Drugs Information, what you really should know about, drugs facts on and facts about hallucinogenic mushrooms

A Guide for worried parents, teenagers who are using drugs or thinking about using drugs and anyone who wants to know more about the subject.

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Magic mushroomsshroom

What are they ?
Several species of mushrooms can produce hallucinations, about a dozen of which grow wild in the UK. The most common is the Liberty Cap (or Psilocibe Semilanceata) which contain the hallucinogenic chemicals psilocybin and psilocin. They can be eaten fresh or cooked and can be preserved by drying.
Distinguishing hallucinogenic mushrooms from poisonous and sometimes deadly ones can be very difficult and sometimes almost impossible.

Common street names:
Shrooms, Mushies, Psilocybe mushrooms

magic mushroom

Effects of short-term use
The effects are similar to a mild LSD trip but may also include the feeling of euphoria and bodily excitement. They also take effect in a much shorter time (usually after about 30 minutes, peaking after about 3 hours) and last for a shorter time (usually between 4 and 9 hours).

At low doses euphoria and detachment occur. At high doses visual distortions and vivid hallucinations can occur. Some people react to hallucinogenic mushrooms by vomiting, nausea and stomach pains.

As with other hallucinogenic drugs 'bad trips' can also occur and may develop into a brief psychotic episode. This is most common after repeated doses or if the user is inexperienced, anxious or unhappy to start with. There have been reports of 'flashbacks' to the original experience but these usually disappear as quickly as they appear.

By far the greatest danger is mistaking poisonous mushrooms for 'magic mushrooms'.

Effects of long-term use
As with LSD tolerance rapidly develops and the next day it may take twice the original dose to produce the same effect. There are no significant withdrawal effects and no physical dependence although there may be a desire to repeat the experience.

No serious long-term effects have been reported although it must be noted that no research has been carried out to assess the effects of frequent use.

Legal Status
It is not illegal to pick any hallucinogenic mushrooms and eat them raw. However, the mushrooms become illegal when they are boiled, cooked, dried or crushed to make what is known as a 'preparation or other product'.

magic mushrooms
Physical risks associated with using hallucinogens:
increased heart rate and blood pressure sleeplessness and tremors lack of muscular coordination sparse, mangled, and incoherent speech
decreased awareness of touch and pain that can result in self-inflicted injuries convulsions coma; heart and lung failure
Psychological risks associated with using hallucinogens:
a sense of distance and estrangement depression, anxiety, and paranoia violent behavior confusion, suspicion, and loss of control
flashbacks behavior similar to schizophrenic psychosis catatonic syndrome whereby the user becomes mute, lethargic, disoriented, and makes meaningless repetitive movements

Having a bad psychological reaction to LSD and similar drugs is common. The scary sensation may last a few minutes or several hours, and be mildly frightening or terrifying. The user may experience panic, confusion, suspiciousness, anxiety, feeling of helplessness, and loss of control. Sometimes taking a hallucinogen such as LSD can unmask mental or emotional problems that were previously unknown to the user.
Flashbacks, in which the person experience a drug's effects without having to take the drug again, can occur.

For information about other drugs, return to Drug Information Page.