What is Psilocybin?
Psilocybin is a psychedelic compound found in specific varieties of mushrooms. Mushrooms containing psilocybin can be found in the wild in many parts of the world and can be referred to as “magic mushrooms”, “zooms”, “shrooms”, “shroomies” and “s’rooms”. They can be eaten fresh, dried, brewed in a tea or infused into concentrates like gummies or chocolates. Common sources include the P.cubensis mushroom and others of the genus Psilocybe. There have been are nearly 100 species identified around the world with varying levels of psilocybin.
Psilocybin has been granted a breakthrough therapy designation by the FDA. It will be studied as a possible treatment for depression, anxiety and addiction. Despite promising clinical applications, psilocybin remains classified under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and is illegal to possess or sell in the United States. However, it has been decriminalized in some parts of the country, such as Oakland and Denver.
How Long Does It Take to Feel Effects Of Psilocybin?
After ingesting mushrooms containing psilocybin, it could take 20 to 50 minutes to start feeling the psycho active effects depending on the quantity consumed and the size of the person. In that time frame, the body breaks down psilocybin into psilocin. Psilocin acts on the serotonin receptors in the brain causing the psycho activity. The peak of psycho activity is approximately 90 minutes to 3 hours after consumption. The strongest effects are felt within the first 6 hours because is approximately the time it takes for the metabolite psilocin to enter the bloodstream and to be eliminated through the kidneys. The immediate effects of using psilocybin wears off in 6 to 12 hours, though most people report continuing to feel the effects until they sleep and a “glow” the next day.
What are the effects of psilocybin?
Many people have common experiences and effects from magic mushrooms, some include the feeling of being relaxed, having introspective experiences that may feel spiritual, self realizations, deeper connection with yourself and nature, the ability to work through deep emotions and relaxed inhibitions. A small number of individuals may experience negative physical effects, those can include nausea, yawning, headaches, increased heart rate, blood pressure and temperature, nervousness, paranoia and panic reactions.
Some studies and sources report that users can have long-term changes in personality, lasting for over a year. Some people who use psilocybin have reported flashback experiences long after taking mushrooms. Though typically not severe, there have been rare reports of people developing hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) after taking psilocybin mushrooms, however this requires further study.
Psilocybin is metabolized more quickly by some people than others. Dosage is a large factor that contributes to how strong, quickly and long someone can have psycho active effects. The users frequency of use, weight, and age are also factors to calcualting dosages. The end experience is highly determined by the person’s mindset and their physical setting, often referenced together as “set and setting.”
The standard five- and nine-panel drug tests ordered by most drug testing companies do not typically include tests for psilocybin, but companies such as Quest Diagnostics and NMS Labs do offer urine tests for psilocybin and one of its metabolites, psilocin, that could be purchased by an employer or probation office. Only small traces of the drug are detectable by a urine test for up to 24 hours after ingestion.
Blood testing for psilocybin is much less common, but it may happen under some conditions. However, the detection window is very brief, which means that the test must be administered within hours after use.
Like many other substances, magic mushrooms can be found in hair follicles for up to 90 days8. However, such tests may require larger hair samples in order to find detectable amounts of the substance.
Factors That Affect Detection Time
Determining how long “shrooms” stay in your system can be tricky. The amount of time it takes for the body to excrete psilocybin depends on many variables.
Detection times are influenced by the species of mushroom. The type of psilocybin mushroom a person takes affects how quickly the metabolite is eliminated from the body. There are more than 100 magic mushroom species and they all have varying levels of psilocybin content, ranging from psilocybe liniformans with 0.16% to psilocybe tampanensis with 0.68% to psilocybe azurenscens with 1.78%.
How soon psilocybin is eliminated from your body depends on dosage, frequency of use, type of mushroom, your metabolism, and factors such as your age, how much you weigh, your hydration level, and the health of your body systems.
A look at some factors that can affect psilocybin metabolism include:
- Age: People over age 65 tend to have reduced blood flow to their kidneys and liver, which can delay the excretion of psilocybin.
- Body mass: People with higher body mass tend to excrete psilocybin faster than those with low BMIs.
- Activity levels: Psilocybin is excreted faster in physically active people with higher metabolism rates.
- Hydration levels: Water can speed up the excretion of psilocybin.
- Liver and kidney function:Having liver or kidney disease can slow down the time it takes for psilocybin to pass through the body.
- Ingestion vs injection: The half-life for intravenously injected psilocybin is much faster than if it is consumed by oral ingestion. When injected, the drug may be cleared from the body in about seven to eight hours.
Psilocybin is not tested for on the typical urine drug screen used by employers. If use is suspected, however, specific tests for it may be ordered.
How to Get Psilocybin Out of Your System
Drug tests of psilocybin and psilocin involve screening urine samples using High-Performance Liquid Chromatography or Tandem Mass Spectrometry. The report is usually made available between four to eight days. The more shrooms you ingest, the longer the psilocybin remains and can be detected.
Drinking water can speed up the elimination of psilocybin, but not in any way that is significant for people trying to avoid detection on a drug test. The only way to get psilocybin out of your system is to discontinue use and allow your body time to metabolize and eliminate the substance.
While psilocybin may have a low potential for physical dependence, that does not mean that psychological addiction is not possible. While many people feel that a handful of psychedelic experiences are enough to get the healing benefits, some people who regularly take psilocybin may start to feel like their default reality does not compare and may seek to have as many psychedelic experiences as possible.
If you feel you may have a substance use disorder, talk to your doctor or speak to a mental health professional. There are different schools of therapy that may be helpful, including harm reduction, psychotherapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.