People who enjoy psilocybin mushrooms often wonder about the long term effects of shrooms. What kind of long term damage can be done by using these mushrooms? Are there any risks associated with regular use?
What Are Magic Mushrooms?
Magic shrooms are a type of fungus that contains the hallucinogenic compound psilocybin. Psilocybin is a naturally occurring psychedelic substance that produces hallucinations and altered states of consciousness. When consumed, psilocybin is converted into psilocin, which binds to serotonin receptors in the brain and produces the psychedelic effects. Magic mushrooms are typically sold fresh or dried and can be eaten raw, cooked, or brewed into a tea. Common effects of shrooms include visual and auditory hallucinations, changes in perception, feelings of euphoria, and spiritual experiences.
Effects of Hallucinogens on the Brain Function
Hallucinogens are a category of drugs that cause hallucinations. That is, they alter a person’s perception of reality. The effects can be visual, auditory, or both. Hallucinogens are found in a number of plants and animals, and have been used for centuries for religious or shamanic purposes. In recent years, however, they have also become popular as recreational drugs. The most commonly used hallucinogen is LSD, but other examples include ketamine, mescaline, and psilocybin mushrooms.
Disruption of Neurotransmitters
While the exact mechanisms behind the action of hallucinogens are still not fully understood, it is known that they act on the brain by disrupting the normal functioning of neurotransmitters. This leads to changes in perception, mood, and cognition. The effects of hallucinogens can be unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. They may also depend on the person’s mood, environment, and expectations. So what are short-term and long term effects of shrooms? Are they dangerous?
Short-Term Physical Effects of Magic Mushrooms
Short-term effects of Psilocybe cubensis can be both pleasant and unpleasant. The most common short-term effect is hallucinations, which can be either visual or auditory. In some cases, people may also experience an alteration in time perception or a sense of euphoria. Less commonly, people may experience nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. The intensity of the physical effects depends on the individual’s mood, set, and setting: meaning their current mental state, expectations for the experience, and physical environment.
Changes in perception can be seen with color enhancements and contrast, strange light phenomena, greater visual acuity, surfaces that seem to ripple, shimmer, or breathe; complex open and closed eye visuals of form constants or images; objects that warp, morph, or change solid colors; a sensation of blending with the surrounding and others. Some people claim to have heard sounds become clearer—for example, music may seem to have a profound sense of rhythm and depth. Synesthetes, on the other hand, report seeing images when they hear particular noises.
The Duration of the Trip
The short-term effects of shrooms can last up to 6 hours, with the peak around the 3-hour mark. Generally, everyone may have different experiences. But what are long term effects of shrooms?
Long Term Effects of Shrooms: Health Impacts of Psilocybin
Preliminary research suggests that psilocybin may have therapeutic effects for a variety of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety and even addictions. For example, a recent study found that a single dose of psilocybin was associated with long-term reductions in depression and anxiety symptoms in participants with life-threatening cancer.
A Potential for Cognition Changes
It is important to note that because shrooms are psychoactive and do alter your perception, there is always the potential for a bad trip which can result in negative mental long term effects of shrooms. Long term effects of shrooms use are not well understood, but there is some evidence that it can cause persistent changes in cognition and mood.
Even though shrooms are considered the least toxic of drugs, it does not mean that they are safe. There are a number of potential risks associated with shrooms, especially when used long-term. These effects include:
- persistent changes in cognition and mood;
- increased risk of psychiatric disorders;
- psychotic symptoms and flashbacks;
- hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD);
- tolerance and addiction potential.
Nevertheless, more research is needed to understand the long term effects of shrooms on the brain function and mental health.
Is Psilocybin Addictive?
There is no clear evidence that psilocybin is addictive, as it is in the case of other highly addictive drugs like cocaine or heroin. However, one of the long-term effects of using hallucinogenic drugs is the risk of developing dependency. The dependence is not physical, but rather psychological. Psychological addiction may develop after taking psilocybin long term, however, the substance itself is not addictive.
Psilocybin may create feelings of euphoria, which could lead a person to want to keep using the drug even though it is causing negative consequences in their life. Also, the tolerance to psilocybin can develop with time, meaning that a person will need to take higher doses of the drug to get the same effects.
Are There Any Health Benefits?
There is some evidence to suggest that they may also have therapeutic benefits. For example, psilocybin has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression in cancer patients. In addition, magic shrooms are being investigated as a treatment for PTSD and addiction. Given the promising preliminary findings, it is possible that magic shrooms could one day be used to treat a variety of mental health conditions. However, more research is needed to confirm the long-term efficacy and safety of this treatment.
Are Magic Shrooms Legal?
So far, magic shrooms are legal only in a minority of countries around the world. In the United States, they are illegal under federal law, although Oregon was the first state to decriminalize them in 2020. There is a growing movement to legalize magic shrooms, as many people believe that the potential benefits outweigh the risks if they are used properly and responsibly. However, it is important to remember that magic shrooms are a powerful psychedelic drug, and should not be taken lightly as some long term effects of shrooms are potentially very dangerous.
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