Know the facts and connect with support to help you address known or suspected substance use with your child.

    Psilocybin and psilocyn are the hallucinogenic compounds contained in certain mushrooms. These “magic” mushrooms (other names include caps and shrooms) are generally grown in Mexico and Central America and have been used in native rituals for thousands of years. Psilocybin is structurally similar to the brain chemical serotonin, and produces its effects by disrupting normal functioning of the serotonin system.[1]

    Ingesting these mushrooms can cause a person to see images, hear sounds, and feel sensations that seem real but do not exist. Their effects typically begin within 20 to 90 minutes of ingestion and can last as long as 12 hours. They are generally eaten, brewed or consumed as tea.[2]

    Understand the risks

    Once ingested, mushrooms generally cause feelings of nausea before the desired mental effects appear. Other effects can include nervousness and paranoia. Effects can be different during each use due to varying potency, the amount ingested, and a person’s expectations, mood, surroundings, and frame of mind. On some trips, people experience sensations that are enjoyable. Others can include terrifying thoughts, and anxiety, fears of insanity, death, or losing control. A person using magic mushrooms is often unable to discern what is fantasy and what is reality.

    Some people using magic mushrooms experience “flashbacks,” or hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), which are reoccurrences of hallucinations long after ingesting the drug. The causes of these effects, which in some people occur after a single experience with the drug, are not known.[3]

    Identify & address use

    Signs of use include nausea, nervousness and paranoia. If you’re concerned your child may be using mushrooms or other substances, the following can help you address the behavior more effectively.

    Spot the Signs of Teen or Young Adult Substance Use

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    How Worried Should I Be About My Child’s Drug Use?

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    What Do I Do if My Child is Using Drugs?

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    Last Updated

    June 2020

    [1]NIDA. “Hallucinogens.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/hallucinogens. Accessed 3 Dec. 2018.
    [2]National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Commonly Abused Drugs Charts.” NIDA, 2 July 2018, www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs-charts#hallucinogens.
    [3]“Get Smart About Drugs.” Find Help | Get Smart About Drugs, www.getsmartaboutdrugs.gov/drugs/psilocybin.
    Additional Sources:
    Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

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