Magic Mushrooms, as they are known, are naturally occurring Fungi which are usually consumed raw or dried and ground up and drank in tea or coffee, and produce hallucinogenic effects. There are many, many different types and varieties of magic mushrooms with varying strengths. Basically the mushrooms free up the imagination to internal or external influences and let it run without bounds, whether the ‘trip’ be pleasurable or a nightmarish experience is almost uncontrollable. It generally takes no longer than an hour for the trip to engage, and can last up to 6 hours. It is like a less intense alternative to the far more dangerous semi-synthetic hallucinogen LSD.
Whilst the long term effects of taking magic mushrooms regularly are somewhat unknown, the biggest problem is their natural availability (they grow in wild grazing fields in or around cow and horse feces). This can be somewhat of an irresistible lure to the thrill seeking mushroom users who’ll go out and collect them on their own thinking every mushroom is consumable. However, not all of these fungi are the desired ones and it can be very difficult to distinguish ones which are or aren’t toxic. Some of these mushrooms are highly poisonous and can kill in a very slow and painful way, for example fever, vomiting and diarrhoea. Some even have a delayed reaction taking days to show any signs or symptoms before taking your life with absolutely no antidote.
Because Magic Mushrooms are naturally occurring and not ‘processed’ in any way before consumption, they are somewhat naively considered a safe drug. Absolutely no drug is safe, and most drugs are naturally occurring or refined from natural plants or fungi anyway. Having said that, they aren’t known as an addictive or heavy drug, nor are they as violent or psychologically damaging as LSD, nor are they socially corroding such as crack or heroin. Depending on the mushroom-users mental predisposition however, mushrooms can have a damaging effect on the user. For instance, if the user is prone to having a fragile mental state or is of a very suggestible nature, they may believe their hallucinations to be the manifestation of something true and become somewhat obsessed with it and damaged by it.
One such documented case of these extremities involved a young man who began taking mushrooms and started having the recurring hallucination of a flower dressed up as a court-jester which repeatedly taunted him with scarring insults. As preposterous as it sounds, without discounting these experiences merely as hallucinations, he believed this abusive-flower to be the manifestation of truths about himself and spiralled into a severe depression. He and his friends admitted he was absolutely fine before taking mushrooms, but somewhere during the course a can of worms was opened for him. Sadly, to this day he still struggles with emotional and mental issues which simply weren’t there before the advent of his life-changing hallucinations. It would be impossible to say for certain in such a case if the mushrooms were responsible for triggering such continuing mental problems, or an underlying mental illness was already present and the mushroom use was inconsequential, but it is always worth bearing in mind.