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Thursday, 13 December 2012

New age: Details about 'Psychedelic Mushroom'


Psychedelic mushrooms are fungi which have psychedelic properties when ingested. They are commonly referred to colloquially as magic mushrooms or just shrooms.
Psychedelic mushrooms can be roughly divided into two groups: the psilocybin/psilocin-containing mushrooms found mainly in the genus Psilocybe, although there are also psilocybin containing species belonging to the genera Conocybe, Copelandia, Gymnopilus, Inocybe and Panaeolus, and the muscimol-containing mushroom Amanita muscaria. Both groups belong to the Agaricaceae family of fungi. A third group of ergoline alkaloid-containing psychoactive fungi like ergot, which is a precursor to LSD, could be defined in connection with the Kykeon.
The active principles in the psilocybin mushrooms are the psychoactive tryptamines psilocybin and psilocin, substances similar in chemical structure to serotonin, dimethyltryptamine, and LSD. Several psilocybe species also contain the alkaloids baeocystin and norbaeocystin, which are also suspected to be psychoactive. The fly-agaric or Amanita muscaria contains the active principle muscimol which is both chemically and symptomatically unrelated to psilocybin and psilocin.
Examples of common psilocybin containing "magic mushroom" species are Psilocybe cubensis, Psilocybe cyanescens, and Psilocybe semilanceata.

History

Various cultures throughout the ages have used psychedelic fungi for shamanistic and other purposes. Mesoamerican mushroom stones of the pre-classic Mayans representing deified mushrooms date back to approximately 500 BC, while rock paintings in the Sahara of mushroom effigies date back to 7000 BC. Some scholars believe that Soma, the drink mentioned in Vedic literature, was derived from psychedelic mushrooms (R. Gordon Wasson suggests that this was amanita muscaria), while Albert Hofmann and Carl Ruck contend that the Eleusinian Mysteries made use of the psychedelic fungus ergot in the Kykeon. Amanita muscaria is known to have been used in Siberian shamanism.
The notion that Nordic Vikings used fly-agaric (Amanita muscaria) to produce their berserker rages was first suggested by the Swedish professor Samual Ödman in 1784. Ödman based his theory on reports about the use of fly-agaric among Siberian shamans. The notion has become widespread since the 19th century, but no contemporary sources mention this use or anything similar in their description of berserkers. Today, it is generally considered an urban legend or at best speculation that cannot be proven.
Psilocybin mushrooms were a revered tradition in native Central American cultures at the time of the European invasion and have been in continuous use up to the present. Named teonanacatl in Nahuatl, ("flesh of the gods"), they may have been employed for healing, divination and for intercession with spirits. Since the beginning of the Latin American colonial era, their use has been hidden due to persecution by the Christian church, which branded all native religious practices and especially those employing entheogenic sacraments as "Devil worship".
According to the BBC, the first documented use of psychedelic mushrooms was in the Medical and Physical Journal: in 1799, a man who had been picking mushrooms for breakfast in London's Green Park included them in his harvest, accidentally sending his entire family on a trip. The doctor who treated them later described how the youngest child "was attacked with fits of immoderate laughter, nor could the threats of his father or mother refrain him".
In 1957,amateur mycologist R. Gordon Wasson published an article for Life magazine describing his experiences with psilocybin mushrooms while a guest in the rituals of the Mazatec shaman Maria Sabina in a mountain village in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. His account triggered a wave of experimentation with these mushrooms which resulted in their eventual classification in the United States as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act.
The introduction of westerners into the previously secret rites was later rued by Maria Sabina, who declared that "From the moment the foreigners arrived, the 'holy children' lost their purity. They lost their force, they ruined them. Henceforth they will no longer work. There is no remedy for it."

Effects

Psychedelic mushrooms can elicit a wide range of bodily and mental effects.

Psilocybin/Psilocin

The effects of Psilocybin/Psilocin containing mushrooms may include:
  • Physical
    • Torpor
    • Chills
    • Pupil dilation
    • Nausea
    • Stomach pains
  • Sensory
    • Ability to feel everything at the same time - the clothes on your body, the saliva in your mouth, etc.
    • Closed-eye visuals
    • Open-eye visuals
    • Auditory effects
  • Emotional
    • Euphoric states
    • Beatific states (perception of God, the universe, or some 'higher power')
    • Paranoia and/or anxiety, even panic
  • Intellectual
    • Looped or confused thinking
    • Introspective thinking
    • Extreme mental lucidity

Muscimol

The effects of muscimol containing mushrooms (Amanita muscaria) may include:
  • Physical
    • Lightheadedness
    • Numbness of the mouth
    • Torpor
    • Chills
    • Increased body temprature
    • Nausea
    • Stomach pain
    • Excessive production of tears/mucus
    • Drowsiness
  • Sensory
    • Relaxation
    • Sense of heaviness or lightness
    • Closed Eye Visuals
    • Open Eye Visuals
    • Blurred vision
    • Dream like state
  • Emotional
    • Anxiety
    • Euphoria/Hilarity

As with many psychoactive substances, the effects of any mushrooms consumed are subjective, unpredictable and strongly dependent upon set and setting. Generally speaking, the experience of psilocybin containing mushrooms lasts four to six hours or more, is inwardly oriented and there can be strong visual and auditory components. Visions and revelations may be experienced and the effect can range from exhilarating to terrifying. There can be also a total absence of effects, even when under the influence of large doses.
Non-western native practice suggests that the effects are also affected by the user's preparation. The Mazatecs purify themselves before a velada (or 'vision quest'), abstaining from meat, eggs, alcohol and sex for four days prior to a velada. The veladas are always done in the dark, in a protected and sealed space which no one may enter or leave until all have regained their composure. Modern psychonauts often speak of "packing" for the "trip," by which is meant a loading of information into the brain prior to "departure," for example, by reading a philosophical writing or watching natural history or science documentaries in the days immediately prior to a planned experience. Regular or experienced users find that there are ways of adjusting their environment to enhance their trip.
In addition, there have been calls for the medical investigation of psychedelic mushrooms in regards to the treatment of chronic cluster headaches following numerous anecdotal reports of benefits.

Legal status

The fly-agaric is not a controlled substance in most countries. Access to ergot and ergoline alkaloids is usually restricted since these substances are precursors to LSD. In most countries, possession of psilocybin mushrooms is not illegal, as they grow in the wild. In the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, and most other EU countries, fresh mushrooms can be obtained in "smart shops" which specialise in ethnobotanicals. Dried mushrooms, however, are considered a "preparation" and thus remain illegal in all countries, even the Netherlands. Nonetheless, there is an active international trade both in mushrooms and in spores, which can be grown in sterile medium (see Drug policy of the Netherlands).
However, in many countries, psilocybin-containing mushrooms are illegal.

Japan

Before 2002, psilocybin mushrooms were widely available in Japan, often sold in "smart shops" similar to those of the United Kingdom. As of June 2002, psilocybin mushrooms have been outlawed.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, psilocybin mushrooms are not illegal, but extracting psilocybin from the mushrooms by means of crushing or boiling is illegal.

Republic of Ireland

Until 31 January unprepared psilocybin mushrooms were legal in the Republic of Ireland. On that date they were made illegal by a ministerial order. This decision was partly based on the death of one man who mixed an unknown amount of psychedelic mushrooms with alcohol.

United Kingdom

As of 18 July 2005, both dried and 'prepared' (e.g. made into a tea) psilocybin mushrooms were made illegal in the United Kingdom. Prior to this date, fresh mushrooms were widely available, but Clause 21 of the Drugs Bill 2005 made fresh psychedelic mushrooms, ('fungi containing psilocin'), a Class A drug. However, mushrooms spores are not illegal due to the fact they do not carry psilocin until they are cultivated. This has lead many to grow their own mushrooms using spore-syringes and mushroom growing kits such as myco-farm. Psychedelic mushrooms are usually sold on the black market dried, but are sometimes incorporated into chocolate or baked into brownies, cakes or muffins.

United States of America

In the United States, possession of psilocybin-containing mushrooms is illegal because they contain the Schedule I drugs psilocin and psilocybin. Spores, however, are only explicity illegal in California, Idaho, and Georgia. This may be because spores do not contain the psychoactive chemicals psilocin or psilocybin. In all states, except possibly New Mexico, growing psilocybin-containing mushrooms from spores is considered manufacture of a controlled substance.
In the state of Florida, fresh or unprepared psilocybin mushrooms that grow wild are legal to possess; however, those caught would be hard-pressed not to be hassled by authorities for possession.
In New Mexico, growing mushrooms from spores may be legal. On June 15, 2005, the New Mexico appeals court ruled that growing psilocybin mushrooms for personal use is not manufacture of a controlled substance.

Drug trade

Mushrooms are most commonly grown in large batches and distributed and sold in methods and weights similar to the cannabis trade. Amateur growing kits with a range of success rates are available legally in the United States at a much lower cost than buying from black market distributors.

Psychoactive Mushroom Species

There are several species of psychoactive mushrooms, including:
  • Psilocybe cubensis
  • Psilocybe azurescens
  • Psilocybe cyanescens
  • Psilocybe mexicana
  • Psilocybe subcubensis
  • Panaeolus cyanescens (= Copelandia cyanescens)
  • Amanita muscaria
Psilocybe cubensis is the most commonly cultivated species.

Production

Cultivation of mushrooms is extremely easy, due in part to the legal status of spores and mycelium (varies by country and state). One can purchase kits through the mail or Internet that include everything one needs for personal growing. These grow kits are often used by amateur growers, with varying rates of success and yields; contamination of the supplies is a common problem.
Most of the supplies needed for mushroom cultivation (mason jars, petri dishes, scalpels, rye) can be easily obtained from many stores. Amateurs who actually take the time to research mushroom cultivation would not need to start off with a grow kit and can easily make their own grow space.

Trafficking

Because mushrooms can be grown indoors, they are generally grown within the same national borders as they are sold.
While mushrooms may be moved by organized crime, more often they are moved by informal affiliations of acquaintances and fellow users, and do not often travel long distances.
There have not been any high profile cases of mushroom traffickers being caught or prosecuted. In fact some state courts, such as in New Mexico, have ruled that growing mushrooms does not constitute "manufacturing" as defined by the drug trade statutes.
Mushrooms are generally distributed among acquaintances or by street dealers. They are sold in plastic bags containing either whole dried fungi or crushed/powdered fungi, and are generally sold by weight. The potency of mushrooms can vary greatly depending on the growing conditions, and users run the risk of ingesting a poisonous, mis-identified species or being cheated by substitutions or cutting of the mushrooms with other, non-psychedelic varieties.

Nomenclature

The word psychedelic is a neologism coined from the Greek words for "mind," ψυχη (psyche), and "manifest," δηλειν (delein) and is usually the preferred nomenclature because of its relative neutrality. The word hallucinogenic, though common parlance, is somewhat of a misnomer in the sense that psychedelic mushrooms do not primarily cause true hallucinations and is often avoided because of negative connotations. See the article on psychedelics, dissociatives and deliriants for further discussion of classes and terminology of psychoactive substances.
Below is a list of colloquial terms for psychedelic mushrooms:
  • Magic Mushrooms
  • Shrooms
  • Liberty Caps