In recent years, there has been a significant increase in hallucinogen use, with 8% of young adults reporting any pasty-year use compared to only 3% in 2011 — the highest reported use of hallucinogens since 1988.1 Among people aged 12 or older in 2021, 2.6% (or about 7.4 million people) reported using hallucinogens in the past 12 months.2 One of the drugs they reported using was psilocybin, or “shrooms.”1
This article explains the history and use of psilocybin, its hallucinogenic effects, what it is like to “trip” on this drug, how long the effects last, and how to find treatment for compulsive or problematic mushroom use (i.e., a hallucinogen use disorder).
What Is Psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms)?
Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic substance found in the long, slender-stemmed psilocybe mushroom that comes from tropical and subtropical regions of the United States, Mexico, and South America.3-5 Mushrooms are either fresh or dried, with both forms being consumed orally. Mushrooms are often eaten whole, but may sometimes be added to foods or brewed as a tea to mask their taste.4 Psilocybin-containing mushrooms are sometimes referred to as magic mushrooms or, simply, shrooms.3,6
Many of the classic hallucinogens, including magic mushrooms, are thought to interact with or disrupt normal brain signaling within the serotonin neurotransmitter system, though it is not fully understood how these types of drugs effect these neurochemical changes.4
As with certain other psychedelic substances, psilocybin mushrooms have historically been used by indigenous people for religious and ceremonial purposes, though they are presently classified as an illegal substance.6 Under the Controlled Substances Act, psilocybin is a Schedule I drug due to its high potential for abuse and lack of accepted medical use in the United States.7
Magic Mushroom Side Effects
In addition to some of their sought after perception altering hallucinogenic or psychedelic effects, magic mushrooms may have several undesirable or adverse effects when consumed. Potential adverse effects of hallucinogenic mushrooms include:4,6
- Markedly dilated pupils.
- Muscular weakness.
- Lack of coordination.
How a person experiences the effects of hallucinogens varies from person to person, and from session to session. What may seem quite enjoyable or stimulating for one person on one occasion may feel somewhat unpredictable and unpleasant the next time, or for a different person.2,4,6
How Long Do Magic Mushroom Effects Last?
The effects of magic mushrooms generally begin within 20 minutes of ingestion and can last for around 6 hours.4 The subjective effects of psychedelic drugs including hallucinogens may vary depending on several factors, including:2
- Amount or dose taken.
- A person’s age and other biological differences.
- Mood, expectations, and mindset of the person using the drug.
Magic Mushroom “Trip”
The effects of a magic mushroom trip may be subjectively similar to those experienced on LSD.6 People who have taken psychedelic drugs have described the experience as one that can range from intense happiness and a feeling of connectedness to one that’s more fearful and confusing.2 Individuals who have used mushrooms have reported seeing vibrant colors, scenes, and shapes, as well as a vivid reliving of their memories. Some mushroom trips may be somewhat introspective and spiritual experiences for people.2,6
It is also possible to experience a “bad trip” when under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs, like psilocybin mushrooms.2 A bad trip may include:2,4-6
- Fearful experiences.
- Difficulty discerning reality.
- Risk-taking behaviors.
Long-Term Effects of Psilocybin Use
There is some case report evidence that psilocybin use may be associated with certain longer-term effects, such as flashbacks and memory impairments.4
Psilocybin Mushrooms Misuse & Addiction Help
If you are worried about your psilocybin use or find that it’s interfering in your day-to-day life, it’s time to reach out for help. At our drug rehab near Tampa, our addiction treatment specialists use evidence-based addiction-focused healthcare to achieve meaningful recovery from a range of substance use disorders.
To get started finding the right treatment near Tampa for you or someone you know, contact our admissions navigators at . They can assist with finding the right level of care, help begin the admissions process, discuss payment options, and help determine insurance coverage.
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