Drug use and teens can sometimes go hand-in-hand. Teens are known for experimenting with alcohol and various types of drugs, especially during their high school and college years. One such drug is named magic mushrooms for their hallucinogenic and psychedelic properties.
Teens may have access to several different types of magic mushrooms in the United States. Parents or guardians should be familiar with some of the common types of psychedelic mushrooms that their teens may be trying.
What Are Magic Mushrooms?
First, what exactly are magic mushrooms? Some parents may have heard about what a magic mushroom experience is. For those that never have, magic mushrooms contain an active ingredient known as psilocybin (4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine). Psilocybin mushrooms grow in tropical or subtropical regions of North and South America.
The history of magic mushrooms in the United States goes back to the 1950s when psilocybin was first isolated. However, in Central and South America, it is likely that magic mushrooms have been around for thousands of years. Native Indians of these regions used hallucinogenic mushrooms during sacred and religious rituals to gain insights about the world.
Unsurprisingly, magic mushrooms produce many different physical and psychological effects that change the way users perceive the world in which they live. Generally, the intensity of the “high” or “trip” individuals experience is directly related to the amount of mushrooms they have consumed.
The Risk of Mushroom Poisoning
Is there any way for parents to know if mushrooms are poisonous? Unfortunately, pictures of magic mushrooms cannot definitively educate parents on normal (safe and edible) magic mushrooms or mushrooms that contain poisonous toxins. Since there are thousands of mushroom varieties in the world, it is near impossible for a novice to tell the difference between certain varieties and specifically the poisonous varieties.
Nevertheless, parents may be able to distinguish if their teens have consumed toxic mushrooms based on the symptoms they exhibit. Some common symptoms of mushroom poisoning may include:
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness
- Pain in the abdomen
Common Types of Magic Mushrooms
How can a person tell if a mushroom has psychedelic qualities? Furthermore, do all magic mushrooms look the same? The effects of psilocybe mushrooms may slightly vary depending on the variety consumed by teens. Some common types of magic mushrooms available in the United States include:
- Psilocybe semilanceata: Psilocybe semilanceata mushrooms can be identified by their light-colored curved stems and their large brown conical or bell-shaped caps, also called “liberty caps.” Typically this mushroom variety grows well in North American and European climates. If a teen trips from Psilocybe semilanceata, they may experience potent side effects, with percentages of psilocybin ranging from 0.17 to 1.96% per mushroom
- Psilocybe cubensis: Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms are one of the most popular types of magic mushroom and may have originally developed in Cuba. The Psilocybe cubensis can be identified by its reddish brown color and large caps. These mushrooms are also known as “golden teachers.”
- Psilocybe mexicana: Psilocybe mexicana are a variety of magic mushroom with many similarities to Psilocybe semilanceata including conical or bell-shaped large caps. This variety commonly grows in South and Central America and has been used by indigenous peoples for thousands of years.
- Psilocybe cyanescens: Psilocybe cyanescens has also been called “wavy caps” and can be found in many different parts of the world. Psilocybe cyanescens can be identified by its wavy, caramel-colored and large caps relative to the mexicana or semilanceata varieties. It is important to note that the Psilocybe cyanescens variety has many poisonous look-alikes.
- Psilocybe azurescens: Psilocybe azurescens look-alikes include “flying saucers.” This mushroom variety can be identified by its large caps that are chestnut brown but change to black or blue with maturity. The Psilocybe azurescens trip is supposed to be one of the most intense due to its high psilocybin content relative to other varieties.
- Psilocybe baeocystis: Psilocybe baeocystis can be identified from other varieties of magic mushrooms by its bottle cap shape. This variety is usually medium in size and shaped in a conical fashion. Psilocybe baeocystis are often dark, earthy colors including dark blue.
Effects of Psychedelic Drugs During the Teenage Years
Importantly, since the brain is still developing, what are the effects of drugs on the teenage brain? Psychedelics are often used by teens because they are hallucinogens meaning they induce both auditory and visual hallucinations. Besides hallucinations, there are both long-term and short-term effects of psychedelic drugs like magic mushrooms.
Firstly, psychedelic drugs affect neurotransmitter signaling in a teen’s brain and can alter pathways that regulate:
- A teen’s mood
- What a teen senses and perceives
- Body temperature
- Mood and emotions
- Ability to sleep
- Perception of pain
Furthermore, the short-term effects of psychedelic drugs on a teen’s brain include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Enhanced senses
- Time moving more slowly or more quickly than normal
- Higher blood pressure and body temperature
- Gastrointestinal upset
- Feeling as though one has experienced something “spiritual”
- Panic attacks
- Becoming paranoid
- Disordered thinking
- Detachment from oneself or reality (depersonalization-derealization)
Lastly, potential long-term effects on a teen may include:
- Exhibiting problems with speech
- Memory problems
- Developing anxiety or depression
- Having thoughts of suicide
- Recurrent psychosis episodes even after the initial “trip”
Thus by trying psychedelics including magic mushrooms, the teenage brain on drugs may be permanently altered. More research must be conducted about how psychedelics affect the developing brain.
Finding Help for Teen Addiction
If a teen is addicted to magic mushrooms, there are many different treatment options including teen drug rehab.
Does your teen have an addiction to psychedelic drugs? Are you concerned about their well-being? Call Next Generation Village to discuss treatment options for your teen’s drug addiction and any co-occurring mental health conditions. A representative can answer any questions about the recovery programs we offer.