Lifestyle, Research, Treatment

Psilocybin 101: Effects, Benefits, and Tips for Consumption

January 3, 2023 08:30 am ET
Psilocybin 101: Effects, Benefits, and Tips for Consumption

There are many different types of magic mushrooms, but one thing connects them all: psilocybin. While this powerful hallucinogenic substance has been used for thousands of years, it has only recently begun earning the attention of lawmakers and mainstream healthcare providers. Here’s what you should know about it.

  1. What Is Psilocybin?
  2. Consuming Magic Mushrooms
    1. Tips for a Good Psilocybin Experience
    2. Effects of Psilocybin
  3. Benefits of Psilocybin
    1. Medical
    2. Recreational
  4. Final Takeaway


What Is Psilocybin?

Psilocybin is a psychedelic compound found in more than 180 mushroom species around the world. These species of fungi are colloquially referred to as “magic mushrooms” or simply “shrooms.” Psilocybin has been used by cultures for centuries in religious and ritualistic practices to induce a state of detachment from reality. It has also been consumed based on the belief that it can induce visions described as “mystical insight” as well as enable contact “with a spirit world of a higher power,” explains the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Today, psilocybin is still used for religious and spiritual purposes, but its applications have expanded even further. The psychedelic is being widely explored by researchers for its potential medicinal properties, particularly for mental conditions like depression. Because of this, two states—Oregon and Colorado—have legalized it for medicinal use. Many people also consume it purely for recreational purposes due to the trippy effects it induces.

Consuming Magic Mushrooms

Psilocybin is most often consumed by eating dried mushrooms that contain it, either alone or with other food. It’s also common practice to steep the mushrooms in water to create a hallucinogenic tea. As the industry evolves, other products—like psilocybin-infused edibles—have also begun to emerge. However, it’s important to note that psilocybin remains federally illegal in the U.S. as well as banned in most states.

Tips for a Good Psilocybin Experience

Just like any other substance, regardless of its benefits, psilocybin should be consumed responsibly. This is a substance that is far from being completely understood, and there is still much to learn about it. It has not been found to be life-threatening and can be safely consumed, but its intense effects can lead to discomfort if it’s consumed at too high of a dose or in a poor environment.

If you’ve never taken magic mushrooms before, consider starting with a microdose. A microdose is a very small amount—enough to provide some benefits, such as enhanced creativity and a lifted mood, but not enough to produce hallucinogenic effects. Microdosing is a good way to get a feel for a substance without throwing yourself into the deep end. As you become more comfortable with psilocybin’s effects, you can bump up your dosage.

Environment is also a significant factor in your psilocybin experience. Psychedelics alter your senses and change the way you perceive reality, so consuming them in a space that is comfortable for you is absolutely imperative. For some, this may be a quiet park with a couple of close friends or at home alone. Others may only feel comfortable consuming under the supervision of a medical professional in states where it is legal.

It’s also recommended to eat before consuming—but not too much—as well as stay hydrated before and during consumption. While experiencing the effects of psilocybin, try not to overstimulate yourself. The compound works its magic in the mind, so bombarding yourself with distractions and activities can detract from its benefits. Consider journaling, listening to music, or simply taking in the environment around you.

Effects of Psilocybin

Psilocybin is most known for its hallucinogenic effects. This means that it may alter one’s awareness or perception of surroundings, thoughts, and feelings. Medical News Today explains that it is associated with feelings of euphoria and sensory distortion,  These hallucinogenic effects are similar to what one may experience after having consumed other hallucinogenic drugs, such as LSD, since both of them belong to a class of hallucinogens known as “classic hallucinogens.”

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While the promise of euphoria and intensified sensory perception may be enough of a reason for some to consume psilocybin, it is important to understand all of the potential effects of consuming the substance, which includes side effects. These may include confusion, fear, headaches, high blood pressure, nausea, and paranoia. Keep in mind that everyone’s experience with the substance is different.

To be frank, there are aspects of psilocybin that are still not fully understood due to a lack of research on the compound. For example, the relationship between a person’s state of mind before consuming psilocybin and their experience under its influence is still being explored. Consider two consumers who are dealing with something stressful. One consumer may have a positive experience with psilocybin as it changes their perspective on the issue, while the other may notice that it enhances their anxiety about the issue.

The variability in psilocybin’s effects is what makes it so crucial to consume the substance carefully and intentionally. Psychedelics can offer immense benefits and eye-opening experiences, but they are nothing to mess around with haphazardly.

Benefits of Psilocybin

Psilocybin offers a variety of benefits, both medical and recreational.

Medical

The medicinal benefits of psilocybin are still being explored, but studies that have already been conducted have found a number of benefits. Psilocybin is thought to relieve symptoms related to conditions such as treatment-resistant depression, migraines, phantom-limb pain, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, anorexia nervosa, and addiction withdrawal.

Check out these articles for more information on psilocybin’s various therapeutic applications:


Recreational

Recreation is an important part of a balanced lifestyle, just like productivity, fitness, and healthy eating. For many people, consuming alcohol and/or cannabis allows them to unwind from stress and have some fun. Psilocybin is another substance that’s been growing in popularity for its recreational benefits, which include relaxation, euphoria, boosted creativity, and intriguing visual effects (at higher doses).

According to the NIH, around 95,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year in America alone. Conversely, both cannabis and psilocybin have gained reputations as substances that are safe for recreational use with minimal adverse effects. In fact, a study found that psilocybin may be the safest recreational drug, with only 0.2% of 10,000 people who have consumed it needing medical treatment.

Final Takeaway

Psilocybin is a dynamic substance found in certain species of fungi that can provide an assortment of medical and recreational benefits. Despite being federally illegal, some states are beginning to explore psilocybin’s therapeutic uses as an alternative form of healthcare for certain conditions. Always approach psilocybin with caution and start with low doses.


Note: Veriheal does not support illegally consuming therapeutic substances such as psilocybin but acknowledges that it transpires because of the current illicit status, which we strive to change by advocating for research, legal access, and responsible consumption. Always consult a physician before attempting alternative therapies.

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