Psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms)
Magic mushrooms are either eaten raw, mixed with food, or made into a brew and swallowed. There are several varieties of magic mushroom, but the type most commonly found in the UK is the Liberty Cap, which contains the drug psilocybin.
WHAT IS PSILOCYBIN?
- Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic or psychedelic drug, with effects similar to those of LSD.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF MAGIC MUSHROOMS?
- As with all drugs, the effects produced are dependent on the dose used, the personality of the user and the setting in which the drug is taken.
- Usually a dose of 20-30 mushrooms will cause a strong `trip'.
- At low doses, magic mushrooms may produce feelings of relaxation, not dissimilar to those of cannabis. At higher doses, the experience is thought to be closer to that of LSD. Users may experience an intensification of colour, hallucinations and a sense of well-being.
- A magic mushroom `trip' tends to last about four hours as opposed to eight hours or more with LSD.
HOW DO I KNOW HOW MUCH TO TAKE?
- There is no predictable way of estimating the amount of psilocybin in each mushroom. The amount is determined by the strain, size and age of the mushroom, and how they have been stored.
- People determined to use should start with a small amount and work up SLOWLY. (This will both avoid having too strong a trip, and minimise the likelihood of poisoning.)
ARE MAGIC MUSHROOMS DANGEROUS?
- The biggest danger associated with magic mushrooms use is probably misidentification. Some mushrooms are poisonous and cause stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Don't use mushrooms alone. Have a friend on hand for reassurance in case of panic during your `trip', or to help to take care of you if you do accidentally eat poisonous mushrooms.
- Magic mushrooms can cause panic attacks.
- Because they can impair judgement accidents can occur.
- Do not drive while under the influence.
- If you do feel sick shortly after taking magic mushrooms, go straight to hospital. Take a sample of the mushrooms with you to help with identification.
ARE MAGIC MUSHROOMS ILLEGAL?
- Although it is against the law to possess psilocybin, the possession and use of magic mushrooms in their natural form is not illegal.
- However, magic mushrooms become illegal if they are `prepared' or `processed' for use. Police have brought prosecutions against people in the past who have intentionally dried, crushed or made a `brew' from them.