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Rily Quinonez

HLTH 1050-007
Magic Mushrooms
Humans have been using and benefitting from mushrooms since the Paleolithic era
as seen in various cave paintings in what is now the Sahara desert. The frozen nomad
nicknamed the Iceman, discovered in the last decade locked in ice was carrying mushrooms
with him. The mushrooms he carried could be used to carry an ember for long periods so
fires could easily be moved long distances.
Hallucinogenic mushrooms have also been apart of our history for some time, also
seen in cave paintings dating back 7,000 years. There are images of people with mushrooms
that seem to be sprouting from their minds. Many historians have postulated that the Soma
from Hindu Vedic scripture, an object that causes spontaneous enlightenment, is a
hallucinogenic mushroom. Our Christmas tradition that we practice today may have
stemmed from a ceremony involving psychedelic mushrooms. The pagan shamanistic tribes
that our Christmas traditions come from used to give out mushrooms during the winter
solstice. (McKenna) The mushroom they would gift was the Fly amanita, which is known for
its iconic red and white spotted cap; their shamans of the time would be our Santas today.
The psychedelic mushrooms used recreationally today are much different than the
Christmas amanita, most today are know as psilocybin mushrooms. These mushrooms are
those that contain the psychedelic compounds, psilocybin, psilocin, baeocystin, and
norbaeocystin. The most powerful of these chemicals are psilocybin and psilocin. Once
introduced into the brain they facilitate a flood of serotonin to the brain, which causes the
famous psychedelic effects of psilocybin mushrooms. There are many different genera of

mushrooms containing psilocybin but the most commonly used in the species, psilocybe
cubensis. There are several mushrooms from the genus panaeolus that contain up to ten
times more psilocybin than psilocybe cubensis that are also sometimes seen. With so many
different species of psychedelic mushrooms it can be very difficult for the untrained eye to
recognize them. One the easiest way to tell that you are dealing with a psilocybe mushroom
is to check for blue bruising. Almost all psilocybin-containing mushrooms will bruise blue
wherever you touch them giving you a reliable sign they are psychoactive.
They effects associated with psilocybin include but are not limited to: intense anxiety,
nausea, feelings of euphoria, intense laughter, changes in thinking, emotional sensitivity,
feelings of wonder or insight, and time alteration perception. Many people have many
different experiences with psychedelic mushrooms ranging from life changing and positive
to dark and incredibly terrifying. Yet, if there is one thing that seems to determine the
outcome of a trip the most it is the situation and metal state in which you choose have it.
Those that have taken mushrooms in a positive, comfortable environment with people they
trust seem to have only uplifting experiences. On the other hand, those who take them in a
situation they are not entirely comfortable with are much more likely to have a bad trip. It is
this relationship with ones surroundings that can make or break a mushroom experience.
Those that Ive spoken to that have had one or more experiences with mushrooms have said
that the best place to do them is outside in the sun with a good friend. They say that in a
situation like this, it is more or a less a guarantee that youll have a good time.
An item of great concern when it comes to any drug is its safety. Fortunately for the
mushroom user there have been no studies showing mushrooms to be physically addictive
nor is there a high or even moderate risk of overdose. There have been no recorded deaths
that can be attributed to mushrooms alone. (Erowid 2013) The margin of safety for

psilocybin is very large, which means the difference between the effective and lethal dose is
large. A typical mushroom dose is two to six grams, and its estimated that it would take over
thirty pounds of mushrooms to be lethal. In fact, the margin of safety for psilocybin is much
greater than many legal prescription drugs. Not only has psilocybin been shown to be
virtually harmless in proper doses, but also a study out of a Florida university has shown that
the chemical actually increases brain cell production. (Seaburn 2014) They proved that
psilocybin aids in brain cell reproduction and repair. They did this by training mice to fear a
sound by shocking them whenever it was heard, then cured them of their post-traumatic
stress by giving them doses of psilocybin. With this evidence, it is unfortunate that
mushrooms are often met with fear and strong opposition. If they could be used to cure our
veterans on PTSD they are worth exploring.
The mushroom experience is one that many do not regret, often associated with
increased spirituality and new perspectives; it has the power to be completely life changing.
Although the experience can be powerfully positive it can also be powerfully negative, that is
why mushrooms are not a drug to approach with a carefree attitude. They will show you
what is inside of you good or bad and if youre not ready to face that then mushrooms are
not for you. Like with any psychedelic drug, mushrooms require education before one can
be fully prepared for the experience.

"Erowid Psilocybin Mushroom (Magic Mushrooms) : Fatalities / Deaths."Erowid Psilocybin
Mushroom (Magic Mushrooms) : Fatalities / Deaths. 25 June 2013. Web. 9 Nov. 2014.
Seaburn, Paul. "New Brain Cells From Mushrooms Is More Than Magic | Mysterious
Universe." Mysterious Universe. 18 Apr. 2014. Web. 9 Nov. 2014.
McKenna, Caitlin. "When Santa Was a Mushroom: Amanita Muscaria and the Origins of
Christmas." Entheologycom RSS. Web. 9 Nov. 2014.