Magic Mushrooms: Dangers of Mushroom Chocolate
While the debate regarding the legalization of marijuana continues across the US, there is another legalization debate going on: magic mushrooms, or mushrooms containing the psychedelic compound psilocybin.
Legal in two US states at the time of writing, magic mushrooms have been used for spiritual, medical, and increasingly, recreational use. One of the more popular ways to ingest psilocybin mushrooms (which have a taste that can generously be described as “acquired”) is by mixing them into chocolate. It’s easy to find YouTube videos showcasing how to make a mushroom chocolate bar.
Before we go on, it’s worth pointing out that there are many dietary supplements mixing mushrooms with chocolate. These are legal and aren’t psychoactive – these supplements are there for the purported health benefits of regular mushrooms. This blog is strictly about magic mushrooms, mushrooms that contain the psychedelic compound psilocybin.
Also called shrooms, mushroom chocolate is emerging as the newest form of mind-altering drugs finding support for their therapeutic or helpful properties. However, magical shrooms come with a risk of creating an addiction, too. As psychedelic drugs get more popular, people who use them for different reasons are debating the benefits of using magic mushrooms and chocolate shrooms to help them relax or even recover from extreme pain.
Magic mushrooms are not the usual, edible variety of mushrooms that we cook, but mushrooms that contain a high percentage of a biochemical called psilocybin. When ingested, psilocybin is converted by the body into psilocin, a potent, mind-altering drug. Psilocin chocolates & chocolate bars have started engaging attention for their supposed beneficial effects.
To understand why the debate around consuming mushroom chocolate should not be taken lightly and what magic mushrooms are, read on.
The Mushroom Chocolate Debate
Even though it is not clear how many people have gone to a drug rehab center due to mushroom chocolate, professional drug treatment experts across the US realize that psilocybin and mushroom chocolate are not to be treated at par with some herbal teas recommended for relaxation or as means to boost immunity. Magic mushrooms are widely understood as potent hallucinogens and are listed as Schedule I drugs. Drugs in this schedule are considered to have a high potential for abuse, aren’t accepted as part of medical treatment, and aren’t considered safe.
This is because shrooms like these are easy to abuse and have no established medical uses. Even when used under some supervision, there is some degree of threat to the user as hallucinogens tend to have a mind-altering effect.
Mushroom Chocolate: What are Magic Mushrooms?
Magic mushrooms are mushrooms that contain psilocybin, a hallucinogenic compound. Magic mushrooms are traditionally used by eating them, mixing them into food, brewing them into tea, or mixing them with chocolate.
Mushrooms that have higher amounts of psilocybin in them are usually small, and the color ranges from brown to tan. It can be difficult to distinguish them from the regular mushrooms we consume clearly. In the wild, people can mistake psilocybin-containing mushrooms (or even toxic mushrooms) and vice-versa. Mushroom hunting is best done by experts.
Most of the time, psilocybin mushrooms are taken as a brewed tea, or the powdered form is mixed with food to hide its slightly bitter taste—again, the distinction in the taste and texture is somewhat limited. Some manufacturers recently started making powders out of dried magic mushrooms and putting them in capsules. The next step came in the form of mixing them with chocolate, similar to cannabis edibles.
Multiple names that people use to address chocolate magic mushrooms:
Magic mushrooms are not synthetic drugs. They are grown just like any other variety of mushrooms. Psilocybin, the chemical in these mushrooms that makes people feel high or hallucinate, was identified by Dr. Albert Hofmann. Hoffman was a Swiss researcher who is also associated with discovering LSD in 1958.
The slightly bitter taste meant that many recipes surfaced for making these shrooms more edible and easier to consume. Mushroom chocolate seems to have taken the lead. Mushroom chocolate is a term for chocolate-based recipes with magical mushrooms. People like to eat chocolate bars made from such mushrooms because they are easier to carry and take a quick bite almost anywhere. Even with the emergence of these new recipes, many people who use psychedelic-effect mushrooms do not realize how dangerous they can be.
Many people who use them do not know that they can be abused and that there is a serious chance of developing a dependency that can affect their everyday functioning at home, school, or the workplace. This is why rehab centers in the US have been getting many queries and admissions for people addicted to mushrooms, and often, the need is for a drug detox followed by a short stint of rehabilitation.
Mushroom chocolate might be easier to find in some places. You can find mushroom chocolate in Canada, Europe, and South America but lately, the presence has spread across the United States too. As far as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is concerned, chocolate shrooms are not meant to be consumed recreationally. They are still Schedule I drugs. The FDA has not approved them either, and most physicians will tell you about the seriousness of developing a chocolate magic mushroom addiction.
How Does Magic Mushroom Chocolate Work?
Hallucinogens typically cause people to see, hear, and feel things that seem real but aren't. The effects of mushroom chocolate tend to have the same effect, but the experiences are not the same for everybody. As compared to benzos or opioid drugs, it might be safe to opine that mushroom chocolate seems less potent in terms of creating a high, but the threat of addiction is equally severe. As some studies have proven, psilocybin in magic mushrooms works by turning on serotonin receptors in the prefrontal cortex (a part of the human brain). This part of the brain primarily affects how we feel and what we think. It has control over how we see and interpret things.
Hallucinogens like psilocybin also affect other parts of the brain that play a part in how alert or scared we feel. Psilocybin does not always make you see/hear things that are not there. The hallucinogenic effect does not surface with a single bite of a mushroom chocolate bar. Instead, it takes time for the effect, and the person starts seeing things in a distorted fashion.
This can be very subtle for some and very strong for other individuals—the mind-altering effects of psilocybin can be different for every individual. The mind-altering effects of chocolate shrooms are also dependent on:
How much of the substance was consumed?
What did the person eat along with or before consuming mushroom chocolate?
When a person consumes psilocybin in any form, the hallucinogenic effects are expected to start within 30 minutes, and these can continue for up to 4 to 6 hours. However, people might have very different stories to share about their first magic shroom experience. Some people can change how they feel for days after consuming it; others might say that it affected their thinking for several days without the typical, out-of-the-world feeling.
Mushroom chocolate can be very potent. Its potency depends on multiple factors:
The site or origin of the mushrooms
What was the harvesting period for the shrooms?
The situation of the mushrooms when they were dried, processed, or added to the recipe
What was the time gap between harvesting and drying the mushrooms?
The type of species of mushrooms being consumed
The growing conditions
For how long were the mushrooms dried?
Mushroom Chocolate and Addiction
Magic mushrooms have gained some support as many cultures that have used herbal blends as a part of spiritual awakenings speak about using them. Some people talk about using shrooms for self-discovery and to help them connect with spiritual experiences. Many people think that these are natural drugs since they are not manufactured, synthetic drugs.
However, mushrooms and marijuana were perhaps once sacred herbs but now, the ease of their availability makes them a threat like any other street drug. Yes, the number of cases of overdosing on magical shrooms might be small but the addiction can also be a gateway addiction when a seemingly lighter form of addiction gives way to a more serious substance abuse disorder. Not feeling the expected high after consuming magical shrooms might make the person experiment with other, similar drugs.
Mushroom chocolate creates an effect similar to the body's feel-good chemical serotonin, a neurotransmitter linked with joy, happiness, and well-being. This is why a person who has consumed more than a generous amount of magic shrooms might be strangely euphoric, and the effect is very similar to what is seen in other types of psychedelic drugs. People who are experiencing the shroom-induced state of happiness are less likely to:
Be their usual self in social interactions
Do their workplace duties like operating machinery or following simple instructions
Even though there are many theories about some possible benefits of using choco shrooms, they are on Schedule I for a reason. Using mushrooms over a long time can lead to both mental and physical side effects—the patterns are very similar to having a substance abuse disorder or being addicted. People who use drugs tend to have trouble with their day-to-day routines, and the pattern seems the same for shroom-related abuse. It is not surprising to find people who find it hard to keep their jobs due to consistent drinking or shroom-related addiction.
People also often mix mushrooms and alcohol to make the physical and mental side effects severe. The amount of psilocybin in a bar or piece of chocolate mushroom is usually unknown unless a manufacturer has clearly stated the percentage. Due to this, it is hard to say how strong the effects of the shroom chocolate will be. Another variation in the severity of the hallucinogenic effects is due to the psychoactive parts of mushrooms being hard to measure. A big percentage of the mushroom might be wasted during the harvesting and drying process, which can impair the potency of the shroom when it is further mixed with the chocolate.
Some common side effects of mushroom chocolate include:
Dryness of mouth
Lack of coordination – mental and overall bodily incoordination
Dilated pupils – a common sign of many other types of drug addictions
Headaches – along with perpetual pain in the body
Altered sense of time and place
Nausea and vomiting
Increased heart rate – this could get dangerously high when shrooms are mixed with other drugs
Drowsiness – feeling sleepy throughout the day
Increased blood pressure and increased body temperature
Feeling unusually elated
Unlike some chemically synthesized drugs where it is relatively easier to define whether the trip will be pleasurable or intense, or scary, with shrooms, the natural element presents a challenge, and the effects can be seen better when they appear. When you take shrooms, you might feel anything from relaxed to wholly panicked, and the hallucinations might soon turn into delusions, and there can be anxiety attacks intense enough to keep you away from regular tasks at home or school.
Using magic mushrooms or products that contain them for a long time can also lead to physical dependence, which makes it hard to stop using them over time. People often talk about feeling the jitters in their hands, a trembling-like sensation that just does not go away when they haven't used the shrooms for some time. Mushroom chocolate might have several long-term effects too. The person might feel incapable of differentiating between the fantasy world induced by mushroom chocolate and the original world around them.
Chocolate might not be a psychedelic on its own, but it is known to have some sound health effects. High-cocoa chocolates are known to uplift your mood and make you feel good. This acts like the perfect partner for psilocybin, apart from beautifully masking the natural taste of magic shrooms that isn't always good. There are some theories that when used together, psilocybin and cacao create an amplified effect.
Want to Stop Using Mushroom Chocolate? The Edge Treatment Center can Help
Any substance a person relies upon to feel normal can disrupt their life. Mushroom chocolate is no different. If mushroom chocolate is causing havoc in your life, talk to The Edge Treatment Center. We offer evidence-based methods to treat substance abuse. Our long-term outpatient care facility can help you leave mushroom chocolate abuse behind for good.
Talk to The Edge Treatment Center today to learn more.