Magic mushrooms have been used around the world for centuries. Magic mushrooms were used as a form of medicine and as a spiritual guide.
Now, magic mushrooms are becoming more popular than ever as scientists begin to understand magic mushrooms’ true potential.
Perhaps you’re wondering—what exactly are magic mushrooms, how do they work, and what are the benefits?
To find out all that and much more, join us as we explore everything you need to know about magic mushrooms.
What Are Magic Mushrooms?
When people talk about magic mushrooms, they’re usually talking about any mushroom that contains psilocybin and psilocin. Psilocybin and psilocin are the two active hallucinogens in certain species of mushrooms.
There are hundreds of different hallucinogenic mushrooms, but the most common is a species called Psilocybe cubensis. P. cubensis has become the standard magic mushroom because they’re easy to grow and cultivate.
However, most people will simply call them magic mushrooms, shrooms, mushies, cubes, or even boomers.
What Do Magic Mushrooms Do?
As we mentioned, magic mushrooms contain the hallucinogenic substances psilocybin and psilocin. These psychoactive substances cause an altered perception of reality.
That altered perception can manifest itself through images and sounds that seem real but don’t actually exist. These hallucinations can be subtle—colors being more vibrant, vision becoming sharper, or objects breathe in and out.
With a high enough dose, these altered perceptions can become mind-bending. You may see breathtaking images, fractal patterns, geometric shapes, and worlds unfolding.
Magic mushrooms can be so strong that you can reach a new state of consciousness.
Besides visual and auditory changes, you can also experience the following:
- Elevated energy and excitement
- Complete euphoria
- Uncontrollable laughter
- Openness and connection to others and nature
- Deep thinking (introspection)
What Are the Benefits of Magic Mushrooms?
Now you might be wondering, are magic mushrooms only good for recreational use? The answer is no because magic mushrooms have many mental health benefits.
As we mentioned, magic mushrooms have been used for hundreds if not thousands of years as a medicine and spiritual tool. It turns out that recent scientific evidence is uncovering that magic mushrooms may be able to heal the mind in different ways.
Anxiety and Depression
One of the primary uses of psychedelics like magic mushrooms is for the treatment of anxiety and depression. In fact, researchers are finding out that magic mushrooms are much more effective and safer than current anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications.
For example, scientists have been studying how a magic mushroom journey affects those with major depressive disorder (MDD). MDD is a type of depression that isn’t helped by antidepressants or any other modern medicine.
In 2020, a clinical trial was performed to see the effects of magic mushrooms among 24 people with MDD. Only two sessions of psilocybin use and supportive psychotherapy reduced depressive symptoms.
A month later, half of the participants were no longer feeling any symptoms of depression.
In an even more groundbreaking study, scientists looked at the effects of psilocybin on people with life-threatening cancer. After two doses of psilocybin, most of the participants had their anxiety and depression decrease.
However, the most exciting part is that 80% of the patients still had reduced anxiety and depression 6-months later.
Scientists are also finding that magic mushrooms may be able to help with substance abuse. That means that psilocybin may have the ability to help people stop using and abstain from smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, or taking other dangerous drugs.
In a small study, researchers gave ten people with alcohol dependence two doses of psilocybin over five weeks. After the last psilocybin dose, most of the participants stopped having alcohol cravings and stopped using alcohol.
Perhaps the most important part of magic mushrooms is their spiritual aspect. In fact, most of the benefits from magic mushrooms may be because of spirituality.
However, we don’t mean that people become religious after taking a dose of psychedelics. We mean that psychedelics like magic mushrooms can induce a spiritual state.
In a groundbreaking study in 2006, researchers found that those who had a high-dose mystical (or spiritual) experience from psilocybin had better mood, less anxiety, and more meaning in their lives.
It’s perhaps spirituality or meaning that people receive from a psychedelic experience that helps them overcome their difficulties.
Do Magic Mushrooms Have Any Side Effects?
Luckily, magic mushrooms may be one of the safest drugs on the planet. A drug survey in 2017 found that magic mushrooms send the least amount of people to the hospital.
On top of that, there are no toxic effects from psilocybin, and in no study have there been any life-threatening reactions.
However, there are side effects that can happen during a trip, such as:
- Feeling overwhelmed
The effect that everyone worries about is something called a bad trip. Having a bad trip is getting into an overwhelming state of panic.
Fortunately, bad trips are not life-threatening, and they can’t harm you.
The Legality of Magic Mushrooms
Unfortunately, magic mushrooms are completely prohibited in the United States and many other countries. Despite that, people are fighting for the right to use magic mushrooms in the United States.
In 2020, Oregon was the first state to legalize medicinal magic mushrooms, which won’t begin until 2023. Other cities around the US have decriminalized the use of magic mushrooms, such as:
- Santa Cruz and Oakland, CA
- Ann Arbor, MI
- Denver, CO
- Sommerville and Cambridge, MA
However, many magic mushroom retreats have been opening up in countries that have more lenient laws. Some of those countries include Jamaica, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Brazil.
Keep Yourself Safe
If you’re interested in trying magic mushrooms, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. The first is that all of these amazing psilocybin studies were performed in clinical settings with professional support.
On top of that, they were using exact psilocybin doses. Most likely, you won’t have access to professional support or be able to figure out the perfect dose.
In any case, if you’re going to go on a psychedelic experience, make sure that you have someone to look after you. Also, make sure that you grow or find high-quality magic mushrooms that aren’t too potent.
Remember that your safety is in your hands and that careful preparation is the key to a good trip.