Psilocybin Addiction

Psilocybin Addiction: What You Need to Know

Psilocybin is a chemical hallucinogenic substance obtained from certain types of mushrooms that are indigenous to tropical and subtropical regions of South America, Mexico, and the United States. These mushrooms - also known as "psychedelic mushrooms" - typically contain 0.2 to 0.4 percent psilocybin and a trace amount of psilocin, another hallucinogenic substance. Over 200 species of mushrooms containing psilocybin and psilocin are known, and are available both fresh and dried. In general, psilocybin mushrooms have long, slender stems topped by caps with dark gills on the underside. Fresh mushrooms have white or whitish-gray stems; the caps are dark brown around the edges and light brown or white in the center. Dried mushrooms are generally rusty brown with isolated areas of off-white. Psilocybin is known to have a lot in common with LSD in terms of how it affects the body, acting on the central nervous system causing the distortion of perception in users. Both psilocybin and psilocin can also be produced synthetically.

Common Street Name

Common street names that describe psilocybin or psychedelic mushrooms are:

  • Magic Mushrooms
  • Shrooms
  • Sacred Mushrooms
  • Boomers
  • Hombrecitos
  • Las Mujercitas
  • Little Smoke
  • Musk
  • Silly Putty
  • Simple Simon

Drug Classification

In 1970 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released drugs classifications or schedules, under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), which - enforced by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) - regulates the manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of certain narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, anabolic steroids and other chemicals.

Substances are placed in their respective schedules based on whether they have a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, their relative abuse potential, and likelihood of causing dependence when abused. Psilocybin has been classified by the DEA under the Schedule I of Controlled Substances (which includes LSD and Heroin) meaning it has a high potential for abuse, it serves no legitimate medical purpose and it is unsafe to use, even under medical supervision.

History and Use

Psilocybin mushrooms - or simply 'Shrooms - are one of the most widely used psychotropic drugs, because they can be found in the wild or grown fairly easily and inexpensively and, unlike manufactured drugs, psilocybin has a long history dating back to thousands of years as part of religious or spiritual ceremonies. The oldest representations of hallucinogenic mushrooms in the world are in The Sahara Desert and were produced 7000-9000 years ago.

Statues and other representatives of what appear to be mushrooms that have been found in Mayan and Aztec ruins in Central America. The Aztecs used a substance called teonancatl, which means "flesh of the gods," that many believe were magic mushrooms. The strength of psilocybin mushrooms can vary somewhat, because the user is consuming the mushrooms themselves, not just the active agents. Different strains have different strengths and potency can somewhat decline over time.

The most common variety of mushroom available is psilocybe cubensis, which is a fairly strong strain. A typical dose of recently dried these mushrooms is about 3.5 grams (1/8th of an ounce). Psilocybin is ingested orally, consumed in many ways by users. Either fresh or dried, they can be simply eaten by themselves or masked in a light meal as to "hide" the particular earthy flavor they have. It can also be consumed in hot water, as a tea, or with cacao powder.

When someone consumes the mushrooms, they will enter into an altered state of consciousness or into a "psychedelic experience" and experience synesthesia.

Side Effects

Psilocybin effects can be overwhelming and unpleasant, especially if the individual is in poor mental state. As an hallucinogenic, psilocybin it's quickly absorbed (usually within 20 minutes of ingestion and lasting approximately 6 hours) and causes the user to experience extreme feelings of euphoria, paranoia, anxiety or even a terrified state of mind.

Some of the physical side effects that are also common are:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Spontaneous Tactile Sensations
  • Dilated Pupils
  • Runny Nose
  • Watery Eyes
  • Frequent Urination
  • Hypothermia

Psilocybin effects also include loss of time perception, delusions, confusion, catharsis and - depending on the individual's state - panic attacks and psychosis. In addition, users who seek to abuse psilocybin mushrooms also risk poisoning if one of the many varieties of poisonous mushrooms is incorrectly identified as a psilocybin mushroom.

Addiction & Dependency

Some prefer psilocybin mushrooms to other hallucinogens because they aren't chemically produced like LSD, but that doesn't mean the mushrooms are safe. Psilocybin addiction, although not common, is often a subject of debate because it can be potentially habit-forming. An individual's tolerance quickly increases and therefore, the drug has a reduced effect causing the user to ingest larger doses. The tolerance lasts for a few days and causes cross-tolerance with other psychedelics such as LSD, DMT, and mescaline.

Notwithstanding that psilocybin addiction is not - in itself - a physical dependance, the feeling of the "trip", the psychedelic experience and/or the potential to lose touch with reality, is what can become addictive rather quickly. Substance abusers easily suffer short term and long term consequences that produce negative mental/physical outcomes and the psychological reactions can be very strong and risky. Furthermore, ingestion of a mushroom can be lethal if one poisonous mushrooms is incorrectly identified as a psilocybin mushroom.

Treatment for Addiction

A psilocybin addiction treatment is different than most treatments provided for substance abusers. Since mushrooms alone are not addictive, the user can sometimes develop a habit of abusing the drug. The primary psilocybin addiction treatment is to keep the individual calm and stress free.Rehab on the psychological dependency would be the main focus. Since there is not an antidote to stop a trip on mushrooms, the person has to continue through until the drug wears off. There are many varieties of rehab and multiple approaches.

Effective treatment centers will use several methods to create a personal program around the mushrooms abuse and related disorders. Treatment for mushroom abuse needs to address the drug use and the psychological issues that may be prompting the use. The success of defeating the abuse of psilocybin will depend on the center, friends and family, the treatment psychotherapist, but most of all, it depends on the user acknowledging there is a problem and asking for help.

Call Red Bank Alcohol Treatment Centers today at 732-455-1268 for help finding an addiction treatment center that will meet every one of your needs.

Sources:

https://www.dea.gov/druginfo/drug_data_sheets/Psilocybin.pdf

http://howtousepsychedelics.org/mushrooms/

https://psychonautwiki.org/wiki/Psilocin#Psilocybin_Mushrooms

https://www.erowid.org/plants/mushrooms/mushrooms.shtml

http://bigthink.com/paul-ratner/one-dose-of-hallucinogenic-psilocybin-relieves-depression-in-80-of-patients-say-two-new-studies

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