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Psilocybin “Magic” Mushroom Abuse | Effects & Treatment Options

Published on October 6, 2021
Psilocybin "Magic" Mushroom Abuse | Effects & Treatment Options

Psilocybin mushrooms are known as “magic mushrooms” or “shrooms.” They are dissociative drugs that produce a psychedelic effect, such as heightened senses and visual or auditory hallucinations.

Many people think psilocybin mushrooms are perfectly safe, but they can be dangerous. As with other recreational drugs, shrooms may cause addiction and can be harmful to your health.

Psilocybin Mushroom Abuse

Most people abuse hallucinogenic mushrooms by eating them raw or dried. They can be consumed alone, brewed into tea, or added to food. Crushing dried mushrooms into powder to take in a capsule is another method of abuse that’s less common.

Shrooms take effect quickly—within 10 to 30 minutes after ingestion. Once they’re in your body, the psilocybin converts to psilocin, which causes psychedelic effects that can usually last four to six hours. Some people report a lingering effect for a week or so after eating mushrooms.

The high from psilocybin mushrooms might make you see colors and light more brightly. You might feel like your senses are mixed up—you’re seeing sounds or hearing colors. Hallucinations of surreal images and a detachment (dissociation) from your body are also common effects.

Types Of Psilocybin Mushrooms

There are around 75 species of mushrooms that contain psilocybin, They can be found in Mexico, South America, and tropical regions of the United States.

Liberty caps (psilocybe semilanceata) and fly agaric (amanita muscaria) are among the most popular mushrooms. Fly agaric mushrooms are highly toxic, so you have to be careful how much you take. 

Because of the wide variety, it’s not hard to mistake a poisonous mushroom for a psychedelic mushroom. That mistake can be fatal.

Side Effects Of Psilocybin Mushrooms

Magic mushrooms have side effects that aren’t all pleasant. They’re most likely to occur with high doses of psilocybin. 

Side effects of psilocybin mushrooms may include:

  • stomach discomfort or nausea
  • a heavy and clumsy feeling
  • disorientation
  • enlarged pupils
  • headaches (may last for two days after use)
  • increased blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature
  • memory loss
  • mood swings

Some people respond adversely to shrooms and may have a “bad trip,” especially if they have existing mental health issues. A bad trip can make you feel anxious and afraid, and you might have flashbacks of distressing memories.

Long-Term Effects Of Psilocybin Mushroom Abuse

Psilocybin mushrooms can have long-term health consequences if you abuse them often. 

As psychoactive drugs, they affect the way your brain functions and may cause memory impairment or speech problems. Your mental health may suffer from anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts. 

Some people experience significant weight loss from abusing magic mushrooms, too.

Can You Overdose On Psilocybin Mushrooms?

Since magic mushrooms are natural, they don’t all have the same strength. Some are more potent than others, so it can be difficult to predict how they’ll affect you. They can make you sick and may cause adverse effects that are life-threatening. 

Psilocybin mushroom overdose symptoms may be:

  • nausea
  • shivering
  • sweating
  • lightheadedness
  • numbness in mouth, tongue, and lips
  • difficulty breathing
  • seizures
  • anxiety
  • psychosis

Overdose on psilocybin mushrooms alone is rare. You’re more likely to overdose if you mix them with other drugs like cannabis or antidepressants.

If you take crushed mushrooms in capsules, they could be adulterated with dangerous substances that cause an overdose. Since psilocybin mushrooms are illegal drugs, they’re unregulated. Some dealers add other drugs to stretch their supply or produce different effects.

Are Psilocybin Mushrooms Addictive?

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies psilocybin as a Schedule I drug under the controlled substances act. It’s not approved for medical use and has a high potential for abuse. 

Other psychedelic drugs—like LSD (acid), MDMA (ecstasy), and peyote—are in this category too.

Psilocybin mushrooms don’t cause physical dependence, and there is limited evidence that they cause psychological dependence (addiction). 

You can build a tolerance (meaning your body responds less to the drug over time) with regular use of psilocybin. When you take a drug repeatedly, your brain adapts to its effects, which can make you more likely to take it again. 

If you use other hallucinogenic drugs like LSD along with mushrooms, you may develop a tolerance to psilocybin more quickly.

With heavy psilocybin use, you might experience cravings for the drug, mood swings, and difficulty discerning the difference between reality and fantasy.

Treatments Options For Psilocybin Mushroom Abuse

If you’re struggling with psilocybin mushroom abuse and disconnection from reality, there are treatment options that can help. 

Most treatment programs are rooted in psychotherapy, which works to resolve issues that lead to drug abuse. Treatment may also include exercise, meditation, and art therapy. The goal is to teach you how to replace drug use with healthy activities.

To learn more about psilocybin mushroom abuse and treatment, speak with an Ark Behavioral Health specialist today.

Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
This page does not provide medical advice.

Columbia University - Psilocybin (‘magic’) mushrooms
Drug Science - Psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms)
National Institute on Drug Abuse - Hallucinogens DrugFacts
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration - Drug Scheduling

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