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Disclaimer: Psilocybin is a potentially illegal substance, and we do not encourage or condone the use of this substance where it is against the law. However, we accept that illegal drug use occurs, and believe that offering responsible harm reduction information is imperative to keeping people safe. For that reason, this guide is designed to ensure the safety of those who decide to use the substance. 

Opinion

“Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behaviour and information processing. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong.” 

Terence Mckenna

SCIENCE

Placebo

psilocybin

Recent research has shown that psilocybin makes the brain hyperconnected and allows for increased communication between different regions.

video

 

OVERVIEW

Psilocybin mushrooms (aka “magic mushrooms” or “shrooms”) are fungi that contain psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychedelic compound. More than 180 species of mushrooms contain psilocybin or its derivative psilocin. Psilocybin mushrooms have a long history of use in Mesoamerican spiritual and religious rituals, and are one of the most popular recreational psychedelics in the U.S. and Europe.

Psilocybin mushrooms have been used in therapeutic settings to treat a variety of ailments and disorders including cluster headaches, obsessive-compulsive disorders, anxiety, depression, and addiction.

While psilocybin mushrooms have been decriminalized in two North American cities (see “Legality” for details) they are currently illegal and categorized as a Schedule I controlled substance in the U.S. Recently, however, the FDA and DEA have allowed a number of small, highly controlled human studies on their potential for use in medical and psychiatric settings.

EFFECTS

Psilocybin mushrooms can be ingested in their whole form. They’re typically dried and most everyone agrees they don’t taste good. An alternative method is to brew psilocybin mushroom tea. Some people like to put the mushrooms in peanut butter or Nutella to mask the taste.

What to expect

 

A typical trip on a moderate dose of psilocybin mushrooms (1-2.5g) includes increased intensity of emotional experiences, increased introspection, and altered psychological functioning in the form of “hypnagogic experiences” — a transitory state between wakefulness and sleep. Brain imaging studies show that a psilocybin trip is neurologically similar to dreaming.

Perceptual changes such as illusions, synesthesia,  emotional shifts, and a distorted sense of time are all characteristic of a psilocybin trip as well. These effects are typically felt an hour or so after orally ingesting a dose.[9]

You will begin to notice changes in your visual perception, such as halos around lights and objects, and geometric patterns when your eyes are closed.

Your thoughts and emotions will also begin to change. It’s not uncommon to have a sense of openness to thoughts and feelings that you tend to avoid in your everyday life. A sense of wonder and delight with the world around you, the people in your life, and your thoughts is also quite common, along with a sense of peace and connection with the world.

You may experience strong emotions, both good and bad. Try not to resist these feelings, but rather let them run their course. Many who do report strong negative emotions also report a simultaneous sense of calm acceptance and detachment, especially if they remind themselves that the emotions are temporary.

Physical side effects can vary from individual to individual and include changes in heart rate (up or down), changes in blood pressure (up or down), nausea, increased tendon reflexes, tremors, dilated pupils, restlessness or arousal, and troubles with coordinated movement.

One study also found that psilocybin can cause headaches that can last for up to a day in healthy individuals.[10] None of the subjects reported severe headaches, however, and psilocybin is actually used to treat a clinical condition called cluster headaches (see therapeutic uses section).

 

Phases of a Psychedelic Mushroom Trip

 

The four basic phases of a mushroom trip are ingestion, onset, the trip (peak), and the comedown. Each phase comes with its own set of perceptions and observations, with the peak  — typically a couple hours after ingestion — resulting in the most intense sensory and psychological shifts. No matter the phase, it’s important to relax, and remember that what you’re experiencing is temporary, and there is nothing to fear. Check out this guide for more information on what to expect during a psilocybin mushroom trip.

 

Bad trips

 

Anyone curious about trying psilocybin mushrooms for the first time will inevitably worry at some point about having a “bad trip.” Dysphoric hallucinations, uncontrollable paranoia, and reckless behaviors are among the most common worries. Bad trips are possible, but the risks can be minimized by adhering to the 6S’s of the psychedelic experience. Being prepared and knowing your motivations before undertaking a psychedelic experience can help manage the risks.

 

Interactions with Other Drugs

  • Coffee: Fun fact! This may be a match made in the cosmic stratosphere. Not only are there no known negative side effects of mixing the two; there is even a coffee producer in Denver who’s doing it intentionally.

  • Marijuana: No known dangers, but also has the potential to enhance the psychedelic nature of the mushrooms.

  • Adderall, Xanax, Zoloft: These are powerful psychoactive drugs, the side effects of which are largely subjective. If regularly taking any of these substances, psychedelic use should be approached with extreme caution.

 

 

EFFECTS BY DOSE

NOTE: Effects listed below aren’t meant to be comprehensive, particularly at the lower dose ranges. They may be subject to change as more reliable, more widely representative data become available.

These dose ranges are for Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms. They may apply to other psilocybin-containing species, but some (e.g. P. semilanceata) are  more potent on average.

Microdose (0.05-0.25 g)

  • Mood enhancement

  • Decreased stress

  • Emotional stability

  • Mindfulness, presence, and peace

  • Openness and self-forgiveness

  • Increased empathy and sociability

  • Conversational fluidity

  • Alleviation of persistent conditions such as depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, PTSD

  • Increased motivation (e.g. to make positive lifestyle changes)

  • Increased focus/productivity

  • Increased flow states

  • Clearer, more connected thinking

  • Improved memory

  • Enhanced senses

  • Enhanced appreciation for music, art, etc.

  • Increased creativity

  • Spontaneity

  • Easier meditation

  • Increased enjoyment of physical activity and everyday tasks

  • Relaxation and increased awareness of body

  • Enhanced athletic endurance

  • Increased energy overall (without anxiety or a subsequent crash)

  • Amplification of mood, positive or negative

  • Slight sedative effect

  • Possible manic states

  • Potentially increased neuroticism

 

soft-dose (0.25-0.75 g)

  • Mood enhancement, mild euphoria or excitement

  • Mindfulness, presence, and peace

  • Openness and self-forgiveness

  • Introspective insights

  • Alleviation of persistent conditions such as depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, PTSD

  • Increased motivation (e.g. to make positive lifestyle changes)

  • Increased flow states

  • Clearer, more connected thinking

  • Enhanced senses

  • Enhanced appreciation for music, art, etc.

  • Increased creativity

  • Spontaneity

  • Easier meditation

  • Increased enjoyment of physical activity and everyday tasks

  • Relaxation and increased awareness of body

  • Increased energy in waves

  • Mild body high

  • Amplification of mood, positive or negative

  • Preference for introspection over socializing

  • Increased sensitivity to light

  • Very mild visuals, if any

  • Possible manic states

  • Potentially increased neuroticism

  • Difficulty focusing or thought loops

  • Difficulty with some cognitive tasks

  • Anxiety, agitation, or restlessness

  • Difficulty or discomfort socializing

  • Frustration at dosage (too high to be comfortable, too low to be “recreational”)

 

Medium-dose (0.5-1.5 g)

  • Mood enhancement, euphoria or excitement

  • Mild to moderate visuals (e.g. “breathing” environments)

  • Increased empathy

  • Conversational fluidity

  • Introspection

  • Increased flow states

  • Enhanced senses

  • Enhanced appreciation for music, art, etc.

  • Increased creativity

  • Spontaneity

  • Increased enjoyment of physical activity and everyday tasks

  • Finding otherwise mundane things funny or interesting

  • Enhanced athletic endurance

  • Moderate body high

  • Clear come-up, peak, and come-down

  • Amplification of mood, positive or negative

  • Altered perception of sound

  • Time dilation or contraction (time passing more slowly or quickly)

  • Increased sensitivity to light

  • Pupil dilation

  • Difficulty focusing or thought loops

  • Difficulty with some tasks

  • Difficulty or discomfort socializing

  • Frustration at dosage (at lower end)

expert-dose (2-3.5 g)

  • Strong euphoria or excitement

  • Sense of peace

  • Mystical experience and feelings of wonder

  • Life-changing introspective or philosophical insights

  • Increased flow of ideas

  • Increased creativity

  • Enhanced senses

  • Enhanced appreciation for music, art, etc.

  • Finding otherwise mundane things funny or interesting

  • Strong body high

  • Clear come-up, peak, and come-down

  • Amplification of emotions, whether good or bad

  • Open- and closed-eye visuals (e.g. patterns, auras)

  • Synesthesia

  • Time dilation or contraction (time passing more slowly or quickly)

  • Sedation

  • Unusual physical sensations

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Wide pupil dilation

  • Compulsive yawning

  • Confusion

  • Disorientation

  • Fear and anxiety (“bad trip” experiences)

  • Difficulty with cognitive tasks

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea

 

Mega dose (5+ g)

  • Strong euphoria or excitement

  • Mystical experience and intense feelings of wonder

  • Life-changing introspective or philosophical insights

  • Ego death

  • Increased flow of ideas

  • Increased creativity

  • Enhanced senses

  • Finding otherwise mundane things funny or interesting

  • Very strong body high

  • Clear come-up, peak, and come-down

  • Amplification of emotions, whether good or bad

  • Very strong open- and closed-eye visions (e.g. memories coming to life)

  • Visual, auditory, tactile hallucinations

  • Synesthesia

  • Time becoming meaningless

  • Thought loops

  • Sedation

  • Unusual physical sensations and altered perception of physical form

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Very wide pupil dilation

  • Compulsive yawning

  • Confusion

  • Disorientation

  • Compromised motor functions (sitter recommended!)

  • Strong fear and anxiety (extreme “bad trip” experiences)

  • Extreme difficulty with cognitive tasks

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea

  • Light-headedness

  • Headaches

 

POTENTIAL BENEFITS

Psychedelic mushrooms have a longstanding, profound, and storied background among the many cultures that have historically used them. Today, the benefits of these powerful little fungi are being recognized in a big way. Currently, studies into the vast and multifarious use of psychoactive mushrooms are being conducted across the United States and abroad. One such study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, found that, “a single dose of psilocybin produced substantial and enduring decreases in depressed mood and anxiety along with increases in quality of life […]. Additionally, the mystical and profound experiences that so many have experienced since psilocybin entered the American psychedelic lexicon in the 1960s, are now beginning to be tested and explored in mainstream medical science. The results are promising and compelling, and paint a substantiated, positive, symbiotic picture of mushrooms as a powerful healer.

Specifically, clinical trials have been, and are currently, being conducted in the United States and abroad which involve patients dealing with life-threatening cancer. These trials mainly seek to understand the efficacy of high dose psilocybin, administered in therapeutic environments, as a tool for reducing the psychological stress and anxiety that often accompanies a life-threatening diagnosis. The results so far have been promising. Under double-blind conditions, not only has a single, high-dose of psilocybin been shown to reduce symptoms of psychological distress among the terminal patient groups; the effects have been substantial and enduring.

Additionally, there is a growing body of research which suggests that part of why psilocybin is so effective is that it impacts neuroplasticity. That is, the brain’s ability to learn and grow and change.

source: thethirdwave.co

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