Tripping on Shrooms
Mushrooms have a lot in common with LSD in terms of how they affect the body. Both are psychotropic drugs and act on the central nervous system to produce their effects. Many people have described a mushroom trip as a milder, shorter version of an LSD trip. Like LSD, magic mushrooms don't technically cause hallucinations, or visions of things that aren't actually there. Instead, they distort the perception of actual objects [source: Drug Scope].
People tripping on mushrooms might see things in different colors or see patterns. Existing colors, sounds, tastes and textures may be distorted, while feelings and emotions intensify. It can feel like time has sped up, slowed down or stopped completely. There can be a changed perception of one's place in the universe and a feeling of communing with a higher power.
As with LSD, what happens on a mushroom trip varies by person, dosage and the type of mushroom eaten, as some are more powerful than others. "Set and setting," or the emotional state of the user and the type of environment he or she is in, play a big part in whether the trip is positive. Users who are in a poor mental state or a highly structured environment are more likely to have a bad trip, which is when you feel paranoid, anxious, nervous or even terrified instead of euphoric. The only way to get over a bad trip is to wait it out. New users are often advised to have an experienced friend with them to guide them through the experience.
Taking mushrooms can cause dizziness, nausea and other stomach problems, muscle weakness, loss of appetite and numbness. These symptoms subside as the trip comes to an end. Some mushroom users smoke marijuana to combat the nausea.
Mushrooms aren't considered to be addictive, but tolerance builds up very quickly – taking mushrooms two days in a row often results in a less intense experience the second day, for example. There may be cross-tolerance with some other psychotropic drugs like LSD, mescaline and peyote, which means that taking one can build up tolerance for another [source: National Drug Intelligence Center].
So, are they dangerous? People with mental illnesses (diagnosed or not) have had their symptoms exacerbated through the use of mushrooms. There's no evidence of death caused by magic mushrooms; the amount that one would have to eat to cause death is hundreds of times greater than the normal dose. Death can result from taking misidentified mushrooms, however. With that in mind, let's look at the different types of magic mushrooms next.