Psilocybin: Safety, Side Effects & Types of Mushrooms

Magic Mushroom Side Effects

Psilocybin: Safety, Side Effects & Types of Mushrooms

A research paper ranked psilocybin mushrooms as the third safest drug (Nutt et al). All drugs can still be harmful under certain circumstances. A separate study also found that magic mushrooms were the drug with the lowest rate of emergency room visits after use, lower than alcohol, and even marijuana.

From the page on Shrooms.

The biggest risk to organs of magic mushrooms is eating a poisonous mushroom that isn’t actually a psilocybin mushroom.

There is a question around whether long term frequent use, for example in weekly microdosing, could have cardiac effects, and more information is needed.

Be extra careful if you’re picking your own mushrooms to avoid poisonous mushrooms. Do your research on how to identify mushrooms.

  • Anxiety
  • “Bad trip” (an unpleasant experience)
  • Psychotic reaction, from transient to persistent
  • Lasting perceptual changes, “persistent and distressing alterations in perception, chiefly in the visual system, that last from weeks to years after use.”
  • Impaired thinking leading to dangerous behavior (e.g. driving a car)

“The occurrence of transient or persistent psychosis can be prevented or further reduced by excluding people on the basis of the presence of past or current psychotic disorders or such disorders in first-degree relatives, such as biological parent or sibling.” It is not a good idea to take any psychedelics, including mushrooms, if you or any of your first or second-degree relatives have a current or past history of psychotic disorders including schizophrenia, Bipolar I or II disorder.

The most common risk though still somewhat rare risk appears to be extreme anxiety, panic, and temporary (during the 6 hours) loss of ability to comprehend reality, lasting an average of 3.8 hours. Generally does not require hospitalization. Treatment with supportive care, and failing that, benzodiazepines Valium.

4. First-time users can safely receive large doses, if prepared for the effects

“Drug-naïve participants can safely receive intense doses of psilocybin if prepared for the effects (Griffiths et al. 2006).”

5. Are there serious risks from shrooms?

Magic mushrooms temporarily increase heart rate and blood pressure. Magic mushrooms have been consumed by millions of Americans, but that doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed to be safe. In research settings, mushrooms are given with medical staff present, who are able to give blood pressure medications if blood pressure rises.

Magic mushrooms are a drug with intense effects and should be treated as such.

6. A list of common effects

  • Altered perception of time and space
  • Feeling as if the world is fake
  • Feeling as if you’re in a dream (not that you think you’re sleeping, more that things seem unreal, a dream)
  • Rapid mood changes, sometimes from very positive to very negative
  • Very sensitive mood
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue (people on shrooms often find themselves wanting to lie on the floor, or not move much. This effect seems less prominent with LSD, as opposed to shrooms)
  • Large pupils
  • Hard to concentrate
  • “Sporadic, transient increases in blood pressure or heart rate”
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness/anxiety
  • Unusual or odd thoughts
  • Yawning

“Most of these effects are acute and last no longer than the four to six-hour duration of drug effects.”

7. Mushrooms have been used for hundreds or thousands of years in Mexico

There’s a lack of case reports on physical illness or disease. This is a good sign!

8. What is the risk of HPPD?

When people refer to HPPD, what they often are referring to is small visual distortions, for example, looking at a curtain and noticing that it slightly appears to be moving. The actual diagnosis criteria for HPPD are stricter.

How common is HPPD? “The higher estimate is 4.1%, as detailed above. The lower estimate would be 0.12% (two confirmed cases 16,192 people looking at the questionnaire).”

“In approximately 500 Native American Church members screened for our study, who had taken peyote on at least 100 occasions over years or decades, none has described symptoms suggestive of HPPD.”

“Finally, although millions of doses of hallucinogens have been consumed by millions of individuals since the 1960s, (SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, 2000, 2001), few large reported series of HPPD cases have appeared.”

9. You can reduce the risk of bad trips

  1. Read up on the effects before taking it
  2. Have a sitter who is trained to deal with panic or anxiety and psychedelic sessions
  3. Start with lower doses (~0.8g) before higher doses (e.g. more than 3 grams dried mushrooms)

10. Magic mushrooms ly are free of addiction potential

“Examining use patterns in humans and studies in nonhuman primates suggest that psilocybin possesses little or no abuse liability.”



Psilocybin: Safety, Side Effects & Types of Mushrooms

Psilocybin: Safety, Side Effects & Types of Mushrooms

Psilocybin is a naturally occurring psychedelic substance produced by psilocybin mushrooms, also called ‘magic’ mushrooms. With the modern revival of psychedelic research, psilocybin is being investigated for its potential to help people overcome depression and anxiety. Read on to learn about the history of its use and the intriguing current research.

Mysterious Psychedelic

Psilocybin (chemically known as 4-phosphoryloxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine) is a classic psychedelic that belongs to the group of hallucinogenic tryptamines. But the story about psilocybin indigenous use and modern research over the past century is anything but classic [1].

Over 100 species of hallucinogenic “magic” mushrooms contain psilocybin (including Psilocybe, Conocybe, and Paneolus). These mushrooms grow in different parts of the world and have been used ritually for at least 3000 years [2, 1].

Despite the recent renaissance in psychedelic research, there is a lot of controversy surrounding psilocybin use, legal status, and its potential therapeutic effects. Not many people know the whole story behind the traditional use of psilocybin-containing mushrooms, nor about the efforts that produced our current state of knowledge about it.


The first use of hallucinogenic mushrooms dates back about 3,000 years to Mexico. They are still used by native people in some areas for religious ceremonies and healing, although the local communities encountered many struggles in the past.

Shortly after the European conquest of these territories, magic mushrooms were banned for the first time in the early 17th century [2, 3, 4].

A couple of centuries passed before these mushrooms gained the attention of Western scientists and doctors for the first time. Robert Wasson, an American ethnomycologist, popularized these mushrooms in the 50s after returning from an expedition to Mexico where he participated in an indigenous Mazatec religious ritual.

He was one of the first Westerners to participate in such a ritual. He published an article in the Life magazine called “Seeking The Magic Mushroom” in which he described his experience [5].

The article became extremely popular, especially in the counterculture movement of the time, and led many people to travel Mexico seeking to experience the same. But this only brought devastation and unwanted attention from foreigners and police to the local community.

Luckily, it also brought some attention from the scientific community. Psilocybin was first isolated, identified, and synthesized by Albert Hofmann, the “father of LSD”, in the late 50s (from P. mexicana). He later summarized his thoughts about psychedelics, including LSD and psilocybin, in the book “LSD – My Problem Child” [6, 7].

The 60s and 70s

In the 60s, psilocybin research boomed with over 1,000 studies published. It was used in both experimental research and psychotherapy [8].

Some scientists thought that psychedelics psilocybin modeled “madness” and schizophrenia. Others were investigating its effects on creativity, cognition, and mystical experiences. Many key figures, including Timothy Leary, the British writer Aldous Huxley, and even Allen Ginsberg were involved in these experiments.

It didn’t take long for psilocybin to become popular among the general public as a recreational drug. The name of the band “The Doors” was inspired by Aldous Huxley’s book “The Doors of Perception”, in which he describes his own theories and experiences with psychedelics.

As recreational use got hand, psilocybin and other psychedelics were soon banned in the 70s and classified as Schedule I drugs (the same class as heroin). This group of drugs contains substances considered to be the most dangerous for human health and with the highest potential for abuse [6].

Psychedelic research became marginalized, funding was cut, and all human experiments came to a halt [1].

Modern Revival

In the late 1990s, scientists started looking into psilocybin once again. Psychedelics research was revived, and the number of scientific publications is now increasing every day [6].

Although psilocybin remains classified as a Schedule I drug (and is therefore illegal to use and very difficult to study), scientists have become intrigued by its therapeutic potential [6, 1].

Recently, the FDA approved a clinical trial of psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression, which will be conducted in 2019. It will be the largest ever clinical trial of “psychoactive care” — the combination of psilocybin and psychological support.

It’s possible that psilocybin may be approved for depression or other conditions in the future, but it’s still too early and uncertain to say.

Mechanism of Action

As a classic psychedelic, psilocybin causes hallucinogenic effects by activating specificserotonin receptors: 5-HT2A. It also slightly activates dopamine pathways in the brain and the sympathetic, fight-or-flight system in higher doses [1, 6, 9].

Psilocybin probably achieves long-lasting effects on the brain and its plasticity by changing gene expression, a result of activating 5-HT2A receptors [10].

Ego Dissolution

The key to understanding its mechanism may lie in parts of the brain it affects.

In brain imaging studies in 15 healthy volunteers, psilocybin decreased connectivity in the brain’s default mode network. This system is activated when a person is thinking about oneself, the past, and the future. Meditation also reduces activity in this system [11, 12, 1].

What’s common to both meditation and psychedelic experience is the focus on immediate experience as a dissolution of the sense of self or “ego.”

In the brain imaging study, psilocybin led to so-called “unrestrained cognition.” This resembles the sudden opening of a “valve” that otherwise keeps normal consciousness in check to a more fluid, hyperconnected state [13].

Aldous Huxley first envisioned this valve as something that restricts consciousness but is necessary to maintain biological functions and a sense of self in everyday life. Experiences that occasionally loosen it open up the doors of perception, according to him.

This is also what some refer to as a “resetting” of the brain by psilocybin, which may be necessary for its therapeutic effects. It may explain why the effects of psilocybin persist long after a single use, since brain networks may continue to rearrange themselves after the experience [1].

Sensory Changes

In another brain imaging study with 7 volunteers, psilocybin (0.25 mg/kg, oral) intensified emotions and sensory perception, caused difficulty concentrating, dreaminess, and a loss of ego boundaries [14].

The sensory changes ranged from illusions to complex scenery hallucinations. Most of them also experienced heightened mood or euphoria. The effects peaked after 30-40 minutes, started to decline after 2 hours, and completely subsided after about 6 hours.

Altered State of Consciousness

Some think psilocybin is very useful for understanding the very nature of human consciousness. In a study of 8 healthy people, psilocybin was given at different doses – from very low (45 μg/kg) to high (315 μg/kg). With higher doses, psilocybin induced a more intense consciousness shift, marked by [15]:

  • Oceanic boundlessness, euphoria, and depersonalization
  • Ego dissolution, which may provoke anxiety
  • Visual hallucinations and synesthesia (mixing of the senses)
  • Dreaminess and reduced alertness

The blurring of the boundaries between self and environment was generally experienced as “touching” or “unifying with a higher reality”. Medium and high doses caused hallucinations, while the lower doses only caused some changes in perception. Only one person in the high-dose group experienced anxiety [15].

Psilocybin Content in Mushrooms

Psilocybin content in dried mushrooms varies from 0.2-1% [2].

In research, pure psilocybin pills or intravenous injections are given. Recreationally, people take psilocybin by eating raw or dried hallucinogenic mushrooms, alone or mixed into beverages.


In clinical studies, the effective oral dose was 10-30 mg/70kg or 0.045-0.429 mg/kg, and 1-2 mg per adult intravenously. The minimal dose for psychedelic effects was 15 mg orally. And when it comes to the current research, safety guidelines state that high oral doses of psilocybin are >25 mg [6].

If taken orally, psilocybin converts to psilocin, its active form, in the liver. Psilocin then enters the bloodstream and reaches the brain [16].

How Long Do the Effects Last?

The effects peak after 1-2 hours and last for 4-6 hours after oral use. All the effects wear off after 6-8 hours, even after high psilocybin doses, according to several studies in healthy volunteers [14, 15].

Types of Psychedelic Mushrooms

There are over 100 species of psychedelic mushrooms, but the best-known ones are [6, 1]:

  • Psilocybe azurescens (highest psilocybin content)
  • Psilocybe bohemica (second highest psilocybin content)
  • Conocbe cyanopus
  • Copelandia cyanescens
  • Panaeolus africanus
  • Panaeolus subbalteus
  • Inocybe aeruginascens
  • Psilocybe cubensis
  • Psilocybe cyanescens
  • Psilocybe mexicana
  • Psilocybe semilanceata
  • Psilocybe tampanensis

Psilocybin vs LSD or Mescaline

In terms of psychedelic effects, psilocybin is:

  • 45 times less potent than a similar weight of LSD, and
  • 66 times more potent than a similar weight of mescaline

The effects of LSD last much longer, though, sometimes up to 15 hours [17].

Clinical Trials

Given in a supportive, controlled, psychotherapeutic environment, psilocybin does not cause any serious adverse effects [1, 18].

Higher doses of psilocybin are more ly to cause anxiety or fear due to feelings of ego dissolution or lack of control [1].

In one trial of 18 people, higher doses caused the following [19]:

  • 39% experienced extreme fear, fear of insanity or felt trapped
  • 44% reported delusions or paranoid thinking

Ultimately, nobody reported a decrease of wellbeing or life satisfaction from the overall experience.

Other adverse effects that occurred in clinical studies include [1, 18]:

  • Dizziness
  • A slight increase in blood pressure or heart rate
  • Unusual body sensations
  • Mood changes
  • Fatigue and yawning

Recreational Use

When it comes to recreational use, several hospital reviews and clinical trials found that magic mushrooms can cause [20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25]:

  • Unease, accompanied by anxiety, agitation, and panic reactions
  • An altered sense of time, place, and recognition, and depersonalization
  • Rarely, high blood pressure or an increased heart rate
  • Nausea/vomiting, muscle pain, fever
  • Widening of eye pupils

No deaths or serious damage has been linked to psilocybin-containing mushrooms to date. Serious damage or disease was only linked to cases of people who consumed poisonous mushrooms under the belief they are psilocybin-containing varieties. Other times, psilocybin was combined with various other substances of abuse.

Rarely, psychedelic effects, flashbacks, delusions, and cognitive changes continue long after recreational use for unknown reasons. This is called the hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) [26, 27].

People with Schizophrenia or Psychosis

In some milder ways, psilocybin mimics schizophrenia in healthy individuals. This refers to the hallucination, changes in perception, and delusions that can be ascribed to psilocybin [28, 29].

LSD and amphetamines might trigger schizophrenia in genetically-prone people, but no studies have shown that psilocybin causes or triggers psychosis or schizophrenia in any way [30].

However, the majority of clinical trials excluded people with psychosis or schizophrenia. That means we don’t know how psilocybin could affect people with schizophrenia.

Limitations and Caveats

Although the research about the therapeutic potential of psilocybin is growing, psilocybin remains classified as a Schedule I drug. Until more research emerges or regulations change, psilocybin use outside of a research/medical environment is not considered safe.

Can You Buy Magic Mushrooms Online?

I know many of you are expecting a buy link somewhere in this post, but it’s still not legal to buy or sell psilocybin in most US states (or in other parts of the world).

You can buy a mushroom growing kit on Amazon, though.

This section contains sponsored links, which means that we may receive a small percentage of the profits from your purchase, while the price remains the same to you.

The SelfDecode marketing and content department are purposely kept separate so that our scientists are not influenced by any pressure to write about a substance in a positive light.

The proceeds from your purchase support our research and work. Thanks for your support!

Learn More About Psychedelics

  • Psilocybin Mushrooms: New & Intriguing Research

Check out our posts about:

  • LSD
  • Joe’s personal experience with LSD
  • Mescaline
  • Peyote
  • Ibogaine


Shrooms Effects

Psilocybin: Safety, Side Effects & Types of Mushrooms

Shrooms, magic mushrooms and psychedelic mushrooms are street names for mushrooms containing psilocybin. Psilocybin is an illicit drug that affects how the brain works. It changes the way different parts of the central nervous system communicate.

Psilocybin causes a wide range of effects because it’s chemically similar to serotonin, a chemical that plays a role in almost every type of bodily function.

The psychoactive chemicals in magic mushrooms are Schedule I controlled substances because they have a high potential for abuse and no proven medical use.

Several factors can influence the effects a person experiences, including the type of mushroom, the dosage taken and the setting where it is used, according to the Center for Substance Abuse Research. The person’s mood, past drug experiences and personality also play a role.

Studies suggest that using psilocybin in safe environments may reduce the risk of negative psychological side effects.

Psychological Effects

Psilocybin mushrooms are notorious for causing hallucinations that cause people to see, hear, feel, taste or smell things that aren’t real. The experience can be positive or negative.

An example of a good trip may be hallucinating that you’re on top of the world. A bad trip may feel a living nightmare. You may see scary things or believe someone is out to get you.

  • Heightened senses
  • Restlessness
  • Trouble focusing
  • Disorientation
  • Thinking problems
  • Inability to determine what’s real
  • Feeling connected with the environment
  • Tension
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Panic

Some people who use psilocybin mushrooms experience a condition called synesthesia, which blends the senses together. It may cause you to see sounds or hear colors.

Aggression and violence are uncommon, but these side effects do occur, according to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. Several participants in the study also reported self-harm or suicide attempts.

Many people describe the effects of magic mushrooms as a spiritual experience. Studies have found that a single trip can cause long-lasting psychological changes.

The effects of psychedelic mushrooms usually last between three and six hours. But the chemicals in the drug can stay in your system for between one and three days depending on how frequently you use it. Some people report persisting side effects of shrooms for multiple days.

Physical Effects

Psychedelic mushrooms aren’t as famous for physical effects as they are for psychological effects. Un other drugs of abuse, most hallucinogens don’t cause intense rushes or euphoria.

But magic mushrooms do cause increased tolerance to other drugs, such as LSD and mescaline — the drug in peyote. However, psilocybin isn’t associated with physical dependence.

  • Increased heart rate
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pupil dilation
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Numbness
  • Drowsiness

Eating the wrong type of mushroom is the greatest physical risk associated with magic mushroom use. Mushrooms containing psilocybin aren’t associated with deadly overdoses. But people have mistaken poisonous mushrooms for psilocybin mushrooms.

Other physical risks stem from the drug’s psychological effects. People who use mushrooms are at an increased risk of accidental injury. They’re also at risk of being assaulted or robbed.

Long-Term Effects

The long-term effects of magic mushrooms are relatively unknown. The drug doesn’t cause addiction, and it isn’t associated with long-lasting physical symptoms. In controlled settings, studies suggest that psilocybin may cause positive psychological effects.

In a 2008 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, participants were given various doses of psilocybin in controlled settings. After 14 months, more than half of participants said the experience was “personally meaningful.” More than 60 percent said the experience “increased their sense of well-being or life satisfaction moderately or very much.”

And a 2016 study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that a single high dose of psilocybin improved symptoms of depression and anxiety among terminal cancer patients for at least six months.

However, current research has not proven that psilocybin is a safe and effective medical treatment. The effects of psychedelic mushrooms in real-world conditions can vary.

Case reports indicate that magic mushroom abuse can increase the risk of mental illness and cause flashbacks and memory problems.

Hallucinogen persisting perceptual disorder is a potential side effect of hallucinogens. HPPD is characterized by flashbacks to visual distortions that affect daily functioning. However, only one case report exists of a person experiencing HPPD after using psilocybin mushrooms. The man consumed the drug alongside marijuana, according to the 2005 report published in European Psychiatry.

Psychedelic mushrooms cause physical and psychological effects. Consuming higher doses of the drug or using it in high-risk environments increases the risk of negative side effects. The long-term effects of magic mushrooms are unknown, but the drug isn’t associated with addiction or dependence.

Medical Disclaimer: aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes.

We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.


Psilocybin and magic mushrooms: Effects and risks

Psilocybin: Safety, Side Effects & Types of Mushrooms

  • What is psilocybin?
  • Effects
  • Risks
  • Abuse potential

Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic substance people ingest from certain types of mushroom that grow in regions of Europe, South America, Mexico, and the United States.

The mushrooms containing psilocybin are known as magic mushrooms.

Psilocybin is a schedule-I controlled substance, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse and serves no legitimate medical purpose.

Individuals use psilocybin as a recreational drug. It provides feelings of euphoria and sensory distortion that are common to hallucinogenic drugs, such as LSD.

Although medical bodies do not consider psilocybin to be an addictive substance, users can experience disturbing hallucinations, anxiety, and panic from using the drug.

  • Psilocybin has both positive and negative physical and psychological effects.
  • Psilocybin is not naturally addictive.
  • The drug can trigger psychotic episodes.
  • Individuals with a family history of schizophrenia or early onset mental illness face an increased risk of an adverse psychiatric reaction to psilocybin.

Share on PinterestPsilocybin is a natural hallucinogen.

Psilocybin is a hallucinogen that works by activating serotonin receptors, most often in the prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain affects mood, cognition, and perception.

Hallucinogens work in other regions of the brain that regulate arousal and panic responses. Psilocybin does not always cause active visual or auditory hallucinations. Instead, it distorts how some people that use the drug perceive objects and people already in their environment.

The quantity of the drug, past experiences, and expectations of how the experience will take shape can all impact the effects of psilocybin.

After the gut ingests and absorbs psilocybin, the body converts it to psilocyn. The hallucinogenic effects of psilocybin usually occur within 30 minutes of ingestion and last between 4 and 6 hours.

In some individuals, the changes in sensory perception and thought patterns can last for several days.

Mushrooms containing psilocybin are small and usually brown or tan. In the wild, people often mistake mushrooms containing psilocybin for any number of other mushrooms that are poisonous.

People usually consume psilocybin as a brewed tea or prepare it with a food item to mask its bitter taste. Manufacturers also crush dried mushrooms into a powder and prepare them in capsule form. Some people who consume these mushrooms cover them with chocolate.

The potency of a mushroom depends on:

  • the species
  • origin
  • growing conditions
  • harvest perio
  • whether a person eats them fresh or dried

The amount of active ingredients in dried mushrooms is about 10 times higher than the amount found in their fresh counterparts.

Extent of use

In the U.S., the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) suggested that, between 2009 and 2015, around 8.5 percent of people reported using psilocybin at some point in their life.

When people use psilocybin, it is usually at dance clubs or in select groups of people seeking a transcendent spiritual experience.

In medical settings, doctors have tested psilocybin for use in treating cluster headaches, end-stage cancer anxiety, depression, and other anxiety disorders.

However, scientists have questioned its effectiveness and safety as a therapeutic measure.

Street names for psilocybin

Drug dealers rarely sell psilocybin under its real name. Instead, the drug may be sold as:

  • magic mushrooms
  • shrooms
  • boomers
  • zoomers
  • mushies
  • simple Simon
  • little smoke
  • sacred mushrooms
  • purple passion
  • mushroom soup
  • cubes

The effects of psilocybin are generally similar to those of LSD.

They include an altered perception of time and space and intense changes in mood and feeling.

Possible effects of psilocybin include:

  • euphoria
  • peacefulness
  • spiritual awakening
  • quickly changing emotions
  • derealization, or the feeling that your surroundings are not real
  • depersonalization, or a dream- sense of being disengaged from your surroundings
  • distorted thinking
  • visual alteration and distortion, such as halos of light and vivid colors
  • dilated pupils
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • impaired concentration
  • muscle weakness
  • lack of coordination
  • unusual body sensations
  • nausea
  • paranoia
  • confusion
  • frightening hallucinations
  • vomiting
  • yawning

The effects of psilocybin vary between people, differences in the mental state and personality of the user and the immediate environment.

If the recreational user experiences issues with mental health or feels anxious about using the hallucinogen, they face a higher risk of having a bad experience.

Psychological distress is the adverse event most often reported after recreational use of psilocybin. This distress can take the form of extreme anxiety or short-term psychosis.

Psilocybin as a treatment for depression

Discussions are on-going about whether psychological specialists can use psilocybin and similar hallucinogens as a treatment for depression.

Two very recent studies have looked at psilocybin as a treatment. One study examined the ability of psilocybin to reduce depression symptoms without dulling emotions, and the other assessed the relationship between any positive therapeutic outcomes and the nature of psilocybin-induced hallucinations.

While some researchers are looking into some therapeutic uses for psilocybin, they still, at present, regard psilocybin as unsafe and illegal.

People who have taken psilocybin in uncontrolled settings might engage in reckless behavior, such as driving while intoxicated.

Some people may experience persistent, distressing alterations to the way they see the world. These effects are often visual and can last from anywhere from weeks to years after using the hallucinogen.

Physicians now diagnose this condition as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), also known as a flashback. A flashback is a traumatic recall of an intensely upsetting experience. The recollection of this upsetting experience during hallucinogen use would be a bad trip, or a hallucination that takes a disturbing turn.

Some individuals experience more unpleasant effects than hallucinations, such as fear, agitation, confusion, delirium, psychosis, and syndromes that resemble schizophrenia, requiring a trip to the emergency room.

In most cases, a doctor will treat these effects with medication, such as benzodiazepines. These effects often resolve in 6 to 8 hours as the effects of the drug wear off.

Finally, though the risk is small, some psilocybin users risk accidental poisoning from eating a poisonous mushroom by mistake.

Symptoms of mushroom poisoning may include muscle spasms, confusion, and delirium. Visit an emergency room immediately if these symptoms occur.

Because hallucinogenic and other poisonous mushrooms are common to most living environments, a person should regularly remove all mushrooms from areas where children are routinely present to prevent accidental consumption.

Most accidental mushroom ingestion results in minor gastrointestinal illness, with only the most severe instances requiring medical attention.

Psilocybin is not chemically addictive, and no physical symptoms occur after stopping use.

However, regular use can cause an individual to become tolerant to the effects of psilocybin. Cross-tolerance also occurs with other drugs, including LSD and mescaline. People who use these drugs must wait at least several days between doses to experience the full effect.

After several days of psilocybin use, individuals might possibly experience psychological withdrawal and have difficulty adjusting to reality.

How ly is it that I will have a bad trip on magic mushrooms?

A “bad trip” can include feeling of despair, confusion, paranoia, anxiety, and panic and these feelings can persist for hours to days.

To avoid this, first, you won’t have a bad trip, or any trip at all if you choose not to ingest the mushrooms. If the mushrooms have a higher, stronger dose than expected, this can increase your chances of having a negative experience.

For someone going through personal crisis or using mushrooms in an unsafe, unsupportive environment, the chances of a “bad trip” increase.

There are no guarantees with mushrooms since they are an unprocessed plant product and a bad trip can, and does, happen. If someone has ingested mushrooms and is having a “bad trip” experiencing panic, anxiety, or in any danger of harming themselves or others, seek medical assistance immediately.

Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

  • Alcohol / Addiction / Illegal Drugs
  • Psychology / Psychiatry


Psilocybin – Alcohol and Drug Foundation

Psilocybin: Safety, Side Effects & Types of Mushrooms

There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk. It’s important to be careful when taking any type of drug.

Magic mushrooms can affect everyone differently, :

  • size, weight and health
  • whether the person is used to taking it
  • whether other drugs are taken around the same time
  • the amount taken
  • the strength of the mushroom (varies depending on the type of mushroom).

The effects of magic mushrooms usually begin in 30 minutes when eaten, or within 5–10 minutes when taken as a soup or tea, and can last for approximately 4–6 hours.2

During this time, the person may experience:

  • euphoria and wellbeing
  • change in consciousness, mood, thought and perception (commonly called a trip)
  • dilation of pupils
  • perceptual changes, such as visual and auditory hallucinations
  • stomach discomfort and nausea
  • headaches
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • increased body temperature
  • breathing quickly
  • vomiting
  • facial flushes, sweating and chills.1,2


The use of magic mushrooms rarely results in any life-threatening symptoms. If a large amount or a strong batch of mushrooms is consumed, the person may experience:

  • agitation
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • muscle weakness
  • panic or paranoia
  • psychosis
  • seizures
  • coma.3,4

Bad trips

Sometimes a person may experience the negative effects of magic mushrooms and have what is called a bad trip and may experience the following:

  • unpleasant or intense hallucinations
  • anxiety
  • paranoia
  • panic or fear.1,4

Coming down

After ingesting magic mushrooms, delayed headaches may occur, which do not usually last for longer than a day afterwards.5
After taking mushrooms a person may experience feelings of:

  • exhaustion
  • depression
  • anxiety.2,4

Long-term effects

Some people who regularly use magic mushrooms may experience flashbacks. A flashback is when a magic mushroom experience reoccurs, they are usually visual distortions that involve perceptual or emotional changes.

Flashbacks can occur weeks, months or even years after the drug was last taken. This can be disturbing, especially if a frightening experience or hallucination is  recalled.

 Flashbacks can be brought on by using other drugs, stress, tiredness or exercise and usually last for a minute or two.2,3

Using mushrooms with other drugs

Magic mushrooms +ice,speedorecstasy: Can increase the chances of a bad trip and can also lead to panic.4

Magic mushrooms + some psychiatric medications: Mushrooms should not be taken by people on psychiatric medications as a relapse or worsening of the condition could occur.1

Tolerance and dependence

Tolerance develops rapidly with continued use, resulting in the drug having little to no effect over time. Discontinuing use for a week or so will return people to their normal tolerance level.2

Health and safety

The main risk involved with taking magic mushrooms is that some of them look very certain types of poisonous mushrooms. So it is important to know what you are taking – if in doubt, do not take them.2

If you believe you or someone else may have eaten a poisonous mushroom do not wait for symptoms to occur, contact the Victorian Poisons Information Centre (Tel 13 11 26).

If the person has collapsed, stopped breathing, is having a fit or is suffering an anaphylactic reaction, immediately ring triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

For more information on poisonous fungi, including their identification and symptoms please visit The Better Health Channel.


Taking mushrooms regularly does not appear to result in physical dependence, those who use them regularly are unly to experience difficulty in stopping use.3  There are not many withdrawal effects known, however a person withdrawing from magic mushrooms may experience some psychological effects or fatigue.2