Psilocybin mushrooms are a fairly common variety of fungi that span across a number of genera, and encapsulates all species of hallucinogenic mushrooms there are. You may be far more familiar with the term “magic mushrooms”, as they’re commonly referred to by those who use them recreationally.
They can be found on every single continent besides Antarctica, but a majority of their kind are usually located in tropical forests, subtropical forests, and Mexico. They’ve been used for hundreds or even thousands of years for recreational purposes, a trend that still persists to this day.
There are quite a few species, but the main ones you tend to get familiar with the most when it comes to recreational usages are Agrocybe, Copelandia, Galerina, Gerronema, Gymnopilus, Hypholoma, Inocybe, Panaeolus, Pholiotina, and Pluteus.
They’re a bit of a controversial drug, as they’re illegal in most states and are associated with Class A drugs and are often frowned upon by straight-laced individuals. In fact, within the United States, psilocybin mushrooms are illegal in 44 states. Only 5 states have magic mushrooms decriminalized in certain municipalities. The last and final state, Oregon, is the only state in the USA that has fully decriminalized the drug, and to quite a bit of controversy. However, whatever you may think, hallucinogenic mushrooms actually have some medicinal purposes, which is why its decriminalization has been lauded by some medical experts as a step in the right direction.
How so? And what benefits do hallucinogenic mushrooms actually have? How do we get a hold of some? Well that’s what I aim to answer.
How Magic Mushrooms Work
Psilocybin mushrooms contain two main psychoactive compounds: psilocybin and psilocin. These compounds are able to produce mind-altering effects that lead to hallucinations, neural changes, and emotional fluctuation.
Essentially, the compounds enter through the same receptors as melatonin does, which is the hormone that regulates libido, sleep, and influences satisfaction and happiness, which is when the hallucinations begin, which can affect all five senses. It also causes neural and emotional changes during their session.
The actual hallucinations usually take 20 to 30 minutes to really kick in, but when they do, they last anywhere from 6 to 8 hours, but for the user, it may seem to be far longer due to their sense of time usually being severely altered. The amount of mushrooms you take really only affects the intensity rather than how long it lasts.
If you’re wondering what the experience is like, no one can give you a straight answer. It depends on the person, the type of mushroom, how it’s prepared for ingestion, the size of the dose, and the actual psychological state of the user. Not to mention, experiences can also differ due to the very environment they’re in and who is leading the session, if there even is one. To sum things up: no two experiences are the same, and you’d be hard pressed to find two users having the same hallucination in one session.
The peak of effects tend to happen around four hours in, after which things begin to dwindle and calm down.
Experiences and Unsavory Side Effects
If you do plan on taking psilocybin mushroom, recreational or medicinal, here are some general things you should expect in terms of the actual hallucinations:
- Distorted or heightened sensory impressions
- Seeing vivid colors or auras, specifically around people and objects
- Surreal hallucinations such as objects morphing into some other abstract form
- Synesthesia, or scrambles senses. Seeing sounds, hearing comor, tasting forms.
- Intensifying emotional responses
- A sense of happiness and euphoria (when one is in a safe place and has taken a moderate dose)
- A sense of panic and paranoia (very large doses or the user feels unsafe/unsure of their surroundings)
All in all, there is one thing about hallucinogenic mushrooms that really define the experience: it causes you to stop being able to distinguish the differences between fantasy and reality. Everything seems vivid and very real, no matter the experience.
There are some unfortunate side effects to these drugs, but if you’ve ever seen a single ad for a prescription drug, you should know that they all have odd side effects.
It you’re wanting to know what some of the more unsavory side effects pertaining to mushrooms are, we have them here:
- Weakness in the muscles
Hallucinogenic mushrooms do indeed have medicinal uses, but just what for is a little hard to answer. There are over 200 different species of these kinds of fungi, after all, and each one is different from the other. Some are stronger, some cause different hallucinogenic effects, and others will just won’t help with medicinal purposes period.
Thankfully, we’ve learned to weed out the best of the best through careful study and constant usage over the centuries. Indigenous communities would often ingest these mushrooms for spiritual and ceremonial purposes.
Here are a list of things hallucinogenic mushrooms may be able to help with:
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Psilocybin Services in Oregon
As stated before, magic mushrooms have been completely decriminalized in the state of Oregon. Things are continuing to improve, however, as psilocybin services will soon be available due to the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act.
This doesn’t mean you can just buy mushrooms for everyone and your family, of course. It’s still considered a controlled substance, and for good reason. You can expect to see a few rules here and there to keep things regulated.
So what are the steps to obtaining this substance? It goes as follows.
- You need to meet with a licensed facilitator in order to have a preparation session. This will include some information gathering. The information is fairly standard and is important for the facilitator to know for legal purposes, since mushrooms are a controlled substance.
- They’ll also go about informing you of the Client Bill of Rights, Client-Informed Consent, and Support Planning. They’ll also go over interpretation or accessibility needs, some data sharing, and what you should expect during and after the session.
- They have to ask if you’ve been diagnosed with active psychosis, take lithium or have taken lithium within the last month, and if you have any intention of harming yourself or others. If any of these are true, you will be denied the session, and thus access to the mushrooms. You do not need a referral or a prescription of any kind, but despite this, the facilitator is within their right to deny you for any reason. So be on your best behavior.
- If you have a multitude of prescriptions, you may be referred to a medical provider, just to make sure the hallucinogens won’t mess with any of your medication. If your doctor gives you the okay, you can move forward.
- You and the facilitator will schedule an administration session at a licensed psilocybin service center, where you will consume it while the facilitator is present.
- You will need to stay in the service center for a duration of time while on the drug. Current duration is unclear. You and the facilitator will need to agree together on if it’s safe for you to travel home.
- Once the session is over, you will be suggested a few follow-up integration sessions. These are just to review safety, support plans, and nearby community resources.
- The same facilitator will call within 72 hours in order to make sure you’re okay before offering follow-up integrations.
A bit of a process, isn’t it? Well can you blame them? Magic mushrooms are known for being really powerful drugs, and because of their unpredictability, you’ll never know when you might have a “bad trip”. That’s why someone needs to be there to make sure you’re taking a safe dose.
Not to mention, you have to remember that this hasn’t even been established yet. Those who are currently setting up the industry are looking to make different sessions, such as ones with higher dosages, lower dosages, or group sessions. This is still an idea barely in its infancy.
How Will Psilocybin Be Administered
So how will you take these mushrooms? Well, in a variety of ways, and some you genuinely may not expect. Such methods are:
- Edible food products, such as gummies or chocolate
- Eating the dried mushroom straight
- Capsules that contain the ground up fungi
- Using an extract
- Using it in tea
What’s the Cost?
That’s the real question, isn’t it? Well, for one, insurance will not cover it. You can assume this will be the case as long as psilocybin remains an illegal substance throughout the United States. Even then, you most likely will not be covered unless it is strictly for medical reasons.
Cost will certainly vary, but some companies are wanting to implement sliding-scale prices that adjust based on income, or are perhaps cheaper for certain communities.
To sum it up: we’re not sure yet. Companies who want to run these sessions still need to factor in costs, and work things out, so until then, let’s just keep our fingers crossed.