How do Magic Mushrooms Affect the Brain

With regard to hallucinogens like psilocybin—an ingredient of so-called “magic mushrooms” (e.g., Psilocybe cubensis)—it may be high time to reconsider long-standing hypotheses related to their actions in the human brain.

Although psilocin (the active metabolite of psilocybin)and other classical hallucinogens like lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) have complex pharmacology with high affinities for multiple neurotransmitter receptors, it has long been appreciated that their psychedelic actions correlate best with 5-HT2A–serotonin receptor agonism. Indeed, in 5-HT2A knockout mice, classical hallucinogens are devoid of activity. Importantly, the psychedelic actions of psilocybin in humans are abolished by pretreatment with relatively selective 5-HT2A antagonists. Taken together, these findings support the hypothesis that psilocybin and other classical hallucinogens exert their psychedelic actions in humans via activating 5-HT2A serotonin receptors.

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Psilocybin diminishes brain activity and connectivity. (A) Psilocybin, which is inactive, is metabolized to the active ingredient psilocin. Psilocin then activates many neurotransmitter receptors (B) to modulate activity on excitatory pyramidal and inhibitory GABA-ergic neurons (C). (B) Affinity values for psilocin are expressed as –log in nanomoles (pKi) and are from the National Institute of Mental Health Psychoactive Drug Screening Programs Ki Database. (C) Psilocin interacts with various receptors on large excitatory pyramidal neurons and smaller inhibitory neurons. Psilocin may interact with excitatory (orange) or inhibitory (red) receptors to augment or inhibit neurotransmission. Psilocin’s net effect is a decrease in neuronal activity and connectivity as measured by fMRI.

Although there is consensus regarding the pharmacological actions of classical hallucinogens, the neuronal mechanisms responsible for the psychedelic actions of hallucinogens remain controversial. Thus, some investigators have observed that LSD-like hallucinogens can enhance pyramidal neuron activity by activating 5-HT2A serotonin receptor signaling. These findings that hallucinogens activate glutamatergic neurotransmission are consistent with many other studies demonstrating that 5-HT2A receptors were enriched on Layer V glutamatergic neurons although we and others have noted that 5-HT2A receptors are also found on GABA-ergic interneurons. Indeed, 5-HT2A agonists can also augment inhibitory neuronal activity. Taken together, these previous findings have implied that the actions of hallucinogens such as psilocybin might be due to a mixture of actions on both excitatory (e.g., pyramidal) and inhibitory (e.g., GABA-ergic interneuronal) neuronal circuits. Conceivably, then, hallucinogens like psilocybin could induce their psychedelic effects via augmenting either excitatory or inhibitory neuronal activity in humans. Unfortunately, because of medical, legal, human use, and societal concerns, well-controlled studies of hallucinogen actions in humans have languished since the early 1960s.

In PNAS, Carhart-Harris et al. successfully execute an important study that begins to fill in our gaps regarding hallucinogen actions in humans. Surprisingly, they demonstrate that psilocybin decreases surrogate markers for neuronal activity [cerebral blood flow and blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signals] in key brain regions implicated in psychedelic drug actions. They also report that psilocybin appears to decrease brain “connectivity” as measured by pharmaco-physiological interaction.

To perform these studies, Carhart-Harris et al. recruit 15 experienced hallucinogen users for arterial spin labeling (ASL) perfusion and BOLD fMRI studies. The individuals were scanned before and after receiving i.v. doses of placebo or psilocybin (2 mg). Individuals were also rated for the subjective effects of psilocybin or placebo. Not surprisingly, psilocybin exerted a robust psychedelic effect with individuals reporting alterations in consciousness, time perception, and visual perceptions within minutes of psilocybin administration.

Coincident with these profound perceptual alterations, decreases in cerebral blood flow were observed in key brain regions long implicated in psychedelic drug actions—the anterior and posterior cingulate cortices and thalamus. Intriguingly, the intensity of the psychedelic experience significantly correlated with decrements in blood flow in the thalamus and anterior cingulate cortex. Carhart-Harris et al. also report what they refer to as decreases in “functional connectivity” between the ventral medial

Psilocybin appears to decrease brain “connectivity” as measured by pharmaco-physiological interaction.

prefrontal cortex and other regions that they interpret to indicate overall diminished connectivity.

Overall, these findings are consistent with the hypothesis that psilocybin diminishes activity in key brain regions and networks implicated in hallucinogen actions. These provocative findings are important because they challenge many long-held models regarding hallucinogen actions that have focused mainly on their ability to enhance excitatory neurotransmission and overall brain activity.

The findings of Carhart-Harris et al. are also important because they provide nice proof that, provided appropriate safeguards are in place, psychedelic drug actions can once again be rigorously deconstructed in normal human volunteers. Psychedelic drugs are unique in their abilities to profoundly alter human awareness and perception, and these studies provide important hints regarding the neuronal substrates of human consciousness.


This study is based on brain images taken from nine participants who were either injected with psilocybin or a placebo. The scientists used those images to create a “whole-brain connectome” which provides a picture of all the physical neurons in the brain, as well as the activity of the neurotransmitters that are being shuttled back and forth.

During your average day in the human brain, neurons are constantly firing and neurotransmitters are traveling well-trodden paths through the brain, somewhat like cars on a freeway. On magic mushrooms, those networks are “destabilized”, Kringlebach explains.

Previous research has shown that new networks appear in tandem. It’s as if those cars on the freeway were given free rein to stray from the highway and take back roads towards new destinations.

Scientists are beginning to understand how this works. For instance, psilocybin (as well as psychedelics like DMT) mimic serotonin, a neurotransmitter related to feelings of happiness or love. Kringelbach suggests that these mushrooms do more than simply affect serotonin flow in the brain.

“We wanted to investigate the role of neurotransmission in dynamically changing the activity in whole-brain networks — and how this changes neurotransmitter release in return,” he explains.

The models showed that the brain is able to tap into new networks by coupling the effects of neuron activity and the release of neurotransmitters, like serotonin. The release of neurotransmitters and the firing of neurons work together – and when you have one without the other, the whole system falls apart.

When the scientists adjusted their model to have these processes work independently, they found that they weren’t able to recreate the same “destabilization” of networks that you would usually see when someone is on magic mushrooms. The same breakdown in their pattern happened when they replaced the typical serotonin receptors utilized by magic mushrooms (5-HT2A receptors) with other types of serotonin receptors.

Taken together, this suggests that both the receptors themselves, and the patterns of neuron activity are necessary for psilocybin to really work.


Knowing that both receptors and neuron activity are needed, says Kringlebach, could help better understand how to use the drug as a therapy. In turn, these models can help us visualize an enduring mystery within the human brain, says Kringlebach.

“It has long been a puzzle how the brain’s fixed anatomical connectome can give rise to so many radically different brain states; from normal wakefulness to deep sleep and altered psychedelic states,” he says.

We only have a fixed amount of hardware in the brain, yet we’re running highly complicated software that produces dreams, consciousness, and — if someone is on a drug like DMT — “breakthrough experiences.”

If the magic mushrooms demonstrate anything, it’s that the brain can learn to use its fixed hardware in very different ways, if the right ingredients are involved. The trick is figuring out what tools the brain needs to run different types of software on that hardware.

In the future, the team hopes that their model could help us learn how we can run different types of software in our brains, and in doing so, help treat conditions like depression.

“This new model will give us the much needed, causal tools for potentially designing new interventions to alleviate human suffering in neuropsychiatric disorders,” Kringlebach says.

Recent therapeutic trials of “classical” psychedelic drugs, such as psilocybin (from magic mushrooms) or LSD, have reported benefits to wellbeing, depression and anxiety. These effects seem to be linked to a sense of “ego dissolution” — a dissolving of the subjective boundaries between the self and the wider world. However, the neurochemistry behind this effect has been unclear. Now a new paper, published in Neuropsychopharmacology, suggests that changes in brain levels of the neurotransmitter glutamate are key to understanding reports of ego dissolution — and perhaps the therapeutic effects of psychedelics.

Natasha Mason at Maastricht University, the Netherlands, and colleagues recruited 60 participants for their study. All had taken a psychedelic drug before, but not in the three months prior to the study. Half received a placebo and the other half were given a low to moderate dose of psilocybin (0.17 mg/kg of body weight).

The team then used a technique called proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to look at concentrations of glutamate (as well as other neurochemicals) in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and the hippocampus — two regions that have been implicated as key to the psychedelic drug experience. The team also looked at patterns of “functional connectivity” within networks of brain regions, a measure of how closely correlated brain activity is across those regions. Six hours after taking the drug or placebo, the participants reported on their subjective experiences using two surveys: The 5 Dimensions of Altered States of Consciousness and the Ego Dissolution Inventory.

As the researchers expected (based on the findings of earlier research), those given the drug reported increased feelings of ego dissolution, as well as altered states of consciousness. They also showed disruptions in the connectivity of particular networks, including the default mode network, which has also been implicated in past work on the effects of psychedelic drugs..

But, for the first time in humans, the team also observed higher levels of glutamate in the mPFC and lower levels in the hippocampus after taking psilocybin — and they linked these changes to different aspects of ego dissolution. Increases in the mPFC were most strongly linked to unpleasant aspects, such as a loss of control over thoughts and decision-making, and also anxiety. Decreases in the hippocampus, meanwhile, were most strongly linked to more positive aspects, such as feelings of unity with the wider world, and of having undergone a spiritual-type experience.

The hippocampus is our most important memory structure. Based on earlier work on the impacts of psychedelic drugs on patterns of brain connectivity, it’s been suggested that a temporary reduction or loss of access to memories about our own lives might contribute to a weakening of the “self”. The new work suggests that changes in glutamate levels in the hippocampus might be key to this process.

But if glutamate rises in the mPFC are linked to unpleasant aspects of ego dissolution, and also to anxiety, how does this fit in with trial results finding that psychedelic drugs can treat anxiety disorders?

It’s not entirely clear. Psychedelics are known to bind with one particular type of serotonin receptor, called 5-HT2A receptors. This then causes immediate changes in the glutamate system, which could be responsible for producing short-term feelings of anxiety. But it might be that longer-term reduction in anxiety levels is related more to 5-HT2A receptor activation itself, rather than glutamate, the researchers suggest.

It’s also been suggested that activation of glutamate networks (via the 5-HT2A receptor) increases levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, which promotes the health and growth of new brain cells. Animal work provides evidence that psychedelic drugs indeed promote plasticity in the brain. And people with major depression and stress disorders have been found to have reduced plasticity. The new data provide indirect evidence that psychedelics might increase neuroplasticity in the human cortex by increasing glutamate, the researchers write. If correct, this could help with understanding how psychedelic drugs can treat depression.

More work is clearly needed to fully understand all these processes. But there’s a lot of interest in the potential therapeutic benefits of psychedelic drugs right now, and the new study does help to clarify the underlying neurobiology of the psychedelic state. As the researchers write, the findings “provide a neurochemical basis for how these substances affect individuals’ sense of self, and may be giving rise to therapeutic effects witnessed in ongoing clinical trials.”

How Long Do Shrooms Last?

How do shrooms work?

how long do shrooms last?

Psilocybin mushrooms, commonly known as magic mushrooms, or more simply, shrooms, are considered a psychedelic. Psychedelics are commonly known as drugs with hallucinogenic effects, and while that is partially true, psychedelics are actually a very specific set of drugs that can bond to the 5-HT2a serotonin receptor.

Shrooms contain a drug called psilocybin. When ingested, your body breaks that psilocybin down into its dephosphorylated cousin, psilocin. Psilocin is molecularly very close to serotonin – a naturally-occurring neurotransmitter in humans, other mammals, and even some worms and insects as well as plants and fungi. It’s so close to serotonin, in fact, that it’s capable of bonding with certain serotonin receptors, especially the 5-HT2a receptor. It’s not perfectly understood how exactly shrooms cause their psychedelic trips, it’s understood that it has to do with this interaction.

How long do shrooms take to kick in?

How long it will take for you to start feeling the effects of magic mushrooms depends primarily on how they are ingested. If the mushrooms are eaten as whole mushrooms, the onset can be anywhere from 20-40 minutes. If the mushrooms are ground into a fine powder and mixed with lemon juice or made into tea, the onset can be much faster – around 5-10 minutes. Gummies and chocolates tend to come on in about 15-30 minutes.

How long does a shroom trip last?

How long your magic mushroom trip is going to last will depend primarily on the following factors:


  • How much did you take?
    You should be able to quantify this in the weight of the dried product for consistent measuring.
  • What kind of shroom did you take?
    You can read details about all the different kinds of shrooms in our shroom shop – but some tend to last longer than others.
  • How were they taken?
    As a general rule of thumb, whole shrooms will last a little longer but produce a more mellow trip, and teas/chocolates/gummies tend to be more intense, but shorter in duration.
  • Who’s taking them?
    A number of factors matter here: height, weight, age and all play a role. People who have consumed psilocybin recently will also exhibit higher tolerance to subsequent doses. There are also certain pre-existing medical conditions that can affect the overall duration of the trip.
  • Have you taken any other drugs?
    It can be hard enough to estimate what psilocybin will do and how it will last; adding other psychoactive drugs can have unpredictable effects on the overall experience.
  • Are you in a calm and peaceful, or a more high-energy environment?
    The kind of energy that you surround yourself with and take in while you’re tripping will affect a number of things, including the duration of the trip.

And many more. In general, you should budget about 4-8 hours for the trip to completely end, including any sort of “afterglow.” Typically the peak will be around 1-2 hours in, and will fade from there – although it is common to experience “waves,” so if you think you feel yourself coming down, don’t be caught off guard if it was just a bump on the roller coaster!

What’s it like coming down from shrooms?

coming down from shrooms

Coming down from shrooms by most accounts is considered to be a generally pleasant experience as compared with coming down off other drugs. Psilocybin is not inherently addictive, and it is quite rare for people to get addicted to mushrooms. There are a few reasons for this – but a big one is thought to be the fact that psilocybin doesn’t affect the body’s dopamine receptors. Most addictive substances somehow manipulate the body’s regulation of dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical that makes us feel motivated, accomplished, and productive while serotonin (which is what psilocin mimics) is what makes us feel calm, relaxed, and happy.

In general, your “come down” from shrooms will be about the back half of your trip. So, a 6-hour trip you might spend 1 hour climbing, 2 hours speaking, and 3 hours “coming down.” It’s a very gentle kind of experience that tends to lend itself well to introspection and deep conversations. It’s a really important and wonderful part of the experience, because it gives you time to connect the wild thoughts and deep insights that came to you from the fungus with your conscious, sober mind.

This is also a great time to journal about your experience, and record your thoughts. Just make sure not to jump behind the wheel of a car or anything, until you’re sure you’re firmly planted back in reality.

How Long Do shrooms stay in your system?

Shrooms are almost completely flushed from the body’s system within 24 hours. If you’re being tested for drugs, shrooms are completely undetectable after 48 hours in urine tests. Traces can last up to 90 days in hair follicles, but this form of testing is extremely unlikely.

Unlike with LSD which can have a longer half-life, psilocybin and psilocin are both completely broken down by the body and expelled within a couple days. The chances of experiencing flashbacks, etc. as you might have heard of before is also quite small.

How long are shrooms detectable in a drug test?

how long are shrooms detectable in a drug test

Shrooms are detectable in your urine up to 48 hours after consumption – so if you’re planning a camping trip with some buddies, try not to have to piss in a cup on Monday morning. It is, however, quite likely that shrooms will go completely undetected, as the majority of commonly used urine tests for drug use do not actually search for psilocybin or psilocin.

It’s worth mentioning that there are certain drug tests that are capable of detecting much more trace amounts of psilocybin in the body’s hair follicles, and those can stick around for 90 days. These are extremely uncommon in day-to-day use though – so if you’re not training for a boxing match, or applying to the CIA, you should be A-OK.


So, there are a number of factors but the Cole’s Notes:

Shrooms will last in total anywhere from 4-8 hours.

You’ll be at the “peak” of your high from about a quarter of the way through to halfway through, and start coming down from there.

Shrooms will be completely undetectable in a urine test after 48 hours, and all traces will be gone from your body within 90 days.

Why do Magic Mushrooms Cause Nausea?


So, if you’ve ever done magic mushrooms, it’s extremely likely that you’ve experienced the nausea that is widely reported as one of the most common unpleasant side effects of ingesting psilocybin mushrooms. Often, this is a mild nausea that starts to come on about 15-20 minutes after ingesting the mushrooms, before the psychoactive effects kick in – but sometimes, it resurfaces later in the experience. For most, it’s a nuisance that passes relatively quickly, but sometimes can be quite severe and even result in vomiting. So, what is it exactly that causes nausea? Why does it happen? And maybe most importantly, what (if anything) can we do about it? All this and more, answered in this article!

How Humans Digest Mushrooms
How Humans Digest Mushrooms

Obviously, magic mushrooms are different than their non-psychoactive counterparts, but mycologically speaking, aside from the presence of the psychoactive compounds psilocybin and psilocin, the human body digest magic mushrooms in much the same way as it digests normal mushrooms – so looking at what we know about how mushrooms are digested might offer the first clues. Paul Stamets is the author of Psilocybin Mushrooms in the World, a leading mycologist, and psychonaut who has been at the forefront of helping to classify and organize human knowledge around magic mushrooms for some time. He explained that, outside of instances where people are looking to eat mushrooms for their psychoactive potential, we should almost never be eating mushrooms raw.

“Raw mushrooms are largely indigestible because of their tough cell walls, mainly composed of chitin. Raw mushrooms and raw mycelium may pose health hazards from harmful pathogens and heat-sensitive toxins—potentially causing red blood cell damage, gastrointestinal irritation, and allergic reactions, such as skin rashes.” – Dr. Paul Samets

Another mushroom expert, Dr. Andrew Weil, in an article on his website, noted that “mushrooms have very tough cell walls and are essentially indigestible if you don’t cook them. Thoroughly heating them releases the nutrients they contain, including protein, B vitamins, and minerals, as well as a wide range of novel compounds not found in other foods.” He goes on to explain that not only is the chitin material that composes the cell walls indigestible, but it’s possible for it to cause inflammatory and immune responses in the process of being broken down. Chitin doesn’t occur naturally in the human body, but we do produce an enzyme called chitinase – this enzyme breaks up the chitin in our system, and the smaller molecules that occur as a result of this breaking down can potentially cause these inflammatory responses. So, when it comes to mushrooms that are being used for culinary purposes, on all fronts it seems like the best bet is to simply prepare them beforehand by cooking them in any number of different ways. However, cooking shrooms is not necessarily the best option when we’re talking about magic mushrooms. This is because heating them can destroy the psychedelic compounds; this is why magic mushrooms are traditionally eaten raw, or, most commonly, dried. It’s entirely possible that the nausea experienced from eating magic mushrooms is simply related to eating raw chitin, but there are some other ideas that have surfaced related to the different array of chemicals that can be found in magic mushrooms.

The Other Chemicals in Magic Mushrooms

So, it’s well-known (and we’ve even mentioned earlier in this article) that psilocybin and pislocin are the two main compounds found in magic mushrooms that give them their psychedelic properties. There are a number of these compounds, but the most prevalent are baeocystin, norbaocystin, norpsilocin, aeruginascin and phenethylamine. Each of these compounds are similar to psilocybin, varying primarily in the different methyl groups on their amines. We do have records of studies in which people have taken pure, synthetic psilocybin and reported nausea as a side effect. These people had never taken mushrooms before and were not told beforehand to expect nausea as a side-effect, so it’s highly unlikely that this was a placebo effect.

So, contrasting what we just read in the preceding section, there may be something specific about the psilocybin compound itself that causes nausea, even when isolated from the other compounds found in the mushroom. We also know that the human body process psilocybin into psilocin in the process of digestion, and so it might be the psilocin being formed, or a side-effect of the processing that causes these issues Of all the compounds we listed, phenylethylamine is the most distinct.

Phenethylamine is a central nervous system stimulant and neurotransmitter that has potential hallucinogenic effects in humans. Amphetamine, methamphetamine, and MDMA are all examples of phenethylamines that enjoy widespread use in modern society for recreational, medicinal, and therapeutic effects. It’s also widely noted that these substances can cause side effects such as raising heart rate, increasing blood pressure, and inducing – you guess it – nausea. However, Alexander Shulgin (author of the famous books, Phenethylamines I Have Known and Loved and Tryptamines I Have Known and Loved,) believes it is unlikely that phenethylamines in mushrooms are responsible for these effects. According the Shulgin, phenethylamines by themselves are “rapidly and completely destroyed” when ingested by humans, and that it’s only in the presence of a specific set of other molecules that phenethylamines will remain intact long enough for their psychopharmacological effects to be felt – and that these molecules are not present in psilocybin mushrooms.

The Role of Beta-Glucan

So, we’ve isolated the potentially nauseating components of magic mushrooms to: the chitin in the cell walls, and the psilocybin itself. Obviously, we don’t want want to do anything that would eliminate psilocybin from the mushrooms, as that would defeat the entire purpose – but can something be done about the chitin? Well, in order to understand that, we first need to understand what’s actually happening when it’s being broken down in the stomach. Biologist Ian Bollinger says that even though no one has pinned down exactly what it is that’s causing the nausea, there’s strong evidence that points to a substance called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is a type of sugar that’s commonly found in oats, and other grains, but is found in significantly more abundance in the chitin of the mushroom cell walls.

His theory is that the excess amount of beta-glucan as it’s broken down in the stomach causes a reaction, because the stomach is acidic, and beta-glucan is basic – if you remember your elementary school science class lessons of missing vinegar and baking soda, that should be a quick reminder of what can happen when acids and bases are mixed! There’s more evidence to support this theory as well. Beta-glucan is sometimes taken as a supplement for people with high cholesterol, or who suffer from other heart health problems. One of the noted side effects of taking beta-glucan supplements is, you guessed it, nausea. Therefore, it seems likely that the nausea caused by ingesting magic mushrooms is largely attributable to the chitin in the cell walls, and the psilocybin compound itself. It’s also worth noting that the symptoms of nausea are far more likely to be experienced if a person is already dehydrated or in poor physical health, and also when taking exceedingly large doses. All of this is great, but… nausea still sucks! And is there anything we can do about it? Well, fear not fellow psychonaut – we have some answers that should help you with that, too!

How to Reduce Nausea When Taking Magic Mushrooms

Magic Mushrooms Citrus Bath
A Citrus Bath with Lemon Juice Will Help With Nause from Magic Mushrooms

So, if the prospect of experiencing nausea or potentially vomiting is enough to dissuade you from taking mushrooms, even though you think the experience might otherwise be beneficial for you, then there is something you can do that has been shown to help reduce the experience of nausea, if not eliminate it altogether. So, what is this “One Simple Trick to Make Mushrooms Go Down Easier?” (Damn – I probably should have named the article that!) Well, it’s pretty simple – and it comes back down to the relationship between the stomach acid and beta-glucan. And the trick is, essentially, using lemon juice. It looks like this:

1: Grind the mushrooms into a fine powder, or as small pieces as possible.

2: Put the powder in a glass

3: Pour enough lemon juice to submerge the powder completely, and stir for 1 minute.

4: Down the hatch!

The reason that this works, according to Bollinger, is that the lemon juice has around the same Ph level as your stomach acid. By exposing the cell walls of the mushroom and the beta-glucan to lemon juice, it begins the process of breaking it down before the mushrooms are ingested, resulting in less of a reaction once the mushrooms reach the stomach acid. This technique has been used by many people who have reported favourable results, although there are certainly some caveats that should be considered.

The first thing that should be considered is that a citrus bath will actually cause the onset of your trip to come on faster, be greater in intensity, and last for a shorter period of time. In Bollinger’s own words, “Lemon juice is an aqueous solution with a low Ph,” Bollinger explains. “Low Ph means excessive hydrogens. Putting psilocybin in that solution removes the phosphate group and replaces it with a hydroxyl group. That turns it into psilocin. If you think of the experience like a bell curve,” Bollinger says, “with the effects slowly ramping up, peaking, and ramping back down, a lemon [bath] will compress it. What you’re doing is heightening the curve but you’re also shortening the length.” Depending on the kind of experience you’re looking for, a shorter, more intense high might suit your needs – but it’s good to understand that the citrus bath will affect how the high actually happens. Secondly, it’s important to understand that although the citrus bath will help mitigate the experience of nausea caused by ingesting magic mushrooms, it won’t necessarily get rid of it altogether. As mentioned before, it seems like the human body has a tendency to react to psilocybin by itself with a slight nausea, so even if you are treating your mushrooms with a citrus bath, you should still be expecting the nausea.

An even easier solution would be to take a look at our selection of magic mushroom teas.

Advice from Reddit

If that’s not enough for you guys, I’ve consolidated some of the advice users have provided on the forum Reddit, here: One user recommends a more refined citrus bath:

1 – go to the store, buy a lemon or lime, whichever you prefer the taste of.

2 – grind up your shrooms with either a grinder or your fingers. Both work just fine.

3 – put the shrooms in a french press and squeeze the lemon or lime into the french press until the little bits are fully covered.

4 – Stirring every so often, let the sludge sit for about 30 minutes. To better understand what is going on here, just look up lemon-tek.

5 – Put some ginger, your favorite tea (I prefer chamomile for this), some honey (or sugar if you have no honey) into the mix.

6 – bring water to an almost boil and then pour it into the french press.

7 – put the lid and such on and put the french press aside. Go take a shower and get ready for your trip.

8 – once you are done showering, give it a good stir and press the french press filter down as far as it will go.

9 – pour yourself a nice warm cup of tea and enjoy it; make sure you get ALL the liquid out. Some suggest squeezing the bits until they are dry and others don’t care. This is up to you. I prefer to not gulp it all down as I love the taste and love tea. some friends however prefer to just pound it. whatever’s clever for you.

This will do a few things. First, the lemon tek will help offload some of the psilocybin->psilocin process from your stomach. While this will not do much for nausea, it will kick-start the trip sooner and can yank you right past the anxiety and anticipation stage if that also bugs you. Second, part of what makes most nauseous comes from when the body tries to break down the cellular wall on the shrooms. By not putting this in your system, you are going to find that you won’t feel nauseous at all, or shouldn’t.

When eating them, I used to feel so damn sick through an entire trip that it would ruin my trips. By making tea, I am able to enjoy all that the shrooms have to offer without a worry of nausea.

I hope this helps!


Closing Thoughts

In summary, there are a few different methods you can try – but by all accounts, the most consistent and best method seems to be the preemptive citrus bath. In addition, some quick tips that will help to mitigate the nausea: – Eat a light snack beforehand. Not a full meal, which might delay the onset and offset the potency of the high, but enough that the shrooms aren’t going down on a completely empty stomach. – Make sure you’re well-rested and hydrated. Lack of sleep and dehydration can cause nausea by themselves, no reason to add tinder to the fire. – Don’t mix mushrooms with other drugs. This is just generally good advice – but the more psychoactive chemicals you’re mixing together, the more likely your body is to have an adverse reaction. Play it on the safe side, and keep them separate!

Long Term Effects of Magic Mushrooms – Everything you Need to Know 2021

Long Term Effects of Magic Mushrooms

Magic mushrooms are the safest of all recreational drugs

For most of us who grew up and went to school in Canada — and probably everywhere else, for that matter — warnings about the harms of “drugs” were so pervasive that just reading the title of this article, Long Term Effects of Magic Mushrooms, probably conjures up a bit of fear. Surely these “long term effects” will be bad!

But what does the most up to date research actually tell us about the effects of psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms)? Were these well intended warnings we got from our teachers and parents actually based in reality? And is it possible that the long term effects of magic mushrooms might actually be positive?

In this article we aim to paint a more realistic picture of the risks and benefits of magic mushrooms, and to show that the fears we might be carrying about their long term effects are likely unwarranted.

Magic Mushrooms In History

Long Term Effects of Magic Mushrooms

Varieties of magic mushrooms are found growing on every continent on earth (except, obviously, Antarctica), and there is evidence for their use by humans going back thousands of years, in places as widely separated as Mesoamerica, Australia, and ancient Greece.

None of this ancient world use of magic mushrooms automatically rules out the possibility of negative long term effects — it’s probably tricky to detect long term effects when hardly anybody’s living past age 50 — but at the very least the consistent use for thousands of years by cultures around the globe suggests that nobody noticed anything going wrong. It’s a starting point.

And it’s not all ancient history: shamans and healers in the Mesoamerican region use psychedelics in ritual ceremonies to this day, and don’t seem worried about it.

But us supposedly scientific minded folk, we like our studies. So what, if anything, do our studies say?

Short Term vs Long Term

Let’s start with the short term.

By short term we mean the trip itself, or the same day. We have a pretty good idea about the obvious and easy to describe short term effects like euphoria, vivid colours and other visual effects, as well as the potential short term dangers (which are rare, usually related to anxiety or panic, and “successfully managed by providing interpersonal support”).

Less obvious positive short term effects might include a boost to creativity and empathy or even increased neuroplasticity through neuritogenesis.

Long term is harder to define. A recent (2020) study that showed psilocybin’s supposed “long term” positive effect on mood showed that lasting effect by following up a mere one month later! But while that’s interesting, we’re probably less concerned with what happens a month later. We want to know if magic mushrooms will do something to us that only shows up way down the road — perhaps along the lines of radiation damage from too much sun, or heart disease from lack of exercise.

The trouble is that magic mushrooms only entered the awareness of US and Canadian culture in 1957, with the first documented recreational use of magic mushrooms in Vancouver in 1965. That, along with magic mushrooms being mostly illegal since the seventies, has put a limit on how much long term research there can be.

But there is some longer term research.

The Surprising (?) Results of Longer Term Studies

Long Term Effects of Magic Mushrooms

Anyone searching for studies showing negative long term effects from using magic mushrooms quickly runs into a problem: there aren’t any.

In his book “Drugs Without the Hot Air: Making Sense of Legal and Illegal Drugs” (2020), author David Nutt assesses psilocybin to be the least harmful drug, ten times less harmful than the worst drug (alcohol). In their paper, “Psychedelics and Mental Health: A Population Study”, authors Teri S. Krebs and Pål-Ørjan Johansen open with the following claims.

“The classical serotonergic psychedelics LSD, psilocybin, mescaline are not known to cause brain damage and are regarded as non-addictive. Clinical studies do not suggest that psychedelics cause long-term mental health problems. Psychedelics have been used in the Americas for thousands of years. Over 30 million people currently living in the US have used LSD, psilocybin, or mescaline.”

Yes, there are cases of negative effects to be found here and there, but it’s very difficult to find widespread long term negative effects that hold up to scrutiny. The biggest example, the one that comes up the most often, is the idea of “flashbacks”, or, “hallucinogen persisting perceptual disorder” (HPPD). Krebs and Johansen discuss this issue, and though they are here referencing LSD and peyote as well as psilocybin, it’s worth hearing what they have to say.

“In this study, lifetime use of psychedelics and past year use of LSD was not associated with past year symptoms of visual phenomena (‘‘seeing something others could not’’), panic attacks, psychosis, or overall serious psychological distress. Thus, our findings does not support either the idea of ‘‘flashbacks’’ described in extreme cases as recurrent psychotic episodes, hallucinations, or panic attacks, or the more recent ‘‘hallucinogen persisting perceptual disorder’’ (HPPD) described as persistent visual phenomena with accompanying anxiety and distress…. Overall, the validity of the HPPD diagnosis remains scant.”

Evidence of long term harm may yet be discovered, but at this point it’s almost impossible to find any.

There are, however, some interesting positive results.

Long-Term Benefits of Magic Mushroom Use

Long Term Effects of Magic Mushrooms

For example, a study that suggests that psilocybin can have an effect on the personality trait of openness, one of the “five broad domains of personality”, and that the effect of increased openness was stable a full year later.

There is a less robust but still interesting paper that suggests that psilocybin assisted therapy can have a positive effect on the mental health of cancer patients four years later.

Or a 2013 paper where, “21,967 respondents (13.4% weighted) reported lifetime psychedelic use. There were no significant associations between lifetime use of any psychedelics, lifetime use of specific psychedelics (LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, peyote), or past year use of LSD and increased rate of any of the mental health outcomes. Rather, in several cases psychedelic use was associated with lower rate of mental health problems.”

Yes, the group that had used psychedelics at some point in their life in several cases had a lower rate of mental health problems.

There’s even a survey showing some success with using psilocybin to quit smoking, with the results lasting over two years.

Positive results are very easy to find — and more are coming all the time.

What are the Long Term Effects of Magic Mushrooms?

All that said, it’s difficult to give a truly conclusive answer about the long term effects of magic mushrooms. While there are positive studies, a long history of use all around the world, and no research showing evidence of long term harm, nobody has yet done the large scale, long term, high quality studies that would be needed to remove all doubt.

The government of Canada’s website offers that, “Currently, no studies have evaluated the long-term effects of repetitive use of magic mushrooms.” And that’s not completely unfair. Much of the work cited above regarding long term effects is using the best available data, but that data is sometimes old, or self reported and based on surveys. Solid as far as it goes, but not as conclusive as one might hope.

We expect that as the world reopens to the possibilities of magic mushrooms — see for example Oregon’s successful 2020 vote to legalize psilocybin — research will get easier, and we might begin to get the full and definitive picture of their long term effects.

In the meantime, we can say this: the best evidence available today suggests a range of possibilities. At worst there may be no detectable long term effects from magic mushrooms at all. And at best there may be positive ones.

The image from the very top of this post, which we will also leave directly below for convenience is taken from TripSafe – a website for education on psychedelics like shrooms and LSD. It shows that in comparison with virtually every other “drug” known to mankind, mushrooms are the safest and least addictive. We don’t know everything about the long term effects of psychedelic mushroom use, but there is one fact that seems abundantly clear and is supported by virtually all of the research into the subject:

Magic mushrooms remain the safest of all recreational drugs.

Long Term Effects of Magic Mushrooms