How Long Does Psilocybin Stay in Your System?

Hallucinogenic Mushrooms Affect the Brain

Mushrooms
Psilocybin Remains in the System for Days. DEA

Hallucinogenic mushrooms contain the substances psilocybin and psilocin which can produce effects similar to LSD. Psilocybin is also known as magic mushroom, purple passion, and shrooms. These psychoactive chemicals are classified under Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, which can lead to severe penalties for possessing and trading them. Knowing how they act in the body and how long they stay in a person's system can help you understand why they are illegal.

The Effects of Psilocybin in Your System

Psilocybin (4-phosphoryloxyN, N-dimethyltryptamine) is found in specific varieties of mushrooms. They can be found in the wild in many places. Users might harvest them themselves or buy them from others. They can be eaten fresh or dried, or brewed in a tea.

In the body, psilocybin is converted to psilocin. It is believed to act on serotonin levels in the brain as it is an analog of serotonin. Studies with brain imaging during psilocybin use have shown some areas of the brain have decreased activity, while there may also be more communication across different regions of the brain, leading to altered and unusual perceptions.

The effects take about 30 to 45 minutes to begin, peak at about 90 minutes and can last up to 6 hours. This matches the timing of when the metabolite psilocin enters the bloodstream and then is mostly eliminated through the kidneys.

Physical effects include nausea and yawning. Mental effects include feeling relaxed and having introspective experiences that may feel spiritual. But there can be unpleasant mental effects including nervousness, paranoia, and panic reactions.

The average half-life of psilocin is 50 minutes, and after 3 hours about two-thirds of a dose has been eliminated through the kidneys in the urine.

It generally takes five to six half-lives for a substance to be entirely eliminated from the system.

The dosage is a large factor in the effects felt by those who take psilocybin, but studies found that age, personality traits, emotions, and the setting also affected whether the experience was unpleasant.

How Long Does Psilocybin Stay in Your System?

The immediate effects of using psilocybin wear off in 6 to 12 hours. Some studies and sources report that users can have long-term changes in personality, lasting for over a year. Some users have reported flashback experiences long after taking mushrooms.

Psilocybin is not tested for on a typical urine drug screen, such as for employment. Specific tests for it may be ordered if use is suspected. Many substances can remain in hair follicles for up to 90 days.

Risks of Mushrooms and Psilocybin

One of the biggest risks of using mushrooms is mushroom poisoning. Even experienced mushroom hunters can mistake a highly poisonous mushroom for the one they intended to gather. Mushroom poisoning can result in catastrophic liver damage and death unless there is immediate access to having a liver transplant.

Nausea is a common side effect of ingesting hallucinogenic mushrooms.

There are risks of having a "bad trip" and possibly experiencing ongoing effects. Research is just beginning in the area of lasting effects.

Sources:

Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs. National Institute on Drug Abuse. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/hallucinogens-dissociative-drugs/how-do-hallucinogens-lsd-psilocybin-peyote-dmt-ayahuasca-affect-brain-body.

Mushrooms. Teens Health. https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/mushrooms.html#

Passie, T., Seifert, J., Schneider, U. and Emrich, H. M. (2002), The pharmacology of psilocybin. Addiction Biology, 7: 357–364. doi:10.1080/1355621021000005937

Studerus E, Gamma A, Kometer M, Vollenweider FX. Prediction of Psilocybin Response in Healthy Volunteers. PLoS ONE. 2012;7(2). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030800.

Tylš F, Páleníček T, Horáček J. Psilocybin – Summary of knowledge and new perspectives. European Neuropsychopharmacology. 2014;24(3):342-356. doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2013.12.006.

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