Magic mushrooms, otherwise known as shrooms, are steadily gaining worldwide recognition since the 1960s, throughout the hippie movement. Since the 1970s, however, these psychedelics are considered illegal. Its main active compound, psilocybin, is classified as a Schedule I drug just like heroin and cocaine. This means that it has a high potential for misuse with no accepted medical or therapeutic use.
Safety track record of magic mushrooms
According to the Global Drug Survey conducted in 2017, magic mushrooms are considered the safest recreational drug to take. Out of over 10,000 individuals who reported taking these psychedelic fungi, only 0.2% required a visit to the emergency room. That is lower than marijuana and even alcohol use. However, since they remain illegal, there is a big risk of ingesting the wrong kind of magic mushroom. In addition, since there are very limited studies done on magic mushrooms, there is still the question of whether long term frequent use can lead to harmful side effects.
Risks of taking magic mushrooms and how to avoid them
Magic mushrooms can be found easily growing in the wild. It is important to note that this does not automatically mean they are safe alternatives to harder drugs. There are still potential risks associated with tripping on these magical fungi.
Risk #1: Magic mushrooms might worsen anxiety issues.
One of the most common risks, although still relatively rare, appears to be extreme anxiety or panic. Surveys show that this can last an average of at least 3.8 hours. Because of the way psilocybin and its metabolite psilocin interacts with serotonin receptors in the brain, these mushrooms can alter brain chemistry and further cause negative effects to someone whose mental health is not at its best state.
Safety tip: Individuals dealing with psychological problems should always think twice before attempting to take magic mushrooms. It is best to completely avoid any form of psychedelics as they can easily trigger awful experiences, leading to intense negative consequences. The good news is that some research, which is now at its early stages, has shown that under the supervision of a professional, certain doses of magic mushrooms can help reduce anxiety. More research is needed in this area, though.
Risk #2: Magic mushrooms do not always guarantee a good trip.
Getting a bad trip is the number one commonly reported negative side effect of ingesting magic mushrooms. A bad trip can cause you to get physically sick, with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and chills. Worse, the hallucinations can last for days, especially for novice users coming unprepared for the effects and taking large doses.
Safety tip: Under normal conditions, a psychedelic journey lasts around six to eight hours. The way your trip goes depends on several things, including your dosage, your environment, your mental state before taking the mushrooms, as well as the people around you.
It is important to understand the concept of “set and setting” when it is your first time to take magic mushrooms. Set stands for mindset, which includes not only the person’s mental state but also the physical state. Psychedelics tend to enhance emotions and a person’s current state of mind. That is why it is important to start any magic mushroom journey with a calm and relaxed mind. Otherwise, the psychedelic substances will force you to face your deepest fears and problems and turn the entire experience an unpleasant one. Similarly, it is important to avoid magic mushrooms, or any form of psychedelics, when you are ill, injured, or physically tired.
The setting is the second factor to take into consideration any psychedelic experience. This means the environment around you – which should be calm, familiar, and safe. Avoid the large, irrelevant crowd, unfamiliar territories, bright lights, as all of these can trigger unwanted stress that can lead to a negative state of mind. In addition, it is best to find a “sitter,” someone who you trust and who can stay sober to take care of you while you go on your journey.
Risk # 3:Magic mushrooms look similar to poisonous mushrooms.
One of the worst things that can happen when ingesting magic mushrooms is accidentally taking a poisonous mushroom instead. The Autumn Galerina, for instance, can easily be mistaken for a magic mushroom. Symptoms of mushroom poisoning occur within six to 12 hours and can include muscle weakness, gastrointestinal irritation, and delirium. Unfortunately, they could also be mistaken as the effects of a bad trip. Mushroom poisoning can lead to organ failure and eventual death within a number of days if treatment is not given immediately.
Safety tip: Every mushroom expert knows that identification is not always easy, and the consequences are always severe. Individuals who harvest their own magic mushrooms in the wild are especially at risk of accidental poisoning. It is important never to ingest any of the mushrooms that you have picked unless you can distinguish the psychedelic species from the poisonous species. Even experts make mistakes every so often.
Nowadays, there are several magic mushroom kits containing mushroom spores for sale. In theory, all you have to do is keep the psilocybin mushroom kit humid, and after a few weeks, you can enjoy your own home-grown magic mushrooms. These sets usually contain a manual, making the entire process easier.
Magic mushrooms have shown to provide a number of benefits, including a substantially improved quality of life. However, like everything else, ingesting these hallucinogenic fungi comes with a risk. It is important to understand what these risks are and how to avoid them to fully enjoy your psychedelic journey to self-awareness.