are naturally occurring, non-poisonous fungi which contain varying
amounts of the conscious-altering substances psilocybin and psilocin.
or drunk in a tea, they combine readily and hungrily with the
brain to evoke a powerful psychedelic trip experience, shorter-lived
but similar in tone and effect to LSD.
over 90 species of magic mushrooms world-wide. Common varieties
include UK and Northern Europe's 'Liberty Caps' (Psilocybe semilanceata)
and North America's Psilocybe cubensis.
most famous magic mushroom is the European Fly Agaric (amanita
muscaria), the red-and-white spotted toadstool which often pops
up in children's literature. However, it contains ibotenic acid
and muscimol not psilocybin and has very different effects.
Mushrooms are light to dark brown in colour and come in fresh,
dried or powdered forms. All of them taste disgusting.
distinctively 'mushroomy' and are impossible to confuse with any
other powdered drug.
effect is described as a 'trip' because it is a long (4-6 hours)
and powerful experience which takes you beyond normal perception
and then back again.
At low doses,
mushrooms induce a tingling body feeling and sense of euphoria
and lightness. You may feel happy and giggly. Colours seem more
vibrant, music sounds richer.
it alters and expands consciousness by loosening or - at higher
doses- completely erasing the normal filters and screens between
your conscious mind and the outside world.
filters down, more information rushes in and you became aware
of things normally filtered out out by your mind. You sense more,
think more, feel more. Visual, auditory, sensory, emotional. The
intricate details on surfaces, the richness of sound, the brightness
of colours, and the complexity of your own mental processes.
or intensity of effect have been observed in the psychedelic experience.
The strongest factor in determining level is dosage but relaxation,
experience and environment also play a part.
people report a "rabbit hole effect," the ability to
traverse to different levels irrelevant of dosage.
how you feel before taking a drug
Very mild effect. Relaxation. Giggling. Like being stoned but
with enhanced visual perception: colours may seem brighter, patterns
on the surface of things more eye-grabbing.
Also: a feeling
of lightness and euphoria, and a slight tingling in the body.
Music sounds better.
Plus one (+1)
Stronger visual hallucinations. Bright colours stand out, objects
appear to ripple or breathe. Coloured patterns behind the eyes
are vivid, more active. Moments of reflection and distractive
thought patterns. Thoughts and thinking become enhanced. Creative
urges. Euphoria. Connection with others, empathy. Sense of time
distorted or lost.
Plus two (+2)
Very obvious visual effects. Curved or warped patterns. Familiar
objects appear strange as surface details distract the eye. Imagination
and 'mind's eye' images vivid, three dimensional. Some confusions
of the senses.
of background mental processes: such as balance systems or auditory
visual perception. Deep store memory becomes accessible. Images
or experiences may rise to the fore. Music is powerful and can
affect mood. Sense of time lost.
Very strong hallucinations such as objects morphing into other
objects. Intense depersonalisation - the barriers between you
and the universe begin to break down. You feel you have connection
with everything around you. You can experience contradictory feelings
simultaneously. Some loss of reality. Time meaningless. Senses
blend into one. Feeling of being born. Multiple splitting of the
ego. Powerful awareness of your own mental processes and senses.
Highly symbolic visions when eyes are closed.
A very rare experience. Total loss of visual connection with reality.
The senses cease to function in the normal way. Total loss of
self. Merging with space, other objects, or the universe. The
loss of reality becomes so severe that it defies explanation.
Pure white light. Difficult to put into words.
begin to be felt between 20 minutes to an hour after ingestion.
The first signs are a sense of euphoria and expectation, along
with a tingling body feeling.
the effects usually take between 30-45 minutes to 'come up' and
reach their peak.
It is common
to feel some nausea during this stage. It can be reduced by having
an empty stomach.
The peak effect lasts for for one to two hours. A clear symptom
is rich visual hallucinations. Colours seem more vibrant. Surfaces
may ripple and shimmer. You may notice tiny details on objects.
Music sounds richer and louder.
At the same
time, you may feel blissful, have flashes of insight into yourself
or the world, experience severe time-distortion, or feel yourself
dissolving or see objects merging into one another.
The trip wears off gradually after 4 to 6 hours, although you
may continue to feel tender and altered until you get a full night's
Psychologically, any insights or feelings you have had whilst
bemushroomed will stay with you. A positive experience can give
you a glow lasting hours, days or even weeks afterwards.
At the same
time, bad trips, like any traumatic experience, are likely to
stay with you for a while afterwards. Fear and anxiety for a few
days is not uncommon but these will fade.
Psilocybin content varies widely from species to species and from
mushroom to mushroom. As a rough guide, however, a reasonable
dose is equivalent to two grams dried or 20 grams fresh.
aim low. You can always increase the amount another time, but
you can't undo a far-too-large dose. Be wary of over-confidence.
Each psychedelic trip is different and each level of the experience
has its own intensity and pitfalls. Even if you know the lay of
the land, tread carefully.
with other drugs
are powerful psychedelics and should not, as a rule, be mixed
with other mind-altering drugs, especially not by the inexperienced
or the far from home.
there have been very few scientific studies into the effects of
combining psychoactive drugs. The information presented here is
anecdotal. It is based on the subjective reports of experienced
users. Different people will respond differently to different
drugs and drug combination. Know your body.
the edge off the effect and can help you to relax; drunkenness
disappears during the trip; large amounts increase the nausea;
do not drink on the comedown (alcohol is a depressant)
increased weirdness; energising; paranoia usually increased; comedown
can be rocky
the experience in the come-up; heightens the peak; brings back
the effect during comedown
known as 'candy-flipping'; the E good feeling can reduce chance
of a bad trip but pay attention to E's safety requirements
tolerance usually present; not much point in taking other psychedelics
at the same time
to you, no dangers, but you may be more aware of the damage it's
doing to your lungs
police are fond of administering this sedative to bad trippers
Magic Mushrooms occupy a strange grey area in UK law. They are
legal as long as they are fresh and unprocessed.
be arrested or prosecuted for possessing freshly picked or cultivated
or preparing them in any way for consumption turns them into a
Class A drug.
In the US,
mushrooms and psilocybin are categorised under schedule 1 along
with LSD, cannabis, and heroin.