With Pot Gaining Acceptance, are “Magic Mushrooms” Next Up for Decriminalization?

BY MICHAEL JACOBS

Ah…. The magic mushrooms, also known as just ‘shrooms’ – the kind, legend has it, that the pizza chain Mellow Mushroom used to put on top of their pizza. Just what are these hallucinogenic fungi and how do they affect the body? Can they be taken in a way besides being eaten? Can you vaporize them? Are they even legal? Read on for a down and dirty guide.

What are they?

Psilocybin mushrooms are psychedelic mushrooms that contain the chemicals psilocybin and psilocin. They have been used by humans since prehistoric times.There is evidence of the mushrooms found in cave wall art as well as evidence of use in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.

The effects of ingesting these mushrooms include altered thinking processes, an altered sense of time, and open and closed-eye visuals. They have been used both for spiritual and recreational purposes historically. However, effects can vary widely among users. The more they are consumed, the weaker the effect becomes, which indicates that psychedelic mushrooms have a low tendency for abuse.

In fact, magic mushrooms have a similar relaxing effect as that of low doses of marijuana.They affect the brain’s prefrontal cortex – the very part of the brain that regulates abstract thinking and plays a key role in mood and perception. This might play a role in the hallucinations that some people experience while on the drug.

Are they legal?

Currently, psilocybin mushrooms are a Schedule I drug in the United States. This means that the government thinks they have no known medicinal value and are, hence, illegal. The possession and sale of the drug can lead to severe state and federal penalties. The drug officially became illegal when Richard Nixon’s Controlled Substances Act officially prohibited it in the 1960s, along with its psychedelic counterparts LSD and peyote.However, there is hope for legalization on the horizon.

State of New Mexico courts recently ruled that growing mushrooms is not a crime at state level. However, confusingly, the courts did rule possession of mushrooms to be a crime, leaving the law a gray area in that particular state.

Another step toward possible reconsideration of the drug’s legal status is the fact that several clinical trials have recognized the value of psilocybin-containing mushrooms as medicine. Starting in 2004, the drug has been showing improvements in patients who suffer from OCD, depression, and addiction.

Improvements were made in the patient’s conditions as well as in their spiritual well-being. Over 70 percent of mentally healthy adults who took the drug as part of a recent John Hopkins study reported 18 months later the psychedelic experience was one of the most important experiences of their lives.

Are there side effects?

The downfalls of the drug are reported feelings of anxiety and, in some anecdotal cases,a rare condition known as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder, or HPPD. This occurs when a person reports hallucinations continuing long after a hallucinogenic drug has been taken. Most reports of this disorder came after doses of LSD, but there are some cases of it occurring with mushrooms.

What are the details of consuming them?

The most commonly available magic mushroom is psilocibe cubensis which is a moderately strong strain. The average dose is about 3.5 grams or about 1/8th of an ounce. You will also want to be sure that you have 4-5 hours set aside to experience the trip.

For the first 60-90 minutes after eating the mushrooms, many people report feeling nausea. This side effect can be lessened by brewing the mushrooms in a tea. However, the brewed mushrooms will be weakened as heat destroys the active chemicals in the mushrooms.

After eating the mushrooms, it will take between 60 and 90 minutes before the effects become strong. Once they have taken effect, many people feel the need to write down thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Prepare beforehand and have a pen and paper ready.

The main ingredients in magic mushrooms are destroyed when exposed to high temperatures. Therefore, smoking is not an option. It just carbonizes the mushrooms and they will have no effect. Brewing the mushrooms into a tea weakens them, but the effect can still be felt. Psilocybin and psilocin extract can be vaporized – at about the same temperature as marijuana – but the effects have not been studied closely due to their illegal status in the United States. The only information to be found on vaporizing mushrooms using a dry herb vaporizer exists on specialty forums for drug users.

Whether you call them ‘shrooms,’ magic mushrooms, or psychedelic mushrooms, these hallucinogenic fungi have been among us and used since before the dawn of recorded history. While currently illegal in the United States, there is a grassroots movement for the rescheduling of the drug to allow for easier medical testing of its possible medicinal benefits. As more studies are conducted into the apparent medical benefit of magic mushrooms it could be the next Schedule 1 substance to be decriminalized in certain states or gain limited medicinal uses.

Author
Michael is a marketing and creative content specialist at GotVape.com with primary focus on customer satisfaction. Technology and fitness combined healthy lifestyle obsession are his main talking points.