Magic mushrooms can produce a range of effects, including:
1. Changes in perception: Magic mushrooms can alter the way you perceive the world, leading to changes in visual, auditory, and tactile sensations.
2. Changes in thought: Magic mushrooms can affect the way you think, leading to profound insights, changes in perspective, and altered states of consciousness.
3. Changes in mood: Magic mushrooms can produce feelings of euphoria, joy, and well-being, as well as anxiety, fear, and paranoia.
4. Spiritual experiences: Many people report feeling a sense of connection to something greater than themselves, or a sense of unity with the universe, while under the influence of magic mushrooms.
5. Physical effects: Magic mushrooms can cause dilated pupils, increased heart rate and blood pressure, nausea, and vomiting.
To better understand the effects of magic mushrooms we need to understand the active chemical compounds present.
What are the chemical compounds in magic mushrooms?
Magic mushrooms contain a group of psychoactive compounds known as tryptamines, which include psilocybin, psilocin, baeocystin, and norbaeocystin. Psilocybin is the primary psychoactive compound that is converted into psilocin in the body, which is responsible for the characteristic hallucinogenic effects of magic mushrooms. These compounds are similar in structure to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite, and sleep, and can bind to serotonin receptors in the brain, causing alterations in perception, mood, and thought. Other chemical compounds found in magic mushrooms include ergothioneine, ergocalciferol (vitamin D2), and other alkaloids.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these compounds starting with tryptamine.
What is tryptamine?
Tryptamine is a class of organic compounds that contain an indole ring structure and an amine functional group. It is a naturally occurring chemical found in a variety of plant and animal species, including in the human body where it is involved in the biosynthesis of various neurotransmitters such as serotonin, melatonin, and tryptophan. Tryptamines are known to have psychoactive effects, and some of them, such as psilocybin, DMT, and 5-MeO-DMT, are known for their potent hallucinogenic properties. Tryptamines have also been studied for their potential therapeutic applications, including in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and addiction.
What is psilocybin and psilocin?
Psilocybin is considered a prodrug, meaning it is converted into psilocin in the body, which is the primary psychoactive compound responsible for the characteristic hallucinogenic effects of magic mushrooms. Psilocybin and psilocin can bind to serotonin receptors in the brain, causing alterations in brain function and inducing a wide range of perceptual and emotional experiences.
What is baeocystin and norbaeocystin?
Baeocystin is structurally similar to psilocybin and psilocin, the primary psychoactive compounds in magic mushrooms, and it is believed to contribute to the overall psychedelic effects of these mushrooms. However, its effects are less well studied than those of psilocybin and psilocin, and it is thought to be less potent than these compounds. While the exact effects of norbaeocystin are not fully known, it is considered to be one of the active compounds in magic mushrooms, and may contribute to their overall psychoactive effects. Norbaeocystin is a naturally occurring compound that is closely related to baeocystin and psilocybin. Norbaeocystin is created in the body as a metabolite of baeocystin, and it is believed to play a role in the overall psychedelic effects of magic mushrooms, although its specific effects are not as well understood as those of psilocybin and psilocin. Baeocystin and norbaeocystin are not as commonly discussed as psilocybin and psilocin, but are considered to be two of the active compounds in magic mushrooms.
What is ergothioneine and ergocalciferol?
These alkoloids are not responsible for the halucigenic effects of magic mushrooms.
Ergothioneine is a naturally occurring amino acid that is found in various types of food, including mushrooms, beans, and liver. It is a powerful antioxidant that is believed to help protect cells from oxidative stress and damage. While ergothioneine is not considered an essential nutrient, some research suggests that it may have beneficial effects on health, including reducing inflammation and protecting against cardiovascular disease.
Ergocalciferol, also known as vitamin D2, is a form of vitamin D that is found in some types of mushrooms, as well as fortified foods and supplements. Vitamin D2 is synthesized by plants and fungi, including mushrooms, when they are exposed to ultraviolet light. Like other forms of vitamin D, ergocalciferol plays an important role in regulating calcium and phosphorus absorption in the body, which is essential for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D2 supplements are often used to treat vitamin D deficiency and prevent or treat conditions such as osteoporosis and rickets.
What are some of the potential benefits of these compounds?
There is growing evidence to suggest that psilocybin and the other tryptamines listed may have a range of potential therapeutic benefits, including:
1. Treating depression: Some studies have shown that psilocybin can help to reduce symptoms of depression, including feelings of hopelessness and anxiety.
2. Reducing anxiety and stress: Psilocybin has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress in people with terminal illnesses.
3. Helping with addiction: Some research suggests that psilocybin may help to reduce cravings and addictive behavior in people with substance use disorders.
4. Improving creativity: Studies have shown that psilocybin may help to increase creativity and openness to new experiences.
5. Enhancing spiritual experiences: Psilocybin has been used for centuries in traditional spiritual and religious ceremonies, and some people report profound spiritual experiences when taking psilocybin.
It’s important to note that psilocybin is still classified as a Schedule I/ class A drug in many parts of the world, meaning that it is considered to have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use. However, there is a growing body of research that suggests that psilocybin may have significant therapeutic potential when used under medical supervision.