Also known as:
Mushies, liberties, magics, liberty caps, shrooms,
psilocybe semilanceata, fly agaric, and psilocybin.
Magic mushrooms and the law
The psilocybe mushroom or magic mushroom is a Class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 if dried, pressed into a powder, boiled or cooked for consumption.
What are magic mushrooms?
Magic mushrooms are a powerful, naturally occurring hallucinogenic. They grow wild and the harvesting season is being between September and November. The most common type is the psilocybe semilanceata or 'libery cap' although amanita muscaria or 'fly agaric' is also sometimes used. A full dose could be classified as 20-30 liberty caps or one or part of a fly agaric.
What do they look like?
'Liberty Caps' are a small, light-brown mushroom that grows on cow pats and other animal dung. 'Fly agaric' is very rare red and white spotted mushrooms which look like mushrooms often seen in children's books. Mushrooms are usually sold loose in bags or crushed into tablets.
How are they used?
They are usually eaten raw (except fly agaric) but can also be dried out and stored for later use, cooked into food or boiled into a tea and drunk.
What are the effects?
Magic mushrooms have similar effects to LSD although the trip is usually shorter and milder but still dependent on the situation and the mental state of the user. Small doses can bring on euphoria and excitement whereas larger doses intensify feelings, distort shapes and colours and bring on vivid hallucinations. Users often feel more confident however some people find that they suffer from stomach cramps, feel sick or vomit and report having spiritual experiences.
Magic mushrooms suppress the appetite, increase heart rate and make dizziness and hot and cold flushes are common.
When do the effects start and how long do they last?
The effects appear after about 30 minutes and can last up to 9 hours depending on the amount taken.
What are the risks?
Like LSD once the trip has started there is no way of stopping it. A bad trip can include fear, paranoia, anxiety and psychological effects such as 'flashbacks' which can occur some time after the experience. More unpleasant effects are linked to fly agaric which can cause nausea and vomiting, lack of co-ordination, stiffness of joints and in higher doses can cause intense disorientation making accidents more likely, convulsions and in some cases death.
The long term effects are unknown although a tolerance is quickly built up meaning that more and more are needed to repeat the same experience. The main danger is people confusing magic mushrooms with other deadly fungi and picking and consuming these.
Is it addictive?
Users may become psychologically dependent and feel the need to use it on a regular basis; however, like LSD tolerance develops quickly so the next time it may take more mushrooms to repeat the experience. Physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms do not result from regular use.
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