Can Magic Mushrooms Become Habit-Forming?
There are over 14,000 types of mushrooms growing naturally in the world around us. However, there is one particular type of mushroom that stands above all others, for those of us who like getting high (or used to). Psilocybin mushrooms, or shrooms as most people call them, contain a hallucinogenic substance called psilocybin.
Many people around the world like to ingest these “magical mushrooms” for these hallucinogenic effects, leading to altered perceptions, vivid experiences, and potential spiritual insights. Some individuals use them for recreational purposes, while others believe in their therapeutic or introspective benefits. But are mushrooms addictive in the traditional sense (or any sense at all)?
Keep scrolling to find out more about the nature of this type of mushrooms, their growing popularity, and the potential benefits and risks involved in taking this potent family of hallucinogens!
Are Mushrooms Addictive?
Most people feel these magic mushrooms, (commonly referred to as shrooms) as well as other hallucinogenic drugs are not addictive. Recently, a lot of research has been done to determine if these mushrooms can have benefits in treating drug addiction, as well as anxiety and mood disorders.
Together, we will take a look at this very powerful drug, the positives and negatives that come with it, and also discuss whether they are addictive or not. We will also see how South Shores Recovery can help anyone struggling with a substance use disorder and/or mushroom addiction.
Who Is Using Psilocybin?
America is currently undergoing a “psychedelic revolution” that has seen consumption of hallucinogens by young adults nearly double over the past three years. Society is slowly beginning to accept these mind-altering drugs and their possible benefits for mental health.
Researchers have found that 6.6 percent of adults from ages 19-39 used hallucinogens other than LSD, up from 3.4 percent in 2018. Roughly 8 percent of young adults used some kind of hallucinogen in 2021, the highest number recorded since the 1980s.
An organization considered perhaps the top authority in the US on such matters, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has recently found potential benefits in the treatment of depression and suicidal thinking using psilocybin.
Why are Mushroom Chocolates So Widely Available Across the United States?
The new trend throughout the United States has been mushroom chocolate bars. The availability of mushroom chocolates has been influenced by the growing interest in psychedelic substances like psilocybin. The notable proliferation of mushroom chocolates speaks to larger issues in the United States’ emerging and unregulated psilocybin mushrooms market.
Because these psilocybin mushroom bars are still illegal and unregulated, it’s difficult to know exactly the amount of mushrooms ingested. Popular brands, such as Polka Dot, One-Up Bars, Holy Grail bars, Wonka Bars and Magic Bars, are often doctored or counterfeited and sold online to unsuspecting customers. I researched the websites that sell these products and most of my results found these sites to be simply a money grab and a scam.
And like mentioned before – even if the product contains psilocybin mushrooms, the exact dosage and measurements are not regulated and are likely to be significantly variable. Doesn’t sound like the recipe for a ‘good trip’ to me!
Current Research into Psilocybin Mushroom Use
Psychedelic mushrooms are currently being studied for their potential therapeutic effects. Colorado and Oregon have already decriminalized psilocybin, and other states seem to be likely to follow. Current research suggests that ingesting mushrooms may have applications in treating conditions like depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
In Oregon, the possession of both lab-made and naturally occurring fungi containing psilocybin has been legalized at the state level for adult consumption. An extensive waitlist has already been developed for the few official treatment centers that are open and able to distribute the drug legally. The costs can be thousands of dollars for a single regulated session but are expected to decrease over the coming years.
Studies are exploring its impact on brain function and depression, psychological well-being, and even its potential to help with end-of-life anxiety in cancer patients. The role of the physical or social environment when taking the drug therapeutically is also being studied further to determine the effects.
However, it is important to note that this research is ongoing, and further investigations are still needed to fully understand psilocybin’s therapeutic benefits and potential risks.
The Symptoms and Side Effects of Magic Mushrooms
Although we are slowly finding more and more benefits in using magic mushrooms, there is still quite a long list of adverse effects that can often occur when taking these drugs, especially without using them under medical supervision.
Some of these include fear or panic, paranoia, sadness or depressed mood, cognitive effects (confusion, loss of ego, loss of sanity, delusions, dissociation, depersonalization), and physiological symptoms (increased blood pressure and heart rate, nausea, sympathetic system response).
Sometimes these symptoms can last even after the drug has worn off. It is worth noting that many of these issues are also especially challenging for those who have been through mental health and/or addiction treatment programs in the past.
Substance abuse research has yet to delve into the impact on people in recovery from addictive disorders of psilocybin mushrooms, and it is safe to say that much more will be revealed on these matters as the drug is further studied.
A Look into the Risks of the Recent Psilocybin Craze
Although research is finding some positive uses for this drug, as an addict I fear too many people are looking at this as an easy fix for their mental health struggles. I don’t think we can look at psilocybin mushrooms as a cure-all for our substance abuse issues or our mental health problems.
My fear is that, as an addict, this might just lead me to a different addiction, psilocybin addiction. I worry that it may lead addicts to ingest mushrooms regularly instead of seeking out a therapist or even a different mind-altering substance which could lead to a physical dependence.
I also worry about the detachment caused by dissociative drugs generally, given that in addiction treatment much is made about the need to cultivate connections with others. In my experience, it is hard to reliably connect with others when you are hallucinating frequently, but that’s just me.
Psychological Dependence is a Real Thing
Psychological dependence is when an individual feels a strong emotional or mental reliance on a substance. While maybe not physically addictive, taking mushrooms can certainly lead to addiction still. The psychedelic properties of magic mushroom use can certainly lead to a psychological dependence on these drugs.
While not as potent as other hallucinogens, such as DMT, or salvia divinorum, the psychedelic properties of the strongest magic mushrooms can be quite strong, even when microdosing, which is a common and growing trend.
This can lead to a perceived need for the substance to cope with emotions, stress, or other aspects of life. Psychological addiction is a more complex aspect of addiction that involves cravings, compulsive behavior and a sense of psychological dependence on a substance to maintain emotional and mental health services and well-being.
The Dangers of Misusing Psilocybin Mushrooms
Although research has found some positive uses for magic mushrooms, misusing psilocybin mushrooms can pose several dangers, including:
- Psychological Effects: Psilocybin mushrooms can induce intense hallucinations and altered perceptions, leading to a loss of contact with reality. This can cause anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks, or even in extreme cases, psychosis caused by the drug, particularly in individuals with a predisposition to mental health issues.
- Risk of Accidents: Impaired coordination and distorted perception of time and space can increase the risk of accidents.
- Legal Consequences: Psilocybin mushrooms are a controlled substance in many places, and its possession can lead to legal consequences
- Negative Interactions: Psilocybin mushrooms can often negatively interact with other substances, including medications and alcohol, leading to unpredictable and potentially harmful effects, including having a bad trip.
- Flashbacks and HPPD: Some individuals may experience flashbacks or develop hallucinogen-persisting perception disorder (also known as HPPD) where they continue to experience hallucinations long after the drug has worn off.
- Physical Health Risks: These poisonous mushrooms can be dangerous when someone is consuming large amounts, which can sometimes happen after developing a tolerance. Over time, one must eat more to achieve the same effects, and can lead to nausea, vomiting, and other physical discomfort. This can also possibly lead to a slight physical addiction. In some cases, it can even cause severe poisoning.
Looking at More Consequences of Psilocybin Mushroom Abuse
With so many different species of mushrooms, sometimes it can be hard to differentiate magic mushrooms from other types of mushrooms, some of which can be very toxic. Ingesting the wrong kind of mushrooms can be dangerous or even deadly. If you have pre-existing mental health conditions, it would be wise to be careful and truly think about whether it is worth the risk.
Due to the total lack of regulation currently regarding psilocybin mushrooms, one should always be extra careful when purchasing any product claiming to be magic mushrooms. Due to the proliferation of commercially available magic mushroom chocolates across the US, and the varieties of these, many companies are looking at shrooms as a way to get rich quickly.
The wide commercial availability of the drug means a greater potential for drug abuse and addiction now exist than in the past.
Psilocybin Mushroom Overdose and Withdrawal: Getting the Facts
Since psilocybin mushrooms are grown naturally and not created in a lab, it can be difficult to know an exact dosage. A lethal dose is about 1,000 times that of an effective dose, which means it is highly unlikely to overdose on these magic mushrooms. However, an underlying health condition or a bad mixture with other drugs or alcohol can certainly be dangerous. If you suffer from polysubstance abuse I would certainly use extra care before trying the hallucinogenic properties of this drug.
Additionally, the effects of psilocybin at larger doses can be unpredictable and in some cases, a much lower-than-lethal level of the drug can still result in an emergency room visit. A friend of mine who took 7 grams of fresh mushrooms at once found the experience so debilitating that his family took him to the ER and he was given activated charcoal to clear his system of the substance. While not a typical experience, it certainly gives me pause whenever I hear ‘shrooms described as harmless.
Physical withdrawal is highly unlikely from psilocybin mushrooms, although it may take a day or two to feel normal after ingesting a few. You may feel lingering effects, like feeling tired or having problems sleeping, or even having difficulty discerning reality from fantasy.
Get Support for Psychedelic Dependence at South Shores
If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse, magic mushroom addiction, or other hallucinogens, there is help available. At South Shores Recovery, their skilled staff treat substance abuse and mental health. They are available to help you or someone you care about with alcohol or other forms of substance use disorders you may be struggling with.
Addiction is a disease that can never be cured but can be put into remission with the successful embrace of a life in recovery!
The caring doctors and nurses at South Shores can help you through any shroom withdrawal symptoms and the trained therapists can help restore mental health. Let their expert team help you with any problematic drug use and return you back to a happy life – reach out for support options today!