What are shrooms? Also known as Magic Mushrooms, shrooms are one of the safest plant-based recreational and therapeutic substances in the world.
Able to provide peaceful and safe hallucinogenic experiences, shrooms have been used for thousands of years for recreational and medicinal purposes and are favorites among those who use them nowadays.
Whether you’re a shroom newbie or a seasoned veteran of this time-honored hallucinogen, this guide will have you learn about how the compounds in mushrooms interact with your physiology in spectacular and unique ways.
The ultimate result of this knowledge is a safer, more intentional, and more fruitful usage of this classic hallucinogen.
What are Shrooms?
Shrooms are a shorthand descriptor to label any variety of mushrooms that can induce a “trip” or a psychedelic experience.
There are over 100 species of mushrooms in the world that produce the key compounds psychonauts-seek – psilocybin.
This classic hallucinogen found in shrooms is well-known to act upon the serotonin receptors in our brains. Psilocybin has a high affinity for the 5-HT1A, 5-HT2A, and 5-HT2C receptors that can be found throughout the brain, including the cerebral cortex and thalamus.
Overall, psilocybin is considered to be a toxicologically safe substance. Humans may have discovered this safe psychoactive substance and its impacts as far back as 9,000 years ago.
Shrooms and their active compound, psilocybin, are primarily used to impact our thoughts and emotions.
They are able to produce hallucinations, synesthesia, intense feelings of emotion and change the way that we perceive time.
Mushrooms have had a long history with humans due to these powerful but double-edged benefits.
Magic mushrooms can provide incredible recreational and therapeutic impacts. Recreational consumption takes advantage of the psychedelic effects to produce trips that can last up to 5 hours.
On the therapeutic side, even microdoses of psilocybin appear to have long term benefits for our mental health. In therapeutic and clinical settings, shrooms have been used in cancer therapy and PTSD.
Regardless of your intention, the key is ensuring you get the set, setting, and dosage right.
What Are the Effects of Magic Mushrooms?
Mushrooms are able to produce vivid visuals and distortions in reality. We can break down these effects into sensory and emotional categories.
On the sensory side, we can experience visual and auditory hallucinations along with altered perceptions of time and space. You don’t have to worry about seeing gremlins, trolls or dragons as movies and cartoons might suggest! You won’t see anything that’s not supposed to be there.
These visual and auditory hallucinations usually happen through brighter colors, more pronounced sounds (you might hear insects much more vividly), strange patterns appearing everywhere you look and some intense introspection.
In regards to emotion, the effects really depend on the environment. While panic and anxiety are possible, so are euphoria, hilarity, and relaxation. Tripping on shrooms with friends or a trusted group of people is the best way to go about it, as the effects can sometimes be bewildering and terrifying for the first time.
Anxiety and psychological discomfort are the primary negative symptoms of consuming too much too quickly. Microdosing shrooms is one way to maximize the benefits while reducing potential negative risks.
Beyond the recreational effects, mushrooms have also been studied for potential clinical benefits with certain mental health disease states and symptoms, including depressed mood, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, alcohol use disorder, and tobacco use disorder.
Studies have shown that shrooms have low toxicity and low risk of addiction, overdose, or other common injuries. Particularly, there is interest in using psilocybin to help with difficult to treat bouts of depression.
While shrooms could potentially provide clinical benefits more research is needed, particularly retrospective, larger, and more robust studies. We need answers for some of the concerns with safety, adherence, bioavailability, and external validity.
How Much Shrooms Should You Take?
Figuring out how much shrooms you should take on your first trip is a difficult question to answer. Just like with weed edibles, how much you should take depends on a variety of factors ranging to but not limited to your body weight, how much food you’ve eaten that day, your water intake and your mindset at the time.
Many infused chocolates come with 1 gram of shrooms inside, although this amount can be lower. More concentrated forms of psilocybin are also available at various dosages and in myriad forms.
One study gave participants 20 to 30 mg of psilocybin per 70 kg (154lb) of psilocybin and found that this was enough to produce long-lasting positive impacts.
These benefits included positive changes around interpersonal closeness, gratitude, life meaning, forgiveness, and more.
For those seeking a mind-bending psychedelic trip, dosages can be 1 gram or as high as several grams.
These higher amounts are only appropriate for those with experience and who are willing to accept a modest level of risk. A safe recreational dose for beginners should stay well below 1 gram. If you have a one-gram infused chocolate, you could start by taking half or less of it. Save the other half for your next mushroom session, hopefully at least 1 week apart.
At these dosages, visual and auditory hallucinations will be felt only slightly by a majority of users though experiences do wildly differ.
If you’re comfortable with a more intense experience, a dosage of 2.5 to 3.5 grams is considered enough to induce a completely psychedelic experience. At these doses, you can expect intense introspection, a range of strong emotional feelings and time dilation. Auditory and visual hallucinations will also be a lot more intense as well.
However much you consume, exercise caution.
Ensure you are in a safe space and not performing any dangerous activities, like driving. Having trusted friends around is essential for providing some backup just in case.
Beyond helping to avoid bad trips, there are other benefits to keeping dosages to a minimum, including avoiding building tolerance. Mushrooms are powerful and can produce incredible effects, but these will be reduced over time with subsequent sessions.
Tolerance can build quickly, but we want to avoid this to maximize the effects and keep the cost down. This is especially true in the short-term, as anyone who has sessions in subsequent days will probably tell you. The best way to avoid building tolerance is by avoiding frequent sessions.
Unlike drugs like cannabis, mushrooms should be consumed infrequently with as many days or weeks between sessions as possible.
Make sure you are rested and in a good mental state. Consume your shrooms in a safe place with trusted allies who are there to help if you need it. Don’t forget to eat before you get high, and drink water throughout your trip.
Finally, stick to a small dose, well under 1-gram until you have the experience needed to slowly increase the dosage. For those looking for the long term impacts without the risk of a bad trip, microdoses as low as 20 mg of psilocybin may be all you need.
Final Thoughts on Shrooms
Shrooms and magic mushrooms are an intense experience and should not be taken lightly. The wrong does in the wrong environment with the wrong people can make for an incredibly terrifying time.
That being said, surrounding yourself with trusted friends and a comfortable environment before dosing on these trippy psychedelics can absolutely change your life for the better.
The intense introspection and emotional experiences that shrooms provides can shed light on problems that we might otherwise not notice and provide insight into solving problems that otherwise have no solution.
They’re also an incredibly fun substance to use with a like-minded group of friends!
Whatever your prerogative for doing shrooms is, it’s best to practice safe dosing by starting low and going slow. Always allow for an adequate amount of time for the effects to activate before making the dive.