Psilocybin (mushrooms)

Overview of Psilocybin

Classic hallucinogens, such as psilocybin (commonly known as magic mushrooms or shrooms), alter people’s awareness, surroundings, thoughts and feelings. They can cause hallucinations, sensations or images that appear to be real but are not. Hallucinogens can either be extracted from plants or synthetic (human-made). They are commonly used for recreational or social purposes, to have fun, deal with stress, have spiritual experiences, or to feel different.

Psilocybin is known as 4-phosphoryloxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine and comes from various mushrooms found in South America, Mexico, and the United States. It is commonly consumed raw or dried or brewed into tea.

Effects of Psilocybin

Hallucinogens disrupt communication between brain chemical systems throughout the brain and spinal cord. They interfere with the actions of serotonin, a brain chemical that regulates:

  • Mood
  • Sensory perception
  • Sleep
  • Hunger
  • Body temperature
  • Sexual behavior

Hallucinations begin within 20 to 90 minutes and can last up to 12 hours or as short as 15 minutes. These experiences are known as “trips” and can sometimes be unpleasant (“bad trip”). Other general effects include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Intensified feelings and sensory experiences (seeing brighter colors)
  • Changes in sense of time (time is passing slowly)

Short term effects of hallucinogens include:

  • Increased blood pressure, breathing, or temperature
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleep problems
  • Panic
  • Paranoia (extreme and unreasonable distrust of others)
  • Psychosis
  • Bizarre behaviors

Long Term Effects

Long term effects include persistent psychosis or other mental problems that involve visual disturbances, disorganized thinking, paranoia, and mood changes. Another long-term effect is hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) that involves onset of hallucinations and other drug experiences without the consumption of the drug. These symptoms may occur up to a year after drug use and are commonly mistaken for a brain tumor or stroke.

These conditions are more often occurring in people with family histories of mental illness. There are other harmful effects of using hallucinogens such as:

  • Encouraging an individual to perform behaviors that they would never do in real life
  • Accidental poisoning from consuming poisonous mushrooms that result in severe illness or possible death

Hallucinogens can be addictive and tolerances can be built such that individuals need to consume a higher dose in order to receive the same effects.


If you think you or a friend may have an issue with psilocybin (mushrooms) or other hallucinogens, call (530) 752-6334 or go to Health-e-messaging and log in to schedule an appointment with the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Intervention Services Coordinator. There is no charge for the confidential appointment.



National Institute on Drug Abuse - Hallucinogens 

Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Intervention Services