Psychadelic mushrooms, also known as magic mushrooms, contain a compound called psilocybin that can have a hallucinogenic effect on the user. Not only does it get the user high, but the early evidence is showing that there might be benefits for your mental and physical health. That said, more scientific research is required.
Shrooms. Zoomers. Caps. The fungus that makes you humongous. You know that we’re talkin’ about magic mushrooms!
These hallucinogenic, all natural fungi are known for their ability to make you trip bawlz. But did you know they might pack some sweet health benefits, too? Here’s the psychedelic scoop.
Magic mushrooms aren’t just about tripping bawls (though those can fun as hell). Here are five ways magic mushrooms might help your health.
In a study that was done in 2022, researchers analyzed the effects of psychedelic compound psilocybin in 27 participants who all had a long history of depression. The participants were given two doses of psilocybin every 2 weeks between August 2017 and April 2019.
The researchers found that, over time, the participants’ depression levels remained quite low 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after the treatment. While this is a positive result, researchers did note that more research was needed to explore the link between psilocybin and depression. Specifically, we still need to know if treatments can last longer than 12 months.
2. Might help with addiction
Researchers are currently trying to figure out if psilocybin can help people with addictions to smoking, drinking, or drugs.
A small study was done where researchers analyzed the use of psilocybin as a way to treat alcohol addiction. The result of that study was that psilocybin did actually help decrease cravings for these alcoholics.
In a small pilot study, those researchers found that psilocybin greatly improved the odds of smokers quitting smoking.
There is also talk out there that psilocybin can help treat drug addiction as well. That said, there still needs to be a lot of research done to know for sure.
However, a small study indicates that psilocybin can also cause headaches. Researchers noted that the severity of the headaches depended on the dosage, but that the symptoms weren’t disabling or severe.
So yeah, we really don’t know yet.
4. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
In an animal study, researchers found that low doses of psilocybin helped mice with fear. This might mean that magic mushrooms can help treat PTSD and related conditions. But we def need more research on humans to explore this link.
Additionally, studies show that the psychological effects of psilocybin can be unpredictable. So it’s kind of hard to say if magic mushrooms are for sure an effective way to treat PTSD.
While we need more research, there’s a possibility psilocybin can help relieve anxiety.
In a 2016 study, 51 cancer patients with life-threatening diagnoses were given either a very low dose or a high dose of psilocybin. The high-dose group had a bigger increase in life meaning, optimism, and quality of life. They also had a decrease in death anxiety compared to the low-dose group.
Here’s a breakdown of the common effects of magic mushrooms.
- Increased energy. Boundless good vibes.
- Feelings of euphoria. An overwhelming feeling of well-being and contentment.
- Distortion of reality. A new perception of the existing world. A peek behind the curtain.
- Altered perception of space and time. Time and space become distorted. Close distances can feel like miles away.
- Feelings of extreme excitement. Everything is new and wonderful. Time to explore that creepy cupboard under the sink!
- A sense of oneness or unity with the universe. This kind of spiritual experience is kind of the platonic ideal of tripping. You feel at one with every other living being.
- Visual and auditory hallucinations. Things become unnaturally small or large or they bend and ripple. Sounds become distorted and music becomes unbearably beautiful. This is still the only conceivable explanation of why people ever listened to “The Grateful Dead.”
The hallucinogenic effects of shrooms usually work about 30 minutes after you eat them. Most trips last about 4 to 6 hours, but it’s also possible for the effects to last longer. It tends to depend on how much you take, the shroom’s potency, and your general tolerance level.
BTW, while you’re under the influence, you might experience physical symptoms like:
- dilated pupils
- inability to move
- speech difficulties
- nausea or vomiting
- loss of coordination
- increased heart rate or blood pressure
One of the most common side effects of magic mushrooms is a bad trip. This can trigger anxiety, stress, scary hallucinations, or panic.
Bad trips aren’t the only potential pitfall. Other risks of magic mushrooms include:
- Food poisoning. It’s super-duper difficult to tell poisonous and nonpoisonous mushrooms apart. That’s why it’s never a good idea to pick your own shrooms unless you really know what you’re doing.
- Triggering mental and emotional problems. This is an iffy one. More research is needed but there’s anecdotal evidence that hallucinogens can trigger or exacerbate preexisting mental health conditions.
- Accidents. Because walking down a flight of stairs that are rapidly turning into M.C. Escher painting is harder than it looks.
- Mixing. Combining magic mushrooms with booze or other drugs can up your chances of an adverse reaction.
P.S. None of these studies examined the social or recreational use of shrooms. Psilocybin was obtained from a regulated source in these studies which ensured quality and safety. Additionally, it was administered to participants who were then closely monitored.