Magic mushrooms are a hallucinogenic drug that comes from a specific genus of mushrooms called Psilocybe. They produce psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychoactive chemical. These mushrooms are used for their psychedelic effects and ability to cause hallucinations, giddiness, euphoria, and introspection. However, they can also cause paranoia, lethargy, disorientation, and frightening hallucinations.
As with other psychedelics, the dependence liability for mushrooms is fairly low. The psychoactive effects of psilocybin are extremely variable and may be hard to predict. Taking the drug may produce pleasant effects in one sitting and, then, unpleasant or disturbing effects the next. The drug also doesn’t cause chemical dependency, as other psychoactive drugs may. It does cause rapid tolerance buildup, but tolerance usually goes away after a few days.
Frequent or high doses will produce diminishing effects with subsequent uses. Then tolerance dissipates after a day or two. Your body doesn’t adapt to it in a way that might cause reliance on the drug or chemical withdrawal symptoms. A 2008 study also found that the drug isn’t likely to lead to dependence later in life after early exposure to it like alcohol or marijuana can. It may be possible for a person to develop a psychological dependence on the drug that causes a severe substance use disorder.
What are the Signs of Mushroom Addiction?
While mushrooms don’t cause a physical dependence and are unlikely to lead to a severe substance use disorder, they may cause psychological dependence in some users. Often, an emotional attachment to a drug or activity creates this kind of dependence. Your brain may view mushroom use as a way to cope with negative emotions or stressful scenarios. Even though you aren’t chemically dependent, quitting may cause unpleasant anxiety, irritability, or depression. Signs that dependence on mushrooms may be causing a disorder in your life might include:
- Spending excessive amounts of time using or seeking the drug
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Trying and failing to cut back or stop
- Struggling at work or school
- Strained relationships
- Strange sleep schedules
- Worsening mental health issues
Treating Mushroom Addiction
It’s unlikely that mushroom use alone will require high levels of care like medical detox or outpatient services. However, it may require lower levels of care like outpatient treatment. If you use mushrooms along with other substances, you may need a higher level of care. You may also need a higher level of care if your dependence on mushrooms accompanies a mental health disorder. Medical and clinical professionals can help assess your needs and determine the best treatment plan for you.
How Dangerous are Mushrooms?
Mushrooms don’t have high toxicity, and they aren’t likely to lead to a deadly overdose through regular use. According to studies, it would take 1,000 times the drug’s effective dose to lead to a fatal overdose. Plus, typically, magic mushrooms only contain about 1 percent of the psychoactive psilocybin. That means you would have to eat several pounds of the mushroom to achieve life-threatening effects.
The lethal dose is comparable to the lethal dose of caffeine. Though the physical risk is low, there may be a significant psychological risk. Psychedelics can cause stress and trauma as a result of frightening bad trips. They can also worsen or trigger mental health problems like schizophrenia or psychosis.