While magic mushrooms are often sought out for a peaceful high, shrooms have been reported to induce anxiety, frightening hallucinations, paranoia, and confusion in some.3
Hospital admissions related to the use of magic mushrooms are often connected to what is known colloquially as a “bad trip.”
Magic mushrooms have been used for thousands of years for both spiritual and medicinal uses among indigenous people of America and Europe.
Shrooms have a long history of being associated with spiritual experiences and self-discovery. Many believe that naturally occurring drugs like magic mushrooms, weed, and mescaline are sacred herbs that enable people to attain superior spiritual states. Others take magic mushrooms to experience a sense of euphoria, connection, and a distorted sense of time.
The psilocybin found in shrooms is converted to psilocin in the body and is believed to influence serotonin levels in the brain, leading to altered and unusual perceptions. The effects take 20 to 40 minutes to begin and can last up to 6 hours—the same amount of time it takes for psilocin to be metabolized and excreted.4
Researchers tend to advise against self-medicating with psilocybin because outside of a clinical setting, it may be harder to manage your anxiety while under the influence (potentially leading to a bad trip), you may take too high of a dosage, and it’s hard to know the purity of the drug if you’re purchasing it from an unregulated source.5
In addition, people with pre-existing mental health conditions may be more likely to experience adverse effects from psilocybin.