The College Tribune is running a series of articles giving information about drugs that students may or may not come across during their tenure at university. While we don’t promote the consumption of illegal drugs, we accept that a number of people will try such substances regardless of the law. In this series we seek to provide advice to those people, with the aim of hopefully reducing the harm they face.

This week we’ll be having a look at Psilocybe Cubensis, better known as Magic Mushrooms. These are mushrooms which contain the psychedelic chemicals psilocybin or psilocin. Their use by humans stretches across thousands of years across the world.

Recent anecdotal studies building on research undertaken in the mid-20th century has shed light on the potential medical uses for Magic Mushrooms. Currently in trend is the use of ‘micro-dosing’ for the relief of migraine and cluster headaches. This anecdotal research also points towards some usefulness in treating substance addiction and habit-breaking.

Magic Mushrooms are in season in early to mid-autumn when weather conditions are just right for their growth. Picked and dried, they grow across Ireland in green areas ranging from parks to woodlands. The possession of mushrooms containing psychoactive chemicals has been prohibited only since 2006.

The effects of Magic Mushrooms are dependent on dose, body weight and stomach contents. They include a lift in mood, sensations of interconnectedness with those around you and with the universe and an increase in creative thinking. Higher doses can result in what have been described as spiritual experiences which can be uncomfortable for novice users.

Both closed and open eye visuals and patterning can be expected. These can include rainbow and kaleidoscope like patterns. Negative effects can include nausea and dizziness, rapid shifting in body temperature and dissociation. The physical effects of mushroom use are described as the ‘body load’ and can differ significantly from person to person. Mushrooms are known however to have a significantly more physical element to them than many other substances.

What an individual experiences under the influence of an active psychedelic compound such as those in magic mushrooms is heavily influenced by their own mind set. If you are experiencing emotional difficulties, it is advised that you do not use any psychedelic drugs as visuals may take an undesired form, creating fear and paranoia, while the user can feel overwhelming negative emotions. If you are on anti-depressants there may also be an undesired interaction between them and the psilocybin; it is advisable to avoid mixing the two.

Magic mushrooms are typically sold dried any by weight. Dosages range from .25g, at which threshold effects can be felt, to 2.5g or more which will produce intense sensations and feelings. Onset of effects can take up to one and a half hours with a plateau of between two and four hours. As you increase the amount taken the effects will be more intense, especially with regard to close eyed visuals and emotions. So it is to be recommended that, if trying this drug, you limit yourself to a lower dosage.