Alright folks, seeing as mushie season is fast-approaching this article aims to shed a little light on these fascinating fungi. Magic Mushrooms are something that is often talked about in a joking manner yet they are arguably one of the more important discoveries made by mankind that you have never heard of. Psilocybin is the naturally-occurring psychedelic compound in the mushrooms and has received very little attention since the mushrooms were rediscovered by Western science in 1957. This indole alkaloid has many interesting properties, the ramifications of which are only now starting to be explored in the fields of evolutionary biology, anthropology and medicine.
Honestly, have you ever considered that magic mushrooms helped in the evolutionary process that led us to start drawing on cave walls, develop religions and map out the stars? Have you considered that 1 dose of this substance could cure one of the most painful afflictions known to man? If so then you probably have done your homework... or more than likely, you are tripping absolute balls right now.
Remember some of this is solid science and some is theory but to anyone who has not had direct experience with psychedelics or the research done around them this will all sound like nonsense. This is perfectly normal; we went through the same thing. “Cognitive Dissonance” is a term in psychology that essentially means that the mind will often reject new information that is not in line with previously held beliefs. This happens automatically and involuntarily. When reading this article I fully expect many people to say “is this lad feckin serious??”....so please don’t take my word for it research this shit for yourself.....its fuckin mental. We highly recommend a book called “Food of the Gods” by Terrance McKenna, an enthnobotanist and multidisciplinary academic with extensive knowledge of vision plants and their use amongst tribal people...this lad really knows his shit and he has an seemingly infinite amount of recorded lectures and talks about a wide variety of subjects that can be watched on YouTube. He is up there with Morgan Freeman and David Attenborough as the people that you most like to hear talking. (He is also a massive fan of James Joyce).
The following documentary is from the National Geographic Channel’s show “Drugs Inc” and it details the use of the major hallucinogens from a number of angles. It is very informative and will help you understand how they are becoming a new frontier in medicine.
*Watch for the bit where an undercover cop accidentally takes 1,000 doses of LSD.
Psilocybin - What is it?
Psilocybin is present in varying concentrations in over 200 species of Basidiomycota mushrooms. Psilocybin is converted to psilocin in the body and is the active tryptamine indole in magic mushrooms that causes you to hallucinate or “trip”. A tryptamine is a monoamine alkaloid found in plants, fungi and animals. It is closely related to the other infamous tryptamine and ultimate psychedelic, dimethyltryptamine or D.M.T. If you want sound intelligent in front of your mates you can use the actual chemical formula which is O-phosphoryl-4-hydroxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine (or 4-PO-DMT). There are variations to this when it is chemically synthesized 4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-diethyltryptamine.... but we don’t want to melt your head…..yet.
Anyone thinking of experimenting with a hallucinogen (a substances that cause hallucinations) would be best to avoid something like LSD which is synthetic, made by a criminal and relatively new to the human experience and therefore not thoroughly tested. Tryptamines (like psilocybin or DMT) occur naturally inside the body and represent less of a threat than synthetic compounds. Magic mushrooms grow naturally all over Ireland and the world. They have been used by shamans and druids for millennia......plus, they’re free!
If you don’t want to eat mushrooms but still want to blow your mind, then we suggest researching them for about a week or so and you will find that while psilocybin itself is in no way addictive, learning about it most certainly is. There is no possible way we could write enough about this substance, both in its historical significance and its therapeutic benefits. Psilocybin has recently been allowed to undergo scientific research once again and has shown incredible potential for treating people with a range of afflictions including OCD, cluster headaches and the anxiety associated with terminal illness.
The effects of psilocybin vary greatly between users depending on a number of variables including; dose, the user’s subjective expectations, set and setting. It is a hallucinogen that causes visual distortions as well as altering normal cognitive processes. This can result in a highly pleasant experience for some users, some of whom may laugh uncontrollably, while others may become extremely frightened and anxious. This can be described by users as a “good trip” or a “bad trip”.
On a good trip users report a highly ecstatic sense of connection to nature, other human beings and the universe itself. Negative emotions such as paranoia and fear can be intensified on a bad trip. Nausea is also known to be a common symptom (cannabis can help to alleviate this).
Potential for Harm
Before we go any further in this article it must be pointed out that while magic mushrooms represent one of the least harmful substances to people and society they can and do have a profound effect on your mind.
*This chart collaborates with British and Dutch studies that show that psilocybin is the least toxic and addictive substance out of the 19 most common recreational drugs tested.
The “Median Lethal Dose” or LD50 is the test used to gauge the toxicity of a substance. The LD50 of caffeine, nicotine and even aspirin is far higher than psilocybin. You would need to eat 17kg of raw or 1.7kg of dried mushrooms to reach a lethal dose. Most people would never consider eating anything over 5 dried grams, as this is the threshold for a shamanic dose. Trust me you wouldn’t want to experience anything more intense than that unless you were a well experienced psychonaut. Psilocybin is completely non-addictive and most people will only ever have a few experiences with this substance during their lifetime.
*IMPORTANT!! - MUSHROOMS ARE NOT FOR EVERYONE!!
Psilocybin has a powerful impact on your psyche and you will contemplate aspects of your life, your character and the world around you in ways you never thought possible. If you are an insecure person, have a history of psychological issues or you take them in an inappropriate environment you may experience a “bad trip” that can have devastating consequences for your mental health.
They will most certainly change the way you view the world and make you reassess what is really important in your life. There is a reason why people who were stock-brokers and bankers during the 1960’s became long-haired, protesting hippies after coming into contact with psilocybin and other hallucinogens. It changes your values.
Depending on the dosage (5 dried grams of psilocybe cubensis is considered to be a pretty “heroic” dose) a user can experience anything from a few giggles and visual distortions to full-blown boundary dissolution. This is where the user can feel a complete loss of the sense of self, often called “ego-death”.
As a rule of thumb they should not be taken recreationally, they were never intended for this purpose, but if you do there are two things to keep in mind. They are the most important pieces of advice you will ever have when tripping; the so-called “set and setting”.
This means you need a clear mind free of worry, guilt or anything negative that has the potential to make you anxious and experience a bad trip. Don’t take them if you just ran over a cat, if you have work the next day or if your grandparents are due to call in for a visit.
They also need to be taken in a suitable environment that is relaxing and comfortable and also with people you know and trust (preferably with someone who has a bit of experience). Randomers or people you think are arseholes will seriously wreck the buzz.
More experienced users who take them for spiritual reasons on their own in a dark room should consider having a “sitter” nearby to reassure them should the trip become overwhelming. Psilocybin has tremendous medicinal and spiritual value for those who are candidates for its use…but not so much for 19 year-olds who take them at a Full-Moon party in Koh Phangan.
The greatest danger comes from picking the wrong mushroom or doing something stupid while under their influence.....remember: you CANNOT fly and if you think you can, then test your theory from the ground first.
WARNING: Amanita Muscaria or “Fly Argaric” mushrooms do not contain psilocybin!
These mushrooms will seriously fuck you up. Amanitas are deleriants as opposed to hallucinogens as they contain a substance called muscimol and also ibotenic acid which can kill you! Viking and Zulu warriors known as “beserkers” are reported to have used various types of muscimol-containing mushrooms before going into battle. We would seriously recommend that you stay away from these unless you are with an Arctic Shaman.
Amanita muscaria is used by Arctic tribes in Siberia and was also reportedly used in places like Northern Canada and Lapland. They grow in symbiosis with evergreen pine trees. A method adopted by shamans to filter out the unpleasant effects is to pass it through a renal system i.e. the shaman eats them then pisses in a bucket for people to drink. This process can then be repeated through about 16 different people before it loses its potency (how the fuck they figured that out is beyond me….It must get pretty boring in the Arctic at times).
The Saami people of Lapland are known to bring evergreen trees into their huts during the winter solstice to represent life continuing on through the death period. The Saami are believed to have hung these mushrooms on pine trees to dry out, which has led people to consider that the Christmas tradition of decorating trees as well as flying reindeers and elves are related to this mushroom. Who would have thought Santa was such a bad-ass tripper....
The Liberty Cap
The most common species of magic mushroom in Ireland is Psilocybe Semilanceata or the “Liberty Cap”. These can be found all over Ireland in autumn usually in damp grassland areas on the side of hills.
WARNING: Golf courses are often ideal locations to find liberty caps however they can often be sprayed will toxic chemicals. Psilocybin has also recently been made illegal in Ireland by our former Minister for Health Mary Harney (who happened to be an obese alcoholic not a Doctor or a Scientist). We don’t know how keen the Guards are about prosecuting golf clubs for the illegal cultivation of dangerous drugs on their grounds but they might be inclined to prosecute somebody for picking them up or trespassing.
Part 2 Coming Soon