Psilocybin/Magic Mushrooms

Psilocybin is the chemical contained within the drug commonly known as magic mushrooms or “shrooms.” As the name implies, magic mushrooms are fungi. When these mushrooms are ingested, they can produce powerful psychedelic effects that make them a common recreational substance.

In the United States, magic mushrooms are classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning the federal government considers them to have no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Despite this, recent clinical studies have investigated psilocybin as a treatment for a number of mental health disorders.

The exact mechanism of action for psilocybin in the brain is not clearly understood, but many scientists believe that the hallucinogenic effects result from stimulation of the brain’s serotonin 2A receptors. Other psychedelic drugs, such as LSD and DMT, act upon the same receptor and produce similar hallucinatory effects.

Clinical Uses of Psilocybin

Research into the use of psilocybin as a treatment for mental illness is still in its infancy, and you should carefully scrutinize any information you see about psilocybin and its effects.

While recent studies have shown positive effects from treatments such as psilocybin-assisted therapy, there is not yet a significant body of evidence supporting these claims.

Psilocybin-assisted therapy is unlike many other mental health treatments in that it requires a therapist to be present throughout the psychedelic experience, and psilocybin is typically only taken a few times.

Instead of getting a prescription from a physician and taking it alone, psilocybin-assisted therapy involves sitting down with a therapist for an hours-long session while under the influence of this drug.

Early findings from the new field of psilocybin-assisted therapy have shown promise in helping people with various mental health challenges. Psilocybin-assisted therapy may be able to help people experiencing challenges such as:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Substance use disorders
  • Smoking
  • End-of-life anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
Importantly, these effects are only seen when someone takes psilocybin under the guidance and care of a trained clinician. It is not advisable to attempt to treat a mental health condition on your own through illicit psilocybin use, and in some cases, it may lead to serious adverse consequences.

Recreational Psilocybin Use

The hallucinations caused by psilocybin lead many people to ingest these mushrooms as a recreational substance. Psilocybin can be ingested in several ways, including:

  • Eating whole stems and caps of magic mushrooms
  • Making a tea with magic mushrooms
  • Grinding dried magic mushrooms into a fine powder and swallowing the powder
Ingesting just a few mushrooms can lead to powerful mind-altering effects. The range of experiences people have reported on magic mushrooms is exceptionally broad, from incredibly positive life-altering experiences to profoundly negative “bad trips.”

Effects of Psilocybin

Psilocybin is known for its potent hallucinogenic and psychedelic properties. Ingesting magic mushrooms can cause people to experience vivid auditory and visual hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there), changed perception of time and space, and sudden and dramatic shifts in mood and emotion.

Other potential effects that can be experienced include:

  • Euphoria
  • Visual distortions
  • Poor coordination
  • Feeling that your surroundings are not real
  • Paranoia
  • Peacefulness
  • Spiritual experiences
  • Nausea and vomiting
The effects of psilocybin can be dramatically different between individuals or between separate trips. While one experience with magic mushrooms may seem highly positive, another may be frightening and leave lingering negative effects.

The psychedelic experience of magic mushrooms is often referred to as having a strong noetic quality, which means that these experiences often feel truer than everyday experiences.

This quality may be part of the reason psilocybin-assisted therapy often produces lasting effects and why many people feel as though they perceive the world differently after taking magic mushrooms.

Psilocybin Amounts

Determining the amount of psilocybin to take is often difficult due to the nature of the drug. Psilocybin grows as a fungus, which makes it impossible to know the exact strength of any given mushroom compared to another.

Typically, people measure psilocybin in the grams or ounces of mushrooms they take. One-eighth of an ounce (or roughly 3.5 grams) of mushrooms would generally produce a powerful psychedelic trip, while a sixteenth of an ounce (or 1.75 grams, commonly referred to as a “half eighth”) would generally produce a moderate trip. However, this can vary depending on the person.

Smaller amounts are often used to create less-intense psychedelic experiences.

Taking very small amounts of psilocybin, an act known as microdosing, has recently gained attention, as well. Many people report positive effects on creativity and concentration when taking amounts of psilocybin too low to produce hallucinogenic effects, but there is little scientific data supporting this notion.

Psilocybin Dangers and Risks

The greatest risk of psilocybin use, whether recreational or clinical, is the potential for a “bad trip,” which is when people experience frightening visual hallucinations, paranoia, or negative beliefs about themselves, those close to them, or their environment.

A bad trip is often difficult to escape. The effects of magic mushrooms last several hours, and there is no method to quickly snap out of a bad trip.

People with severe mental health concerns may want to avoid psilocybin use. Psilocybin can potentially heighten the effect of anxiety and trauma or send people with bipolar disorder into a manic state.

Street Price — Magic Mushrooms

The price of psilocybin varies significantly between different regions. The street price of magic mushrooms depends on where they are grown, the level of demand, and the overall supply in your region.

StreetRx collects anonymous crowd-sourced data to determine the price of psilocybin in your area. You can use our free online tool to find the price people in your area have paid for shrooms or report the price you paid.

In addition to psilocybin, you can use our tool to find the street price of other drugs, such as LSD, heroin, Adderall, and DMT.

Like most other illicit drugs, the use of magic mushrooms can lead to serious health effects such as substance use disorders. To find treatment for yourself or a loved one, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s treatment finder website.

DEA: Psilocybin Information

NIH: The Therapeutic Potential of Psilocybin