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  • While shrooms have a very low toxicity, they can generate a bad trip and a disturbing mental and emotional experience that can be considered an overdose.

    Psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychedelic compound produced by over 200 known species of fungi, is most notably a variety of mushrooms in the genus Psilocybe. 

    These fungi are often referred to as psilocybin mushrooms, psychedelic mushrooms, hallucinogenic mushrooms, magic mushrooms, or simply shrooms.

    Shrooms (or the drug they contain) are classified by the DEA and FDA as a Schedule I illicit controlled substance with no valid medical use, but they are consumed by individuals for their psychological effects, which are generally similar to LSD, mescaline, and DMT.

    Can You Overdose On Shrooms?

    Psilocybin acts as a prodrug for psilocin, a psychoactive compound with a low toxicity in the body. 

    Based on psilocybin/psilocin’s lethal dose in rats, experts have estimated around 6 grams of the pure drug would be fatally toxic to humans, around 1000 times more than a typical dose.

    In order to consume this much psilocybin and produce a possibly fatal overdose, a person would need to consume around 4 lbs. of dried mushrooms or 40 lbs. of fresh mushrooms.

    However, not all drug overdoses are life-threatening or physically harmful. Many substances, magic mushroom included, produce overdoses with primarily mental or psychological effects.

    These can include disturbing mental and physical symptoms, which can leave lasting marks on an individual and their psyche.

    Symptoms Of Magic Mushroom Overdose

    Psychedelic shrooms are produced specifically for their hallucinogenic effects, which can slow down a person’s perception of time, intensify perceptions and emotions, and increase feelings of oneness with others, nature, or the universe. 

    In fact, even the first-time magic mushrooms are taken, they’ve been shown to sometimes cause long-term, generally positive changes in personality.

    Magic mushrooms can also produce what is known as a bad trip, a 2 to 6-hour long period of chaotic mental and emotional symptoms that can include:

    • fear
    • anxiety
    • delusional thinking
    • panic attacks
    • confusion
    • disorientation
    • dangerous or reckless behavior
    • paranoia
    • self-injury
    • suicidal activity
    • symptoms of psychosis

    These negative effects are more likely to occur if the drug is taken in large doses, if a person doesn’t feel safe or supported after taking the drug, if the person is emotionally unstable, or if other drugs of abuse are used alongside shrooms, including alcohol.

    Other Symptoms Of Psilocybin Use

    Along with a good or bad trip, psilocybin is known to cause physical symptoms that may include:

    • nausea and vomiting
    • pupil dilation
    • high, low, or unsteady heart rate
    • hypertension, hypotension, or unstable blood pressure
    • changes in body temperature
    • muscle weakness
    • tremors

    Mushroom Poisoning

    While magic mushrooms have a low toxicity, there have been numerous reports of individuals mistakenly taking poisonous mushrooms they have confused with psilocybin mushrooms, leading to serious medical emergencies and even deaths in some cases.

    In other occurrences, magic mushrooms have been faked by lacing edible types of mushrooms with a variety of different substances ranging from potent psychedelic drugs like LSD, to ketamine and the opioid fentanyl.

    Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder

    In rare cases, the use of psilocybin mushrooms can generate effects which are severe enough to trigger a collection of lasting and recurring symptoms known as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD).

    Symptoms of HPPD may include:

    • unpredictable visual distortions (halos or auras, motion trails, color confusion, color shifts, illusory motion, visual snow, and others)
    • auditory disturbances sometimes similar to tinnitus
    • brief flashbacks to previous psilocybin experiences

    HPPD is uncommon and usually resolves in a matter of weeks or months. However, there have been recorded cases where the condition has persisted with severe enough symptoms as to interfere with normal daily life.

    Avoiding Magic Mushroom Overdose

    While it can be difficult to properly and confidently dose magic mushrooms or entirely avoid the side-effects they are associated with, there are guidelines that can help if a person chooses to use them:

    • make sure a trusted, sober individual is on hand to help you in an emergency
    • confirm you are using the right type of shrooms
    • make sure you are in a safe and familiar place and a positive state of mind
    • remove your access to vehicles, machinery, heights, weapons, and other potential dangers
    • never use shrooms with other drugs, including alcohol and cannabis

    Of course, the best way to avoid overdosing on magic mushrooms is to avoid using them altogether, instead turning to healthy and authentic solutions for your personal or mental health struggles.

    If you or a loved one struggle with compulsive psychoactive substance use, Ark Behavioral Health can help. 

    At our network of treatment centers, we offer a variety of addiction treatment programs including medical detox, inpatient and outpatient care, behavioral therapy, dual diagnosis programs, support groups, and aftercare. To learn more, please contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) - Drug Fact Sheet: Psilocybin
    National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) - Hallucinogens DrugFacts
    PLoS ONE - Self-reported negative outcomes of psilocybin users: A quantitative textual analysis

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on November 15, 2022
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