Magic mushrooms. What do you think of when hearing that term? Maybe your mind envisions a college dorm featuring headshop decor. Remember those little neon-colored mushroom candles?
Scientific and cultural understanding of magic mushrooms — species that contain the psychedelic chemical psilocybin — has achieved significant progress in the past few decades.
What Makes a Mushroom Magic?
There are around 180 species of mushroom that contain the chemical psilocybin, which is responsible for the “magical” psychedelic effects that give them their name.
The most common species are Psilocybe cubensis, Psilocybe mexicana, and Psilocybe semilanceata. Magic mushrooms are generally a light tan when fresh and a blotchy greyish brown when dried.
They are distinct from the Amanita, another psychedelic mushroom that resembles a fairytale toadstool — red with white spots.
What Are The Side Effects?
Psilocin has other effects on the body as well. Some are pleasurable: relaxation, disassociation, euphoria, drowsiness.
Others may be negative: nausea or vomiting, headaches, lack of coordination, and even unpleasant hallucinations.
Magic mushrooms are usually among the safest recreational drugs, and most users have no lasting side effects from the psychedelics.
Humans have been using psilocybin mushrooms for millennia. However, Western interest only grew on a wide scale in the late 1950s.