Magic mushrooms

Magic mushrooms

Ive heard my friends talking about magic mushrooms, what are they?

These are any mushrooms containing hallucinogens (something that causes hallucinations). They are not restricted by law, but their possession with intent to supply is. The mushrooms are generally picked in the autumn and eaten raw or dried for later use.

As many as 20-30 need to be consumed to have an effect similar to a mild dose of LSD. Their potency can vary greatly. It is not known how many people use or have used them. A Dublin survey reports that 4% of school children had taken them.

Magic mushrooms cause hallucinations and there may be a distorted sense of reality, with the user usually being aware that this is not real. Bad trips can occur but do not usually last longer than the effects of the drug.

Physical effects include:

  • Dilated pupils.
  • A fast heartbeat.
  • High blood pressure.

Effects start about a half an hour after eating the mushrooms and last three to four hours. Side effects include vomiting and stomach cramps. Panic and anxiety attacks can occur and usually disappear within 12 hours with reassurance. Users may indulge in rash behaviour such as walking out in traffic or along railway lines. One teenage death resulted from the teenager being struck by a train.

Magic mushrooms are a minority drug activity in Ireland, as users need to know what mushrooms to look for. They are generally shared amongst friends rather than sold.

The greatest danger is from accidentally ingesting mushrooms that are poisonous. Physical dependence does not occur but tolerance of effects can. Occasional disturbing flashbacks can occur.

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