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Magic mushroom

Magic mushrooms

Shrooms are the hallucinogenics that grow in the woods. They might be all natural, but what are the effects and the risks of taking them?

There are two main types of magic mushrooms - the psilocybe species contains the psychoactive chemicals psilocybin and psilocin, while the amanita muscaria variety contains ibotenic acid and muscimol as its main psychoactive ingredients.

Psylocibin mushrooms are small, tan-coloured and bruise blue when touched. Amanita muscaria mushrooms are red with white spots. Magic mushrooms are eaten raw, dried, cooked in food or stewed in tea.

What are the effects of magic mushrooms?

  • Magic mushrooms produce a similar effect to LSD, but the trip tends to be shorter and milder (about four hours).
  • At lower doses giggling and hilarity are common.
  • Feelings of euphoria, excitement or relaxation (spacing-out) may result.
  • Hallucinations can occur, especially when high doses are taken, meaning users experience visual and/or sound distortions.

What are the risks of taking magic mushrooms?

  • Ingesting magic mushrooms can cause stomach pains, nausea and vomiting.
  • Bad trips can happen and there's no going back until the effects have worn off.
  • Like any hallucinogen, magic mushrooms can complicate existing mental problems.
  • Serious health risk and even death may result due to eating the wrong kind of mushrooms.
  • Fly agaric mushrooms are hallucinogenic but contain no psilocybin or psilocin. They are difficult to take safely and there's much debate over whether fly agaric mushrooms have the potential to be lethal.

The law and magic mushrooms:

The Drugs Act 2005 changed the law so that now both fresh and prepared (e.g. dried or stewed) magic mushrooms are classified as Class A drugs. Possession can get you up to seven years in jail and an unlimited fine. Supplying someone else with magic mushrooms can get you life and an unlimited fine.

Magic mushrooms are also known as:

Mushies, magics, shrooms, caps and buttons.

If you're planning to take magic mushrooms:

  • Bad trips are more likely to occur with users who are in an unfamiliar environment, depressed or mentally unstable.
  • If you have taken magic mushrooms and you feel unwell, go straight to hospital with a sample and explain what's happened.
  • Eating the wrong type of mushroom is a real danger. Many mushrooms which look like magic mushrooms are poisonous.

Updated: 13/04/2010

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