Magic mushrooms, colloquially known as shrooms, are a well-known class of psychedelic drugs. The use of shrooms dates back to ancient history and culture. Then, shrooms were extensively used as a part of religious ceremonies. They were and still continue to be a popular way of what is known as spiritual enlightenment.
There are many popular ways of consuming shrooms. Freshly picked mushrooms are processed and refrigerated to improve their shelf-life by a week. They are also dried which increases their longevity by almost a year. Common ways of consumption include brewed tea, capsules, chocolates etc.
An unconventional way that has been recently popularized is inhaling through smoking.
But can you smoke shrooms? Are smoking shrooms safe? And how effective is it in terms of experience and effects?
We set out to unravel the myths and reality behind the concept of smoking shrooms for experiencing psychedelic effects.
What are shrooms?
Shrooms or magic mushrooms are a class of fungi. They are similar to your regular edible mushrooms in form and appearance. The key difference, though, is the presence of a psychedelic component known as psilocybin. This component is present in varying levels in most of the magic mushroom strains.
The level of psilocybin dictates the strength and potency of these strains. That is why you experience lesser psychedelic effects from certain strains and stronger trips from the others.
But why are mushrooms popular? Apart from the obvious psychedelic effects, they are a great alternative therapy for those struggling with mental health issues.
A 2018 review article published in the journal The Mental Health Clinician vouches for the goodness of psilocybin as a treatment for mental health conditions. As explained in the article, this compound has an affinity towards serotonin, also known as the happy hormone.
Serotonin receptors present in the different regions of your brain benefit from the binding activity of psyilocybin. Consequently, magic mushrooms provide relief from conditions such as:
- Anxiety disorders
- Obsessive compulsive disorders.
Despite the benefits, the hallucinogenic effects produced by the compound is the reason most people prefer to stay away from using magic mushrooms.
Can you smoke shrooms?
This is a common question posed by most shroom users. The answer is yes, you can smoke mushrooms, but you won’t find any significant advantages from smoking. Why is that? Let us explain!
Smoking substances is a common practice among users. Whether it is marijuana, opium, or salvia, smoking is quite popular. This is because smoking causes the respective drugs to reach the blood quickly and give an instant hit. Consequently, users experience an instant high and full effects within a short time frame.
The same rule doesn’t apply to psychedelic drugs such as shrooms. This is largely due to the way in which mushrooms or rather psilocybin are processed by your body.
Shrooms are not metabolized by your lungs:
When you smoke a particular substance, your lungs must be capable of processing and absorbing that particular substance. From there it enters the bloodstream and you will start experiencing the effects.
In the case of psilocybin, though, the lungs cannot metabolize the compound. The function of processing and absorbing is taken up by your digestive system. Once psilocybin enters your digestive tract it gets partially absorbed while the liver completes the rest of the metabolism process.
This is why you will start seeing the psychedelic effects of shroom only after 45 minutes to an hour of consumption.
Shrooms are thermally labile:
According to a Forensic Science article published by Science Direct, psilocybin is thermally labile which means that it doesn’t stand excessive heat and can get denatured when exposed to higher temperatures.
When smoking, you are obviously exposing shroom powder or shroom particles to higher temperatures which causes psilocybin to lose its potency.
This is probably why most users who smoke shrooms have reported experiencing little to no side psychedelic effects when smoking shrooms. Even if you experience certain effects, it is mostly attributed to what is called the placebo effect or imagination.
Smoking shrooms can cause unwanted side effects:
By now it is clear that smoking shrooms doesn’t produce any expected effects. On the other hand, smoking can produce certain unwanted side effects.
The side effects of smoking shrooms include:
- Panic attacks
- Nausea and vomiting
- Palpitation or increased and irregular heartbeat
- Headaches and dizziness.
Most often magic mushrooms may contain small spores. These spores, when ingested, aren’t really harmful, so to speak. But when they enter the lungs they can turn toxic leading to breathing issues.
Inexperienced or first time users, or those who have an agitated state of mind when smoking may also experience a bad trip which can be difficult and tricky to recover from.
In effect, when you smoke shrooms, you are exposing your body to a plethora of side effects without giving yourself a chance to experience the high or beneficial effects.
This is why you must not smoke shrooms. Instead, go with the traditional route of oral ingestion. This is safe under the right settings and environment and ensures that you experience the full set of beneficial properties.
Safer ways of consuming shrooms:
Fresh mushrooms and dried mushrooms are equally safe when consumed orally. Both must be processed in the right manner to ensure that they are free from contamination. You can read more about fresh and dry mushrooms and the different ways of consuming them here.
Powdered shrooms brewed into tea is a popular way of consuming them. Shroom powder is also consumed in capsule form. This method is widely preferred by those opting for the microdosing way of consuming shrooms.
Additionally shroom powder can also be added to chocolates, smoothies and shakes, cakes, and other edible items. This method helps mask the strong flavors for those who do not particularly find shrooms palatable.
Can you smoke shrooms? Yes you can, but smoking doesn’t have any benefits since your lungs cannot metabolize psilocybin. On the other hand, smoking shrooms can be dangerous due to the various side effects it causes.
To be safe, taking them orally is the best option for you. Whether you brew shrooms into tea, have it in the form of capsules, or add it to edibles such as chocolates, taking shrooms by mouth is ideal to enjoy the full set of effects and benefits
So, stop smoking and start eating!!