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Magic mushrooms

Shrooms are the drugs that grow in the woods. But what's magic about these mushrooms? And what are the risks of taking them? And do they look like Toad from Mario, please?

Toad from mario cart

They don't look exactly like this, but they can make you feel like you're on rainbow road

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What are magic mushrooms?

Sorry guys, but they’re not *actually* magic. Magic mushrooms is slang for fungi that contain natural psychedelic chemicals. Eating these mushrooms make you trip out and hallucinate.

They grow in woods all over the world, but you have to know what you’re looking for. The most common is the ‘liberty cap’ mushroom, which are small and tan coloured and tend to bruise a blue colour when handled.

Why do people take magic mushrooms?

  • At low doses, they can make you laugh your arse off as everything is HILLARIOUS.
  • They distort all your senses and merge them together – you can HEAR the colour red, SEE the sound of laughter, or SMELL, errr, your mate who hasn’t washed. That’s not the ‘shrooms though…
  • You have lots of deep and meaningful thoughts about the universe, and just feel a general brilliant insight into life.
  • Time tends to pass more slowly, minutes seem like hours. Everything feels like a dream
  • You feel really happy, calm, and generally tripped-out.
  • At higher dosages, you can have full-blown hallucinations, similar to an LSD trip, or see things even when your eyes are closed. If you see nice things, you generally have a fab time.

What are the bad side effects of taking mushrooms?

  • What if you pick the wrong mushroom?! The biggest danger of magic mushrooms is eating a poisonous one by mistake.
  • You can get a crippling stomach ache and feel sick; some lucky users also get a bad dose of the shits.
  • If you have a bad trip, you could be stuck with intense feelings of sheer terror until the drug wears off.
  • Having a distorted view of reality can be pretty dangerous if you’re trying to cross a road, or similar.
  • Some users get a pretty gnarly headache that lasts for days afterwards.

How do you take magic mushrooms?

Magic mushrooms are mostly picked and eaten raw. You can also dry them then cook them in food, or stew them into a vile-tasting tea.

How long do the effects last?

Depending on how much you’ve eaten that day, it can take between 30 minutes to two hours to start feeling the effects of mushrooms.

Once you’re tripping, the effects last for about four to six hours – though you may feel a bit strange for up to six hours after that.

Are magic mushrooms addictive?

Just like regular mushrooms, magic ones aren’t addictive. You do build a tolerance to their effects over time though.

What happens if I get caught with magic mushrooms?

Magic mushrooms are deemed illegal and a Class A drug, so if you’re caught with some on you, you’re looking at a maximum of seven years in jail and/or a hefty fine.

For more information about being caught with drugs, read our article here.

Can magic mushrooms damage your mental health?

As with all hallucinogenics, how you feel when you trip depends on what’s going on in your brain at the time.

If you’re going through any kind of life strife at the moment, don’t take mushrooms, as it’s likely to give you a pretty bad trip and bring everything up in a horrible way.

Anyone with any underlying mental health problem can also have them triggered by taking mushrooms, particularly schizophrenia.

And some people have found they suffer from ‘flashbacks’ of their trip for quite some time after taking mushrooms.

How to reduce the risks when taking magic mushrooms

  • Please make sure you’re absolutely swear-on-your-mum’s-life CERTAIN that you’ve got the right type of mushroom before you eat it. Even if it means kidnapping Bear Grylls.
  • Have a friend you trust stay with you in case you have a bad trip.
  • If you’ve taken a mushroom and feel sick, go straight to the hospital with a sample of what you’ve had for the doctors to examine.
  • Avoid them if you’re in a generally unhappy place.
  • Don’t take them if you have any history, or family history, of schizophrenia.
  • Don’t drive on mushrooms. Just because everything looks like Mario Kart, doesn’t mean you’re in Mario Kart.

Can I take shrooms if I’m on antidepressants?

It’s really not a good idea, mainly because:

a) Your brain probably isn’t in the best place anyway if you’re on antidepressants, so you’re much more likely to have a bad trip.

b) Antidepressants containing MAOIs can react with the psychedelic chemicals in the mushrooms, making the effects far too strong to be anything other than horrible.

Is a ‘fly agaric mushroom’ a magic mushroom?

The fly agaric mushroom looks like a fairytale mushroom – all red with white/yellow spots. They do also contain hallucinogenic chemicals, but unlike magic mushrooms, they’re technically legal to possess.

This doesn’t mean you should get excited about them – rumour has it they’re still legal because no one in their right mind would take them. They’re pretty ruddy horrible and you’ll spend most of your time vomiting. For more info, read our article about fly agaric mushrooms here.

Photo of toad from mario cart by JD Hancock

Next Steps

  • FRANK offers friendly, confidential advice on all things drugs-related. 0800 77 66 00
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Updated on 07-Aug-2014

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