Psilocybin mushrooms or “shrooms” are hallucinogenic fungi that alter one’s consciousness and state of mind. Psilocybin is the active ingredient. These mushrooms can be found in tropical and subtropical regions of the United States, Mexico, and South America. In the United States, psilocybin is classified as a Schedule I substance. This means it has a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use. Can you overdose on mushrooms?
Many people use and abuse psychedelic mushrooms. If you or someone you love falls into this category, you may be concerned about the possibility of overdose. In this article, we’ll discuss whether or not this can happen and then look at some of the other potential risks of shrooming. We’ll also discuss treatment for psychedelic abuse.
An Overview of Psychedelic Mushrooms
There are more than 10,000 types of mushrooms but less than 200 of them are psychedelic or “magic”. Unlike the mushrooms you add to your pizza or pasta, psychedelic mushrooms affect the brain when brewed as tea or eaten in a raw or dried form.
The hallucinogenic properties of psilocybin mushrooms have been known for centuries. These fungi were often used in religious ceremonies in an effort to help people experience visions or communicate with spirits or a higher power.
Today, people mainly use magic mushrooms in recreational or social settings. Some simply want to relax and have fun while others believe they can achieve a higher state of being or a deeper level of thinking.
There is also some use of psilocybin in the therapy setting in some countries. In addition, multiple clinical trials have been conducted regarding the effectiveness of this substance in treating anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and even addiction.
You may be asking “can mushrooms cure addiction?”. The way psilocybin impacts addiction is not well known but some people report feeling increasingly motivated to beat their addiction and more confident in their ability to do so.
It is believed that psilocybin allows individuals to think differently because it disrupts the thought and behavior patterns that lead to fixation and abuse. Research is ongoing into this area and psilocybin should only be used under medical guidance. Also, many people who use shrooms abuse other substances and may need professional treatment to address their drug or alcohol problems.
Can You Overdose on Mushrooms?
Psilocybin mushrooms come in many different strains and potencies. Since individuals use fungi in their natural state, they really have no way of knowing how strong the active ingredient is or how much of it they are consuming. Taking too many shrooms or using a particularly strong strain can lead to a range of physical and psychological issues.
While it is possible to overdose on mushrooms, the overdose is not likely to be fatal. The Global Drug Survey 2020 Psychedelics Report found that only 0.6 percent of people who took psilocybin reported that they sought emergency medical treatment as a result. Ketamine was responsible for the same percentage of emergency visits but all the other 11 drugs studied resulted in higher rates of emergency treatment.
A single psychedelic mushroom contains one percent of its weight in psilocybin. It is estimated that it would take around 280 milligrams of psilocybin per kilogram of body weight for a person to experience a fatal overdose. That means the average person would have to take six grams of psilocybin or three pounds of mushrooms for it to be deadly.
Even though a mushroom overdose is rarely fatal, it can be extremely uncomfortable and scary. Signs of overdose include:
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Slowed sense of time
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Excessive perspiration
These symptoms may be severe. Symptoms of overdose usually last for six to eight hours but some effects can take several days to go away.
Bad Trips on Mushrooms
You have probably heard about a bad trip. This is an unpleasant experience after taking mushrooms. As you will soon see, a person can have a bad trip even without taking excessive amounts. Let’s look at some aspects of a bad trip on mushrooms. The experience may include:
- Violent behavior
- Suicidal thoughts
First-time users are more likely to experience bad trips especially if they are depressed or anxious about taking the drug. Taking a large dose the first time can also increase the likelihood of an unpleasant experience. Using mushrooms in unfamiliar or chaotic environments can result in a bad trip as well.
The effects of psilocybin are generally unpredictable, and they vary widely from one person to another. A lot depends on the mindset of the individual taking the drug and the setting in which they take it. This is because psilocybin affects one’s thoughts, perception, and one’s state of consciousness.
If you’re calm and relaxed, you’re more likely to have a pleasant experience. However, if you feel angry, depressed, or upset, you would be strongly discouraged from trying mushrooms.
Meanwhile, taking the drug in a quiet room in the company of one person will have a different effect to using it while surrounded by a large, noisy crowd. Experienced users tend to prefer quiet, dark settings but many people use mushrooms while partying. The loud noises and flashing lights can lead to unpleasant side effects.
Both researchers and people who use mushrooms say the user’s intention also affects their experience. People who use shrooms recreationally may feel giddy or increasingly empathetic. However, those who are seeking enlightenment may become introspective. This link between intention and experience explains why people who take mushrooms unknowingly tend to become afraid and then experience more severe effects.
To reduce the negative effects of mushroom ingestion, seasoned users say it is best to use the drug with someone you trust in a place where you feel comfortable. However, it is important to note that any form of psychedelic mushroom room can result in uncomfortable or even dangerous effects.
Can You Trip and Never Come Back?
Some people worry that if they experience a bad trip, they will never be the same again. You may have heard stories to this effect. Most people who experience psychotic symptoms after using mushrooms don’t experience any lasting effects.
However, psychedelic drugs can be more dangerous for people with a history of schizophrenia or other mental health problems. If you have a psychological disorder and you have been using shrooms or other psychedelic drugs, you may need to seek professional help. Talk to your primary care physician or an addiction specialist for guidance.
The Dangers of Consuming the Wrong Type of Mushroom
You are reading this article because you want to find out if you can overdose on mushrooms. However, you are more likely to die if you accidentally consume a poisonous mushroom rather than a psychedelic one. There are many poisonous mushrooms in the wild. In fact, toxic mushrooms may outnumber hallucinogenic varieties by as much as ten to one.
Poisonous mushrooms may look like psilocybin mushrooms, and some may also produce hallucinogenic effects. However, using a potentially lethal mushroom can cause severe damage to your organs even if you survive.
The symptoms associated with mushroom poisoning differ from species to species, but they may include:
- Excessive sweating
- Muscle pain
- Muscle spasms
- Abdominal pain
- Slow heart rate
- Mucus in the lungs
- Low blood sugar
- Kidney failure
The most dangerous species include Gyromitra, Amanita, and Cortinarius. Amanita phalloides or the death cap looks like a psilocybin mushroom and often grows in the same places. However, it is highly toxic.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this variety is responsible for the most deaths in people who consumed foraged mushrooms worldwide. It is also known to cause serious illness including liver damage.
Since mushrooms are commonly used for food, some people pick wild varieties in forests or anywhere it’s moist enough for them to grow, not thinking that they could be dangerous. However, others get excited when they come across a patch of what appears to be psilocybin mushrooms.
The Risk of Taking Mushrooms Laced with Another Drug
Even if you opt not to forage and you purchase from street dealers, you could still be in danger. Another of the risks of ‘shrooming’ is that instead of psychedelic mushrooms, you may be sold store-bought mushrooms laced with LSD or phencyclidine (also known as PCP or angel dust). Many of the illicit substances sold as magic mushrooms do not contain any psilocybin or only contain small amounts.
In rare cases, the use of psilocybin and other hallucinogens can lead to psychosis that continues even after the individual stops using them. They may experience paranoia, mood changes, disorganized thinking, and visual distortions.
It is also possible to develop hallucinogen persisting perception disorder, although this too is rare. With this condition, sensory disturbances continue after the effects of the drug have worn off. Symptoms of this disorder include halos around objects, trails of moving objects, intensified colors, and afterimages.
An afterimage is an image that continues to appear in one’s eyes (either frequently or infrequently) even though they are no longer exposed to the original image in front of them. Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder can last for weeks, months, or even years.
What is the Addictive Potential of Mushrooms?
Psychedelic mushrooms are not thought to be physically or psychologically addictive. However, like other hallucinogens, users are likely to develop tolerance. Even people who only use mushrooms occasionally may need higher and higher doses to get the same effect. Increasing your dosage increases the risk of negative effects and overdose.
Even though psilocybin is not known to cause withdrawal symptoms, users may still experience a “come down” when it wears off. They may experience exhaustion, anxiety, depression, and headaches.
As with people who abuse any other type of drug, people who abuse mushrooms or other psychedelic drugs should seek expert help. That is because mushroom abuse can lead to negative consequences and a person who continues to consume mushrooms anyway is probably unable to control their use.
Treatment for Psychedelic Abuse
Even though there is no evidence that people can become addicted to mushrooms, compulsive use of psychedelic mushrooms can lead to significant impairment and distress. Therefore, people who abuse psilocybin may benefit from psychotherapy and other interventions.
Participating in individual therapy, group therapy, or a combination of the two allows them to identify and manage the issues that led to their psilocybin abuse in the first place. By undergoing therapy, you learn to cope in situations that would previously have triggered your use and thereby prevent relapse. Counseling can also help with stress management.
Dual diagnosis treatment is also necessary for people who have co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, depression, or schizophrenia. Such individuals need to have both issues addressed simultaneously to reduce the risk of relapse.
People who abuse mushrooms may benefit from community mental health support, drug education, peer support, and vocational rehabilitation.
Talk to the Professionals at The Discovery House
You now have the answer to the question “can you overdose on mushrooms?” and you know some of the other dangers associated with mushrooms. If you are concerned about your mushroom use or that of a loved one, reach out to The Discovery House for help.
If substance abuse goes undiagnosed and untreated, it can result in serious long-term consequences. In contrast, the sooner you or your loved one seek professional help, the more likely it is that you return to a healthy and productive life.
Instead of turning to mushrooms when you are stressed, anxious, or depressed, it’s better to seek healthier coping mechanisms. If you have questions about the treatment programs we offer or any aspect of substance abuse, contact us today.
We offer highly personalized services that cater to everyone’s specific needs. Our highly trained staff are ready to answer your questions and talk about how we can help you.