Mushrooms And Psilocybine

AKA: Liberty caps, magic mushrooms, 'nti-si-tho, Psilocybe cubensis, sacred mushrooms, teonanacatl, tey-huintli.

Aside from the fly agaric mushrooms, there are four other genera that have hallucinogenic properties: Cono-cybe, Panaeolus, Psilocybe, and Stro-pharia. They are found all over the world, but only in Mexico are they used in rituals. The Copelandia cyanescens fungus that is cultivated in Bali is more potent than any of these mushrooms. The main psychoactive ingredients in all of these is psilocine and psilocybine, the latter of which can be manufactured synthetically.

Effects: Produces vivid hallucinations similar (though reportedly less intense) to LSD—beginning within a half hour and lasting three to six hours — muscular relaxation, and giddiness.

Precautions: Common side effects include nausea, pupil dilation, rapid pulse, high blood pressure, high body temperature, shivering, anxiety, numbness in the face, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, disorientation, paranoia, panic, and bad trips. Not everyone sees the "infinite clockwork," or the cosmic secrets of the mushroom. According to Mexican Mazatec healer Maria Sabina in de Rios' Visionary Vine, as "the mushroom is similar to your soul. It takes you where the soul wants to go. And not all souls are the same." Potency can vary widely, and they can be somewhat indigestible and mildly toxic if not cooked. An overdose (generally said to be in the 50 to 60 mushroom range) can result in severe poisoning. Prolonged excessive use is said to result in permanent insanity, premature aging, and senility. Mushrooms are usually sauteed before eating as, in their raw state, they may contain methyl-hydrazines, compounds similar to rocket propellants which are carcinogenic and potentially deadly. Mushrooms may also accumulate such toxins as arsenic and cesium, though not in dangerous levels; cooking will not remove or deactivate them.

They can easily be mistaken for other, poisonous mushrooms. Some dealers may sell ordinary mushrooms laced with LSD.

There is a myth that the mushrooms can be preserved in honey. Jonathan Ott was offered one such sample which, he said, was not only unlikely to contain any psilocybine but was a "disgusting, fermenting mess, crawling with bugs."

It is an MAO inhibitor, and so should not be combined with any substances contraindicated for this type of drug.

Readers should not be misled by popular books that contain misleading and erroneous information, notably Carlos Castaneda's The Teachings of Don Juan and subsequent sequels, John Sandford's In Search of the Magic Mushroom, John Allegro's The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, or Andrija Puharich's The Sacred Mushroom: Key to the Door of Eternity.

Dosage: Psychedelic mushrooms can be eaten, smoked or snorted as a powder (it can be years before dried mushrooms lose their potency), or boiled and the liquid drunk with Kool-Aid or injected. 1 to 5 grams (dry weight), 10 to 15 grams of fresh mushrooms, or 5 to 15 mushrooms, depending on the size and species.

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