The Magic in 'Magic Mushrooms'
We’re about to look into the science of this ancient hallucinogen, so if you’re one of those folks who likes to keep the mystery of magic in your life, please proceed to the next article.
To begin, psilocybin is the formal name. It’s a hallucinogenic substance obtained from certain types of mushrooms found in regions of Europe, South America, Mexico and the U.S. It’s a schedule I controlled substance, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse and serves no legitimate medical purpose.
Its effects are similar to LSD. People use psilocybin recreationally for the feelings of euphoria and sensory distortion that are common to hallucinogenic drugs. Although it is not considered an addictive substance, users have been known to experience disturbing hallucinations, anxiety and panic from using psilocybin.
And one can imagine much (sometimes fatal) trial and error on the part of the ancients who first discovered “tripping” on this spore-bearing, fruiting body of a fungus. The mushrooms containing psilocybin are small, brown or tan, and could easily be mistaken for any number of inedible or poisonous mushrooms in the wild.
Potency depends on species, origin, growing conditions, harvest period and whether it’s ingested fresh or dried. The amount of active ingredients in dried mushrooms is about 10 times higher than the amount found in fresh mushrooms.
And so, to complete our study, we’ll end with a list of just a few of the names by which the “magic” is otherwise known: Boomers, zoomers, mushies, simple Simon, shrooms, little smoke, God’s flesh, purple passion and mushroom soup.