Magic mushrooms

Mushrooms - whether you take them medicinally, or to get high and hallucinate we’re confident that Magic Mushrooms will give you a completely different experience. Let’s just say, they’re called magic for a reason. Despite looking like their counterparts, Magic Mushrooms can affect the body in entirely different ways. We’re here to break it all down for you.

A young man is sitting at his laptop. He is wearing a grey hoodie. He is looking up Magic Mushrooms. This is a wide-angle image.

What are magic mushrooms?  

Sorry guys, but they’re not *actually* magic. Magic mushrooms is slang for psychedelic mushrooms, made from naturally occurring chemicals. Eating them makes you trip out and hallucinate.

Now to answer the inevitable – ‘What do magic mushrooms look like?’ Basically just mushrooms. They grow in woods all over the world, but you have to know what you’re looking for. The most common is the ‘liberty cap’ mushroom, which are small and tan coloured and tend to bruise a blue colour when handled. But don’t start going around picking mushrooms willy nilly, we doubt you’ll have much luck. 

How to eat magic mushrooms? 

Magic mushrooms are mostly picked and eaten raw. You can also dry them then cook them in food, or stew them into a tea (be warned it’s not too tasty). Dried mushrooms are pretty common as well. They basically have all the cooking possibilities of any ordinary mushroom. To be honest, shrooms are among the most versatile drugs out there. But be careful, because there’s a potential that you got mixed up and picked a poisonous mushroom.

Why do people take magic mushrooms?  

  • At low doses, they can make you laugh your arse off as everything is HILARIOUS.
  • They distort all your senses and merge them together – you can HEAR the colour red, SEE the sound of laughter, or SMELL, errr, your mate who hasn’t washed. That’s not the ‘shrooms though…
  • You’ll have lots of deep and meaningful thoughts about the universe, and just kinda feel like a philosophy professor.
  • Time tends to pass more slowly, minutes seem like hours. Everything feels like a dream.
  • You feel really happy, calm, and generally tripped-out.
  • At higher dosages, you can have full-blown hallucinations, similar to a LSD trip, or see things even when your eyes are closed. If you see nice things, you’ll have a sick time (while avoiding being sick, of course).

What are the bad side effects of taking mushrooms?  

  • What if you pick the wrong mushroom?! The biggest danger of magic mushrooms is eating a poisonous one by mistake.
  • You can get a crippling stomach ache and feel sick; some lucky users also get a bad dose of the shits.
  • If you have a bad trip, you could be stuck with intense feelings of sheer terror until the drug wears off.
  • Having a distorted view of reality can be pretty dangerous if you’re trying to cross a road, or similar. It could also lead to derealisation
  • Some users get a pretty gnarly headache that lasts for days afterwards.

How long do magic mushrooms last? 

Depending on how much you’ve eaten that day, it can take between 30 minutes to two hours to start feeling the effects of mushrooms.

Once you’re tripping, the effects last for about four to six hours – though you may feel a bit strange for up to six hours after that.

Are magic mushrooms addictive? 

Just like regular mushrooms, magic ones aren’t addictive. You do build a tolerance to their effects over time though. So, be careful otherwise you might end up eating a truck load of mushrooms all for a small trip. 

Can I take shrooms if I’m on antidepressants? 

It’s really not a good idea, mainly because:

  1. Your brain probably isn’t in the best place anyway if you’re on antidepressants, so you’re much more likely to have a bad trip.
  2.  Antidepressants containing MAOIs can react with the psychedelic chemicals in the mushrooms, making the effects far too strong

Can magic mushrooms damage your mental health?  

As with all hallucinogens, how you feel when you trip depends on what’s going on in your brain at the time. If you’re going through any kind of life strife at the moment, don’t take mushrooms, as it’s likely to give you a pretty bad trip. Instead of escaping all your problems, you’ll probably just end up digging them all up. 

Anyone with any underlying mental health problem can also have them triggered by taking mushrooms, particularly schizophrenia. Some people have even found that they suffer from ‘flashbacks’ of their trip for quite some time after taking mushrooms. We should mention that there is early research suggesting that Magic Mushrooms can be used to help treat depression but this should only be attempted with the guidance of medical advice. 

Is a ‘fly agaric mushroom’ a magic mushroom?

The fly agaric mushroom looks like a fairytale mushroom – all red with white/yellow spots. They do contain hallucinogenic chemicals, but unlike magic mushrooms, they’re technically legal to possess.

This doesn’t mean you should get excited about them – rumour has it they’re still legal because no one in their right mind would take them. They’re pretty damn horrible and you’ll spend most of your time vomiting. For more info, read our article about fly agaric mushrooms here.

How can I reduce the risks if I take ‘shrooms?

  • Make sure you’re absolutely, swear-on-your-mum’s-life CERTAIN that you’ve got the right type of mushroom before you eat it. Even if it means kidnapping Bear Grylls.
  • Have a friend you trust stay with you in case you have a bad trip.
  • If you’ve taken a mushroom and feel sick, go straight to the hospital with a sample of what you’ve had for the doctors to examine.
  • Avoid them if you’re in a low place.
  • Don’t take them if you have any history, or family history, of schizophrenia.
  • Don’t drive on mushrooms. Just because everything looks like Mario Kart, doesn’t mean you’re in Mario Kart.

Are magic mushrooms legal (UK)? 

Magic mushrooms are deemed illegal and a Class A psychedelic drug, so if you’re caught with some on you, you’re looking at a maximum of seven years in jail and/or an unlimited fine. For more information about being caught with drugs, read our article here.

They’re also illegal in the US under Federal Law. The Controlled Substances Act 1971 made them a Class-1 drug.

Next Steps

  • FRANK offers friendly, confidential advice on all things drugs-related. Call now on 0300 123 6600
  • Release offers free and confidential advice on everything to do with drugs and drugs law. 0845 4500 215
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.


drugs a-z

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 28-Aug-2021