Psilocybin (Mushrooms)

Psilocybin, also referred to as “mushrooms,” “shrooms,” and “magic mushrooms,” is a naturally occurring hallucinogenic chemical that can be found in certain types of mushrooms. The drug is generally consumed by teenagers and young adults for its hallucinogenic effects. While psilocybin mushrooms may have some therapeutic properties, such as feelings of euphoria and relaxation, they also have various adverse effects that can be harmful to a user’s health. Continue reading to learn about the dangers of psilocybin misuse and the signs of psilocybin addiction.

What Is Psilocybin?

Psilocybin is a naturally occurring psychedelic hallucinogen chemical obtained from certain types of mushrooms. Thus, it is often simply referred to as “mushrooms.” The drug has dangerous mind-altering effects and no accepted medical use. Similar to the effects of LSD, mushrooms containing psilocybin result in sensory distortion and feelings of euphoria. Psilocybin is a recreational drug, and its use is most popular at raves, nightclubs, and on college campuses.

What Are Common Street Names for Psilocybin?

Popular names include:

  • Magic Mushrooms
  • Shrooms
  • Boomers
  • Musk
  • Silly putty
  • Simple Simon
  • Purple passion
  • Caps
  • Mushies
  • Champiñones
  • Buttons

There are also street names for psilocybin when combined with other drugs ecstasy/ MDMA, including:

  • Hippie flip
  • Flower flipping

What Does Psilocybin Look Like?

Psilocybin mushrooms are long and slender, with dark gills underneath their caps. They can be found both fresh and dry: fresh mushrooms usually have white stems and caps that are dark brown around the edges and white or light brown in the center, while dried ones are usually a rusty brown color.

How Is Psilocybin Used?

Psilocybin is taken orally. Due to its bitter flavor, the mushrooms are sometimes brewed as a tea or added to other foods.

What Are the Short-Term Effects of Psilocybin?

Psilocybin, like other hallucinogens, can provide a temporary form of escape from everyday life. Individuals may use the drug with friends as a form of social bonding, or to experience a “happy trip.” However, its hallucinogenic properties can also cause users to harm themselves and others. The drug’s short-term effects on the mind and body include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Inability to distinguish fantasy from reality
  • Panic attacks
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of coordination
  • Muscle weakness

The hallucinogenic effects of psilocybin generally begin after 30 minutes of ingesting the drug and last for up to 6 hours. However, this can vary depending on the individual and the amount consumed. Occasionally, there are individuals who even experience changes in sensory perception for several days after consuming the mushrooms.

Why Is Psilocybin Harmful?

Psilocybin can cause both psychological and physical side effects, including nausea, reduced coordination, and muscle weakness. Because the drug blurs the boundaries of reality, panic attacks and psychosis can also ensue. However, these effects are more likely to occur if individuals consume higher doses of the drug. Additionally, users can become poisoned if they mistake a hazardous variety of mushrooms for psilocybin mushrooms.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Psilocybin Abuse?

While repeated psilocybin misuse does not lead to physical addiction, it can cause mental health issues to develop, including:

  • Self-injury
  • Violent behavior
  • Psychosis
  • Increased delusions

Individuals who use mushrooms regularly may also experience flashbacks. These flashbacks are usually visual distortions involving past mushroom trips. Regular use of the drug will build up a user’s tolerance to the drug. As a result, the user will need larger and larger doses to experience the desired effects.

What Are the Signs of Psilocybin Addiction?

Repeated abuse of mushrooms can alter the chemicals in users’ brains, leading to psychological dependence on the drug. The symptoms associated with addiction include:

Psychological Symptoms

  • Euphoria
  • Aggression
  • Hallucination
  • Distorted perception

Physical Signs

  • Shaking
  • Stomach pain
  • Changes in appetite
  • Numbness of the face

What Does a Psilocybin Overdose Look Like?

Although an individual would need to consume an extremely high amount to experience a physical overdose, consuming psilocybin can lead to serious psychological symptoms. This is often referred to as a “bad trip”. When consumed in large amounts, users may experience a longer and more intense “trip.” These bad trips are more likely to occur if the individual suffers from a mental disorder or mixes mushrooms with other substances.

  • Anxiety
  • Mixed senses
  • Intensified feelings
  • Extreme depression
  • Psychosis
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Intense discomfort
  • Intense panic attacks

Due to the dangerous psychological effects that psilocybin can cause, individuals who experience an overdose require immediate medical attention.

How Is Psilocybin Addiction Treated?

Detox

To overcome addiction to mushrooms, one must first discontinue use. This allows the body to cleanse itself from toxins. During this process, it is possible for individuals to experience dangerous psychological withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, it is recommended that individuals detox under the supervision of a medical professional during this time. Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations

Addiction Treatment

Psilocybin mushrooms have a particularly powerful effect on an individual’s psychological well-being. Accordingly, continuing onto a treatment program that focuses on addiction’s psychological effects is crucial. Inpatient/residential and outpatient treatment programs provide individuals with drug counseling, addiction education, and the tools needed to achieve mental wellness. Clinical therapies, including individual counseling and educational groups help individuals uncover the root of their addiction and identify the triggers and stressors that led to their addictive behavior. Additional workshops teach relapse-prevention skills and positive coping mechanisms to use in life outside of rehabilitation.

Incorporating holistic therapies alongside traditional drug treatment helps to strengthen an individual’s mind, body, and spirit as well as provide them with the necessary tools to maintain their sobriety once they have completed treatment. Individuals recovering from psilocybin addiction may particularly benefit from activities that encourage creativity and socialization. For example, those who consumed  mushrooms to repress their worries and fears may value the opportunity to unwind through yoga, where they can refocus their energy on breathing and posing techniques. Moreover, users who relied on the drug’s psychedelic effects can alternatively expand their imaginations through therapeutic art. Individuals who searched for a leisurely way to connect with others through their psilocybin use can enjoy making music and forming new friendships in Mindfulness Through Music.

Discover additional therapeutic activities that enhance total well-being on our Wellness page.

If you or a loved one is struggling with psilocybin addiction, know that you are not alone. Our team of medical, clinical, and wellness experts are here to help you break free from addiction and achieve the happy, healthy life you deserve.