Monday, 29 October 2012

Hallucinogenic mushrooms: the chemistry

Beside psilocybin and psilocin, two further
tryptamines — baeocystin and norbaeocystin —
could also be present but are thought to be less
active than the former two. Psilocybin and psilocin
which could be chemically classified as
indolealkylamnies (i.e. belonging to the same group
as LSD) are structurally similar to the neurotransmitter
serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT). Psilocybin,
4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (4-PO-DMT)
is the phosphate ester of psilocin, 4-hydroxy-N,Ndimethyltryptamine
(4-HO-DMT); it is more stable in
air and is water soluble. Psilocybin, however, is
converted in the body into psilocin which is the
pharmacologically active compound. Psilocin
appears to act on the serotonin system as a 5-HT2A
post-synaptic agonist or partial agonist.