In General Knowledge for the Family, Physical & Mental Health

The Dangers of Hallucinogenic Mushrooms

What are hallucinogenic mushrooms? Mushrooms are actually a type of fungus, and they do come in various varieties. They are different from wild mushrooms, and they can be purchased in the vegetable section at the grocery store, or they come inside the can of spaghetti sauce with mushrooms added. In some cases, they are beautifully sliced, and spread on top of a large tasty pizza. These type of mushrooms are tasty, safe to eat, and cause no side effects. However, this assumption is not true about all mushrooms.

In fact some mushrooms are toxic, and contain hallucinogenic properties. Hallucinogenics are any substances that alters, or produces false illustrations or perceptions that effects the five senses like, smell, taste, touch, sight or sound.

Hallucinogenic Mushrooms

Some mushrooms are so toxic that they actually cause serious injury, illnesses and even death. Mushrooms are grown in various parts of the world. In ancient times, the Aztecs were said to have used hallucinogenic mushrooms in their religious rituals. The mushrooms were believed to be the flesh of the Gods. Aztec religious leaders would consume the mushrooms and enter into an altered state of perception. This perceptive is believed to have created a dialogue between the religious leaders and the spirit of their gods and other god like spirits.

Types of Hallucinogenic Mushrooms

There are two popular types of hallucinogenic mushrooms available, the Psilocybin/ Psilocin Mushroom, and Amanita Muscaria mushroom. The Amanita muscaria mushroom is referred to as the “flyagaric” because it is known to attract flies. These types of mushrooms do not have psilocin or psilocybin. Instead, the acting ingredients in Amanita muscaria are ibotenic acid and muscimol. However, fly agaric mushrooms are related to other more toxic mushrooms called the Amanita virosa, or the “Destroying Angel”. These mushrooms are deadly, and their toxins can destroy the cells of both the kidneys and the liver. Within 24 hours after consuming one of the deadly mushrooms people become ill. The symptoms that follow are stomach problems and nausea. Later, they will experience kidney and liver damage. Identifying these mushrooms can prevent severe dangers to the body.

Behavioral Effects of Hallucinogenic Mushrooms

These are the symptoms that Psilocybin and Psilocin mushrooms exhibits. Yawning- usually makes a person feel extremely tired. Victims also have an inability to concentrate, because the toxin is affecting their mind. Restlessness, increased heart rate, and hallucinations soon follow. Hallucinations make people see and hear things that are not there. These symptoms may last up to four hours.

The Amanita muscaria mushroom contains a substance called muscimol. Muscimol produces intense feelings and reactions. People who consume this mushroom may experience one or more of these symptoms: dilated pupils, increase in body temperature, sleepiness, involuntary muscle movements or jerks, euphoria, and impaired sight and sound. Up to 90 minutes after consumption, the symptoms intensify for up to a period of three hours. People who consume the mushroom falls into a coma-like sleep. The effects of this mushroom is described as “being in a intoxicated state”, or similar to that of consuming alcohol.

The Effects on the Nervous System

The chemical compound found inside both the psilocin and psilocybin mushroom is similar to the neurotransmitter substance found in the brain called serotonin. What the substance does is alters the receptors which are used for serotonin. The substance slows down the reaction time of the neurons which are fueled by the seretonin, while allowing the substance time to act. Psilocybin is the type of drug most often found in the popular street drug known as LSD. LSD is an hallucinogenic drug that alters the mind. It is also a psychedelic drug, and the psilocybin mushroom takes on the effects of LSD.

The Way Psilocybin is Used

The mushroom is available in three forms: powder, fresh or dried. However, some people prefer to brew the mushroom, and make it into a tea. The average dose most people use is up to 10 milligrams. With the wide range of active ingredients found in the mushroom, it is difficult to counteract its effect, especially when it is consumed in a dried or fresh state. In some cultures, the mushroom was used in ceremonial or religious settings. However, this was centuries ago, and the places in question were Central America and Mexico.

Today, people consume hallucinogenic mushrooms simply for recreational purposes. People believe that the hallucinogenic mushroom is safer to consume than LSD, because the mushroom contains less chemicals. People who consume mushrooms report having higher sensitivity feelings toward music and visualization. Even consuming small doses of psilocybin produce some effects within an hour after taking the mushroom. The effects then last up to 5 hours. The symptoms people experience are complete disorientation. They explain having feelings of tiredness, a sense of feeling separated from their surroundings, and a physical serenity. Other symptoms include mood swings, distorted visual effects, and feelings of being light or heavy. The effects of psilocybin offers short-term dangers, which is better than long-term dangers, but not at all safe.

Dangers of Taking Hallucinogenic Mushrooms

One of the biggest dangers of taking psilocybin is not being able to correctly identify the mushrooms. Many fatalities have taken place, because people have misidentified potentially deadly mushrooms. Although most mushrooms look similar, the effects some of them have on the mind and body are more fatal than others. Poisonous mushrooms can lead to the same hallucinogenic effects has as psilocybin mushrooms. However, the symptoms eventually lead to toxic conditions such as vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea and even death in some cases.

It is difficult to know how much of the active ingredient hallucinogenic mushrooms contain. People who are unsure about the safety of mushrooms should eat a little, and then wait to see what side effects develop. This is the safest way to know for sure, if the mushrooms are toxic or safe to consume. Altered visualization effects can produce some horrifying memories. The intensity of some hallucinations can stay with people for a lifetime. A bad experience can take place at any time. The signs of a bad trip experience include panicking, anxiety attacks, disoriented thinking, confusion and fear.

Other Information to Consider Before Taking Psilocybin or Hallucinogenic Mushrooms

When psilocybin mushroom contents are consumed in amount of 13 mg or higher, the risk of taking a overdose becomes greater. Higher amounts exhibit the same symptoms and effects of using LSD. These symptoms might include outer body experiences like slowing down in time, and feelings of separation from the body. Other symptoms include sweating and hot flushes. The signs of an overdose include shivering and sweating, feelings of anxiety, nausea, dizziness and lightheadedness, numbness of the mouth, tongue and lips. People who are set on experimenting with hallucinogenic mushrooms should not operate any type of heavy or lightweight machinery. People who are experiencing a bad trip should be watched and someone should keep them alert at all times, so they are aware of their surroundings. If the situation gets out of hand, it is wise to call for help or call the 911 operator, and ask for assistance.

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