Psilocybin: Types of psilocybin
Last modified: Saturday, 20. June 2009 - 2:59 pm
Psilocybin powder is the most potent form of this hallucinogenic alkaloid. It was isolated in 1958 and can be synthesized to nearly 100% purity. The human body is very sensitive to this neurotoxin and just 0.01 g of psilocybin powder contains the equivalent psilocybin found in 30 fresh Psilocybe mushrooms.
For a decade after its isolation, psilocybin, mainly in the form of pills, was readily available in the United States as a pharmacological drug. It was prescribed for psychological therapy. In 1968, psilocybin was made illegal, as few positive conclusions could be drawn about its benefits. Also, it had a high incidence of abuse. Psilocybin powder is usually swallowed, injected intravenously, or sniffed. Due to its high potency, it carries a high risk of overdose. Psilocybin powder or pills are expensive and difficult to produce and therefore difficult to obtain on the street. Studies indicate that when psilocybin is sold on the street, it is usually LSD, PCP (phen-cyclidine), or both.
Psilocybin liquid comes from pulverized Psilocybe mushrooms. Archeologists in Central and South America have discovered stones, paintings, and slender tubes depicting the practice of extracting and ingesting the liquid. These paintings date back to a.d. 1. This potent liquid, free from the bulky plant material, is then either swallowed or inserted rectally as an enema. Psilocybin liquid is still consumed by both methods by Mexican natives as part of their religious rites. Due to its potency and especially if it is used rectally, liquid psilocybin carries a high risk of overdose.
Soaking Psilocybe mushrooms in water makes a much less potent psilocybin liquid. This liquid is often drunk as a tea. Psilocybe mushrooms and the liquid are illegal to possess in the United States.
The most common way to access psilocybin is by eating Psilocybe mushrooms. Fresh Psilocybe mushrooms contain 0.03 to 1.3% psilocybin by weight. Dried mushrooms, which can shrink by 90-95%, contain about ten times the amount of psilocybin per weight after the water is removed. The most commonly cultivated or natively collected species are Panaeolus subbalteatus and tropicalis, Psilocybe baeocystis, caerulescens, cubensis, cyanescens, mexicana, pelliculosa, semilanceata, stuntzii, and Copelandia cyanescens and cam-bodgeniensis. The amount of psilocybin in mushrooms varies considerably. Even in controlled laboratory conditions the psilocybin content can vary up to four times from mushroom to mushroom. In nature, mushrooms of the same species and in the same location can contain up to ten times the amount of psilocybin from the highest content to the lowest.
While Psilocybe mushrooms rarely cause death, except in small children, the greatest risk for those who pick their own mushrooms is accidentally ingesting non-Psilocybe poisonous mushrooms. Because mushrooms in one stage of growth can look like mature mushrooms of the desired species, amateurs may pick toxic mushrooms. For users who choose to buy pre-picked mushrooms, studies indicate that common grocery store mushrooms are often injected with the much more potent LSD or other drugs and passed off as Psilocybes. The mushrooms are then frozen as a black mass so that their true identity is hidden. Psilocybe mushrooms, which are illegal to possess in the United States, are either eaten whole or ground up into a powder and swallowed.
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