Psilocybin: Ingestion methods

Last modified: Saturday, 20. June 2009 - 3:00 pm

The amount of psilocybin consumed and the way it is ingested greatly determines the effect it will have on the brain and the body. Since psilocybin is a neurotoxin, the more that is consumed and the faster it reaches the brain, the greater the chance of adverse reactions or overdose.
Mouth and stomach
By far, the most common way to ingest psilocybin is by eating Psilocybe mushrooms. Mushroom eaters generally consider 1-5 g of dried mushrooms or 10-15 g of fresh mushrooms a moderate dose. While some absorption of psilocybin begins in the mouth, the majority of this neurotoxin passes through into the blood stream via the small intestines. The small intestines, having the surface area of a football field, are well suited for absorbing both nutrients and toxins. However, before the psilocybin reaches the small intestines, it must cross the barrier of the stomach. Since psilocybin is a base and the stomach secretes an acid, the absorption rate is greatly slowed. Within a few minutes it is common to feel nausea and many “eaters” of mushrooms vomit. After the psilocybin passes through the stomach and the small intestines, it reaches the blood. Once there, it must pass through the liver before it can get to its intended site — the brain. All of this results in the blood levels of psilocybin gradually increasing over a 30-minute to two-hour time period.
Initially, the user notices a feeling of anxiety or anticipation. As the feeling intensifies, emotions may fluctuate rapidly and tension is released by crying and laughing. Perception of space and time are blurred, and visual images or “hallucinations” often appear. The primary effect lasts four to six hours. Many people find it difficult to sleep and notice that the altered sense of reality persists for an additional two to six hours.
Because the psilocybin alkaloid in the mushrooms is so bitter, many users try to mask the flavor by adding spices, orange juice, chocolate or other strong-flavored foods. Some “eaters” put the mushrooms on pizza or inside omelettes or soup. Finally, some bypass the mushroom flesh altogether by making mushroom tea. After soaking the mushrooms in hot water for about five minutes, they discard the mushrooms and drink the liquid. This results in less psilocybin being ingested, but what is swallowed is more quickly absorbed.
Religious customs using the Psilocybe mushrooms are still practiced by Native Americans in Mexico, the United States, and other places around the world. However, the practice is generally reserved for rare and sacred rituals.
Injecting Psilocybe mushroom juice intravenously is not common but it is reported. Most psilocybin users are seeking a “natural” experience and use of needles is not considered natural. Intravenous injection is the fastest means of getting psilocybin to the brain. In less than 16 seconds, the psilocybin is mixed with the blood, taken to the lungs, returned to the heart, and delivered to the brain. As the natural barriers and buffers of the stomach, small intestine, and liver are bypassed, the chances of overdose and adverse side effects such as coma, convulsions, and kidney failure, are greatly increased. It is even more rare for users to inject psilocybin powder, as this drug is difficult to obtain on the street. Supposed psilocybin powder bought on the street is almost always LSD, PCP, or both.
Injecting psilocybin liquid rectally by means of an enema is second only to intravenous injection for having the drug reach the brain quickly. This area of the body has a significant surface area for absorption. This method reduces nausea and vomiting associated with eating mushrooms. There is no stomach acid to slow the absorption of the psilocybin base. Also, the liver is bypassed as the drug is absorbed into the blood. This method of using psilocybin is uncommon in non-Native American cultures because most users of psilocybin are interested in a “natural” experience and enema administration is not considered “natural” to most users.
Archeological evidence of psilocybin liquid via enemas dates back to a.d. 1 and some tribes still practice this method today. In ancient times, a hollow bone or tube was inserted deep into the rectum. Then an animal bladder filled with the psilocybin liquid was attached to the end of the tube. The liquid was then squirted deep into the rectum and lower intestine. Because so many natural barriers are bypassed by this method, the user is at great risk for overdose, serious side effects, or death.
Smoking and snorting
There are some reports that psilocybin is smoked or snorted but very little information is available. This is not a very common means of ingesting psilocybin.

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