When and where did mushrooms originate?

It is possible that psychedelic mushrooms or otherwise known as “magic” mushrooms were used in ancient rituals dating as far back as 9,000 B.C. This can only be an assumption based on cave paintings and statues found in Northern Africa and Central America, notably in the ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures. It is believed that the hallucinogenic properties of the fungi were used to communicate with gods as it created deep spiritual visuals and connections to a spiritual realm.

Today, anthropologists have verified that the mushrooms are used in religious ceremonies among Central American natives like the Mazatec, Mixtec, Nauhua and Zapatec. This may confirm its ancient practice in this particular region.

Since most mushrooms grow naturally in tropical climates and look like ordinary mushrooms, they were not widely used in western cultures until the 1950s. This occurred when R. Gordon Wasson, a mycologist, traveled to Mexico to observe the Mazatec tribe. Here he witnessed the shaman-led ritual using the mushrooms. He later wrote about his experience in Time magazine. Wasson’s colleague, Albert Hofmann, decided to bring some of the psychoactive chemical found in mushrooms, psilocybin, back to the U.S.

A few years later, after reading the Time article, Timothy Leary, the father of the psychedelic movement in the 1960s, introduced the drug into the hippie counter-culture. This initiated the use of mushrooms throughout the western world.

What do mushrooms look like?

According to the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, there are 144 known species of psychedelic mushrooms. Latin America and the Caribbean contain 50 of those strains, Mexico hosts 53 kinds, North American surprisingly has 22 types, 16 are in Europe, 19 in Australia and the Pacific Isles, 15 throughout Asia, and only 4 in Africa. Many of these species can be easily confused with edible, non-psychedelic mushrooms as well as the poisonous kind.

All mushrooms have caps and stems and produce spores that are naturally carried by the wind and then germinated in the soil, on trees, and rocks. “Magic” mushrooms are different as they contain a psychedelic element called psilocybin, which when ingested turns to psilocin that affects you neurologically.

How are mushrooms taken?

Mushrooms, when not fresh, usually come in a dehydrated form. They can then be eaten as is, made into teas, chocolates, or even crushed and put into capsules and swallowed.

What are some mushroom drug facts?

Mushrooms are classified as a hallucinogenic, which means that it causes you to see and hear things that may not be there. They also alter objects and colors, making shapes expand and contract and colors blend and swirl. Also, they can cause unusual thoughts, feelings of euphoria, empathy, and unity with other beings.

Mushroom drug facts from studies prove that the reason for these changes is because psilocybin connects parts of the brain that aren’t usually inline. It also binds your receptors to the serotonin neurotransmitters which is the chemical that brings you pleasure. It can slow down parts of the brain such as the thalamus, which allows information to travel easily throughout the brain making new connections possible.

It takes about 30 minutes for these effects of mushrooms to begin and can last anywhere between 4-6 hours depending on how they are ingested, quantity taken, your food intake that day, your tolerance of the drug, your weight, and the potency of the mushroom.

The physical consequences of taking mushrooms can lead to stomach aches or nausea followed by an initial high or giddiness. The increase in thoughts may develop into anxiety, which leads to an increase in your heart rate as well as your body temperature. You may feel hot and cold at the same time almost like a sweat-like fever. These symptoms come and go depending on the kind of mushroom and your environment.

Over consumption of mushrooms can cause severe anxiety in some cases that may have long-term effects. It can also cause vomiting or diarrhea as your body tries to remove the drug. Eating is usually difficult as your sense of taste dissipates. Although eating can help relieve these overactive symptoms.

What are mushroom’s short-term effects?

After taking mushrooms, your body and mind can be exhausted and overwhelmed. You can feel foggy as you are still recalling strange thoughts and projecting outward. Depression may start the next day or it may begin a day or two after the experience. Depending on the individual, this may feel like an alcoholic hang-over. These symptoms last for a few days.

What are mushroom’s long-term effects?

Long-term effects can be in the form of flashbacks, the feeling like you are hallucinating again at a random moment. This can be initiated by stress, exhaustion, or while exercising. It also may cause social awkwardness as you feel you have experienced something unusual. You may feel a disconnect from the norms of society like unnatural concepts such as money or material possession. Your feelings could also go in the opposite direction feeling more unified with society. It all depends on your emotional, mental, and environmental state that you are experiencing in your life.

Are mushrooms illegal?

Yes, mushrooms have been classified as an illegal schedule 1 substance since the 1970s. It is illegal to sell, possess, or consume full-grown mushrooms. It is legal to possession their spores.

Are there medicinal properties to mushrooms?

Small doses of psilocybin are being used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. Other controlled studies show that peoples’ experiences after mushrooms can lead to an increase in joy and a feeling of connectiveness to the Earth and all living things. They report to be more open-minded and appreciative of art. Another study done on mice showed that psilocybin relinquishes internal fear, which would be helpful for people suffering from PTSD after war.