Psychedelic mushrooms, or psilocybin, are extremely potent and may cause different effects for different users. According to CESAR, “The effects produced by psilocybin… are highly variable and depend on several factors, including the age, type, and dosage amount of the mushroom used, the setting the mushroom is used in, the user’s expectations, past drug experiences, and personality.” This can make it difficult to be sure what a person’s experience will be like when using mushrooms, especially because its likely that not even one person will have the same experience twice.
There are many effects of psychedelic mushrooms which can be expected for most individuals to experience. The effects of these mushrooms can sometimes seem desirable, but they can turn quickly into something more upsetting or even terrifying.
Physical Effects of Psychedelic Mushrooms
CESAR states, “Mushrooms can take 20 minutes to 2 hours to take effect, and will last for 3 to 6 hours.” These effects can vary depending on the individual and the particular mushroom being used. Many individuals do not consider the physical effects of psychedelic mushrooms, but they can be just as intense and possibly dangerous as the psychological effects. They are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Especially the first time someone takes psychedelic mushrooms, these effects can be extremely intense.
- Abdominal cramping
- Because the drug is ingested, it can cause gastrointestinal problems and sickness. Usually, these clear up after the drug leaves the person’s system, but abusing psychedelic mushrooms often can lead to more GI problems.
- Muscle relaxation
- Muscle twitches
- Coordination problems
- Pupil dilation
- Tearing (crying)
- Flushing of the skin, especially the face
- Dry mouth
- This is incredibly common with almost all psychedelic drugs.
- Often the sweating will be followed by chills and shivering. This is according to CESAR and likely occurs because the individual’s sensory perceptions change after they sweat as well as an increase in bodily temperature.
- Increase in heart rate
- Increase in body temperature
- Increase in blood pressure
- These bodily functions will all likely increase when an individual uses psychedelic mushrooms. It can be intense and dangerous, even on a person’s first try. Depending on where a person is, they could experience heatstroke or other issues, especially if they are not hydrated. Over time, these increases can lead to other issues.
- Tongue and mouth numbness
- Feeling physically heavy or light
- A person who is high on psychedelic mushrooms ma even begin to feel like they are floating. It can be extremely intense and terrifying or enjoyable depending on the experience. But the feelings of heaviness or lightness will actually seem like they are in your body itself and your extremities instead of in your mind.
It is to be expected that many of the physical effects will be experienced by anyone who uses psychedelic mushrooms. The psychological effects are more likely to differ based on an individual’s life and experiences. Most of these physical effects seem harmless, but many of them can be potentially dangerous or lead to more dangerous effects.
Psychological Effects of Psychedelic Mushrooms
According to Brown University, “Mushrooms have been taken in religious rituals in indigenous cultures in Mexico and Central America for thousands of years.” While few of these religious uses of mushrooms are still practiced today, mushrooms are used by other individuals as well, usually recreationally. “Recreational users today take them as a hallucinogen that is considered gentler and more natural (less chemical) than LSD.”
Still, the gentler effects in no way mean that an individual will not experience frightening or negative issues from using psychedelic mushrooms. This drug may be milder, but there is still a chance that a person could experience strong effects psychologically.
The most common psychological effects of psychedelic mushrooms include:
- Like most drugs that are commonly abused for recreational reasons, psychedelic mushrooms often cause euphoria in those who abuse them. This can be a mild or more intense sensation, just like many of those listed below.
- “Tingling physical sensations”
- According to Brown University, this is often experienced by users.
- Sensitivity to sensations
- Visual and auditory sensations are most commonly experienced in this sensitive and heightened state, especially for those listening to music.
- Perceptual distortions of space and time
- CESAR states that these hallucinations can be auditory, visual, and tactile
- Mixed senses including the perceived ability to hear colors or see music
- Problems focusing, concentrating, and thinking
- Impaired judgement
- “Preoccupation with trivial thoughts, experiences, or objects” (CESAR)
- Feelings of unity with others and with the environment
- An inability to separate reality from fantasy
- Past experiences may meld with the present, or things you hallucinate or imagine may seem real.
- Detachment from self
According to CESAR, “Highly adverse reactions” may include “frightening hallucinations, confusion, disorientation, paranoia, agitation, depression, panic, and/or terror.” These reactions are not always experienced, but there is no way of knowing if they will be or not. Just because someone had a good reaction to psychedelic mushrooms previously does not mean they will again.
Long-term Effects of Psychedelic Mushrooms
Some individuals choose to continue abusing mushrooms for a long time. This can be extremely dangerous and lead to many issues. However, they do not cause some of the issues that other drugs do. Specifically, “there are no reports that psilocybin mushrooms are psychologically or physically addictive, and use does not lead to dependence.” While this can lead people to believe long-term use of psychedelic mushrooms is safe, other dangerous effects include:
- Persistent psychosis
- Visual disturbances
- Mood disturbances
- Hallucination Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD)
- Seeing visual disturbances when not on the drug (like halos or trails)
- Symptoms that are often mistaken for those of a neurological disorder
According to the NIDA, the occurrence of these issues is rare, but “also unpredictable and may happen more often than previously thought.” Tolerance can also be experienced in those who abuse psychedelic mushrooms in the long term, and this issue can cross with other psychedelic drugs that are similar to mushrooms like LSD and peyote.
Psychedelic mushrooms can cause many effects but there is no way to know which ones will be experienced by a certain individual at a certain time. This is why the drug can be very dangerous.