Psilocybin mushrooms, more commonly referred to as ‘shrooms,’ are hallucinogenic mushrooms that alter an individual’s consciousness and state of mind. Psilocybin is the active chemical in psychedelic mushrooms and come from a specific type of mushroom that can be found in tropical and subtropical regions of the United States, South America, and Mexico. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies psilocybin as a Schedule I substance, which are defined as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” The average half-life, meaning the length of time the substance will remain in one’s system until the concentration in one’s blood has been reduced by half, of psilocin is 50 minutes, as is noted by the International Encyclopedia of Adverse Drug Reactions and Interactions.
There are many different strains of psilocybin mushrooms and each has its own level of potency. Because an individual is ingesting the organic mushroom, calculating the strength and amount of active ingredient is virtually impossible. Psilocybe cubensis is the most common variety of shrooms available and happens to be fairly strong. A typical dose of dried psilocybe cubensis mushrooms is approximately 3.5 grams, which is equal to 1/8th of an ounce. Research suggests that hallucinogens (e.g., shrooms) work by temporarily interrupting communication between one’s neurotransmitters that regulate one’s basic functions (e.g., body temperature, muscle control, sensory perception) in addition to the regulation of one’s mood, sexual behavior, hunger, and sleep.
It is highly unlikely to physically overdose on any of the currently identified species of psilocybin-containing mushrooms. There are, however, many risks and adverse effects that accompany the excessive consumption of shrooms, including a psychological overdose. Symptoms of overdose could include any combination of the following examples, provided by UC Santa Cruz:
- Extreme paranoia
- Intense panic attacks
- Excessive perspiration
- Slowed sense of time
- Facial flushing
- Delusional thinking
It is also important to note that it is not uncommon for poisonous and potentially lethal mushrooms to be misidentified as psychedelic mushrooms. Consuming these can result in unintentional poisoning, leading to severe injury to vital organs, and in some cases death.
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