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Substance Use: Common Drugs

Magic Mushrooms

​​​​​​​​​​​Magic mushrooms (also called shrooms or mushrooms) are a type of mushroom that contains the drugs psilocybin or psilocin. These drugs cause hallucinations. Psilocybin powder can also come in capsule form. 

You can eat mushrooms in fresh or dried form. Powdered psilocybin can be snorted or injected. Mushrooms can also be:
  • steeped into tea
  • added to cooked foods
  • added to fruit juice (if powdered)

Some mushrooms that look like psilocybin mushrooms are poisonous. If you eat a poisonous mushroom, you could damage your liver or even die.

It is against the law to grow, sell, or carry mushrooms. If you get caught, you could be fined or even go to jail. 

What are the short-term effects of mushrooms?

Mushrooms affect everyone differently depending on:
  • how much you take
  • where you are
  • what you expect
  • your age and weight
  • what you've had to eat around the same time
  • past drug use
  • your personality

You can feel the effects of mushrooms in about 30 minutes and they last about 3 to 6 hours. The effects are strongest (the peak) during the first 3 to 4 hours.

Mushrooms can change the way you see, smell, hear, taste, and touch (e.g., you might think you can see music or hear colours). Your body might feel very heavy or very light. You might feel like you are having a magical or religious experience. While taking mushrooms, you might also:
  • have high blood pressure
  • have a faster heart rate
  • feel dizzy or light-headed
  • shiver and have the chills
  • feel anxious
  • have an upset stomach (nausea) or vomit
  • have a numb tongue and mouth

Sometimes the effects of mushrooms can be overwhelming and scary (a bad trip). If someone is having a bad trip, try to help them with calm reassurance.

What are the long-term effects of mushrooms?

Don’t use mushrooms if you are pregnant. It is not known how mushrooms affect pregnant women and the growing baby. Mushrooms sometimes have other drugs added that can harm your baby.

Taking mushrooms with other drugs or alcohol may increase your risk for other health problems.

Can I develop a tolerance or get addicted to mushrooms?

You can build up a tolerance to mushrooms after using every day for as few as 3 or 4 days. This means you need to take more and more of the drug to get “high” like you did the first time. If you use mushrooms for several days in a row (continuous use), you can develop a complete tolerance. 

If you use mushrooms regularly, you can become mentally dependent on the way mushrooms make you feel.

Often, drug users develop serious personal problems. Using drugs or getting high can become more important than your family and friends. You might continue to use drugs even when you are doing badly at work or school. This can cause money, spiritual, and legal problems. You may lose people who are important to you, lose your job, or get kicked out of school.

For more information and to find an addiction services office near you, please contact the Addiction & Mental Health 24 hour Helpline at 1-866-332-​2322.

Current as of: July 10, 2019

Author: Poison & Drug Information Service, Alberta Health Services