Also Known As: Shrooms, Mushies, Liberty Cap Mushrooms, Fly Agaric Mushrooms

Category: Hallucinogen

WHAT IS IT?

‘Magic mushrooms’ is a slang term for psilocybe semilanceata or ‘liberty cap’ mushrooms (the most common type of ‘magic mushroom’ in the UK) and any other mushroom which produces similar ’trippy’ effects, like hallucinations.

It is important to know that different types of ‘magic mushroom’ will differ in how strong and how toxic they are. For example, the amanita muscaria or ‘fly agaric’ mushroom is stronger than the traditional ‘liberty cap’ mushroom.

WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE
Magic-mushrooms.jpg

A raw or dried mushroom.

HOW IT'S TAKEN

Grown wild throughout Scotland in the autumn, 'magic mushrooms' are eaten raw, dried, cooked in food, or stewed into a tea. Drying reduces the weight of the ‘magic mushrooms’, but not their potency. People don’t tend to eat 'fly agaric' mushrooms raw as they can make you feel really sick and also because there is a greater risk of poisoning and death from this family of mushrooms.

EFFECTS

Similar to LSD but the trip is usually milder and shorter, often lasting about 4 hours. Magic mushrooms can make you feel confident, relaxed and in good spirits – or they can give you a really scary bad trip. You won’t know what will happen until you take them. The more you take, the longer your trip could last. If you feel that you’re having (or going to have) a bad trip, let your friends know and get their help. Go to a nice quiet spot where you feel safe and can relax.

They can also have other effects:

  • Magic mushrooms can distort colours, sounds and objects. They can make you feel as if your senses are mixed up so that, for example, you think you can hear colours and you can see sounds. Some people can feel more emotionally sensitive or more creative or feel enlightened.
  • They can also speed up and slow down your sense of time and movement.
  • They can make it feel like you're dreaming when you're awake.
  • Sometimes, magic mushrooms can make you feel disoriented, tired or sick and can give you stomach pains or diarrhoea.
RISKS

There are many different types of mushroom and some, like the fly agaric, are so poisonous that they can kill you. That means the biggest danger to your health when taking magic mushrooms is eating a poisonous mushroom by mistake. If you have eaten poisonous mushrooms you’ll soon know it. If this happens to you or a friend it’s really important to get medical help as soon as possible. If you do have to go to hospital, it’s helpful to take an example of the mushroom that’s been eaten, so the doctors can identify it.

Here’s what else magic mushrooms could do to you:

  • Stomach pains sickness and diarrhoea.
  • You can get flashbacks sometime after taking magic mushrooms. Your perception of your body and the world around you can be distorted, which means you may be at risk because you’re not in complete control of what you're doing.
  • If you have any mental health issues, magic mushrooms can make them worse.
LEGAL STATUS

The Drugs Act 2005 changed the law so that both fresh and prepared (e.g. dried or stewed) magic mushrooms that contain psilocin or psilocybin are classified as Class A drugs. Possession can get you up to seven years in jail and/or an unlimited fine. Supplying someone else, including your friends, with magic mushrooms can get you life imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.

Remember: Having a criminal record can make it difficult for you to get a job or visa if you want to travel abroad.

What's the difference between possession & supply (dealing)? What happens if you're under 16? Learn more about drugs and the law.