Not everyone understands what magic mushrooms, or shrooms, mean. If you are new to the field, you may not fully grasp the effect the mushrooms can have on you. Magic mushrooms, called psychedelic mushrooms in wider fields, have a hallucinogenic effect on the user, and this effect is directly caused by psilocybin in the body system.
Psilocybin turns to psilocin when taken and leads to a psychedelic effect on the user. Some people use shrooms for divinatory, religious, or spiritual purposes, but more recently, shrooms have become recreational in their usage. So, how much psilocybin is in the most popular shroom species, and how much of them can you take per time?
Active Compound In Magic Mushrooms
Psilocybin is the main compound in magic mushrooms, but it is not active while in the shrooms. In other words, the compound does not cause any psychedelic effect without ingestion. However, upon ingestion, psilocybin becomes psilocin, which is the active compound that produces the psychedelic effect on the user.
Here is how it works:
When you take shrooms, your liver breaks them down using a method called dephosphorylation. Psilocybin becomes psilocin, which gives you the emotional and sensory effects, or psychedelic effects, typically associated with shrooms. The emotional effect can depend on the surroundings when you take it. So, if you have a bad emotional reaction from taking shrooms, it may be because your surroundings are not conducive at that moment.
The sensory effects can include auditory and visual hallucinations. You may also notice a warped sense of space and time, followed closely by emotional reactions. However, note that reactions to shrooms depend on the user and dosage. So, your tolerance may differ from that of the next person due to your body and genetic makeup.
Amount of Psilocybin in Shrooms
It is important to note that there are different species of magic mushrooms, and the psilocybin content differs from one species to another. Some species contain much more of the compound than others. The content can range from 0.5 to 1.0 across several species.
However, there is no hard and fast rule for the psilocybin content for each mushroom species. You may get two shrooms from the same species, test them, and find that they do not have the same amount of the compound. The only way to know exactly how potent a shroom is is to test it in a lab and get a precise result.
It is like using cannabis. The tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabinoid content of one cannabis plant may differ from that of the next, even though they are from the same branch. Like cannabis, the mushrooms people use daily are mostly untested. The reason is that no concrete regulation and legality is guiding such tests. So, there is no way to ascertain what they contain, no matter what the seller says.
Psilocybin Doses and Their Effects
If you have shrooms and are wondering how many of them to take, you must consider the content of the compound and the weight of the shrooms. The bigger the weight of the shrooms in grams, the more potent they become.
It is the same as consuming a significant amount of cannabis; you will have a more potent effect than someone who consumes a smaller amount. Let us categorize the effects into weak, medium, high, and extra high effects.
You do not have to take too many shrooms to get the tiniest hallucinogenic feeling. A gram of magic mushrooms is a low dose, and it can create a euphoric feeling, enhancing your senses along with it. This quantity contains about 10 mg of psilocybin, a good dosage for anyone taking shrooms for the first time.
In other words, all you feel is a little distortion of reality, such as seeing colors in a more vibrant way. This effect may vary from user to user; people with low tolerance may have a more enhanced reaction to a gram of shrooms, but nothing extraordinary.
You can get eight ounces of shrooms and take half of it, which is a typical medium dose, especially if you already use them. That translates to about 1.75 grams of shrooms containing about 175 mg of psilocybin. The effect is much more noticeable than taking only a gram of shrooms.
The psychedelic effects are more pronounced; you may notice a blending of your senses, popularly called synesthesia, and a higher euphoric feeling. You may also see things, whether your eyes are shut or open, among other feelings.
Nevertheless, this effect is not the highest attainable, and you may still have some control if your tolerance is balanced. Some users may have a reduced reaction than what we explain here, depending on who is taking the shrooms.
Eight ounces of dried mushrooms, or about 3.5 grams, turns your world upside down and not necessarily in a bad way. This quantity or weight of shrooms usually contains about 35 mg of psilocybin, which is potent enough to trigger full psychedelic effects. The psilocin content distorts your cognitive and perceptive abilities.
You may be unable to tell where you are while in the throes of the effects or carry on a conversation. This is especially true when you feel the peaks of the effects, which may come at different moments and in waves. Again, this reaction may differ from user to user, and what causes a significant trip for you may be milder for the next person.
However, this dosage has a guarantee of delivering a memorable experience, no matter your tolerance level. Note that it is best to take such high doses only when you are in a controlled and safe space. Doing that helps to eliminate the risks of injury or leaving yourself in the path of danger.
Extra High Effects
Taking 5 grams of dried shrooms may be pushing the limit, but some people only experience the best effects when they take such large doses. It is not a recommended dosage, even if you have a high tolerance, but if you must, ensure you control your environment before ingestion. This amount of shrooms usually contains about 50 mg of psilocybin at one percent psilocybin content.
The typical effect of this heroic dose is that you will likely become unable to move. All you may be able to do at this point is to find a good place and sit or lay down. Allow the feeling of the mushroom trip to cascade all over you and take it in while you relax. That is why you must be in a safe space before ingestion; you will be unable to do much else.
If you are new to shrooms, do not take a dose close to this amount. It does not matter what the seller says or how much of it you think your body can handle. Start small, maybe less than 1 gram of one percent psilocybin content. See how you react and slowly increase the dosage until you hit the perfect spot that your body can handle and appreciate. Otherwise, there may be psychological repercussions with a constant high dose of shrooms in the long run.
Clinical Trials Using Exact Dosages
There have been clinical trials on humans to check how they interact with psilocybin as an investigational drug. The results were not much different from what we explained above. Patients who received a moderate dose of 20 mg to 30 mg, ranging between medium and high following the dosage explanation in this article, often had a ‘mystical-type experience.’
It is the same as what we would call a psychedelic effect. The reactions were not exactly uniform across all the patients, but they were close enough to draw a decisive conclusion. The species used in the study played a role in how the patients reacted to the shrooms. A species such as P. cubensis may be more potent than other species.
There are more recent trials, such as an ongoing one by the Brain and Cognitive Discovery Foundation. The primary aim is to determine the tolerance and safety of psilocybin as an investigational drug for depression. It started in November 2021 and aims to run until March 2023. Studies such as these will help determine the efficacy of psilocybin and use it for more health-related purposes. Then, there may be regulations and legality for dosing and usage from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
How to Take Shrooms
There are no rules guiding how to take shrooms, but there are basics that must guide every user. Starting your journey with low doses of shrooms is crucial if you are a beginner. Some quarters may encourage you to take more than one gram per time, but we recommend sticking to less than that dosage.
Take a little at a time and watch how your body reacts to it. If your tolerance is high, you can slowly increase the dosage to one gram or a little above it. Remember that one gram of dried shrooms contains about 10 mg of psilocybin, potent enough to create an effect. Also, check your environment before taking it; the safer the space, the more relaxed you can be.
Since psilocin can distort your cognitive abilities, it always helps to have people around you. This is especially true if you take higher doses. Your physical and mental states are sensitive to the compound, so it may help to have professional human support around you while taking it.
Significantly higher doses can change your life forever, so it is crucial that you are aware of the lasting and sometimes permanent effects before taking them. Some patients in a Johns Hopkins clinical trial reported that their experience with 20 mg to 30 mg of psilocybin was so significant that it resulted in severe anxiety that was almost the same as birthing a child. In other words, you should not take high shroom doses lightly.
Shroom Caps and Stems: Which Contains More Psilocybin?
There is no conclusive study to show that the cap of a magic mushroom has more psilocybin than the stem. While some users claim that the cap is more potent than the stem, these are only individual reports and not verifiable tests. It depends on the species; even then, there may be overlaps between the two parts.
So, you may find that one species has stems with more psilocin content than the mushroom caps. Another species may have more potent caps than stems. There is a need for more psychedelic research and conclusive data in this area before this comparison becomes feasible.
Best Storage Methods for Shrooms
Buying magic mushrooms in large quantities may seem like a way to save money, but you must know how to store them. Otherwise, they may degrade and lose their potency. Typically, shrooms love dark places, so storing them in a dark room set at room temperature preserves them longer.
This may mean artificially creating the right environment for them, especially when there are extreme weather conditions. On the other hand, shrooms degrade faster when stored in a significantly cold environment, even when dried. You may want to ensure there are no entry points for cold draughts when storing them.
However, if you buy many shrooms, you may want to use them all within one year to avoid a loss. Magic mushrooms degrade within 15 months when stored, with varying levels of degradation based on the lighting and temperature of the storage space. It is important to note that storing shrooms for long periods may not be the best step. They are most potent when fresh, and fresh mushrooms may not last longer than one month. In every case, the potency of your shrooms significantly falls within one month.
Brief History of Shrooms
There is no clear record of the first person to use shrooms and why they used them. However, we do know that shrooms have been used for thousands of years, dating as far back as 10,000 BCE. Books from different ages also show that world cultures and civilizations know of and used shrooms for purposes ranging from rituals and magic to various ceremonies.
Shrooms have never been in obscurity, but their potency may cause some reluctance to acknowledge them. As time advances, newer civilizations become aware of how powerful they are and strive to put them to the best use.
Ethnomycologists say shrooms have contributed to the advancement of religion, culture, language, and hunting. Their beliefs caused a psychedelic chemist to launch a process to isolate the active compound in shrooms and its effect. More research has gone into the compound over the years, but nothing like the piqued interest we see today.
How Long Does It Take for Shrooms to Kick into Action?
It typically takes about 30 minutes to feel the first effects of magic mushrooms. This time depends on the species, potency, dosage, and user. If you have a low tolerance and take a low dose of shrooms, you may feel the effects quicker and stronger than someone with a higher tolerance. The higher the dosage, the more profound the effect on your perception and consciousness.
A moderate dosage of shrooms should have a profound effect that lasts between four to six hours. The peak of the effect usually comes about two or three hours after consuming the shrooms. Note that the length of the effect and its intensity increase if you take a larger dosage. You may hallucinate, feel like you are dreaming, have a distorted sense of time and place, and have illusions.
The state of your mind and the environment in which you take shrooms greatly determine the outcome of the effect. There is no uniform effect; there is no way of saying this is how you will react to magic mushrooms. The reason you take shrooms can also change the effect. If you have feelings of anxiety, shrooms taken in moderate doses may enhance those feelings or help you achieve the aim of making your mood better.
How Psilocybin Works on the Brain
When you orally take magic mushrooms, which may have a bitter taste, your liver converts the psilocybin compound to psilocin. Psilocin, in turn, binds to your brain through a subset of serotonin. The binding triggers pathways that cause your brain to respond and communicate in a different way while decreasing the activity in the default mode network (DMN). The network is not a physical one, but it is a system comprising connected regions that affect introspective activities.
Brain activities such as thinking about what will happen in the future, what has happened in the past, thinking about others or yourself, and daydreaming fall under the category of default mode network. The effect of psilocin on the network is that it inhibits the system. Consequently, there is a marked increase in integration all over the brain, making your thinking more fluid, without repetitions or inhibitions. In simpler terms, psilocin removes boundaries created by a sense of self or ego and promotes a feeling of oneness with your environment and others.
Psilocin also has the potential to increase neurogenesis and neuroplasticity. Neurogenesis is a process of creating new connections and neurons in the brain’s hippocampus. Neuroplasticity is how the brain changes and responds to new experiences and stimuli. So, when new connections and neurons exist in the brain, it rewires itself to respond to these new processes.
While neurogenesis is typically a lifetime process, it may be truncated by several factors. They include too much alcohol consumption, poor sleep patterns, poor diet, and stress. However, psilocin in shrooms and other psychedelic drugs can improve neurogenesis, which is an integral part of neuroplasticity.
These drugs can potentially increase brain neuron growth and enhance their density while safely activating new neural pathways. One potential benefit is that enhanced neurogenesis and neuroplasticity can significantly improve your mental health. This may be part of the reason for new clinical trials to check how psilocybin mushrooms work.
Magic Mushrooms Compared to Other Psychedelic Drugs
LSD, DMT, and mescaline are psychedelic drugs in much the same way as psilocybin. Therefore, there may be experiences that overlap when taking any of these drugs, as some users report. This is particularly true when you compare a shroom trip to an LSD trip. You may not be able to tell the difference between the two drugs unless you are sure of which you take, as some users in the psychedelic community say.
Some of the key similarities between the psychedelic experience of LSD and shroom are:
- A better view of your life and accompanying problems
- Enhanced visuals
- A distorted sense of time and space
- A feeling of unity with others and the environment
Despite the similarities, there is a noticeable difference between the two drugs. You feel a more robust and intense trip with LSD than with shrooms. That means that similar dosages may produce different effects. LSD may be more potent and should be taken cautiously as it can be detrimental to mental health if taken in uncontrolled high doses. The same applies if you are mixing shrooms with LSD or other psychedelics.
You may also notice that LSD has a more profound effect on the brain, while shrooms affect the body more. With LSD, you may not feel nausea, but shrooms may cause little nausea. However, these differences depend on who is taking them. As mentioned before, reception and tolerance differ, so you may find that your body and brain handle LSD better than shrooms.
Similarities to Cannabis
When you compare shrooms to cannabis, you may discover a few similarities. Besides affecting your senses and throwing off your cognitive abilities, cannabis may work the same as shrooms. One of the most active compounds in the plant is THCA or THC-acid.
Cannabis does not directly contain tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which is the compound associated with producing the psychoactive effect. Instead, when you take cannabis through smoking, the heat converts THCA to THC, making it active at this point.
If your body converts a high amount of THCA to THC, you feel high. This directly depends on the ingestion method and dosage. In the same vein, when you ingest shrooms, your body converts the inactive psilocybin content to the active psilocin, which produces psychedelic effects.
There are results showing that psilocybin has little to no toxicity, so users tend to tolerate it well. This is unlike a few other psychedelics or even cannabis. However, there is a need for further research in this area to learn more about how it affects the body.
According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, shrooms are not legal because of the psilocybin content. Psilocybin is ranked as a Schedule I substance, which means it has high abuse potential and currently has no recognized medical relevance in the country. It is in the same category as LSD and heroin.
Young adults and teenagers are most likely to abuse psilocybin, although it is also popular among other age groups. You will find shrooms in abundance at clubs, parties, raves, and on college campuses. The exact usage data is unclear, primarily because sources that check drug use do not usually include the compound.
There are risks or side effects associated with taking shrooms. They contribute to the slowness in legalizing shrooms. These side effects vary from user to user, but they are no less unpleasant. You may become nauseous and throw up within 20 to 30 minutes of taking psilocybin. Your muscles may also become weak, and the extent of the weakness can change.
Furthermore, you may notice reduced coordination and extreme drowsiness. While you may not become dependent on it, your tolerance level increases as you take more of it within a short time. Hence, you are in danger of taking too much at a time as you try to increase the trip. Then, it becomes a danger to your health.
What Are The Current Psilocybin Uses?
We can list a number of uses to which shrooms or psilocybin is put today. Many of them are recreational as more people realize the effects it has and how safe shrooms can be. Others use shrooms for spiritual journeys and drawing close to nature.
However, there is a rising awareness of how effective the compound in shrooms can be on PTSD and depression. That is why there are clinical trials to ascertain how effective it is and what dosage works best. There are also therapeutic uses because of the potential effect on anxiety and sleep disorders.
Conclusion: Are Psychedelic Mushrooms Really Effective?
While psilocybin has a designation as a breakthrough therapy for PTSD by the FDA, it is still a controlled substance.
Therefore, there are strict regulations concerning distribution, dosage, and usage.
Nevertheless, with the speed at which more people are becoming aware of dried magic mushrooms and the psychedelic research into them, it may not take long before we see a change in regulations.