The oldest narcotic known to man, psilocybin mushrooms produce an intense reaction when consumed by people in a state that has been called a “waking dream.” The mushrooms grow in many parts of the world and have long been cultivated and harvested by civilizations, with archaeological evidence that persons living ten thousand years ago consumed these mushrooms in the search of their psychedelic high. Today, shrooms remain a drug that’s illegal in every state and most nations, yet is consumed in large quantities in search of a high that can result in hallucinations and impaired behavior. What are the risks of these mushrooms?
Negative Effects of Shrooms
Any narcotic you consume, from marijuana to cocaine, interacts with your brain by altering its chemical production. Stimulants like cocaine speed up the heart rate and result in a rush of dopamine, the chemical that causes you to feel good. Alcohol, on the other hand, is a depressant that limits your inhibitions and your ability to make decisions. Shrooms, however, do neither of these things. Instead of affecting your heart, they affect your perception of space and time: a painting that’s across the room on the wall may appear to be dancing or laughing; you may believe that a long period of time has passed in the span of five or ten minutes. Unlike other drugs, furthermore, there’s less of an average length of a typical high: you may feel the effects of shrooms for only an hour, or you may feel them all day.
Side Effects: How Long Do Shrooms Stay in Your System?
If narcotics could be smoked, snorted, or injected into your body, they would pass into the bloodstream much faster, sometimes instantly. By contrast, the only way to take shrooms is to consume them and release their psychedelic chemicals slowly during natural digestion. This means that you cannot quickly get high, and it can be extremely dangerous for them to kick in hours after you’ve intended: feeling a shroom trip while driving, for instance, can present a serious hazard to yourself and all others on the road. Just like you eat in the morning and are hungry again by noon, shrooms effects tend to fade out after the span of four or five hours, after which your digestion system has taken all the psychedelic compounds out of the mushroom drugs. While its possible to consume shroom tea and get the trip faster from drinking, less of the compound is absorbed into the tea than would be when digested normally, meaning that more of the drug is needed to make the tea.
Can You Smoke Shrooms?
While the answer to this question is technically simple — yes, you can smoke shrooms, like you can smoke anything — the reality of the situation is different. The experience of smoking mushrooms is significantly different than that of eating them. This is due to the fact that the psychedelic compound turns into a different chemical once the catalyst of heat is applied to the mushroom. Users report that while eating mushrooms is an emotional journey of the senses, smoking them is similar to “tweaking” on methamphetamine — your heart rate increases, you become nervous and irritable, and you begin to talk and move quickly, without being able to calm down or fall asleep. As such,
Shrooms vs. Acid
A psychoactive drug like acid functions similarly to mushrooms. Both affect your sensation of the world around you. Drug users who have tried one (or both) report similar symptoms like hallucinations, paranoia, hearing voices, and increased senses like touch and sight. Both affect the perception of time, and a person who is tripping on either one will not be able to interact with people normally. One difference between the two, however, is how acid affects the brain by blacking out certain memories formed during the trip. This information is stored within the mind and can be released later on, days or months or even years after the trip, in a sequence known as an “acid flashback.” These flashbacks can severely compromise a person’s quality of life, but there are no known flashbacks for mushroom use.
LSD vs. Shrooms: Can You Die from Shrooms? Are Shrooms Bad for You?
Some of the same compounds that psychedelic mushrooms contain are found in LSD. Both drugs result in a trip, rather than an increase or decrease in functioning. Where LSD differs, however, is in the nature of the trip. It’s not uncommon to report a bad LSD trip due to nothing more than the drug itself, while many bad shroom trip sensations are reported to be a result of attitude and place, rather than the mushrooms themselves. In that sense, mushrooms can aggravate a negative situation, while LSD may simply present a bad trip without any concern of the user. Can you die from shrooms? Yes, but not due to an overdose. While some drugs have an extremely low overdose potential — as little as four grams of heroin, for instance, will cause a heart attack — it’s not possible to take so many mushrooms that you die of an overdose due to the fact that your body can only metabolize so many mushrooms. Where mushrooms are fatal lies not in their psychoactive compound but in the manner of their growth. All mushrooms grow in dark, wet places, the opposite of plants that need sunlight. Shrooms grown in a tank or a box are also the perfect breeding ground for any other fungus, including black mold. Any amount of black mold ingested by a person is extremely hazardous (especially to younger persons); even a single shroom that has black mold will send a person to the hospital to get their stomach pumped. Worse, this black mold is almost indistinguishable from the normal dot coloration on shrooms, making it nearly impossible to determine whether or not any given shroom can be potentially fatal.
Long Term Effects of Shrooms
Mushrooms will, by nature, unlock parts of the brain that can lead to extremely traumatic experiences. Some mushroom trips may bring up long-forgotten memories or even trigger post-traumatic stress disorder. Even if you’ve had no instances of serious stress or anxieties in your life, it’s quite possible that you simply may not be psychologically prepared for the effects of a shroom trip, making it quite harmful to your mental health. The long term effects of shrooms can result in relapses over fear and sensations of harm, along with anxiety and depression from the incident itself. While nobody should take shrooms, they’re especially harmful for those with mental conditions such as schizophrenia, mania, and bi-polarity.
Shrooms and Alcohol
The absorption rates of mushrooms and alcohol make it harmful for anyone to mix the two together. Alcohol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream since it’s ingested in liquid rather than solid form; a shot of liquor can be felt only a few minutes after consumption. By comparison, shrooms take much longer to kick in, and may not be felt until three or four hours after eating. As such, a person who drinks while eating mushrooms may find themselves feeling one drug much, much earlier than the other, and try to compensate by increasing drinking or eating. This leads to harmful amounts of either drug. Drinking during the mushroom trip can decrease the ability to make good decisions, meaning that whatever impulses you have on a trip may not necessarily be controlled if you have alcohol in your system. Finally, drinking dulls many of the senses — which is why some people drink in cold weather to attempt to numb the chill — and the experience of the shroom trip will be less intense than it would be without alcohol.
Legality and Illegality
Though shrooms are illegal in every state, the spores used to grow the mushrooms are not. That’s because the spores have no psychedelic compound themselves: they have to grow to larger sizes before they have any effect on people. As such, most shroom dealers will order the spores and sell the mushrooms, often without any concern for the quality of the shrooms or for the welfare of users. Those who are caught with mushrooms, however, usually face felony charges, especially if they are found with enough shrooms to build a case for trafficking. As such, it’s not wise to either buy or sell these mushrooms, since they carry severe legal concerns as well as health problems.