What it is
Psilocybin can refer to two things. It can pertain to a psychedelic compound that naturally occurs in over 200 mushroom species, which are collectively called psilocybin mushrooms. Psilocybin is a prodrug compound. Quickly after it enters the human body, your body converts into psilocin. This is an alkaloid with psychedelic, mind-altering effects.
Psilocin is responsible for the commonly known effects of psilocybin mushrooms: visual and mental hallucinations, distorted sense of time, euphoria, altered perception, and spiritual experiences.
Also called magic mushrooms or just shrooms, psilocybin mushrooms are now among the most popular and widely used psychedelic substances in the world, especially Europe and the United States.
As mentioned, there are hundreds of mushroom species that contain the psychedelic component you are after. However, do take note that some of these species are poisonous. This is why, when getting yourself some mush (another nickname for magic mushrooms in Canada), it is always best to find a trusted facility, store, or individual.
A lot of scholars and researchers have looked into the origin of magic mushrooms and when humans started consuming them. Studies show that psilocybin mushrooms have been around for a long time, particularly in Mesoamerica, and was once heavily used in religious and spiritual rites.
Archaeological artifacts, particularly those from the Sahara desert, indicate that our ancestors from as far back as 7,000 years ago may have already been using hallucinogenic mushrooms. People from ancient civilizations left traditional art depicting mushrooms. There is also some evidence supporting the hypothesis that mushrooms may have been seen as symbolic back then.
As mentioned earlier, psilocybin is the psychedelic component found in magic mushrooms. Together with psilocin, its metabolite, it interacts with brain components, particularly serotonin receptors in the brain regions that take care of sensory experiences. This explains why some people claim to “see” sounds (a phenomenon called “synesthesia”), “taste” smells, etc. during trips.
Normally, it takes about at least 0.2 g of dried shrooms before you feel any effect, but this threshold amount can differ among users.
Doses in the range of 1 g to 2.5 g are typically considered moderate and generally let you experience trips lasting 3 hrs to 6 hrs.
If you are a generally healthy person, you should be able to handle the effects of psilocybin relatively well. According to studies, bodily functions such as liver functioning blood sugar levels, and hormone levels all remain stable even under the influence of magic mushrooms.
Complications are rare and normally happen only when excessive dosages are consumed by unfit individuals.
In general, the effects of psilocybin resemble those of LSD, DMT, and mescaline (although psilocybin is less potent). However, not all magic mushrooms are the same. Two seemingly identical shrooms can have totally different components and hence varied effects.
1. Emotional and Psychological Changes
Usually, the first thing users experience is an increase in the intensity of emotions. There are also reports of altered psychological functioning and enhanced introspection. This change in psychological functioning is commonly described as a phase halfway between sleep and wakefulness. Scientists who have looked into MRI and fMRI scans of people during trips describe the effect to be similar to that shown by the brain when a person is dreaming.
2. Visual Anomalies
There are also common visual effects. For example, you may see geometric patterns and lines when you close your eyes. You may notice halos or lights around objects and similar effects.
A lot of magic mushroom users report becoming more open, even to people they do not normally spend time with. There is a certain peaceful feeling, happiness, and a sense of wonder. There may sometimes be a burst of negative emotions too, but it often comes with a sense of detachment and calm so it all gets balanced.
4. Physical Manifestations
The physical changes caused by the consumption of magic mushrooms can vary depending on the user. The heart rate and blood pressure can go up or down. You may have some trouble with movement coordination. Dilation of pupils is common, and so are tremors, restlessness, and some nausea.
Sometimes, in certain individuals, there can be such symptoms as panic attacks and nausea. This is why it is important to choose the right species and consume just the right amount.
Typically, after consumption, you can expect to begin experiencing the effects of shrooms within around 20 minutes. The psychedelic effects generally last up to 6 hours. However, there can also be subtle but long-lasting effects, such as increased openness. In a recent study, the brain activity of some subjects still showed brain patterns resulting from psilocybin a year after their clinical testing.
6. Therapeutic Effects
Like marijuana, magic mushrooms are consumed today also for their apparent therapeutic effects. A lot of individuals turn to shrooms for relief against anxiety, addiction, cluster headaches, depression, and obsessive-compulsiveness.