Psilocybin Dosage | How Much Shrooms to Take

Everything you need to know about the proper dosage and responsible use of psilocybin mushrooms, aka, “shrooms.”

Overview: Learn about psilocybin mushrooms, their history, and proper dosage. Psilocybin, found in over 200 mushroom species, has therapeutic potential, and recent research explores its benefits for mental health conditions. Historical use dates back thousands of years in various regions. Psilocybin content varies, emphasizing the importance of reputable sources. Effects depend on dosage, with microdosing for subtle benefits and higher doses for profound experiences. Consider set and setting to ensure a positive journey. While generally safe, risks include cardiac concerns, psychosis predisposition, contraindications, and legal status. Understanding dosage, preparing mentally, and prioritizing safety contribute to a positive mushroom experience.

What are Psilocybin Mushrooms? 

Psilocybin is a psychedelic compound that has been found in over 200 species of mushrooms, most of which are within the genus Psilocybe. Psilocybin mushrooms are found in Asia, Australia, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, Africa, and Europe. 

The most common magic mushroom is Psilocybe cubensis, also known as “cubes.” The psilocybin levels in magic mushrooms vary between species, and even between mushrooms of the same species.

As a general rule, psilocybin mushrooms can be distinguished from other mushrooms by their tendency to turn blue upon injury. While it is true that some magic mushrooms belonging to the Psilocybe genus exhibit a characteristic blue bruising reaction, it is essential to exercise caution and not assume that all mushrooms that bruise blue are safe for consumption. There are several species of mushrooms, including some poisonous ones, that can also exhibit blue bruising.

When ingested psilocybin is metabolized into psilocin. Unlike psilocybin, psilocybin has the ability to enter the brain where it produces psychedelic effects by interacting with a subtype of the serotonin receptor family called the 5-HT2A receptor. 

Recent research has demonstrated promising outcomes, suggesting that psilocybin holds potential as a therapeutic ally in addressing various mental and physical health conditions. These include end-of-life anxiety, depression, and addiction, and chronic pain, opening new avenues for innovative treatment approaches.

The History of Shrooms

Psilocybin mushrooms can be found in various regions of the world and are believed to have been used for various spiritual and medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Evidence from Spain, Central America, and Africa indicates the ritualistic use of psilocybin mushrooms, suggesting a cultural practice dating back up to 10,000 years.

Cave murals in the Tassili n'Ajjer mountain region of the Sahara Desert depict their possible use in Africa, while mushroom stones found in Guatemala and the Selva Pascuala mural near Villar del Humo, Spain, also provide archaeological evidence of ancient magic mushroom use.

The species Psilocybe mexicana known to the Aztecs as “teōnanācatl,” has a storied history deeply intertwined with Central American cultures. The Aztecs and Mazatecs held these mushrooms in high regard, referring to them as genius, divine, and wondrous.

Bernardino de Sahagún documented Aztec culture and reported on the ritualistic use of psilocybin mushrooms during his travels to Central America following Hernán Cortés' expedition in the mid-16th century. His major work, “Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva España” (General History of the Things of New Spain), was compiled between approximately 1540 and 1585. 

Notably, teōnanācatl, meaning “divine mushroom,” is said to have been served at the coronation of the Aztec ruler Moctezuma II in 1502. This historical context underscores the significance of psilocybin mushrooms in indigenous cultures and their ceremonial practices in the pre-Columbian era

The use of psilocybin has persisted throughout our evolutionary history and continues today. In the 1950s, research exploring the potential therapeutic and spiritual effects of psilocybin began. However, a variety of factors including growing concerns about public use and sensationalist media reporting led to the classification of psilocybin as a Schedule I substance in 1970.

Unfortunately, the scheduling of psilocybin hindered scientific research on its effects and potential applications, creating an information gap when it comes to understanding the effects of different doses and ensuring safety when consuming these so-called “shrooms.”

Psilocybin Content in Magic Mushrooms 

Given the diverse range of magic mushrooms and the legal restrictions surrounding psilocybin, the chemical composition of many species of most psilocybin mushroom species has not been scientifically analyzed. However, there is some published data available for certain Psilocybe species, which can provide valuable insights to help determine appropriate dosing.

As mentioned earlier, psilocin is the primary active component responsible for the psychedelic effects of Psilocybe mushrooms. Research suggests that the average psilocin content in magic mushrooms ranges from approximately 0.5% to 1.0%, with an average of 0.7% by weight. About 0.7% of total psilocin is roughly equivalent to 1% of psilocybin.

These findings provide valuable insights for dosing psilocybin mushrooms to achieve desired effects. However, it is crucial to understand that the actual amount of psilocybin varies from mushroom to mushroom even within the same species.

This variation underscores the importance of obtaining mushrooms from reputable sources and exercising caution when determining dosage to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Effects of Different Dosages of Shrooms

Typically, shrooms are dried before consumption for several reasons. Firstly, drying enhances the potency of psilocybin in the mushrooms, meaning you have to consume much less mushrooms, and potentially leading to a more consistent and predictable psychedelic experience.

Secondly, drying helps to preserve the mushrooms, extending their shelf life and preventing them from spoiling, and the drying process reduces the weight of the mushrooms, making them more compact and easier to store or transport. 

The content and character of a psychedelic experience produced by shrooms is significantly influenced by several factors, with dosage being one of the most important of these factors. 

The psychedelic effects of a common dose of shrooms typically include intensified emotions, changes in patterns of thought, and significant shifts in the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us. The full duration of an experience with shrooms averages between 4 and 7 hours, with subtle effects that can persist for up to 24 hours depending on the dose.

Below is a more detailed breakdown of commonly experienced effects of different doses of shrooms: 

  • Microdose: Microdosing refers to the practice of taking very small, sub-perceptual doses of a psychedelic substance like psilocybin mushrooms. The purpose of microdosing is not to experience full-blown psychedelic effects associated with a common dose but to benefit from the potential subtle effects on cognition, mood, and creativity. A typical microdose of psilocybin mushrooms is usually around 5-10% of a common dose. 
  • Low dose: A low dose of shrooms is typically between 0.25 - 1 gram of dried psilocybin mushroom or roughly 0.25 to 10 milligrams of psilocybin. Effects at this dose are noticeable but not intensely visual. Users may experience mild sensory enhancement, vivid colors, a light feeling of euphoria, and a positive mood.
  • Common dose: An average dose of 1 - 2.5 grams of dried shrooms, equivalent to approximately 10 - 25 milligrams of psilocybin, is likely to produce a range of psychedelic effects. These may include vivid visuals with eyes opened or closed, a strong sense of euphoria, enhanced emotions (can be both positive and negative), and insights. Some users report a dissolution of their sense of self or “ego” at this dose.
  • High dose: Taking a high dose is typically around 2.5 - 5 grams of dried psilocybin mushroom, approximately 25 - 50 milligrams of psilocybin. At this dose, users may experience intense perceptual and cognitive effects, transcendence of time and space, synesthesia (a blending of sensory experiences), ego-dissolution or “ego death,” and feelings of unity and interconnectedness. Many consider an experience at this dose to be profoundly meaningful and significant in their lives.
  • Extra-high dose (Heroic dose): Extra-high doses are rare and typically involve taking 5 grams of dried shrooms or above, approximately 50 milligrams of psilocybin. At this level, effects intensify, and users may experience a disconnect from normal waking reality. The experience can be overwhelming, strange, and ineffable, often defying description.

Individual sensitivity to psilocybin can vary, and the effects experienced may depend on various factors such as dose, set and setting, and individual metabolism. It is advised to always exercise caution and consider starting with lower doses if you are new to psychedelics. 

Tripping on Shrooms: Importance of Set and Setting  

While the majority of experiences with shrooms are positive and enjoyable, it's important to also acknowledge the potential for challenging or “bad trips.” These experiences can be characterized by intense anxiety, confusion, fear, and feelings of impending doom. In rare cases, they can lead to psychological distress and even trauma.

Thankfully, there are some steps people can take to minimize the potential for challenging experiences and maximize the likelihood of a positive journey.

One crucial factor is the concept of “set and setting,” which refers to your mindset and the environment in which shrooms are consumed. Prior preparation and research can help you develop a mindset that is conducive to a positive experience. Engaging in mindfulness activities like journaling, meditation, and setting intentions can also be beneficial.

Choosing the right setting for your shroom experience is equally important. It's advisable to be in a comfortable and safe environment. Having a trusted and experienced trip sitter or therapist present can provide support, ensure your well-being, and offer reassurance when needed.

Ideally, it's recommended to set aside three consecutive days for the shroom experience: the day before, the day of, and the day after. This allows for thorough preparation, minimizes the chances of interruptions during the experience, and allows for integration and reflection on the following day. 

By following these guidelines and creating a supportive environment, you can enhance the likelihood of having a positive and meaningful experience with shrooms. Remember to approach the experience with respect, caution, and an open mindset, allowing yourself the opportunity for exploration and personal growth. 

Risks Associated with Taking Shrooms 

Psilocybin mushrooms have a good safety profile, with no reported toxicity and moderate increases in heart rate and blood pressure. They are not considered to be physically addictive and have a low potential for abuse. While shrooms are generally considered safe when used responsibly, there are a few important risks to be aware of.

First, individuals with pre-existing cardiac conditions are typically advised to avoid using psilocybin mushrooms due to the mild effects that psilocin can have on the heart during the experience. 

Individuals with a personal or family history of psychotic disorders should exercise caution when using psychedelics, including psilocybin mushrooms. While the relationship between psychedelics and psychosis is complex and not fully understood, there is evidence to suggest that psychedelics can exacerbate or initiate psychotic reactions in individuals predisposed to such conditions.

It is also crucial to consider potential contraindicated medical conditions or medications. Certain medical conditions or medications may interact negatively with psilocybin mushrooms, potentially leading to adverse effects or complications.

As with any mind-altering substance, it is important to approach the use of psilocybin mushrooms with caution and to prioritize personal safety and well-being. It is advisable to seek professional medical advice when there are underlying health conditions or concerns that may impact the safe use of psilocybin mushrooms.

Another risk associated with psilocybin is its legal status. Psilocybin is classified as a Schedule I substance in many jurisdictions, which means that its possession and use are prohibited by law. Engaging in activities that involve the possession or distribution of psilocybin mushrooms can lead to legal consequences, including fines and potential criminal charges. 

However, some countries have relaxed enforcement, especially where psilocybin holds cultural significance. For example, the Netherlands has a legal loophole allowing for the cultivation, sale, and use of psilocybin-containing truffles.

Key Takeaways 

Psilocybin mushrooms have been used for a long time around the world, and scientists continue to study them and their main psychoactive component pslocin to learn more about how different doses affect people. Additionally, ongoing clinical trials are further investigating psilocybin’s therapeutic potential. 

Since the amount of psilocybin and psilocin can vary in mushrooms, it's hard to know exactly how much you're consuming. However, researchers have estimated the average amounts of psilocybin in different types of magic mushrooms, which can help guide dosage decisions.

Whether you decide to take a small dose or a larger one, it's important to consider your mindset and the environment in which you'll be taking the mushrooms. Creating a safe and comfortable space, having someone experienced with you, and understanding the recommended dosages are key steps in preparing for a positive experience.

It's strongly advised to educate yourself about the potential effects, risks, and precautions associated with magic mushrooms. Understanding your own mental and physical health is also important, as these factors can influence how you respond to the mushrooms.

To ensure your safety, it's important to rely on trustworthy sources of information and be cautious when consuming magic mushrooms. Accurate identification of the mushrooms and following dosage guidelines are important factors for a safe and enjoyable experience. By being well-informed and prepared, you can make informed decisions and have a positive mushroom journey.

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