Shrooms Vs. Acid

Shrooms vs Acid: a comprehensive review of shrooms and LSD, including their characteristic effects, safety profiles, and best practices for use.

Overview: Psilocybin mushrooms and LSD, also known as “shrooms” and “acid,” are popular classic psychedelics that can induce profound effects on consciousness. Shrooms have a rich history of use, while acid is a semisynthetic derivative of lysergic acid that was discovered in 1938. Both substances bind to a serotonin receptor subtype called 5-HT2A, altering neural activity and causing perceptual distortions, enhanced sensory experiences, and changes in thinking patterns. The effects of shrooms last around 4-6 hours, while LSD lasts 8-12 hours. Personal factors, dosage, mindset, and setting influence the experience. Responsible use involves educating oneself, considering personal health history, and consulting a healthcare professional. Both substances have a favorable safety profile, with minimal physiological harm and no evidence of addiction. While scientific studies indicate that the primary differences in effects between psilocybin and LSD are predominantly dose-dependent rather than specific to the substances themselves, anecdotal reports from experienced users often suggest distinct experiences and characteristics unique to each substance.

Understanding Shrooms and Acid: Exploring the Differences and Similarities

The terms “shrooms” and “acid” are colloquial phrases used to refer to two types of psychedelic substances: magic mushrooms (psilocybin-containing mushrooms) and LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide).

Shrooms and acid are two of the most well-known and widely used psychedelics consumed for various purposes cross-culturally, ranging from recreational use to spiritual enlightenment. However, despite their popularity, many people may not be aware of what distinguishes these two substances.

Shrooms and acid have both been recognized for their potential to induce both beneficial and challenging experiences. Numerous anecdotal reports and scientific studies suggest that they have the ability to elicit profound effects on consciousness.

Positive experiences with shrooms and acid often involve a sense of expanded awareness, enhanced emotions, spiritual insights, and increased connectedness. These experiences can promote personal growth, introspection, and a greater appreciation for life.

However, it is important to acknowledge that shroom and acid experiences can also be challenging and potentially unsettling. Challenging experiences with these substances can include what is commonly referred to as a “bad trip.” Characteristics of a bad trip can vary from person to person, but some common features may include anxiety, fear, paranoia, loss of control, and negative thought patterns. 

By gaining a nuanced understanding of the distinct chemistry, brain effects, and subjective experiences induced by shrooms and acid, individuals can make more informed decisions regarding their personal experimentation.

What are Shrooms? 

Shrooms, magic mushrooms, and psilocybin mushrooms are various names used to describe mushrooms that contain the classic psychedelic compound psilocybin. These mushrooms have a rich history of being used in religious and medicinal rituals throughout the ages.

Ancient indigenous cultures from different parts of the world, particularly the Mazatec people of Oaxaca, Mexico, hold a deep reverence for shrooms, specifically Psilocybe mexicana, considering them as sacred. These cultures have long recognized and harnessed the profound visionary properties of shrooms and other naturally occurring psychedelics.

Shrooms, or psilocybin-containing mushrooms, have the ability to grow in a variety of climates around the world. Different species of psilocybin mushrooms have adapted to thrive in diverse environments, including tropical rainforests, temperate forests, grasslands, and even desert regions.

It's worth noting that the growth of psilocybin mushrooms is influenced by various factors, including temperature, humidity, light, substrate composition, and availability of nutrients. Different species may have specific requirements and preferences for these conditions.

A 2017 Global Drug Survey found that nearly 21% of people who have used drugs have tried shrooms at least once in their lifetime, making it one of the most widely used psychedelics in the world. 

Recent clinical studies have demonstrated the therapeutic value of psilocybin in treating certain psychiatric conditions. 

What is Acid?

LSD, also known as “acid,” is a semisynthetic derivative of lysergic acid, a naturally-occurring substance found in the parasitic rye fungus Claviceps purpurea. It was first synthesized in 1938 by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann who at the time was working at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals in Basel, Switzerland. It wasn't until 1943 however that Hofmann accidentally discovered LSD’s powerful effects on the mind.

In the 50s and 60s, LSD was used as an adjunct to the psychotherapeutic treatment of thousands of patients suffering from a variety of mental health and chronic pain conditions. This research suggested that LSD may have an ability to relax one's mental defenses and bring forth unconscious thoughts and feelings which could lead to profound and meaningful experiences that hold personal significance.

LSD was banned in the late 1960s due to several reasons, such as its association with the counterculture movement led by the youth, increased recreational usage, and sensationalized media coverage. However, even after being classified as a Schedule I substance, its recreational and underground therapeutic use persisted.

LSD has had a significant cultural influence since its discovery. In the 1960s, it played a prominent role in the art, music, and literature of the time, influencing many significant figures. 

Very little clinical research on LSD has occurred since the 1970s. However, there is renewed scientific interest in LSD-assisted therapies as a treatment option for people suffering from mental health difficulties.

shrooms vs acid

Understanding the Effects of Shrooms and Acid 

The effects of shrooms and acid bear many resemblances. 

Both shrooms and acid have the ability to induce changes in perception, cognition, emotion, and one's sense of self. Everyday objects are often perceived with greater  significance and emotions are intensified under their influence, and users often gain deep insights into themselves, their relationships, and the universe.

Common effects of shrooms and acid include:

  • Perceptual distortions, including intensified colors, geometric patterns, vivid mental imagery
  • Enhanced sensory experiences
  • Distorted perception of time and space  
  • Changes in thinking patterns and creativity
  • Amplified feelings, ranging from euphoria and joy to anxiety and fear 

Additionally, these substances have the potential to temporarily dissolve the boundaries between the self and the universe, often leading to a sense of interconnectedness or unity.

This can sometimes lead to mystical-type experiences characterized by a sense of sacredness that is experienced as more real or true than everyday waking consciousness. Such experiences can produce enduring positive changes in perspective and behavior

It is important to note that the effects of shrooms and acid can vary significantly based on several factors.

The dosage and method of administration play a crucial role in determining the intensity and duration of the experience. Individual characteristics, such as psychological and physiological factors, can influence how an individual responds to these substances.

Additionally, one's set, which encompasses expectations, mindset, and emotional state, as well as the setting, referring to the physical and social environment, can significantly impact the overall experience. LSD and psilocybin can produce intense and potentially unsettling experiences, and it is essential to be in a safe and supportive environment. This may include having a trusted and sober individual present to provide support and assistance if needed.

Therefore, it is essential to approach the use of shrooms and acid with awareness and caution, considering these factors to ensure a safe and positive experience.

How Shrooms and Acid Affect the Brain 

Both psilocybin and LSD initiate psychedelic effects by binding to the 5-HT2A receptor. The 5-HT2A receptor is a specific type of protein and subtype of serotonin receptors located on the surface of certain nerve cells in the brain called neurons. 

By binding to the 5-HT2A receptor, shrooms and acid triggers a series of chemical and electrical signals and modulate the activity of neurons. This interaction leads to alterations in neural activity, which is believed to contribute to the characteristic psychedelic effects experienced. 

However, there are also some notable differences in their brain action.

For example, unlike most classic psychedelics, LSD exhibits activity at dopamine receptors, particularly at high doses. Specifically, animal studies suggest that LSD interacts with dopamine-2 (D2) receptors in the later stages of its effects. 

Psilocin also displays activity at other receptors. This includes histamine-1 (H1) receptors, alpha-2A and -2B (α2A,2B) receptors, and dopamine-3 (D3) receptors. Psilocin also has weak affinity for the serotonin transporter, resulting in higher concentrations of serotonin remaining in the spaces between brain cells, known as the synaptic cleft, after it is released. 

These receptor interactions alter the activity within and between certain brain regions, ultimately leading to profound shifts in consciousness and contributing to the complex effects of these substances. However, the full extent of the interactions between these substances and the brain is still not fully understood and remains an active area of research in the field of psychedelic science.

Understanding Dosage and Duration

A typical recreational dose of dried shrooms is usually around 1 to 2.5 grams, which is roughly equivalent to 10-25 milligrams of psilocybin. The two most commonly used species, Psilocybe cubensis and Psilocybe semilanceata, contain about 10 milligrams of psilocybin per gram of dried mushroom.

However, it's important to note that the amount of psilocybin can vary significantly within and between different species of shrooms. So, it's wise to be cautious when interpreting dosage recommendations.

When taking psilocybin mushrooms, the psychedelic journey usually lasts for about 4 to 6 hours. It begins with a 1-2 hour period of coming up, where the effects start to be felt. This is followed by a peak period lasting 2-3 hours, when the psychedelic experience is at its strongest. After that, there is a 1-2 hour offset as the effects gradually fade away. It typically takes around 30 to 60 minutes after ingestion for the psychedelic effects of psilocybin to become noticeable.

LSD is an incredibly potent psychedelic drug, with effects that can be felt even at very low doses in the microgram (µg) range. A common dose of acid typically ranges from 50 to 200 micrograms. When taken orally, LSD is absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract and starts to take effect within approximately 30 to 90 minutes. If administered intravenously or intramuscularly, the effects can be felt within 15 to 30 minutes.

The subjective experience of LSD typically lasts for a longer duration, around 6 to 12 hours. Recent research suggests that the extended duration of LSD's effects may be due to serotonin receptors trapping the LSD molecule inside the cell. This could explain why the effects persist for an extended period of time.

For those curious about exploring the effects of LSD or psilocybin mushrooms, it is advisable to start with low doses. Taking this approach allows individuals to familiarize themselves with the effects and gradually adjust their experience. Increasing the dose over time, as one becomes more acquainted with the substances, can promote responsible and informed exploration of the psychedelic experience.

are shrooms safe

Safety Profiles of Shrooms and Acid 

A study conducted in 2013 using multicriteria decision analysis revealed that psychedelics are among the safest of recreational substances. Psilocybin was observed to have the lowest individual and societal harm compared to other recreational substances.

Large-scale surveys on drug use and health consistently indicate that psilocybin carries a relatively low potential for harm. The acute physiological effects of consuming shrooms are generally mild, and the need for emergency medical treatment following their use is reported in only 0.2% of individuals, primarily due to psychological symptoms like panic and anxiety. Moreover, shrooms have not shown any evidence of causing neurophysiological deficits, organ damage, or addiction.

Similarly, LSD is considered to have a favorable safety profile. Research suggests that LSD is physically safe and well tolerated, with moderate cardiostimulant effects, no neurophysiological deficits, no organ damage, and no risk of dependence. As with psilocybin, the risks associated with LSD are primarily psychological rather than physiological.

Understanding the Distinctions: Psilocybin and LSD Experiences Explored

Experienced users have noted clear distinctions between the experiences of psilocybin and LSD.

Users often report distinct bodily sensations with these substances. According to anecdotal reports, psilocybin is often associated with a sense of physical relaxation, a feeling of being grounded, and a calming, introspective experience where users feel a sense of passivity.

On the other hand, LSD tends to induce a heightened sense of energy and a more stimulated body sensation with users typically perceiving a level of control over their experience.

In terms of visual effects, psilocybin is frequently described as producing soft, rounded, more organic visuals. LSD, on the other hand, is known for its intricate and geometric visuals, such as kaleidoscopic patterns, fractals, and intense color variations. The visual experience can vary greatly between individuals, but these general observations are frequently reported.

It's important to note that these observations are based on anecdotal reports and individual experiences, and there can be considerable variation between individuals.

Ongoing scientific studies are aiming to determine whether the differing pharmacological profiles of psilocybin and LSD result in distinct experiences. A recent placebo-controlled trial involved 28 healthy individuals who received varying doses of LSD (100 and 200 µg), psilocybin (15 and 30 mg), or a placebo. The study revealed that the primary differences in effects were predominantly dose-dependent rather than specific to the substances themselves.

Responsible Use of Psychedelics: Educating Yourself on Shrooms and Acid 

Psychedelics are very powerful drugs, and their use should be approached responsibly and carefully. If you are considering using LSD or psilocybin, it is essential to educate yourself about the potential risks and benefits of these drugs. This can help you make an informed decision about whether or not they are suitable for you.

One important factor to consider is your personal and family health history. People with underlying health issues and personal or familial history of psychoses, bipolar or neuropsychiatric disorders may be more susceptible to harmful effects or adverse reactions. Furthermore, some medications, particularly ones that interact with the serotonin system, may be contraindicated with shrooms and LSD.

It is advisable to speak with a licensed healthcare professional before experimenting with psychedelic compounds to assess risk and determine appropriateness.

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