Magic mushrooms, shrooms, psilocybin. These are all names we’ve come to know and associate with our funky fungi friends. But for many, their experience with ingesting shrooms will be different every time they do it. Whilst this adds to the excitement for some, the unexpectedness and uncertainty of it can leave some people wondering – what are the actual side effects of taking shrooms?
From hallucinations to paranoia, we’ve done the work for you and looked into the vast variety of effects most commonly felt during a trip.
What Does a Shrooms High Feel Like?
It’s nearly impossible to describe an exact feeling when taking magic mushrooms. There are so many factors to take into place, however the most common feelings have luckily been widely shared and there are some general reactions that seem to take place.
For most people, the trip can last a couple of hours, and within that time they will experience a range of emotions. For some, it can be like taking a journey within themselves, having thoughts they’ve never come across before. Feelings of enlightenment about their world may occur.
For one user, his first time was described as ‘weird, but full of happiness and colour’’. He recalls seeing light trails after movement, laughing uncontrollably at his sister’s hair being static, and marveling at the street lights. This would be described as a good trip, and for him it lasted around 4 hours before the effects wore off.
Many users report seeing colours more vividly and feeling disillusioned. Objects may appear to be moving, reactions might seem slower and something quite mundane might suddenly appear extremely exciting. These feelings will generally come in waves, sometimes heightened while at other times the user might feel relatively normal.
The Short Term Side Effects of Taking Shrooms
Whilst every experience is different and depends on many factors such as the person using, the environment and the mushrooms themselves, some common side effects are:
Psilocybin is chemically similar to serotonin, so feelings of intense happiness and excitement might be felt when consuming shrooms. Some people use shrooms to enhance sexual intimacy.
A spiritual connection to the world
Users report feeling a sense of spirituality, either within themselves or towards the world and people around them. This may include viewing the world differently, and experiencing thoughts of openness towards new ideas.
This can make the user see colours in distorted patterns, have a change in depth perception, and in more extreme cases people might be able to see objects around them transforming.
Feelings of anxiety can be felt as the user may not always feel in control during the experience. This, mixed with the possibility of hallucinations and an altered perception of reality, may cause some people to feel unnerved.
Alongside intense sweating, some users have also experienced feeling clammy and have fluctuating body temperatures.
Psychosis and paranoia
Psychosis is a condition which makes the user lose touch with reality. This can lead to feelings of paranoia. The loss of control can make the user feel unsettled and unsure about their environment and the people around them.
It’s common to experience a range of emotions during a trip, and most users can go from feeling positive feelings to suddenly feeling sad or worried. This can change a number of times.
This can depend on whether the user has eaten before ingesting the mushrooms. In general, most users tend to avoid eating beforehand and only use on a relatively empty stomach.
Increased heart rate
As the chemicals affect the body, this can cause the heart rate to rapidly increase. This can be made worse if the shrooms are consumed alongside other drugs.
Muscle weakness and twitches
This can give the user a feeling of tiredness, or feeling slow when they move. Whilst it shouldn’t be painful, it can be uncomfortable.
Feelings of confusion may occur, especially if the user is experiencing hallucinations and changes in mood. This shouldn’t last the entire trip but can come in waves.
Lack of coordination
Moving around and picking items up may feel harder or slower than usual. The user might feel a little unbalanced as things seem disorientating around them.
What are the known long term side effects of shrooms?
The long term side effects of eating magic mushrooms have not widely been noted. The good news is that taking psilocybin does not appear to cause dependency, and when used in trials for research, it has proven to reduce depression and anxiety.
As many users believe that taking shrooms has given them different perspectives and opened their minds to new ideas, this is a side effect that could affect a user in the long run. Having a more worldly outlook on life and feeling reductions in anxiety and depression can lead to a user having a better mental state.
When used in small amounts it is believed that not many negative side effects have been reported, however in one study, those who abused their consumption and took large amounts experienced conditions such as panic, dysphoria and anxiety.
Some studies have reported that users can experience flashbacks, as well as changes in personality. Recurring flashbacks that happen persistently is a condition called hallucinogen persisting perceptual disorder (HPDD). Whilst it may not be life threatening, it can interfere with the users daily life and routines.
The main side effects that have been noted seem to indicate that psychological issues could arise rather than physical conditions, however this is not an area that has been widely documented or researched into. The lack of information surrounding serious long term side effects doesn’t mean they don’t exist, it’s just an area that needs more documenting.
As with any recreational drug use, it is important to remember that extenuating circumstances can alter the effects that occur. Having pre-existing medical or mental conditions can play a major role in how an experience will play out, as well as mixing shrooms with other substances.