It is not uncommon to find cannabis consumers who also use psychoactive mushrooms and vice versa. Pushing boundaries can often lead to new experiences. Given that the tried and tested method of taking shrooms can lead to incredible trips, should we try and break the mold?
Exploring the possibility of smoking shrooms provides an alternative approach, but is it an approach that should be endorsed? The concept of smoking magic mushrooms may seem absurd. Sure, you can smoke shrooms, but whether or not you get the psychedelic effects you would from eating them is another story.
Dried shrooms can be crushed into a powder and smoked by rolling them up on their own or by mixing them with tobacco or cannabis. Some people also put purified psilocybin crystals into pipes. But are either of these options a great idea?
What are shrooms?
Magic mushrooms, also known as shrooms, are wild or cultivated mushrooms that contain psilocybin, a naturally-occurring psychoactive and hallucinogenic compound. Psilocybin is considered one of the most well-known psychedelics.
Although certain cultures have known to use the hallucinogenic properties of some mushrooms for centuries, psilocybin was first isolated in 1958 by Dr. Albert Hofmann, who also discovered lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).
Magic mushrooms are often prepared by drying and are eaten by being mixed into food or drinks, although some people eat freshly picked magic mushrooms.
What effects do magic mushrooms have?
Magic mushrooms are hallucinogenic drugs, meaning they can cause you to see, hear, and feel sensations that seem real but are not. The effects of magic mushrooms, however, are highly variable and are heavily influenced by the user’s environmental factors.
Shrooms have a long history of being associated with spiritual experiences and self-discovery. Many believe that naturally occurring drugs like magic mushrooms, weed, and mescaline are sacred herbs that enable people to attain superior spiritual states. Others take magic mushrooms to experience a sense of euphoria, connection, and a distorted sense of time.
The psilocybin found in shrooms is converted to psilocin in the body and is believed to influence serotonin levels in the brain, leading to altered and unusual perceptions. The effects take 20-40 minutes to begin and can last up to 6 hours.
Smoking shrooms is certainly possible. Magic mushrooms can be smoked if they are dried and then ground into a powder. Some psychedelic fans like to smoke and eat mushrooms at the same time.
Other psychedelic smoking advocates claim that smoking shrooms temper the intense psychoactive high that the fungus normally produces for a more mellow effect.
Smoking mushrooms supposedly leads to feelings of:
Some shroom smokers say that inhaling the fungus in combination with orally taking it guarantees a good trip, increasing creativity, uplifting moods, and heightening the senses to inspire feelings of awe while taking in the world.
However, looking at this from a theoretical position, smoking shrooms should not do anything for expanding your mind. Psilocybin is incredibly fragile, and it rapidly degrades under heat. Shroom material begins burning around 180 degrees Fahrenheit, and psilocybin’s melting point starts around 420 degrees Fahrenheit.
But when combusting something in a pipe, bong, or cigarette, temperatures can easily exceed 840 degrees Fahrenheit, twice the melting point temperature. That is more than enough energy to destroy the trippy compound before it can do anything in your brain.
Based on psilocybin’s chemical properties, the prevailing opinion is:
No, smoking shrooms is not going to do anything. There is a reason most people ingest their shrooms orally, and considering how simple that route can be, that is probably what most people should stick with.
However, even despite science, there are many self-reports online of people smoking shrooms and claiming they felt something. These experiences range from a brief but pleasing psychedelic feeling to full-blown but short-lived trips. Regardless, the majority of these self-reports suggest that smoking shrooms leads to a fairly mild high that does not last nearly as long as orally ingesting them.
There is no solid verdict on whether smoking shrooms does anything. It is possible that smokers could achieve something similar to micro-dosing, but the dangers of consuming shrooms via smoking may be much bigger than it is worth.
Is it dangerous?
For starters, any type of smoke is bad for your health. All smoke contains harmful toxins and particulates that can damage lung tissue and blood vessels, and increase the risk for lung cancer.
Smoking shrooms comes with a few risks that are not present if they are just eaten. Smoking them means you will be inhaling spores and fungal-laden dust. The main risk is that spores, or airborne fungi, can become lodged in the throat and lungs. The result can trigger inflammation or infection in the lungs.
Regardless if you decide to smoke mushrooms or ingest them, the side effects of the psilocybin are the same. Once it enters your body, adverse side effects can take numerous forms. Factors that influence these outcomes include experience with taking shrooms, current mood, and the amount consumed.
Taking a cautious approach is always recommended. If smoking mushrooms is going to be your first experience, start small and build your way up. This could mean starting with one joint to see how you feel and working up from there.
Some of the negative side effects of shrooms include:
- Lapses in memory