Effects of Psilocybin

Discover the profound effects of psilocybin and magic mushrooms on perception, cognition, emotion, and sense of self or "ego."

Overview: Psilocybin mushrooms have a long history of ceremonial and therapeutic use and are being researched for their potential in treating mental health conditions. They induce various perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and ego-related effects, including intensified senses, flexible thinking, emotional amplification, and dissolution of the ego. The duration and intensity of effects vary, influenced by factors like dosage and context. Psilocybin can also trigger mystical experiences, associated with profound spiritual insights and therapeutic benefits. Further research is needed to understand these experiences fully and their therapeutic potential.

Subjective Effects of Psilocybin 

Psilocybin mushrooms (“magic mushrooms”) have been used for thousands of years in various cultural and spiritual practices. They have a rich history of ceremonial and therapeutic use among indigenous peoples in different parts of the world.

In recent years, modern scientific research has been exploring the therapeutic potential of psilocybin, the primary psychoactive compound found in magic mushrooms. Studies have shown promising results regarding its effectiveness as an adjunct to therapy in treating various mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety associated with life-threatening illness, and addiction

The subjective effects of psilocybin are typically characterized by changes in perception, cognition, emotion, and sense of self. Importantly, the effects of psilocybin can be unpredictable, and a responsible approach to use is strongly advised. 

Perceptual Effects of Psilocybin

  • Intensified senses: Users often experience a heightened awareness of their surroundings, with sensations such as sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile stimuli becoming more vivid and pronounced.
  • Vivid closed-eye visuals: With eyes closed, users may perceive intricate patterns, colors, and imagery, often described as dream-like or kaleidoscopic.
  • Sound enhancement and distortion: Sounds may seem more immersive and vibrant, with music and ambient noise taking on a deeper and richer quality. Some may also experience distortions or alterations in the perception of sounds.
  • Increased appreciation of music: Music can evoke powerful emotional responses and profound insights, with users experiencing a heightened appreciation for the melodies, rhythms, and lyrics.
  • Alterations in the perception of time, space, and distance: Time may feel distorted, with moments stretching or compressing, and the boundaries between past, present, and future blurring. Perceptions of space and distance may also shift, leading to a sense of expansiveness or contraction.
  • Distortions: Objects and colors may appear to warp, flow, breathe, or melt, while trails or tracers may follow moving objects. Perspective distortions can make objects seem larger, smaller, closer, or farther away.
  • Synesthesia: Stimuli from one sensory modality may trigger experiences in another modality, leading to phenomena such as seeing colors in response to sounds or tasting flavors in response to visual stimuli.

Cognitive Effects of Psilocybin

  • Flexible thinking: Users often report a loosening of rigid thought patterns, allowing for more creative and abstract thinking. This flexibility can lead to novel solutions to problems and a greater openness to new ideas.
  • Enhanced memory of personal history: Memories, particularly from one’s personal past, may surface with greater clarity and emotional resonance, facilitating introspection and self-understanding.
  • False memory generation: Some users may experience the creation of false memories or the blending of real and imagined experiences, leading to a reevaluation of personal narratives and beliefs.
  • Uncensored expression of thought, emotions, and memories: The normal filters and inhibitions that govern thought and speech may be relaxed, allowing for a more spontaneous and uninhibited expression of thoughts, emotions, and memories.
  • Greater attribution of meaning to perceptual stimuli: Ordinary experiences or stimuli may take on profound significance or symbolism, leading to introspective insights and a deeper appreciation of the interconnectedness of all things.
  • A decrease or decline in certain cognitive functions: While some cognitive processes may be enhanced, others may be temporarily impaired, such as attention, concentration, and logical reasoning.

A digital artwork illustrating the powerful effects of psilocybin, swirling lines and intricate patterns symbolizing the mind-altering journey of the psychedelic experience.

Emotional Effects of Psilocybin

  • Emotional amplification: Psilocybin can intensify emotions, magnifying both positive and negative feelings. This amplification can lead to heightened states of euphoria, awe, and love, as well as increased vulnerability to anxiety and fear.
  • Anxiety and fear: Some users may experience heightened levels of anxiety or fear, especially when confronting challenging emotions or facing unfamiliar or overwhelming experiences.
  • Euphoria: Feelings of joy, ecstasy, and bliss are common during psilocybin experiences, often accompanied by a profound sense of connection to oneself, others, and the universe.
  • Awe: Users may feel a profound sense of wonder and awe, often triggered by encounters with the sublime or the transcendent.
  • Bliss: A deep and lasting sense of peace, contentment, and fulfillment may arise, leading to a state of profound inner harmony and tranquility.
  • Love: Psilocybin can evoke feelings of love and compassion, fostering a deep sense of connection and empathy towards oneself, others, and all living beings.
  • Empathy: Users often report feeling a heightened sense of empathy and compassion, leading to a deeper understanding of others' emotions and experiences.
  • Catharsis: Emotional release and healing may occur as users confront and process deep-seated emotions and unresolved issues, leading to a sense of relief and psychological growth.

Ego Effects of Psilocybin

  • Insight into patterns of thought and behavior: Users may gain profound insights into their habitual patterns of thinking and behaving, allowing for greater self-awareness and personal growth.
  • Insights into personal problems and past experiences: Psilocybin can facilitate deep introspection and self-reflection, leading to insights into unresolved issues, traumas, and conflicts from one’s past.
  • Softened sense of self: The boundaries of the self may become more permeable, leading to a sense of fluidity and interconnectedness with others and the world.
  • Dissolution of sense of self: Users may experience a profound dissolution or loss of the ego, leading to a state of egolessness or “ego dissolution,” where the distinction between self and other, subject and object, dissolves.
  • Loss of boundaries between self and the world: The usual distinctions between the individual self and the external world may blur or disappear, often leading to a profound sense of unity and interconnectedness with all of existence.
  • Sense of interconnectedness/unity: This dissolution of the ego can foster a deep sense of connection with all of existence, leading to feelings of oneness and belonging beyond the individual ego.

Duration of Subjective Effects 

A common dose of psilocybin typically lasts approximately four to seven hours. Here’s rough a breakdown of the stages of a psilocybin experience:

  • Onset: The initial effects of psilocybin become noticeable within 10 to 60 minutes after ingestion.
  • Come Up: This stage occurs approximately 15 to 30 minutes after onset. It is marked by a gradual increase in the intensity of the effects, often accompanied by a sense of anxiety, excitement, or anticipation.
  • Peak: The most intense effects of psilocybin are usually experienced around 90 to 120 minutes after ingestion. During the peak, individuals may have profound alterations in perception, thinking, and sensory experiences, depending on the dose. 
  • Offset: Following the peak, the effects gradually diminish over the course of 1 to 3 hours.
  • Total Duration: The entire psilocybin experience, from the onset of effects to baseline, typically spans four to seven hours.

To further explore the duration of psilocybin’s effects, read How Long Do Shrooms Last?

Factors Affecting the Subjective Effects of Psilocybin

Importantly, individual responses to psilocybin can vary, and factors such as dosage, metabolism, the context in which psilocybin is used, and the use of other substances can influence the duration and intensity of the experience. 

When considering psilocybin in mushrooms, variations in the concentration of psilocybin and psilocin play a significant role. Different species of mushrooms, and even individual mushrooms of the same species, can exhibit varying levels of psilocybin content. How mushrooms are preserved and whether they are fresh or dried can also impact the potency and duration of their effects (For more information, read Can Shrooms Go Bad?). 

As with any psychedelic substance, it’s crucial to approach psilocybin with caution and in a safe, controlled environment. 

Mystical Experiences with Psilocybin 

Psilocybin is also recognized for its ability to induce personally meaningful and often transformative spiritual experiences, particularly when administered at moderate to high doses.

The Marsh Chapel Experiment, also known as the Good Friday Experiment, conducted in the early 1960s by Walter Pahnke, was a groundbreaking study that explored psilocybin-induced mystical experiences. In this experiment, divinity students were administered psilocybin, and many reported profound mystical encounters, likening their experiences to religious revelations.

This research played a pivotal role in demonstrating the potential for psychedelics to induce profound mystical states and contributed to the broader understanding of the mystical dimensions of human consciousness.

Such experiences, often termed “mystical-type,” are characterized by a sense of transcending time and space, a deeply felt positive mood, a profound feeling of sacredness, and a powerful sense of unity and interconnectedness, and they are experienced as ineffable and noetic:

  • Ineffable (Inexpressible in words): This refers to experiences or sensations that are difficult or impossible to describe adequately using language or words. Ineffable experiences are often so profound or beyond ordinary comprehension that they defy verbal explanations.
  • Noetic (Relating to inner knowing): Noetic experiences involve a deep sense of intuitive understanding or insight that transcends rational thought. These experiences are characterized by a profound sense of inner knowing or direct apprehension of truth, often described as a form of spiritual or mystical knowledge.

Psychedelic research has revealed noteworthy correlations between mystical experiences and positive therapeutic results. This suggests that these experiences potentially contribute significantly to the therapeutic effects of psilocybin-assisted therapy. 

These experiences often transcend conventional boundaries of perception, offering individuals a unique journey into the depths of their consciousness. That said, further research is needed to enhance our understanding of psilocybin-induced mystical experiences and their potential impact on therapeutic outcomes. 

By continuing to research mystical-type experiences, researchers can uncover valuable insights that may reshape mental health treatments. Additionally, studying psilocybin-induced mystical experiences has the potential to contribute to our understanding of consciousness itself, shedding light on the intricacies of human awareness and perception.

Girl with Plant
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
(We don't like spam either)

Test Answer 222


Test Answer

Dr. Ana Holmes, Physican, Philadelphia, US

Test Answer 2


Test Answer 3


Test Answer 2


Test Answer

Dr. Ana Holmes, Physican, Philadelphia, US

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.