Psilocybin mushrooms, or “shrooms,” are fungi that can alter consciousness and create vivid hallucinations. These mushrooms can be found in the United States, Mexico, and South America’s tropical and subtropical climates. Like with any other substance, there is a risk of overdosing, however, with shrooms, it’s something totally different. We will investigate whether it is possible to overdose on mushrooms and discuss the potential side effects a psychonaut may experience.
- While overdosing on shrooms is possible, it differs from overdosing on drugs like opioids or stimulants.
- Shroom overdose usually leads to a “bad trip,” followed by unpleasant symptoms including panic attacks, paranoia, and even seizures.
- Psilocybin, the active compound in shrooms, has low toxicity, with the estimated lethal dose being significantly higher than the a person can consume.
- Risks associated with shroom consumption include confusion with deadly species which can lead to allergic reactions, respiratory distress, and organ failure.
What are Shrooms
Indigenous groups have traditionally used psychedelic mushrooms to connect with the spiritual realm. Shrooms became popular during the hippie era in the 1960s. Nowadays, they are frequently misused most notably as a recreational substance during events such as music festivals. Magic mushrooms have a long history and have been consumed in both fresh and dried forms. Psilocybin-rich mushrooms are easily integrated into a variety of dishes to mask the unpleasant mushroom taste. They can also be dried and ground into a powder for prolonged storage.
Psilocybin is also used in therapeutic settings showing promising results in treatment of mental health conditions. Several clinical trials have been conducted to investigate its efficacy in treating illnesses such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and addiction. As a matter of facts, psilocybin has shown great potential in treating addiction. Psilocybin is supposed to alter mental processes by interrupting the habitual thinking and behavior that contribute to fixation and substance misuse.
Can You Overdose On Shrooms
Overdoing on shrooms is possible, although it’s a bit different. Consuming a larger amount of mushrooms or miscalculating the dose can cause unpleasant physical and mental symptoms, some of which can be serious.
The following are common symptoms of a psychedelic mushroom overdose:
- Panic attacks and anxiety.
- Vomiting and diarrhea.
Another symptom connected with psychedelic mushrooms is a “bad trip”, This occurrence is defined as an abrupt unfavorable psychological reaction to the hallucinogenic effects or a negative overall experience with the substance.
What’s Triggers a Bad Trip?
A bad trip can be impacted by a variety of factors, and anyone who uses psychedelic substances is at risk of experiencing one. Some factors that can increase the likelihood of a disastrous trip include:
- Taking higher doses of shrooms
- Being in a negative emotional state
- Simultaneous use of alcohol with psychedelics
- Lack of a supportive presence while using psychedelic drugs
- Inadequate hydration
Although avoiding these risk factors can decrease the chances of having a bad trip, it’s important to note that the possibility exists for anyone, regardless of their experience with psychedelic drugs. Even individuals who have used these substances for years without incident can unexpectedly have a bad trip, even if they haven’t altered their usage habits.
Is Psilocybin Toxic?
The toxicity of psilocybin is notably low, with the estimated lethal dose being 1000 times the psychoactive dose. Even at high doses capable of inducing psychosis (30mg per 70kg of body weight), the impact on human heart rate and blood pressure is only slightly and transiently affected.
The question of whether psilocybin mushrooms can cause physiological harm to the human body remains a topic of debate among scientists. Some reviews have highlighted isolated cases of cardiovascular and cerebral damage attributed to psilocybin. Contrary surveys of medical literature assert that, as a class, hallucinogens have not been demonstrated to cause organ damage or neuropsychological harm.
Psilocybin mushrooms are relatively low in toxicity, and overdose deaths are quite rare. According to a 2016 survey of over 12,000 psilocybin users, only 0.2% required emergency medical attention. This incidence is five times lower than that reported with stimulants such as MDMA (Ecstasy), LSD, and cocaine.
In therapeutic use, when psilocybin is administered itself, the negative effects are minimal. The largest controlled study on psilocybin safety, conducted by King’s College London, reported that subjects experienced no serious adverse effects
People occasionally mention their experiences with psilocybin overdoses, frequently pointing to highly intense trips. These interactions go beyond the light effects of smaller dosages, involving full-fledged, and sometimes distressing, hallucinations, as well as moments of ego death.
Overdoses leading to physiological consequences are extremely rare. Only two deaths in the scientific literature have been directly attributed to psilocybin overdoses without the presence of additional substances. However, scientists are skeptical of the authenticity of these allegations, claiming that other reasons may have led to the fatalities.
The lethal dose of psilocybin in humans remains unknown. In rats, the median lethal dose is 280mg per kilogram of body mass, which is one and a half times the caffeine lethal dose. To get this concentration, a 60 kg (130 lb) person would have to consume 37 pounds of fresh mushrooms. Considering the vomiting and nausea induced by psilocybin mushrooms, achieving such a consumption level is likely physiologically impossible.
An overdose usually lasts 6-8 hours, though certain effects can last for several days. In general, the effects of psilocybin are unpredictable and can be greatly impacted by the user’s mindset and the environment in which the substance is consumed.
What Are the Risks?
The biggest risk associated with mushroom consumption is the possibility of confusion between edible and deadly species, with Amanita, Gyromitra, and Cortinarius being especially dangerous. Learning how to properly identify shrooms is a must, regardless of how you got them. Never eat random mushrooms as they can cause serious threats to your health such as allergic reactions, respiratory distress, or organ failure.
Psilocybin is a double-edged sword, it can help in the treatment of some mental health conditions while for others it may worsen the symptoms. One such example is schizophrenia. People with a family history of this disease should avoid psychedelics altogether.
In rare cases, frequent users of magic mushrooms may develop hallucinogenic persistent perception disorder (HPPD), which is defined as ongoing sensory disturbances even in the absence of recent use of psychoactive substances. Visual symptoms may include trails accompanying moving objects, heightened hues, halos, and afterimages that last for weeks, months, or even years.
Another concern is unintentionally consuming substances other than psilocybin. Some products may be laced with other chemicals, therefore getting shrooms from a reputable source is crucial.
Overdosing on shrooms is possible but it’s usually not life threatening. For psilocybin to be deadly it would require large quantities, usually more than a person can ingest. However, if combined with anti-depressant medication such as SSRI or MAOI it can pose a serious threat of developing a serotonin syndrome which is no joke.
To avoid overdosing on shrooms always play your cards right, start with a tiny amount and dose if needed. If the effects do not match your expectations, wait at least two hours before taking more. Stay safe, stay lifted, and happy tripping!