Magic Mushrooms (hallucinogens)
There are several varieties of magic mushrooms: "golden tops", "blue meanies" and "liberty caps" found in Australia that have the active hallucinogenic ingredient psilocybin.
Magic mushrooms look much like ordinary dried mushrooms, or they come as a powdered material in capsules. Synthetic psilocybin appears as a white crystalline powder that may be formulated into tablets or capsules, or dissolved in a liquid. Magic mushrooms are usually eaten fresh, cooked or brewed into a "tea". Occasionally, they may be mixed with tobacco or cannabis and smoked.
It is easy to mistake poisonous mushrooms for those containing psilocybin. Certain kinds of poisonous mushrooms can cause death or permanent liver damage within hours of ingestion.
The effects of hallucinogens can last several hours and vary considerably depending on the specific type of hallucinogen. The effects of magic mushrooms and other hallucinogens also depend on the environment in which the drug is taken and the mood and expectations of the person taking it. Some of the typical effects of hallucinogens include:
- blurred vision
- increased breathing rate
- sense of relaxation and well-being
- hallucinations and distorted sensory processing, including visual, auditory, body, time and space perception
- disorganised thoughts, confusion and difficulty concentrating, thinking or maintaining attention
- anxiety, agitation, paranoia and feelings of panic
Treatment is more effective if tailored to suit a person's circumstances, and usually involves a combination of counselling, group therapy, pharmacotherapy and withdrawal programs.
Source of information: DrugInfo Clearinghouse - Australian Drug Foundation
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