Hallucinogenic mushrooms: these are their effects on our mind
If it's natural it can not be bad, right? Guided by this fallacious reasoning there are many young people, and not so young, who firmly believe that the consumption of hallucinogenic mushrooms will do them more good than bad.
Nothing is further from reality, because these mushrooms, which contain psilocybin in uncontrolled doses, are quite dangerous. A bad trip in a brain predisposed to suffer disorders can have dramatic consequences.
It is true that ancient cultures used hallucinogenic mushrooms for all kinds of purposes , especially of spiritual and religious type. There are numerous rituals in Central America where hallucinogens are used to reach altered states of consciousness as a means to reach certain spiritual goals.
Through the knowledge of these practices we have reached part of what we know about hallucinogenic mushrooms as well as mythology and its aura of mysticism. The truth is that if we ignore for a moment all the magic paraphernalia, what we have left are fungi with estimated amounts of psychedelics .
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What do hallucinogenic mushrooms contain?
The secret ingredient that makes us hallucinate when eating hallucinogenic mushrooms is psilocybin. It does not exist in a single species of fungus, but rather it is a family of more than 200 different species of mushrooms. All of them produce this compound, so that they are grouped under the same category of hallucinogenic mushrooms.
In addition to psilocybin, they contain psilocin and baeocystin , which fulfill the same function, but to a lesser extent.
Properties of psilocybin
Psilocybin is a compound with psychoactive properties. It is a prodrug : a precursor that is transformed into psilocin once ingested and metabolized. Once transformed is when it acts on the brain in all its psychedelic splendor.
It acts as a serotonin functional agonist since it is similar to this in its structure. In this way, it binds to many of the serotonin receptors, activating the same routes as this one. In addition, it indirectly influences the production of dopamine in the basal ganglia. The coupling in serotonin receptors and the production of dopamine, together explain the hallucinogenic effects.
Metabolism and hallucinogenic mushrooms
Due to its pharmacokinetic properties, mushrooms take between 20 and 90 minutes to be digested, pass through the liver and reach the bloodstream. It is not until then that one notices its effects, which will last between 3 and 6 hours .
It is estimated that the typical recreational dose ranges from 10 to 50 milligrams of psilocybin, and that each gram of fresh hallucinogenic mushrooms contains one milligram of this compound, while each gram of dehydrated hallucinogenic mushrooms contains 10 milligrams of psilocybin.
However, each person's metabolism is different. Some people are more sensitive than others to this compound and with very little dose they can already have hallucinatory experiences. Because of this and because the amounts of compound in hallucinogenic mushrooms are estimated, people often ingest more than they should and end up having a hard time.
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Effects of hallucinogenic mushrooms
Although they receive this name because it is the star effect or the really desired one when they are consumed, there are many effects that occur at the same time .
Recall that psilocybin is a non-selective agonist of certain serotonin receptors, so that it will be coupled indiscriminately in those places where its structure allows it, especially in the frontal cortex involved in thinking, the state of encouragement and perception.
1. Hallucinatory experiences and sensory alteration
Hallucinations include content of all kinds. These can be of any modality, visual, auditory, sensitive, gustatory or olfactory. As well as the presence of hallucinations, the normal perception itself is sharpened and changed, both properties are mixed. It is possible to see the common objects of colors that do not correspond or to perceive them as distorted forms, to appreciate with greater intensity sounds that in an unaltered state would not be object of attention, etcetera.
Even though most of the hallucinatory experiences have a positive tone and they are lived in a pleasant way, the own state of mind and the state induced by the properties of the mushrooms can turn these experiences into a bad trip that will last a lot in time.
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2. Wellness and openness experiences
Many people, similar to the experience with MDMA, open up more and become more creative.It is possible to feel a form of peace and be in tune with the rest of people and objects accompanied by a need to open up and share with others this pleasant feeling.
3. Relaxation or anxiety
Although these wellness experiences occur in a state of deep relaxation, this is not always the case. Some people say experiencing abrupt periods of anxiety during the trip with hallucinogenic mushrooms . These periods can go from a few minutes to occupy the entire psychedelic experience and be extremely unpleasant, so that they break with the magic of hallucinations and turn them into a bad drink that is impossible to escape.
4. Physiological changes
Physiological changes include sweating, tachycardia, nausea, rapid breathing and dilated pupils . Fortunately, hallucinogenic mushrooms do not make very drastic changes in physiology and a high dose is not as dangerous in the physical sense as it is with other drugs.
5. Unpleasant effects
Along with hallucinations and alterations in perception and thinking, another kind of unwanted effects may occur. One of the most frequent unpleasant effects is paranoia , that is, the conviction that one is persecuted or the object of some kind of plot. It is a very aversive experience that borders on the psychotic and can be established if it becomes serious enough.
In the long term, the effects of misuse of hallucinogenic mushrooms can include persistent psychotic symptoms with hallucinations, delusions and disturbances of thought and persistent emotional disorders such as major depression or dysthymia.
Although it is not frequent, these dramatic consequences are unpredictable. Anyone with sensitivity to hallucinogenic mushrooms, who has not been well informed, who has taken too much dose, who has not been well accompanied or has consumed in an unwelcoming environment may end up developing this type of pictures that, besides being unpleasant, do not They tend to be completely reversible and leave sequels in the personality of those who suffer.