Psilocybin: Is It Legal?
What Is Psilocybin?
Psilocybin is a naturally-occurring substance found in wild or cultivated mushrooms, otherwise known as magic mushrooms. Other slang terms for these mushrooms include shrooms, blue meanies, mushies, liberty caps, and golden tops. The substance of psilocybin is hallucinogenic and psychoactive. While it is primarily found in mushrooms, psilocybin is also available in a clear brown liquid.
Magic mushrooms grow in different regions of South America, Europe, Mexico, & the United States and are currently one of the most well-known psychedelics in the world. In fact, they have been used in some European and Native American cultures for centuries. They look like ordinary mushrooms, but stand apart by having long and slender stems. These mushrooms typically have dark brown caps with a white or light brown color in the center. ‘Shrooms’ can be eaten by themselves, mixed into food, blended into tea and other drinks, or mixed with tobacco and smoked.
When psilocybin is consumed, it converts to psilocin in the body. Psilocin works to influence serotonin levels in the brain and can cause many varied positive and negative effects.
Effects of Magic Mushrooms
The effects of psilocybin take about 20-40 minutes to begin and may last about six hours after consuming mushrooms. Side effects vary based on one’s dosage, emotional state, environment, weight, age, and other factors. Effects of psilocybin use may include:
- A sense of euphoria
- A sense of connection
- Distorted sense of time
- Dilated pupils
- Feeling relaxed
- Feeling drowsy
- Being introspective
- Spiritual experiences
Psilocybin has a high potential for misuse, but it is not necessarily an addictive substance. In fact, this compound is sometimes used in some forms of psychotherapy to relieve effects of depression, eating disorders, cancer-related distress, and substance abuse.
Is Psilocybin Legal?
While psilocybin may be available as a form of alternative medicine and has been used around the world for centuries, it is not technically legal in the United States. The only state that mushrooms are currently legal in is Oregon, which legalized the drug in 2020 with the condition of a 2-year experimental period.
Mushrooms were decriminalized in 2019 in cities such as Denver, Colorado and Oakland, California. That means that even though they are not technically legalized, individuals cannot be arrested for having or using mushrooms. This is because these cities cannot “spend resources to impose criminal penalties.”
The Status of Magic Mushrooms Today
Psilocybin is not currently accepted for medical use in the US, but psilocybin is sometimes used as part of combination therapy. In light of recent decriminalization of mushrooms in some cities and the legalization in Oregon, there is constantly research being done to determine whether psilocybin is appropriate for medical use. Some researchers are aiming to change psilocybin from a Schedule I Controlled Substance to a Schedule IV drug.
Being Responsible With Psilocybin
Even though psilocybin isn’t addictive and is sometimes used as a form of treatment, it can pose its own set of risks. For example, magic mushrooms may cause:
- Increased anxiety of paranoia
- Increased tolerance
- Bad trips
Psilocybin should not be used with alcohol or other drugs. Magic mushrooms may be mistaken with poisonous mushrooms, which could be deadly.
To learn more about psilocybin and to see if yourself or a loved one may need treatment, contact our team of substance abuse specialists by calling 866-345-2147.