Are Psilocybin “Magic” Mushrooms Addictive?

Psilocybin mushrooms lack the same addictive potential of more common drugs of abuse (e.g., opioids, stimulants). Studies show that people who use mushrooms regularly do not follow typical patterns of addiction3, although they may continue to use to attain pleasurable feelings associated with use, which can lead to somewhat problematic, compulsive patterns of use.

This page will go over the effects of psilocybin mushrooms, the risks of use, addiction potential and how to get help if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction.

What Are Psilocybin Mushrooms?

While there are many types of mushrooms in the world, a few varieties contain a chemical called psilocybin, which can have hallucinogenic effects when ingested.1 Psilocybin mushrooms are native to Central and North America, in countries that include Mexico and the United States.1

While these mushrooms have been used for centuries by indigenous populations for religious and social rites, they became widely used as part of the counterculture movement of the 1960s until they were made illegal in 1968.2

Psilocybin mushrooms may also be called:1,2 

  • Hallucinogenic mushrooms
  • Magic mushrooms
  • Shrooms
  • Psychedelic mushrooms

Though some proponents urge further investigation into psilocybin for potential therapeutic benefits, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) currently lists mushrooms as a Schedule I substance.1,3 Schedule I drugs have a high risk for abuse, no known medical benefits, and are not approved for any use, even under the care of a doctor.1

Psilocybin Mushrooms Effects

Psilocybin interacts with our brain’s serotonergic neurotransmitter system in a way thought to underlie the various physiological and hallucinogenic effects associated with the drug.2,3  Many factors can influence the effects of the drug, including:2

  • The potency or amount of mushrooms ingested.
  • Prior experiences with mushrooms.
  • Your personality.
  • The setting you are in when you take the drug.
  • Your mental state at the time of ingestion.

Though cultivated for illicit use, some hallucinogenic mushrooms may also be encountered in the wild. Psilocybin containing mushrooms can be ingested in various ways.1,2 Most commonly, mushrooms are eaten fresh or dried, mixed with another food to cover the unpleasant taste, or brewed into a tea.1,2

Magic Mushroom Side Effects

Mushrooms may have a range of side effects, including:1,2

  • Increased or distorted sensory perception.
  • Hallucinations affecting sight, sound, or touch.
  • Altered perception of time and space.
  • Synesthesia (mixing senses such as hearing colors or seeing sounds).
  • Altered sense of presence, such as feeling light, heavy, or out of body.
  • Difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality.
  • Increased feelings of spirituality or harmony with the universe.
  • Impaired judgment.
  • Trouble focusing, concentrating, or thinking.
  • Restlessness, tension, or anxiety.
  • Tiredness.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Flushing of the face.
  • Dizziness.
  • Loss of coordination.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Stomach cramps or diarrhea.
  • Muscle weakness or twitching.
  • Raised blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate.

Dangers of Misusing Psilocybin Mushrooms

Many people believe that mushrooms are entirely safe, but this is not always true. There are potential dangers related to ingesting mushrooms.1-5

It can be difficult to tell the difference between hallucinogenic mushrooms and different types of mushrooms, some of which can be toxic. Ingesting the wrong kind of mushrooms can be dangerous or even deadly.

The effects of mushrooms can make you do things or act in ways you may not normally. People have been reported to behave aggressively, act violently, or even put themselves or others in dangerous situations.

Using mushrooms can have negative effects on your mental health. Mushroom use may be associated with a long-term condition known as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPDD),5 which involves sudden flashbacks that can occur at any time without warning. Flashbacks can involve aspects of previous “trips,” including hallucinations, and can be extremely disruptive to your ability to function normally.

Psilocybin Mushroom Overdose and Withdrawal

Since mushrooms are grown naturally and not synthesized in a lab, it is difficult to monitor and regulate the dosage. It is estimated that a lethal dose would be 1,000 times that of an effective dose, making it highly unlikely for someone to overdose on mushrooms unless an underlying health condition existed.

With no significant physiological dependence associated with the drug, withdrawal is not likely, although it may take a day or two to feel normal after ingesting mushrooms. You may feel lingering effects of the mushrooms, like feeling tired or having difficulty discerning fantasy or dreams from reality.

Demographics of Psilocybin Mushroom Misuse and Addiction

A 2017 survey of US residents aged 12 and older found that about 42 million people reported using any hallucinogen at some point in their life.6 Lifetime use of hallucinogens was greatest in people aged 30-34, with males of all ages reporting more use than females.6 Of those people who reported hallucinogen use in their lifetime, 2.4 million reported using psilocybin specifically.

People sometimes ingest mushrooms alongside other drugs, like MDMA, marijuana, and alcohol. Another survey found that as of 2018, 4.5% of high school seniors had used a hallucinogen other than LSD—a category that includes mushrooms—at least once in their lifetime, and 0.9% of those high school seniors reported using other hallucinogens at least once in the past month, although the study did not measure mushroom use individually.7

Mushrooms Addiction Treatment

There are currently no medications that treat addiction to mushrooms or other hallucinogens.5 If you know someone who is struggling with hallucinogen use, they may also have a problem with other substances.

Additionally, repeated use of mushrooms quickly leads to significant tolerance, to the point that the drug becomes nearly ineffective no matter how large the dose. If a person has a tolerance to psilocybin, they may also have a tolerance to similar hallucinogens, such as LSD. This is known as cross-tolerance.

Though rare, there is some evidence that classic hallucinogens such as psilocybin may trigger or worsen certain mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, manic episodes, or depression. At-risk people who use these substances regularly or on a long-term basis could have a greater likelihood of developing a co-occurring mental health disorder.4,5

People who use mushrooms or other drugs are also more likely to struggle with a co-occurring mental health disorder.4,5 If problematic hallucinogen use or if polysubstance abuse involving mushrooms is negatively impacting someone’s life, addiction treatment can help.

Addiction Treatment Near Dallas, TX

If you or someone you love is struggling with mushroom misuse or drug or alcohol misuse, it’s time to reach out to get the help you deserve. At our drug and alcohol rehab in Grand Prairie our team of specialists help people get on the road to recovery and back to living the live they deserve.

To find out more about our different levels of care, contact our helpful and knowledgeable admissions navigators at . They can give you more information about our inpatient rehab, outpatient treatment programming, our other types of rehab. Our navigators can answer your questions about insurance coverage for rehab, ways to pay for treatment, and walk you through how to start admissions.

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