A magic mushroom is any mushroom that has psychoactive properties. Psychoactive property is the ability of a compound to induce our bodies to react a certain way like the experience of feeling high or stoned for those who use marijuana. The psychoactive properties of marijuana are due to the tetrahydrocannabinol content of marijuana. It is received by our bodies’ endocannabinoid systems that make our bodies release hormones. These hormones relieve pain, relaxes our bodies or induce sleep and appetite.
Since THC is a cannabinoid, it gets naturally received by our endocannabinoid system. It happens without affecting our bodies negatively like nicotine, alcohol, and others.
Other non-cannabis plants also produce cannabinoids such as THC. Coneflowers, helichrysum, electric daisies, and liverwort all have natural THC. All these plants have been used as a natural remedy for different ailments such as bronchitis, toothaches, and others. These have also been reported to have been used in religious ceremonies in Africa and other continents. The term ‘magic mushroom’ is a name it deserves very well.
A Different Kind of High
In mushrooms, the most common psychoactive ingredients psilocybin, psilocin, and baecystocin. These are all different compounds all together that you could find in marijuana.
Psilocybin is a natural psychedelic compound that is produced by at least 180 mushroom strains. Through metabolism, psilocybin is quickly converted in our bodies into psilocin which has mind-altering effects similar to that of LSD. Psilocin induces the body to experience euphoria, relaxation and some spiritual experiences just like marijuana THC.
These mushroom species that contain psilocybin use this compound as a defense mechanism. Such reduces the appetite of insects like ants so that they would not eat the entire mushroom. This compound has a different effect on humans – we get high.
How does Psilocybin work?
Psilocybin works by directly interacting with the brain by diverting or rewriting the brain’s information pathways. A brief comparison between normal brain function and that which is under the effect of psilocybin is that it is more active than a normal brain. Psilocybin that gets converted to psilocin in your stomach bind with the serotonin receptor 2A. Serotonin is a chemical that is produced by the nerve cells and is used for signaling and could be found also in the platelets and the entire central nervous system.
This binding with serotonin receptors triggers neuronal avalanching as experts call it which is what they call a chain of changes that happens in the brain. A change in visual perception is brought about by the effect on the visual cortex by the psilocin. Psilocin is even reported to make a person lose a sense of ego as the euphoric feeling trigger a greater sense of unity among groups of individuals who take psilocybin. Increased connectivity between different areas of the brain improves overall brain synchronization between compartmentalized brain areas that often do not work well together in normal situations.
Medical Uses of Magic Mushrooms
Medical mushrooms are not only popular among recreational consumers. Magic mushrooms could be consumed by boiling a gram of dried magic mushroom for a cup of tea. Juicing, mixing it with food or just eating a whole mushroom raw are some of the straightforward ways of consuming magic mushrooms.
The effects of magic mushrooms on the brain as it creates different connections within it is most essential in combating psychological conditions such as depression and addiction. People who get high with magic mushrooms are more in tuned into introspections and speaking up about their problems which is the most important part of psychotherapy. The loss of a sense of ego is helping people deal with their inner problems. This was shown in a 2016 study that 80 percent of cancer patients who were given psilocybin experienced lesser depressed moods.
Despite this, psilocybin is still a Schedule 1 drug that is classified as having no medical use but has a high potential for abuse despite the lack of proof of its adverse effects except for some impairment of motor skills within hours of ingesting magic mushroom.
Types of Magic Mushrooms
Often referred to as the large magic mushrooms that grow up to 20-80mm in diameter. These are usually found growing on the dung of cattle in humid climates in the United States, Central America, South America, and Southeast Asia. Physically, they are reddish-brown and have a white or yellow stem. They are usually referred to locally as ‘golden teacher’ mushrooms and have been widely cultivated in Cuba and many parts of the world.
This strain, on the other hand, could be found in grassy areas and is a fairly small mushroom with a pointed cap. These are also called as liberty caps and among the most potent of all mushrooms. Their conical or bell-shaped caps have a typical diameter of 5-22mm and a body length of 6-22mm. It is naturally found in North America and Europe.
This strain looks exactly like the Psilocybe semilanceata but has weaker psychotropic properties.
This strain also looks like the semilanceata. It naturally grows in the forests and mountains of Central and South America. It has been used by indigenous people for thousands of years.
This strain ofter grows on rotting organic things like logs, peat, mulch, and others and has a brownish cap and yellowish stem.
This strain is found in North America, Western, and Central Europe, New Zealand and Iran. Also known as wavy caps, these mushrooms grow as big as 15-50mm in diameter. They are caramel-colored when wet and become yellowish when dried.
Usually found in the Pacific Northwest of the US, these are known locally as knobby tops, bluebells and by other names and are characterized by their blue, medium-sized caps. They also love to grow on rotting organic matter and could be found under bigger plants such as roses and others.
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Word of Caution
Despite the good things about magic mushrooms, bear in mind that not all mushrooms are magic mushrooms, even if they look exactly alike in photos. Always buy magic mushrooms from legitimate sellers wherever it is legal to do so. Do not simply pick up or eat any mushroom that you find in the wild. Treat each of those as potentially dangerous. If you wished to be sure, ask the nearest mushroom expert or agriculturist in your area. Bring them the exact mushrooms. Avoid asking online by simply showing pictures as magic mushrooms and poison mushrooms may look exactly alike.
Experiences could also differ greatly between different people as to the method of preparation, individual potency of each strain and mushrooms of the same strain and individual responses between each one of us. Enjoy your magic mushrooms by having the correct knowledge about them first and foremost.