Magic mushrooms, like any substance, can be the best or worst drug to take. It really depends on a variety of factors. It’s sometimes hard to find a nuanced view on recreational drugs – especially when many people want to either berate them or promote them beyond belief. The truth is – like people – drugs have their good sides and their bad. In this article we’re going to go through the positives and negatives of these hallucinogenic drugs, with the hope that with this knowledge you’ll be able to create your perfect psilocybin experience. Let’s go.
What are Magic Mushrooms?
There are supposedly around 14,000 species of mushrooms in the world, and only 200 of these are considered ‘magic’. To put this into perspective, around 100 of the 14,000 species are also fatal. You don’t want to mix these guys up. The most common of the magic mushrooms are the Cubensis or golden cap. These have a brown top and long white stem. Magic mushrooms, also known as shrooms, are a type of mushroom that contains the psychoactive compound psilocybin.
This compound is converted into psilocin in the body and is responsible for the hallucinogenic effects of the mushrooms. They can produce altered states of consciousness, including visual and auditory hallucinations and changes in perception. Magic mushrooms have been used for centuries by indigenous people in Central and South America for spiritual and medicinal purposes. It is believed that statues dating back to 200CE exist that highlight the communal use and admiration for the magic plant.
Despite the past, shrooms are now illegal in most of the major nations in the world. In the US, psilocybin is a Schedule I drug and, In the UK, it is considered a class A. These are both on the same level of substances as heroin in regards to severity of sentence and danger. However, in recent years there has certainly been a slow shifting tide. The use of psilocybin in the medical world – specifically in treating mental health issues – has destigmatized the drug. John Hopkins Medicine was heavily involved in these studies and:
“Researchers showed that psychedelic treatment with psilocybin relieved major depressive disorder symptoms in adults for up to a month. Now, in a follow-up study of those participants, the researchers report that the substantial antidepressant effects of psilocybin-assisted therapy, given with supportive psychotherapy, may last at least a year for some patients.”
The effects of magic mushrooms, when paired with therapy, can seriously help people alter their depressive tendencies. It is these kinds of studies, and the acceptance of the benefits of drugs, that highlights the importance of nuance in the drug conversation.
Nuance in Drug Conversation
For too long now, ‘drugs’ have been synonymous with ‘bad’. It is time to open up our minds and see the nuance. Substances have the potential to be dangerous if used incorrectly, whilst also fun and beneficial if used right. Nuance is an important aspect of any discussion, but it is especially crucial when it comes to discussions about drugs. This is because they can have a wide range of effects on the human body and can be used for a variety of purposes. Without nuance, it is easy for a conversation about drugs to become oversimplified or misleading.
The War on Drugs, began by Nixon, is responsible for killing any nuance. He successfully demonized the substances, and many other social groups, for his own political gain. This has lasted generations. It is 2023, and now is the time for us to fully throw away any preconceived ideas we once had about illegal substances, and simply look at the data and studies that are being done. Of course, drugs have hurt and killed people, but so have they helped and saved people. Let’s educate the world openly and use these substances to our own advantage.
Pros & Cons of Shrooms
As we’ve said, nuance is key. Magic mushrooms have the ability to open up people’s minds and fill their lives with joy, but they also can be quite revealing and scary. Hallucinations are not always positive and fun. We’re going to take a look – in a nuanced fashion – at some of the pros and cons of magic mushrooms.
Positives of Magic Mushrooms
Positive side effects of taking magic mushrooms may include:
1 – Creativity
Psilocybin activates receptors in the brain and reduces the energy needed for the brain to switch between activity states. This can increase activity if taken at the right dosage. Many people report feeling more creative and having a greater sense of self-awareness after taking magic mushrooms. This can be helpful for those seeking personal growth or wanting to get something creative done. This is why micro-dosing shrooms have become so popular. Suddenly you’re able to think outside of your usual boxed brain, and can come up with ideas and thoughts that usually aren’t there. Some believe the entire concept of the internet was derived from an LSD trip.
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2 – Connection
When you take mushrooms, it can Increase the sense of connection to others and the world around you. The borders between these things suddenly vanish, allowing you to realise that we are all one and the same. In other words, ego death. Your individuality no longer matters, you are part of one entity. This can lead to a sense of unity and a feeling of oneness with the universe. It can also seriously improve our relationships with other people in our lives, realising they too are struggling non-egos wandering around this confusing world.
3 – Mental Health Improvement
It is this ego death that can seriously help with reducing anxiety and depression in people who suffer from this. With therapy too, they can move away from their usual thought patterns, and see that the world is not against them. In fact, there is no ‘them’ and never needed to be. The powers of psilocybin allow us to completely shift our minds, realising that our problems, fears and anxieties are not necessarily as important or crippling as we once thought.
Negatives of Magic Mushrooms
Negative side effects of taking magic mushrooms may include:
1 – Hallucinations
On the other hand, hallucinations and distorted perception can also be a difficult thing to experience. One of the main effects of magic mushrooms is the alteration of perception, which depending on your own set and setting, will either be enjoyable or the complete opposite. If you are not in the ideal mindset or location, it is possible that your visions may become unpleasant. They may become overwhelming or even frightening. This is why set and setting is so integral to any trip embarked on.
2 – Paranoia
Another negative of this psychedelic drug that can occur is paranoia and anxiety. The unpleasant hallucinations can easily lead to these feelings. Suddenly you become afraid of what might arise in you, or what you might do or say. You no longer feel free and spirited, instead you feel out of control. Being out of control is not something we are used to as people in a constricted and structured world, which is why it’s always good to have a trip sitter with you. They can ensure you stay safe.
3 – Nausea
Magic mushrooms aren’t the best tasting plants. In fact, it can be quite disgusting eating a few grams of these. They taste like sour soil with a consistency of a mushy potato. Basically not ideal. In addition, when they settle in your stomach, they don’t always agree with everyone. Magic mushrooms can cause nausea and vomiting in some people, particularly if they are consumed in large amounts. The key is to have a drink with you and eat them slowly.
These were some of the positives and negatives of magic mushrooms, laid out in a nuanced way. This is because magic mushrooms can be amazing, but they can also be dangerous if used incorrectly. It is time for us to understand both realities at the same time. As with any psychoactive substance, it is important to use caution and to be aware of the potential risks. But it’s also vital that we allow these specimens to have the medical and recreation benefits that they’ve been giving us for centuries. It’s time to befriend the shroom, not outcast it. Nonetheless, in 2023, the future of psilocybin is beginning to look bright.
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