Magic mushrooms, colloquially known as shrooms, are becoming increasingly well-known for their potential benefits.
A growing body of research suggests their psychoactive component, psilocybin, could help treat anxiety, depression, addiction, and more. Some healthy individuals also use them to aid personal and spiritual growth.
Because inhalation is a fairly common method of consuming psychoactive substances, some people might assume that smoking shrooms is beneficial. However, it could potentially cause more harm than good.
This article provides a detailed answer to the question “can you smoke shrooms?” and explains why it is a bad idea.
Can You Smoke Mushrooms?
Magic mushrooms are all the rage. Recently, advocates have been pushing for decriminalization of psilocybin, the active compound in mushrooms that produces their hallucinogenic effects.
However, in most of the United States, they remain illegal to sell. Possession and consumption have been decriminalized in small amounts in some jurisdictions, and in the case of Oregon, a bill passed recently to establish a medical model of legalized psilocybin.
Still, it’s easy to see that numerous companies are openly selling magic mushrooms online with no repercussions whatsoever. Unfortunately, an unregulated industry means that people may be using them incorrectly.
An unregulated industry means that people may be using magic mushrooms incorrectly.
Some users think that it may be safe to smoke them; after all, people smoke a range of psychoactive substances, such as cannabis, Salvia Divinorum, and DMT. However, it is an unsuitable consumption method for many other psychedelics, including magic mushrooms.
The most common way of ingesting magic mushrooms is by eating them fresh or dried or brewing them into tea. However, many people find their taste and texture unpalatable. Therefore, some individuals are seeking alternatives.
In early 2021, a man nearly died after injecting himself with mushroom tea. He spent several weeks in hospital, where doctors treated him for bacterial and fungal infections and multiple organ failure.
While this is an extreme and isolated case, it highlights the fact that people are interested in other consumption methods, which may be dangerous.
One reason smoking mushrooms is inadvisable is that psilocybin is thermally labile, meaning it breaks down at high temperatures. Therefore, it is unlikely to produce the desired effects. Moreover, the practice is associated with several risks and side effects, which we will discuss below.
What Happens if You Smoke Shrooms?
There is currently no research available on the effects of smoking psilocybin. However, anecdotal reports suggest that those who smoke shrooms derive little benefit. In fact, it appears that the practice could even be harmful in some cases.
Smoking Shrooms: Effects
According to reports posted on forums such as Reddit, the effects of smoking shrooms are mild to non-existent. Some say that they experienced minimal psychedelic effects, although others suggest this could be due to the placebo effect. Others report that the practice induced nothing but side effects such as nausea.
One exception to the rule is Amanita muscaria, the fly agaric mushroom. Some users claim they experienced psychoactive effects after smoking this fungus. However, fly agaric does not contain psilocybin. Its active compound is ibotenic acid, which converts to muscimol when dried. The former can cause extreme sickness, while the latter produces sedative and euphoric effects.
However, it is inadvisable to smoke any mushroom, regardless of its effects. We will discuss the reasons for this below.
Smoking Mushrooms: Side Effects
The negative side effects of shrooms (when taken orally) include:
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Fluctuations in body temperature
These side effects are usually short-lived. However, some individuals also endure a distressing or frightening overall experience known as a bad trip. Many people accept these adverse effects due to the potentially positive outcomes of psilocybin use.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that smoking mushrooms could produce side effects but without any of the associated benefits.
However, smoking mushrooms does not have the same pay-off. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it could produce side effects but without any of the associated benefits.
Furthermore, there are other serious risks associated with the practice. For example, mushrooms may be contaminated with mold spores that could cause respiratory problems if inhaled. Then there is the well-known fact that smoking anything is bad for the lungs, including magic mushrooms.
How to Use Mushrooms Safely
By now, it should be clear that smoking shroom dust or whole mushrooms is not a good idea. It is best to stick to the more traditional method of oral consumption.
Some experienced psychonauts recommend mixing crushed dried mushrooms with food, such as peanut butter, chocolate spread, or similar. Doing this masks the mushrooms’ bitter taste and makes them easier to consume.
Others use powdered mushrooms to fill empty capsule casings and swallow them with water. This approach is especially popular with those who regularly microdose mushrooms.
Regardless of the consumption method, it is essential to use magic mushrooms responsibly. Proper preparation is key to optimizing the experience and reducing the risk of a bad trip.
It is critical to pay attention to one’s mood and mindset and the physical environment. It is also recommended that psilocybin is consumed under the supervision of a professional psychedelic guide or therapist.
Finally, remember that magic mushrooms are still widely illegal, although there are now a few exceptions. This article is for educational and harm reduction purposes only. It is the reader’s responsibility to familiarize themselves with the relevant laws in their area.