Psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, has been used for centuries in everything from shamanistic rituals to early medicine. It is a psychoactive and intoxicating compound that can be thought of as similar to the THC in cannabis. Recently, with the lifting of restrictions on several recreational plants, magic mushrooms have become more mainstream with many potential users wanting to learn more.
How Do Magic Mushrooms Work?
Your digestive tract will eventually convert the psilocybin in shrooms to psilocin. Psilocin is defined as a serotonin analog. This means that it will fit into the receptors of your brain where serotonin normally fits, producing the brain chemistry change associated with higher levels of serotonin. Brain chemistry and the balances between various hormones is complex, but this will serve as a starting point for understanding the effects that shrooms will have on you.
This serotonin boost can have an effect on your mood, and may also provide auditory, visual and other sensory hallucinations. It is best that your first trip be taken in a safe, controlled environment. Ideally, you will have someone experienced with you to help guide your trip. This is not because shrooms are inherently dangerous, it is because in most cases your imagination will be unleashed. If you are in a dark frame of mind when you take them, your imagination will guide your trip down dark paths. This can feed into panic. An experienced guide can help you stay mindful and prevent you from having a bad trip.
Microdosing with Magic Mushrooms
Here are three ranges of dosing that many find helpful:
Micro-dosing at an intake level of 0.2 grams or less. (This is typically a pre-hallucinatory dose and is used for focus and concentration.)
Moderate dose at an intake level of 1 to 2.5 grams will produce the high but may or may not include sensory hallucinations
Heavy dose at an intake level of between 1.5 to 15 grams will produce the collected works of Hunter S. Thompson. Not recommended for first time users.
We strongly recommend weighing your dose instead of counting the number of shrooms as the size and density of each individual mushroom can vary. Most people only take around 2 grams. Personal experience, research, and your own natural immunity can help you decide the dose that works best for you. If you have fresh mushrooms, you will want to adjust their weight by a factor of 10. If you are taking another species besides Psilocybe Cubensis, which is the most common, then please research the species and how it compares to cubensis.
Types of Mushrooms
There are over 180 different species of mushrooms that grow wildly around the globe—and which all contain psilocybin. Not to mention, some species have dozens of different strains with their own signature shape, flavor, and trip The species is the principal taxonomic unit and ranks below a genus. The genus, at its most simplistic definition, is the category that the species falls into. Genus and Species are the standard for the scientific names of plants and animals, such as the most common magic mushroom – Psilocybe Cubensis. A strain is a genetic variant of a species. Strains of Psilocybe Cubensis can be the result of cultivation, differences in climate/soil of the region in which it was harvested, and adaptations to threats specific to that strain in the different regions within which it appears.
Because strains of mushrooms are often created by cultivators, this allows the creator to name them. You will often see strains of Psilocybe Cubensis with nicknames like B+, Golden Teacher, or Albino.
We are now in the process of disabusing a number of popularly held but inaccurate ideas about drugs like shrooms. It is not possible to ingest a fatal dose of shrooms. Toxicity is low and the volume of material needed to produce physical harm in a person is equivalent to overdosing on potatoes. That being said, your reactions and decisions while under the influence produce the danger. Driving while on shrooms is more dangerous than eating too many. The drug itself is not dangerous, the choices you may make while under the influence could be dangerous
Potential of Magic Mushrooms
Mindfulness is the first step. Many of us have governors on our imagination and thoughts as part of the self-discipline of getting through a typical day. Shrooms will not only cause your mental self-discipline to slip, it will also enhance your focus and creativity, allowing these thoughts to blossom in unexpected ways. Negative thoughts will become very negative indeed, and on higher doses may result in upsetting hallucinations. Positive thoughts and a solid sense of well-being going in will most likely result in an enjoyable, uplifting experience.
- Set a clear intention. This can help you immeasurably in the chaos and uncertainty of a mushroom trip. What are you looking to achieve from this experience, and why are you doing it?
- Prepare a comfortable and safe environment. Be somewhere familiar, with access to amenities and comfortable clothing. Prepare fresh fruit and healthy foods for when you get hungry. Prepare the environment to be quiet, undisturbed, and tranquil.
- Have a sober sitter with you. Preferably someone with experience with psychedelics. Their role will be to keep you safe, and reassure you if you require any guidance during the experience.
- Dose mindfully. Follow our dosing guidelines above. Know what you’re taking, and start with a low dose if it’s your first time.
- Expect the unexpected. Although your intention will help you have a focus, the psychedelic experience is notoriously unpredictable, and you may very well find yourself losing control of the trip’s direction. If that happens, be prepared to let go and remember that you are safe and comfortable.
What to Expect From a Magic Mushroom Trip
The effects of a magic mushroom trip will depend on several factors, including the species of mushrooms you are ingesting, the way you are ingesting it, your surroundings and mindset, and your sensitivity to entheogenic substances.
Typically, a mushroom trip will begin around 30 minutes to an hour after ingesting the mushrooms, and can last around three to six hours.
The trip may involve:
- Changes in vision: such as an increase in the intensity of colors, the morphing and motion of stationary objects, or the appearance of detailed geometry.
- Changes in your thoughts: such as intense emotions, alterations in the perception of time, and encounters with spiritual beings.
- Changes in your body: such as a glowing, spreading warmth, nausea, or tingling.
An experience with shrooms can bring some people in contact with a mystical power or force. These kind of experiences can be known as spiritual, mystical, transcendental, or numinous. They may involve an encounter plant spirits, or divine entities. People who are lucky enough to have these experiences may witness the interconnectedness of the universe, and discover revelations about themselves or the world around them.
The intensity of the experience may depend on the dosage of psilocybin that you ingest. Fresh and dried mushrooms will contain significantly different quantities of psilocybin, and different species can vary dramatically in the amount of psilocybin within them. Even the caps and stalks of individual mushrooms can have different contents of psilocybin.
Magic mushrooms can change your life, but you have to know how to make good use of them. The ideal option is to choose the right time, place and company, and from there let yourself go with the flow as if it were a film, without trying to control the trip. And the most important thing is that you always come back, don’t think that the effect can bring you problems because thinking that is what usually brings them, just enjoy the trip.