Monday, March 27, 2017
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Psilocin

psilocinPsilocin is Schedule I in the United States. This means it is illegal to manufacture, buy, possess, or distribute without a DEA license. Not available by prescription. Fresh and dried psilocin-containing mushrooms are considered containers of psilocin, making them illegal to possess as well.

Addictive Potential: None

Emergency Room Visits Yearly: Unknown

Mandatory Minimum Sentence: Unknown

Mechanism of Action: Agonist of the serotonin receptors, at 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C, among others (see a more detailed discussion below)

Overview:

Psilocin is also known as 4-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine and 4-HO-DMT. It is a psychedelic alkaloid of the tryptamine class. Psilocin is the active metabolite of psilocybin, and it is present in numerous species of mushrooms. These mushrooms are often called magic mushrooms or shrooms. According to Jerome (2007), “It is likely that psilocin partially or wholly produces most of the subjective and physiological effects of psilocybin in humans.”

Mushrooms containing psilocybin and/or psilocin are available fresh or dried and are typically taken orally. The effects of psilocin appear within 20 minutes of ingestion and last approximately 6 hours. The EMCDDA (2013) explained that these effects can “range from mild feelings of relaxation, giddiness, euphoria, visual enhancement (seeing colors brighter), visual disturbances (moving surfaces, waves), to delusions, altered perception of real events, images and faces, or real hallucinations. The sensory distortions may be coupled with restlessness, incoordination, feelings of anxiety, impaired judgement of time or distance, sense of unreality or even depersonalization.”

Pharmacology:

The graph below (Ray, 2010) shows the affinity of psilocin for forty-two receptors, arranged in order of decreasing affinity (click the image to enlarge).

Psilocin-receptor-affinity

As explained by Ray (2010), “The black vertical bar represents a 100-fold drop in affinity relative to the receptor with the highest affinity. As a rule of thumb, this is presumed to be the limit of perceptible receptor interaction. Receptors to the right of the black bar should be imperceptible, while receptors to the left of the black bar should be perceptible, increasingly so the further left they are” (p. 14).

Side Effects and Adverse Reactions:

Psilocin can produce muscle relaxation or weakness, ataxia, excessive pupil dilation, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, and drowsiness. Individuals who use psilocybin mushrooms also risk poisoning if one of the many existing varieties of poisonous mushrooms is incorrectly identified as a psilocybin mushroom. Beyond this, panic reactions and psychosis also may occur, particularly if a user ingests a large dose. Long-term effects such as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) have been described in case reports.

Research:

Other Informational Resources:

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