What Are Psilocybin Mushrooms?

Psilocybin mushrooms, often called shrooms or magic mushrooms, are a form of fungi containing the psychoactive compound psilocybin. Psilocybin is a hallucinogen that can be found in several species of fungi. This naturally occurring substance causes changes in perception, thought, and mood.

How psilocybin affects a person may vary depending on the amount taken, the intention or mind frame of the user, and the physical or social environment in which it is taken. Historically, psilocybin mushrooms have been used in traditional cultures for religious and spiritual intentions. Psilocybin mushrooms have recently become accepted in countries for their possible therapeutic use in treating mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and addiction.

Nonetheless, in most countries, psilocybin mushrooms are illegal, and using them can cause potential, sometimes severe, health risks.

Who Is Using Psilocybin?

Psilocybin mushroom abuse is a growing concern, particularly among younger populations.
Although psilocybin mushrooms are not as common as other illicit drugs, use among younger people is an increasing concern.

Marijuana and hallucinogen use in the past year reported by young adults 19 to 30 years old increased significantly in 2021 compared to five and ten years ago, reaching historic highs in this age group since 1988, according to the Monitoring the Future (MTF) panel study.

- National Institute on Drug Abuse

Historically, psilocybin mushrooms have been available through illicit sources. However, they are now also accessible online as some states have legalized their use for medicinal purposes. This availability has contributed to their abuse among the younger populations. Additionally, the idea that psilocybin mushrooms are a “natural” and somewhat safe drug may also contribute to their use among the younger communities.

It’s crucial to address the growing concern of psilocybin mushroom abuse among younger populations through education, prevention efforts, and early intervention. Addressing this concern includes providing accurate information about the potential risks and consequences of psilocybin mushroom use, promoting healthy coping skills, and encouraging access to treatment and support for those struggling with substance abuse.

Consequences of Psilocybin Mushroom Abuse

The consequences of psilocybin mushroom abuse can vary depending on how much and how often the drug is used. Below are some possible effects of abusing psilocybin mushrooms.

Psychological Effects

Psilocybin can cause changes in perception, thought, and mood, resulting in altered states of consciousness, hallucinations, and intense emotional experiences. These effects can be unpredictable; some individuals may experience anxiety, paranoia, or what some call a “bad trip.”

Common psychological effects of psilocybin mushrooms include:

  • Visual and auditory hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Synesthesia (mixing up senses)
  • Altered perception
  • Elevated, euphoric mood
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Sense of inflated well-being

Physical Effects

Psilocybin can cause symptoms such as dilated pupils, increased heart rate, nausea, vomiting, and muscle weakness. In addition to the psychological effects of psilocybin mushrooms, which are often why people use them, they can also produce many unwanted physical effects.

Physical effects of psilocybin mushrooms include:

  • Numbness, usually in the face
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Profuse sweating
  • High body temperature
  • Loss of urinary control
  • Muscle weakness

Some people may experience “flashbacks” or have an experience where they feel the effects of psilocybin mushrooms long after the drug was last used. Often referred to by psychologists as “hallucination persisting perception disorder,” flashbacks are common among people who use hallucinogens. While not everyone who experiences flashbacks find them troubling, they can be intense, unpleasant, and frequent, and in some cases, can last long after a person has stopped using substances.

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Increased Risk Of Accidents

Psilocybin mushrooms can impair judgment and coordination, increasing the risk of accidents and injuries. Accidents resulting from psilocybin mushroom use include minor bumps and bruises to major accidents such as car accidents (driving under the influence) or assault.

Legal Consequences

Possession, sale, and use of psilocybin mushrooms are illegal in most countries, including most states in the United States. Individuals caught with it can face legal matters such as fines or imprisonment.

As outlined in the Controlled Substances Act, psilocybin mushrooms are a Schedule I drug, meaning that they have a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use for treatment in the US, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. In states where psilocybin mushrooms are illegal, possession, sale, or distribution of psilocybin can carry a minimum of one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.

Psychological Dependence

Some individuals may develop a psychological dependence on psilocybin mushrooms, leading to problematic drug use and negative consequences in their personal and professional lives.

It’s important to mention that psilocybin mushrooms may have possible therapeutic benefits when used in a controlled environment and administered by a trained professional. However, without trained professional supervision, one should never attempt to use the drug for medicinal purposes.

Treatment And Rehabilitation For Psilocybin Mushrooms

Treatment and rehabilitation for psilocybin mushroom abuse may vary depending on the severity of the problem and the individual’s needs. Below are some options for treatment and rehabilitation.

Counseling And Therapy

Individual counseling or group therapy can help individuals understand their drug use triggers and develop coping skills to help them manage triggers and cravings.

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Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a form of psychotherapy that helps individuals change negative thought patterns and behaviors contributing to drug use. CBT is one of the most widely used therapy approaches for drug and alcohol addiction.

A therapist trained in CBT can help those in recovery identify negative thoughts or coping mechanisms that may cause them to use a specific substance, such as psilocybin mushrooms. Once these negative thoughts have been identified, they can help patients build strong, reliable methods of dealing with stress, anxiety, and other common triggers of drug use.

Support Groups

Joining a support group such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can produce a sense of security, a supportive community, and a secure space to share experiences and get support from others in recovery. Support groups also provide a sense of accountability, which can be helpful for those who may need the added level of support to stick with recovery.

In recent years, digital support groups have become a popular option for people who wish to continue to receive support on their own time. These groups are typically found via mobile apps and provide all the benefits of in-person support groups from the comfort of home.

Medical Detoxification

Individuals may sometimes require medical detoxification to manage withdrawal symptoms safely. While not as common as other drugs, psilocybin mushroom withdrawal can occur 24 to 48 hours after stopping use. Supervised medical detox can help support patients through this withdrawal process, which studies have shown greatly increases the likelihood of successful recovery.

Inpatient Or Outpatient Rehabilitation Programs

Treatment programs can provide a structured and secure environment for people to focus on their recovery and develop the necessary skills to maintain long-term sobriety. However, whether a person needs inpatient or outpatient treatment depends on their specific needs, level of substance abuse, and various other factors.

Find Help Today

If you or someone you know is abusing psilocybin mushrooms, it is essential to seek professional help as soon as possible to prevent long-term negative consequences. Treatment and rehabilitation can be effective, but it requires commitment and effort from the individual to make positive life changes. To learn more about treatment options for psilocybin mushroom addiction, contact a treatment provider today for free.