Monday, 29 October 2012

Hallucinogenic mushrooms

The hallucinogens are a chemically diverse class
of drugs, which are characterised by their ability
to produce distortions in sensations and to
markedly alter mood and thought processes.
They include substances from a wide variety of
natural and synthetic sources, and are
structurally dissimilar (Jacob and Fehr, 1987).
Naturally occurring hallucinogens can be found
in mushrooms, plants (for example, cannabis,
peyote cactus, ayahuasca, morning glory,
iboga, Salvia divinorum, etc.) and even animals
(for example, toads and fish) and are known to
have been used for thousands of years in various
parts of the world for religious, spiritual or
healing purposes.
There are more than 100 known hallucinogenic
mushrooms (Guzmán, Allen and Garrtz, 2000).
The complexity of their mycological
classification, together with their different
chemical make up and the effects of various
hallucinogenic mushrooms may lead to
inconsistencies and confusion in their
description. The subject of this thematic study is
the psilocybin and psilocin containing fungi,
belonging mainly to the Strophariaceae family
(Psilocybe genus), Bolbitiaceae family (Conocybe
genus), Coprinaceae family (Copelandia and
Panaeolus genera) and Cortinariaceae family
(Inocybe genus). The list of species and their
geographical distribution is constantly critically
revised by mycologists. However, the genus
Psilocybe is predominant in terms of recreational
use followed by genus Panaeolus (Courtecuisse
and Deveaux, 2004).