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Psilocybin, often called mushrooms, is a type of hallucinogen drug. It is a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Medical use for this drug is currently unavailable. There are also no acceptable safety standards for use under medical supervision. This drug has a high potential for abuse.

Psilocybin is not addictive but the abuse of it can still be damaging. There is help for someone who abuses psilocybin. It is important to know what kind of drug treatment to get to stop using this drug and avoid serious side effects.

This page discusses information about psilocybin. It gives information about the history, side effects, and treatment options.

What is Psilocybin?

Psilocybin is a type of drug called a hallucinogen. Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic chemical found in specific kinds of mushrooms. These mushrooms have thin stems and caps with dark gills underneath. They can be found in Mexico, Central America, and the United States.

This drug is taken in one of the following ways:

  • Orally ingested
  • Brewed in tea
  • Used as a food additive to mask the bitter flavor
  • Injecting mushroom extracts intravenously (rare)

Psilocybin works in the brain by activating its serotonin receptors. This most often occurs in the prefrontal cortex, affecting mood, cognition, and perception. Medical uses for psilocybin are not used yet among doctors. There have been strict trials done to test the effectiveness of treating:

  • Depression
  • Cluster headaches
  • End-stage cancer anxiety
  • Other anxiety disorders

Scientists question the effectiveness and safety of using psilocybin as a therapeutic measure.

Street Names

Because it is an illegal substance, dealers of psilocybin rarely sell it under its real name. Instead, it has picked up many street names to avoid detection by the authorities. Some of those include:

  • Magic Mushrooms
  • Shrooms
  • Boomers
  • Zoomers
  • Mushies
  • Simple Simon
  • Little Smoke
  • Sacred Mushrooms
  • Purple Passion
  • Mushroom Soup
  • Cubes
  • History Flower Flipping (mixed with MDMA)
  • God’s Flesh
  • Hippieflip (mixed with MDMA)
  • Hombrecitos
  • Las mujercitas
  • Mexican Mushrooms
  • Musk
  • Silly Putty
  • Sewage Fruit

The History of Psilocybin

Some believe that psilocybin has roots that date back to ancient civilizations. There is no definitive evidence of this being true.

The following are some of the histories of psilocybin:

  • Ancient History
    • Several documents of tribal societies give reverence to psychedelic mushrooms. These show they used them as a spiritual and therapeutic tool for millennia.
    • In Central America, mushrooms offer a way for people to communicate with their gods. This is made clear in indigenous artwork from that region.
    • The Nahuatl language, used by the Mayan and Aztecs, named the mushrooms Teonanácatl. This translates to “flesh of the gods”.
    • Siberian indigenous tribes ritualized red and white spotted hallucinogenic mushrooms. These mushrooms were consumed by reindeer. This mushroom produces different effects than the psilocybin. It was also used for practical reasons.
    • The Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks were all philosophical and scientifically advanced. They also had a fondness for psychedelic mushrooms.
    • Ancient Greece had cults that held ritual ceremonies to worship the goddess Demeter. A mix of psilocybin, Ergot fungus and Amanita Muscaria mushrooms were commonly used. These ceremonies were called “The Eleusinian Mysteries”. They were often attended by the upper-class, artists, and philosophers.
    • The Egyptians had artwork showing mushrooms. They had terms for psychoactive varieties that translated to “sons of the gods” or “food of the gods”.  They believed mushrooms were placed on the earth by the god Osiris since they do not grow from seeds.
  • Modern History
    • In 1799, a British family picked Liberty Caps and cooked them in a meal. These could be found around the Thames River shore. A short while later, they started to experience pupil dilation, hysteria, and euphoria.
    • In 1803, a new classification of the taxonomic species was named Agaricus Semilanceatus. This changed to Psilocybe Semilanceata in 1871.
    • In 1957, the term “Magic Mushrooms” was featured in a Life Magazine exposé. R. Gordon Wasson is the author of the article. R. Gordon Wasson and his wife had participated in an indigenous mushroom ceremony in 1955. This took place in Huautla de Jiménez in Oaxaca Mexico. Maria Sabina, a shaman, guided this ceremony.
    • In 1958, Albert Hoffman isolated and identified psilocybin and psilocin. These chemicals are the active ingredients in mushrooms. Synthetic versions of both compounds had been sold by Sandoval Pharmaceuticals. They were named Indocybin.
    • Harvard professor Timothy Leary went to Mazatepec in Mexico to experience the mushrooms. He and Richard Lapert collaborated and found the Harvard Psilocybin Project in 1960. They believed these could solve “the western man’s” emotional issues. Psilocybin was legal and they were able to get pharmaceutical-grade psilocybin. They collected it from Sandoz. They conducted several experiments using it.
    • The project had good intentions but also had problems, too. There were concerns with safety, administration protocols, and abuse of power. Leary and Lapert were accused of substance abuse. They were reprimanded but continued their research on the condition of their sobriety. In 1963, they gave psychedelics to undergrads and got caught. Even though graduate students were allowed in the project. They were immediately fired and they moved on to their next idea – “The Zihuatanejo Project”. This was a psychedelic retreat in Mexico and did not last very long.
    • In the 1960s, psychedelic drugs increased quickly.
    • In 1971, the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances banned these drugs. This convention wanted to stop the growing popularity of these drugs. The disillusionment with “the system” that usually followed using them was a concern.
    • Richard Nixon agreed and passed the Controlled Substances Act in May 1972. He launched the War on Drugs.
    • Dr. Frank Vollenweider led a team of researchers in a psilocybin study in 1977. This took place at The University of Zurich. They wanted to see if psilocybin brain function is comparable to that of a schizophrenic. The findings showed significant differences. Psilocybin increased brain activity in many areas. This study was the catalyst for major studies at other institutions including:
      • The Heffter Institute
      • The Beckley Foundation
      • Johns Hopkins University
      • The University of Toronto
  • These studies found psilocybin to be an effective treatment for many psychological conditions.

    Because of the growing research, legalizing mushrooms is an idea that may become a reality in the U.S. New Mexico has a loophole and they are allowed to grow them. Denver, Oakland, and Santa Cruz have decriminalized mushrooms. More than 100 other cities are considering the same action.

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    What Are The Side Effects of Psilocybin?

    There are several side effects of psilocybin.

    Short-term side effects

    • Hallucinations
    • Intensified sensory experiences, such as brighter colors, sharper sounds, etc.
    • Mixed senses, such as seeing sounds or hearing colors
    • A change in the perception of time
    • Increased energy
    • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
    • Nausea
    • Can cause the user to feel relaxed (similar to marijuana)
    • Nervousness
    • Panic reactions
    • Spiritual experiences

    Long-term side effects

    • Visual disturbances, such as halos or trails attached to moving objects
    • Disorganized thinking
    • Paranoia
    • Mood disturbances
    • Poisonous mushrooms that resemble psilocybin could cause unintentional death

    What is the Difference Between Abuse and Addiction?

    Drug abuse and drug addiction are often used together but they mean different things. Someone can abuse a drug without being addicted to it.

    Drug abuse, or misuse, is:

    • The improper or unhealthy usage of a drug or medication
    • Using it in a way in which it was not intended
    • Using too much of a drug or medicine
    • Using a drug repeatedly for pleasure, to escape reality, or to relieve stress

    Drug addiction is the inability to control the impulse to use a drug. This is true even when negative consequences are present. There are significant changes in the person addicted. These changes are in behavior and brain function. This can especially be found in the reward centers and natural inhibition.

    As of now, there is no evidence to show that psilocybin is an addictive substance.

    What Does Psilocybin Abuse Look Like?

    Abusing psilocybin looks similar to other drug abuse symptoms but is specific to this drug.

    Symptoms may include:

    • Using more psilocybin than intended, possibly for longer than intended
    • Spending a lot of time trying to get, use and/or recover from psilocybin
    • A strong urge to use
    • A risk of failed obligations, social problems, or mental/physical health issues arrives
    • Using during hazardous situations, such as driving
    • Giving up activities because of psilocybin use
    • Repeatedly failing to cut down or quit
    • Needing more and more to get the desired effect

    Psilocybin Statistics

    An article from 2013 reported the following about psychedelic use in the US:

    • This study compared the findings of 2010 to 2013
    • Approximate lifetime psychedelic users in the U.S.: 2010 – 32 million. 2013 – 33 million.
      • LSD: 2010 – 23 million, 2013 – 22-25 million
      • Psilocybin: 2010 – 21 million, 2013 – 20-22 million
      • Mescaline: 2010 – 11 million, 2013 – 10-12 million
      • Peyote: 2010 – 6 million, 2013 – 5-7 million
    • Age group 30-34 had the greatest rate with males being higher than females.
    • 50-64 years (baby boomers) were similar to 21-49. Age 65 and older had a low usage rate.

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    Program Details

    Treatment Offered by SpringBoard Recovery for Mushroom Addiction

    At SpringBoard Recovery, people often come through our doors seeking recovery. We want to be able to help someone who feels caught in the trap of psilocybin abuse. We have programs based on an individual’s needs.

    We offer drug detox referrals. This is not required for psychedelics, but it is helpful to know that we have it. Oftentimes, people are using more than one drug at the same time. If this is something a person needs, it would be the first step in rehab. This would involve being medically monitored while they go through the process. This lasts for 7-10 days.

    Treatment at our facility is next, or first if no detox is needed. Our exceptional outpatient treatment program is catered to each person. During the program, each person will attend different kinds of therapy. They will have individual counseling and usually group counseling. Recovery is always the end goal.

    For those who travel to Arizona from out of state, we offer sober living services. These are rehab homes available for people to live in during their treatment program. These are also available for people who live in a toxic situation or they lack a strong support system at home.

    Learn More About Psilocybin Abuse and Recovery – Get Help Today

    Many people think psilocybin, or mushrooms, have helped them. The drug activates serotonin, the hormone responsible for mood, feelings, and happiness. It may seem appealing for people to use this drug. Especially if they struggle with depression.

    Hallucinogens can have some serious side effects. They do not yet have an approved medical use and are not monitored by a federal agency. While psilocybin is not addictive, abuse of this drug is a possibility. If you believe you have a problem with mushrooms, it is best to talk with a professional. They can help you recover.

    Do you have questions about psilocybin usage? Do you want to get proper treatment? If so, we are here to help. We can help you take steps to get your recovery started right away. Please contact us today.

    Sources:

  • Department of Justice: https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Psilocybin-2020_0.pdf
  • United States Drug Enforcement Administration: https://www.dea.gov/factsheets/psilocybin
  • Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/308850#effects
  • National Drug Intelligence Center: https://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs6/6038/index.htm#called
  • Double Blind: https://doubleblindmag.com/the-definitive-history-of-psilocybin-mushrooms/
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/hallucinogens-dissociative-drugs/how-do-hallucinogens-lsd-psilocybin-peyote-dmt-ayahuasca-affect-brain-body
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/science-drug-use-addiction-basics
  • US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3917651/
  • Hormone Health Network: https://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones/glands-and-hormones-a-to-z/hormones/serotonin
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