In the United States, hallucinogenic mushrooms are one of the most
frequently used hallucinogens after LSD.
Although many species of mushrooms have psychoactive properties,
Psilocybe Cubensis (Libery Cap) mushrooms are the most commonly used
species among recreational and religious users. Other lesser-used
species are Psilocybe Mexicana, Psilocybe Hoogshagenii and Psilocybe
Zapotecorum. Nearly all of the psychoactive mushrooms are small,
brown or tan mushrooms and look very similar to any number of
non-psychoactive, inedible, or poisonous mushrooms growing in the wild.
This makes them somewhat difficult, and potentially hazardous, to
identify. On the street, these mushrooms are known as Mushrooms, Magic
Mushrooms, Mushies, Shrooms, Sillies, Boomers Caps or Fungus.
Native Americans in Central and South America have used Psilocybe
mushrooms for thousands of years. The first European record of their use
was in the 16th century writings of a Spanish priest who wrote about the
Aztec’s use of both mushrooms and peyote. In 1957, ethnobotanist R.
Gordon Wasson became the first in modern times
to document and publish a description of his own experience (Life
Magazine). In 1968 possession of psilocybin mushrooms was made illegal
in the United States.
The average dose of mushrooms is 1-5 grams. They are taken orally or, in
rare occurrences, smoked. Because of the less than pleasant taste, they
are often mixed with other foods or drinks. Street prices run $5-20 per
gram, $100 – $300 per ounce.
In general, the hallucinogenic experience is very similar to an LSD
experience, but less intense and of shorter duration. The effects of
these mushrooms can vary considerably depending on the species, but for
Psilocybe mushrooms the user will typically experience effects including
feelings of being out of one’s body (ego loss), colorful hallucinations,
distortion in spatial perception, time, and color shift. At higher does,
users may experience lightheadedness, numbnesss of the tongue, lips or
mouth, shivering or sweating, nausea and/or vomiting, and anxiety.
As with LSD, depending on the general mood of the user, bad trips can
Physical Dependence: None
Psychological Dependence: Moderate
Source: The Merck Manual: Sixteenth
Edition, published 1992
Psilocybin is a mild to moderately habit-forming substance with no
physical addiction. It should be noted, though, that virtually any
substance can be addictive, to a greater or lesser degree, depending on
the user. It is a generally accepted notion among treatment
professionals that the addiction, whether physical or psychological, is
the problem, not the specific substance. Below are some treatment
programs that may be useful for psilocybin users as well as others
seeking help with an addiction:
- Narcotics Anonymous