Can You Overdose on Mushrooms?

Jillian Jastrzembski

Can you take too many shrooms? The short answer is yes, but as usual, there’s more to the story. What kind of shrooms are we talking here? And how serious is an overdose?

There are thousands of different species of mushrooms. But if you’re asking these questions, chances are you’re referring to either psychedelic mushrooms (also called magic mushrooms) or the amanita muscaria.

Although magic mushrooms and amanita muscaria are often lumped together, they really have very little in common. They have different active ingredients, different biological effects, and produce completely different experiences. Also, one is legal and the other is a Schedule I drug.

You know what else is different between magic mushrooms and amanita muscaria? The prognosis following overdose. And the difference might surprise you.

It can be summed up like this: while amanita muscaria are more physically dangerous, psilocybin-containing species are more psychologically dangerous.

So, what exactly do we mean by that? What can you do to avoid overdose, and what can you do if it’s too late? In this article, we’ll break down the answers to these questions for the two most popular mind-altering shrooms.

Can You Overdose on Psychedelic Mushrooms?

Let’s start by talking about psychedelic mushrooms, also called magic mushrooms. This category actually includes over 150 different species. What they have in common is that they contain the active ingredient psilocybin, and a similar molecule called psilocin.

The body converts psilocybin into psilocin, which is actually the compound primarily responsible for the mind-altering effects. The estimated lethal dose of psilocybin is around 6g. That might not seem like much, but actually that’s about 10 kg of mushrooms. It would be nearly impossible to consume such a quantity. (And you’re almost guaranteed to throw up first.)

A typical dose of shrooms is about 3-30 mg of psilocybin, which is only about 5-50 g of fresh mushrooms. For more details, you can check out our dosing guide. You should use a kitchen scale to make sure you’re measuring accurately – but keep in mind that different crops of mushrooms can vary significantly in the quantity of psilocybin present. You can really only guess at how much psilocybin you’re consuming from fresh mushrooms, unless you get them tested in a lab. It’s worth noting that most of the psychoactive alkaloids are present in the cap, not the stem, of the mushrooms.

At these typical doses, you may experience some physical symptoms, and they won’t necessarily be pleasant. These include things like:

·       Nausea

·       Dizziness

·       Shivering

·       Abdominal pain

·       Increased breathing rate

·       Increased heart rate and blood pressure

All in all, as psychoactive drugs go, psilocybin is considered to be relatively safe from a physiological stand point. It is extremely unlikely to cause organ damage or addiction, unless something else is going on. For example, a man who injected magic mushrooms directly into his veins suffered from failure of multiple organs and spent a week in the ICU. Mixing with other drugs can also cause unpredictable complications.

There’s also a risk of cardiac toxicity from another chemical component, called phenylethylamine. This chemical is found in some species of magic mushrooms (remember, there are over 150), and in varying degrees.

But the real danger of psilocybin overdose is not physical, but psychological. This is a mushroom that can induce profound changes to your perspective – hopefully for the better. In research studies, psilocybin has been shown to be an effective mental health treatment. Study subjects described a sense of being “one with the universe,” and the hope is that this mindset shift can be permanent.

Sometimes, however, the trip goes wrong. This is usually because the set and setting were not right, meaning it did not feel safe. It can also be related to underlying cases of psychosis.

While psychological symptoms can seem benign, anyone who has ever been a victim of their own mind knows that they can be lethal. Consuming psilocybin in the wrong setting, or with the wrong mindset, can cause confusion, panic, and anxiety. It could spur the consumer to do something dangerous, or even suicidal.

It is rare that a psilocybin overdose patient presents to the ER. Usually, the symptoms are more psychological than physiological. To avoid psilocybin overdose, stay within the dosing guide, and avoid mixing with other substances. It is important to take psilocybin in the right mindset and a safe, comfortable setting.

Psilocybin is not sold legally because it is a Schedule I drug. Although research suggests otherwise, it is still officially classified as a drug with no medical purpose and high risk for addiction.

Can You Overdose on Amanita Mushrooms?

Amanita muscaria is a totally different kind of mushroom. The amanita muscaria is the classic crimson-colored mushroom with white speckles, famous in story books and video games. Like magic mushrooms, it can create mind-altering effects.

Yet despite its colorful and playful appearance, the amanita muscaria is also highly poisonous. The toxicity of amanita muscaria has nothing to do with magic mushrooms. The active compounds in amanita muscaria are muscimol and ibotenic acid, not psilocin.

Unlike psilocin, which interacts with serotonin receptors in the brain, muscimol interacts with GABA receptors. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which means it decreases the responsiveness of a neuron. That’s why amanita muscaria can have the effect of lulling you into a sedative state.

Ibotenic acid ultimately gets converted to muscimol in the body, but before it does that, it can actually have the opposite effect. It can be excitatory. In other words, the ibotenic acid has the effect of stimulating the central nervous system and muscimol has the effect of depressing it. That’s why people who consume amanita muscaria often report alternating periods of agitation and sedation.

As with psilocybin mushrooms, there are a lot of factors that can affect the concentrations of toxic compounds in the mushrooms. For example, during the drying process, a lot of the ibotenic acid gets converted to muscimol. The toxin concentrations can also vary with the season, or geographical location.

It’s simply safer to purchase amanita muscaria from a reputable company. This avoids foraging mistakes, ensures that the amanita muscaria has been processed correctly, and helps you to control your dosage.

Ingesting amanita muscaria may lead to symptoms such as:

·       Confusion

·       Dizziness

·       Alternating agitation and depression

·       Changes in vision and hearing

·       Space distortion

·       Lack of awareness of time

If you consume too much amanita muscaria, you may also experience high blood pressure, increased or decreased heart rate, or hypothermia. Symptoms could progress to coma or, in rare cases, death. If you suspect you have consumed too much, seek medical advice immediately. If you are having difficulty breathing or maintaining consciousness, you should contact your local poison control or call 911.

How to Consume Mushrooms Safely

Mushrooms have long held our fascination for their ability to transport us and, quite literally, change our minds. Along with that transformative power comes a physical and psychological danger. Traditionally, psychoactive mushrooms were consumed under the guidance of an experienced shaman who could guide the trip and keep the consumer safe.

In today’s world, there are important steps you can take in order to safely reap the benefits of these extraordinary fungi:

·       Source your shrooms only from reputable, third-party tested companies

·       Follow dosing instructions on the packaging

·       Consume in a safe, supervised setting

·       Avoid mixing mushrooms with other substances

·       Avoid consuming if you have an underlying psychoemotional disorder

·       Contact a medical professional if you suspect you have overdosed

Cases of mushroom poisoning are usually non-severe and can be resolved quickly. Medical reports of magic mushrooms are usually dominated by psychological, rather than physical symptoms. Amanita muscaria poisoning is more likely to be due from foraged mushrooms, rather than commercial gummies, and can usually be resolved in a hospital with stomach pumping and activated charcoal. Deaths from either of these mushrooms are extremely rare.

If you have any questions about our mushroom products, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

Can You Overdose on Mushrooms?
Can you take too many shrooms? The short answer is yes, but as usual, there’s more to the story. In this article we will go over shrooms side effects and more.
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Can You Overdose on Mushrooms?
January 5, 2024