Magic mushrooms, also known as shrooms, have a long and venerable history. Anthropologists have theorized that certain cave paintings in Algeria represent a hallucinogenic fungus, and these were created between 7,000 and 9,000 years ago. There are similar 6,000-year-old cave paintings in Spain, and a wealth of evidence to show that the ancestors of the Aztecs used them in religious ceremonies.
These days, magic mushrooms are illegal in many countries worldwide, but they are slowly being legalized as time goes by. Brazil, Jamaica, and Vietnam all openly allow their cultivation and sale, while countries such as Portugal and Italy have decriminalized their use.
With scientists starting to recognize certain health benefits that can come from their use, and the states of Colorado and Oregon legalizing them, they are once again becoming one of the more popular hallucinogens available.
So, what does it feel like to get high on mushrooms? What can you expect from a trip? How can you prepare yourself to make sure you have a good trip, and is there anything you can do to avoid a bad one?
A Potted History
The most well documented historical users of magic mushrooms were the Aztecs, who called them teōnanācatl, which directly translated means ‘divine mushrooms.’ They were also known by names like ‘genius mushrooms’ and ‘wonderous mushrooms.’ They were used in rituals and served up at the coronation of Moctezuma II, the Emperor who was in power when the Spanish first arrived in South America.
The Spanish conquistadors were the first to try and stop people from using them, trying to persuade the locals to rather use their Christian rituals and to abandon the fungus. They believed that the Aztecs used the mushrooms to communicate with devils and demons.
Shrooms were popularized in modern times by, among others, the pioneer of psychedelia Timothy Leary, who traveled to Mexico to try them for himself after reading an article about them in Life magazine. Then, in 1971, the United Nations added them to their list of Schedule I drugs, meaning they have a high likelihood of abuse and no medicinal value – neither of which are necessarily true.
If You’re Happy and You Know It, Take Some Shrooms
The first thing to keep in mind is that a mushroom trip is an intense experience. At its best, a trip can have you in fits of giggles, while also opening you up to a greater world of experience and interconnectivity. At their worst, they can leave you nauseous, overwhelmed, anxious, and potentially afraid.
A number of things can influence how your trip will go. Primarily, the dosage is very important – too little, and you’ll barely feel a thing. Too much, and you will spend hours on a ride that you might not enjoy. It’s suggested that first-timers try taking around one gram of the mushrooms, and then wait around an hour to see how they feel, before potentially taking some more.
The other main influences are the setting in which you take shrooms and the mental state you are in before the trip.
Basically, it’s not a good idea to take them if you’re in a bad mood, or in an unstable mental state, as they enhance the condition you are currently in. A good mood is much more likely to result in a good trip. It also helps a lot to be in a comfortable place, and it’s even better to be out in nature, as highly structured and artificial environments are more likely to trigger a bad trip.
Pack Your Bags, We’re Going on A Trip
Prior to taking them, there are a few things you can do to prepare for the trip ahead. You will likely keep experiencing the effects for around six to eight hours, so you want to be sure that you’re ready for the long haul.
First of all, taking them on an empty stomach enhances their potency, but also increases the likelihood that you will vomit or experience stomach cramps. While this is up to you, if you are taking them for the first time, you might want to line your stomach with a small meal first. That said, if you’re hoping to get more bang for your buck, consider skipping breakfast.
Next, it’s a good idea to have supplies for the trip. Taking mushrooms can result in a marked loss of appetite, but even so, you probably will find that your stomach is rumbling at some point. Simple foods like salted chips can help. It’s worth noting that sugar can lessen the effects of the trip, although pure dark chocolate is said to enhance them. It’s also wise to have a good supply of water, and if you’re going to be out of the house, bring comfortable clothing and something to sit on.
The final part of the preparation is to try to make sure that you’re with a friend who has taken them before, as they will be able to help guide you through the process and can help you feel comfortable with what’s happening. Tripping around people you don’t know, or around people who aren’t also taking shrooms, can be a jarring experience, and it has the potential to make you feel somewhat paranoid.
I Can See the Matrix
The trip itself will usually kick in between fifteen to thirty minutes after you’ve ingested the mushrooms. You may feel a tingling at the back of your head and taste the mushrooms again at the back of your throat. Colors, sounds, and touch will all be more vivid, and potentially quite different to what you are used to. You will likely lose track of the passage of time, and you will feel a sense of euphoria and wonder at the beauty of the world, especially while in nature.
Depending on the species of mushroom, and the dosage, there is a decent chance that you will experience hallucinations, or ‘visuals.’ These can manifest in all sorts of ways, such as seeing bushes transform into dancing starfish, becoming fascinatedly lost in the patterns on your curtains, or even seeing the world moving around you as if everything is breathing.
They affect each person in a different way, and what you see is likely influenced by both what you expect, and by your subconscious mind’s influence.
There’s Not Mushroom for More
What does it feel like to get high on mushrooms? If you’re in a good mood, and in the right place, it can feel wonderful, euphoric, enlightening, and can show you the interconnectedness of all things. If you’re depressed, stressed, or walking around a city, it can make you feel paranoid, anxious, nauseous, and scared.
But this is just a small intro to taking shrooms. Like any drug, it is wise to thoroughly research it before taking the plunge.