Magic mushrooms, or “shrooms,” are a type of mushroom containing psilocybin, a hallucinogenic compound. The length of time shrooms stay in a person’s system depends on many factors, including the strength of the mushroom, dose, and the individual’s body.
People may take shrooms for spiritual or recreational purposes. Its hallucinogenic compounds can induce intense and long-lasting effects.
These effects could last for hours, with no set time on when they will end. Similar factors may also play a role in how long shrooms take to kick in and whether they show up on a drug test.
How long do they stay in the system?
A person’s kidneys process the compounds in magic mushrooms, which include psilocybin, the primary ingredient responsible for shrooms’ hallucinogenic effects.
The process happens relatively quickly, and in many cases, the kidneys excrete most of them from a person’s system in a few hours.
Researchers note that about 66% of the compounds from shrooms get excreted in the first 3 hours after ingestion. After 24 hours, psilocybin becomes undetectable in a person’s urine.
However, there is no exact time on how long other compounds will stay in the system, or how long the shrooms’ effects will last.
Several factors may play a role in how the body handles these compounds, such as a person’s weight and metabolism, as well as the dose and type of mushroom ingested.
When shrooms are in a person’s system, how long they can remain detectable in drug tests can also vary widely.
There are various drug tests available, with their own factors in screening methods, detection, and accuracy.
The Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association list common drug tests and the compounds they detect. The most common screening is the five-panel test, which tests for the following substances:
- opiates, such as heroin
- phencyclidine, or PCP
In addition, there are eight- and 10-panel tests.
None of these screenings, including the five-panel test, check for the compounds contained in shrooms.
However, other tests can detect hallucinogenic compounds, although the screenings may need administering promptly. This is because the body metabolizes the shrooms and their compounds relatively quickly. After 24 hours, a urine, blood, or saliva test may not detect mushrooms in a person’s system.
Despite this, other screenings, such as a hair follicle test, may detect drugs over a longer period after ingestion, although they might not identify these substances in the first few days after exposure.
How long does the high last?
Shrooms can stay active in a person’s body for hours. Research suggests that the hallucinogenic effects may last 3–6 hours after ingestion.
While the exact timings vary from person to person, other factors may also play a role. These include:
- weight and body composition
- type of shroom and amount a person consumes
- preparation of the mushrooms, for example, dried or in tea
- tolerance levels
- the state of mind of the person taking them
- preexisting mental health conditions
- other drugs or substances a person takes at the time
In addition, some people may be more sensitive to these compounds and experience a longer “high” or lingering effects after the initial high passes.
How long do they take to kick in?
Following ingestion, magic mushrooms take some time to start affecting the body. Research notes that hallucinogenic effects may commence within 20–40 minutes.
While there are some natural variations to this, many people feel the effects of taking shrooms within 1 hour.
These effects may come on gradually. A person may feel minor changes in their senses or feelings initially, which then progress to stronger visual, auditory, or other sensory hallucinations.MEDICAL NEWS TODAY RESOURCEWest Nile virus: Exclusive analysis on climate and health
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The immediate effects of hallucinogenic mushrooms come from the body breaking down psilocybin into psilocin. Psilocin acts in the brain similarly to other hallucinogens such as lysergic acid diethylamide, commonly known as LSD.
After ingesting shrooms, a person may feel relaxed or drowsy, while others may experience a sense of unity or peace with their surroundings. These sensations may progress and get more intense.
The immediate effects generally only last a few hours. Some may experience a lingering sense of ease from a positive experience or a lingering sense of unease from a negative one.
In addition, a higher dose can trigger feelings of euphoria and hallucinations. These can be visual and auditory, while a person can also have extrasensory experiences within the body and mind.
These hallucinatory effects can be positive or negative, perhaps due to a person’s frame of mind and surroundings. A negative experience may cause people to feel paranoid, anxious, or panicked. In contrast, a positive experience may cause a person to feel intense euphoria or awe.
Risks and side effects
People should note that there are some risks when ingesting magic mushrooms.
A person can have an unenjoyable experience, or “bad trip,” while taking shrooms. These bad trips may cause:
- feelings of intense confusion and fear
- bad or scary hallucinations
- difficult changes in their psychological state
A more intense trip may disconnect a person from reality or make it difficult for them to understand what is real and what is a hallucination.
The experience and sensations may have associations with a person’s current mental state and surroundings.
There may also be some physical side effects from taking the mushrooms, including:
- stomach ache
- muscle weakness
- lack of coordination
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) note that using shrooms could lead to poisoning if a person takes a misidentified mushroom. Some poisonous mushrooms may appear similar to hallucinogenic shrooms, and taking them could lead to serious or potentially fatal issues.
The DEA also state that it is possible to overdose on shrooms, which may cause:
- a longer, intense trip
- psychotic episodes
Shrooms as an alternate therapy
The medical community has some interest in potential medicinal uses for hallucinogenic mushrooms.
Some research suggests that psilocybin from shrooms could help treat several health issues, such as:
However, it is important to note that research is in the early stages. More studies are needed to determine if magic mushrooms can definitively serve as an effective form of treatment.
When to seek medical attention
Anyone who suspects they are experiencing poisoning from a magic mushroom should seek immediate medical attention.
A person suffering from a bad trip does not necessarily need to go to the hospital. However, intense feelings or a total detachment from reality may indicate an intense trip or overdose. Monitoring the person or taking them to the hospital may be the best course of action in these cases.
People who feel they are becoming psychologically dependant on magic mushrooms could benefit from seeing a mental health expert.
Constantly chasing altered state experiences using hallucinogens may indicate a risk for psychological dependency.
Hallucinogenic mushrooms contain compounds that act on the brain to cause their effects. Taking these shrooms can cause hallucinatory sensory experiences that may last hours.
The body metabolizes the compounds in magic mushrooms relatively quickly, while the shrooms and their compounds may be out of the body within 24 hours in most cases.
Common drug tests involving saliva or blood samples will not likely screen for the hallucinogenic compounds in shrooms. Specific tests to identify them will need administering within around 24 hours after ingestion to detect these substances.
There are some risks to consider before using mushrooms, and some people may wish to avoid them altogether.