisonous mushrooms can lead to kidney or liver damage.

Though magic mushrooms are not habit-forming, and don't create physical dependence, the users could become psychologically dependent and crave to experience the psychedelic state again. Some users might experience heightened emotional awareness or have experiences that they might perceive to be spiritually significant, which is why they might be tempted to use it more often. In some cases, the users could develop tolerance, wherein a higher dose is required to produce the desired result. People affected by a mental illness, or those with a family history of mental illness could be affected by psychosis due to their use. There's a greater likelihood of bad trips or untoward effects, if mushies are laced with other psychoactive chemicals or consumed with alcohol. Adverse reactions can also occur in case of people who have been taking certain prescription or non-prescription drugs. Since there isn't enough evidence on the long-term effects of magic mushrooms on the body, and their use is illegal, it would be best to refrain from consuming them.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. We don't advocate or encourage the use of magic mushrooms.