How Do Magic Mushrooms Work - Pulling Back the Curtain Around Psilocybin MushroomPsilocybin mushrooms are one of the most widely-known psychedelics in North America and Europe. Like cannabis before it, magic mushrooms are rapidly rising in popularity as prohibition around the drug lessens. This acceptance is rapidly paving the way for psilocybin to enter the mainstream. However, while many cannabis users understand how THC and other cannabinoids work on their body, psilocybin, the main ingredient in magic mushrooms, remains shrouded in mystery. The average user isn't familiar with how magic mushrooms work, or what psilocybin does. In this guide, we'll delve into the nitty-gritty of how the psilocybin in magic mushrooms works and its effects on the brain.
What is Psilocybin?
Psilocybin is a psychedelic compound that occurs naturally in some forms of mushrooms. It can induce several effects like euphoria, time distortion, and hallucinations similar to other psychedelics like LSD and mescaline. The effects of psylocibin typically begin about 30 minutes after consumption and last between 4 and 6 hours. Extremely low doses of psilocybin have effects similar to cannabis. Intentionally taking low doses of psilocybin is called “microdosing.”
Background – Brief History of Psilocibin
Humans and psilocybin have a long history together. In places like Spain and South America, some cave paintings suggest that psilocybin use predates written records. Albert Hoffman, the same chemist that first isolated LSD, was the first modern scientist to discover psilocybin in 1959. Sandoz, the Swiss pharmaceutical company that Hoffman worked for, sold psilocybin for use in therapy.
That acceptance was short-lived, though. The international movement towards drug prohibition made psilocybin illegal in most countries by the late 1960s. That didn’t stop many researchers from experimenting with psilocybin, though. Some scientists and philosophers even hold magic mushrooms in high spiritual regard. Terrence McKenna, for example, has been an outspoken advocate for the spiritual use of psilocybin.
How Does Psilocybin Work?
Psilocybin has a similar method of action to LSD. In fact, both psilocybin and LSD are part of a chemical family called tryptamines. Many users report that a mushroom trip is akin to a shorter, less intense version of an LSD experience.
When someone takes psilocybin, either from eating mushrooms, drinking mushroom tea, or some other method, it’s absorbed by the stomach and sent to the liver. Then, the liver metabolizes it and sends it out to the bloodstream.
Psilocybin is actually a prodrug, meaning that psilocybin alone has no effect on the brain. However, once the body absorbs psilocybin, it metabolizes the compound into another chemical called psilocin. Once this conversion is complete, the new compound begins to affect the body.
Tryptamines, including psilocybin, affect the body’s central nervous system by utilizing a neurotransmitter called serotonin. Serotonin, known as the “happy chemical,” helps to regulate mood and is responsible for the increased euphoria associated with psilocybin. Specifically, psychedelics like psilocybin affect a specific receptor in the brain called 5-HT2A. This receptor triggers the psychedelic trip that psilocybin and other tryptamines are known for.
Like other tryptamines, the body’s tolerance to psilocybin increases rapidly. As a result, it has a very low potential for abuse, and it has a cross-tolerance with other tryptamines, including LSD and mescaline. It’s also effectively impossible to overdose on psilocybin.
Psilocybin – Effects and Uses
While psilocybin is well known for its hallucinatory properties, it doesn’t actually cause users to see things that aren’t there. Instead, it amplifies or distorts shapes, colours, and emotions. Certain aspects may overlay the user’s vision, but in the vast majority of experiences, users know what is real and what isn’t.
Additionally, tryptamines like psilocybin appear to have some effect on the amygdala, a part of the brain responsible for emotions like fear and euphoria. Because of this, some researchers believe that psilocybin may have potential as a therapy for trauma disorders like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Doctors have also tested psilocybin to treat depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and a neurological disorder called cluster headaches.
Sometimes, certain variables can trigger a psilocybin user to experience a “bad trip.” The root cause of a bad trip isn’t psilocybin itself, though. Instead, it comes from other variables surrounding the user. Described by psychedelic researcher Timothy Leary as “set and setting,” these variables may be as simple as the lighting in the room or the music playing during the trip. By controlling these variables, a user can minimize their chances of experiencing a bad trip.
What are Magic Mushrooms
“Magic mushrooms” is an unofficial but widely-used term that refers to any one of the dozens of types of fungi that contain psilocybin. Magic mushrooms grow naturally on every continent except for Antarctica, and include strains like penis envy cubensis, amaneta muscaria, and fly agaric. However, it’s not a good idea to try forging for magic mushrooms by yourself. Often, magic mushrooms are completely indistinguishable from poisonous fungi in the wild. Trying to find your own psilocybin mushrooms in the wilderness can result in poisoning, and in extreme cases, death.
There are several common ways for users to consume magic mushrooms. The simplest and most popular way to take psilocybin is by eating dried mushroom stalks and caps. Intrepid enthusiasts can also brew their own magic mushroom tea or bake these fungi into chocolate bars.
Fungi are Fantastic
While many psilocybin enthusiasts grow their own magic mushrooms, this isn’t feasible for everyone. It takes plenty of effort, trial, and error to perfect the process. Additionally, if you make any errors in the cultivation process, you could end up with poisonous mushrooms that will make you throw up rather than trip. Instead of trying to grow your own magic mushrooms, it’s much easier to buy them from a reputable supplier.
At BudStars, we sell more than just cannabis. We’ll also ship psilocybin mushrooms directly to you anywhere in Canada within 2 to 5 business days. With an inventory that includes dried mushrooms and processed products like chocolate bars, we have something for veterans and newbies alike. To learn more, check out our full line of psilocybin products on our website.