Drugs Information, what you really should know about, drugs facts on and facts about hallucinogenic mushrooms
A Guide for worried parents, teenagers who are using drugs or thinking about using drugs and anyone who wants to know more about the subject.
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What are they ?
Several species of mushrooms can produce hallucinations, about a dozen of which grow wild in the UK. The most common is the Liberty Cap (or Psilocibe Semilanceata) which contain the hallucinogenic chemicals psilocybin and psilocin. They can be eaten fresh or cooked and can be preserved by drying.
Distinguishing hallucinogenic mushrooms from poisonous and sometimes deadly ones can be very difficult and sometimes almost impossible.
Common street names:
Shrooms, Mushies, Psilocybe mushrooms
Effects of short-term use
At low doses euphoria and detachment occur. At high doses visual distortions and vivid hallucinations can occur. Some people react to hallucinogenic mushrooms by vomiting, nausea and stomach pains.
As with other hallucinogenic drugs 'bad trips' can also occur and may develop into a brief psychotic episode. This is most common after repeated doses or if the user is inexperienced, anxious or unhappy to start with. There have been reports of 'flashbacks' to the original experience but these usually disappear as quickly as they appear.
By far the greatest danger is mistaking poisonous mushrooms for 'magic mushrooms'.
Effects of long-term use
No serious long-term effects have been reported although it must be noted that no research has been carried out to assess the effects of frequent use.
|Physical risks associated with using hallucinogens:|
|increased heart rate and blood pressure||sleeplessness and tremors||lack of muscular coordination||sparse, mangled, and incoherent speech|
|decreased awareness of touch and pain that can result in self-inflicted injuries||convulsions||coma; heart and lung failure|
|Psychological risks associated with using hallucinogens:|
|a sense of distance and estrangement||depression, anxiety, and paranoia||violent behavior||confusion, suspicion, and loss of control|
|flashbacks||behavior similar to schizophrenic psychosis||catatonic syndrome whereby the user becomes mute, lethargic, disoriented, and makes meaningless repetitive movements|
Having a bad psychological reaction to LSD and similar
drugs is common. The scary sensation may last a few minutes or several hours,
and be mildly frightening or terrifying. The user may experience panic,
confusion, suspiciousness, anxiety, feeling of helplessness, and loss of
control. Sometimes taking a hallucinogen such as LSD can unmask mental or
emotional problems that were previously unknown to the user.
Flashbacks, in which the person experience a drug's effects without having to take the drug again, can occur.
For information about other drugs, return to Drug Information Page.