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Shrooms vs LSD: Side Effects, Ingestion, and More

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Medically Verified: 2/1/24

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All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Hallucinogens are a class of drugs that alter your awareness of your surroundings, thoughts, and feelings. Hallucinogenic drugs like psilocybin mushrooms (magic mushrooms) or LSD (acid) can also make you feel disconnected from your body and environment. While some hallucinogens are made from plants or mushrooms, others are man-made in a lab.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Among people aged 12 or older in 2021, 2.6% (or about 7.4 million people) reported using hallucinogens in the past 12 months.”[1]

Two of the most commonly abused hallucinogenic drugs are LSD and shrooms. LSD is a shortened term for lysergic acid diethylamide, one of the most popular man-made hallucinogenic drugs. On the other hand, “shrooms” is the nickname for psilocybin mushrooms, a naturally occurring hallucinogenic substance.

What are Shrooms?

Magic mushrooms or “shrooms” are a psychedelic drug that comes from a naturally-occurring fungus called psilocybin mushrooms. Psilocybin mushrooms are typically found in tropical and subtropical regions of South America, Mexico, and the United States.[2] People frequently seek out these fungi to consume them and experience the hallucinogenic effects they provide.

When you take shrooms, the active ingredient that makes you hallucinate is called psilocybin. Once psilocybin enters your system, it is turned into psilocin, a chemical that causes psychoactive effects.[3]

There are plenty of street terms for psilocybin mushrooms, including:[4]

  • Shrooms
  • Boomers
  • Golden teachers
  • God’s flesh
  • Hombrecitos
  • Las mujercitas
  • Little smoke
  • Mexican mushrooms
  • Musk
  • Sacred mushrooms
  • Magic mushrooms

What is LSD?

Lysergic acid diethylamide is a synthetic chemical that is derived from ergot, a fungus found in grains like rye.[5]

People abuse LSD because it can produce potent psychedelic effects. When taken in small doses, LSD can produce changes in thought, mood, and perception. In large doses, it can produce vivid hallucinations and distortions of space and time.

Research has shown that “LSD is one of the most potent, mood-changing, semi-synthetic psychedelic agents.”[6]

The common street names for LSD include:

  • Acid
  • Stamp
  • Lucy
  • Purple heart
  • Sunshine
  • Heavenly blue
  • Tabs
  • Sugar cubes
  • Battery acid
  • Microdots
  • Blotters

The Differences Between Shrooms and LSD

While shrooms and LSD can produce similar effects, there are also many differences. To start, psilocybin mushrooms occur naturally, while LSD was created in a lab.

Side Effects

The effects of psilocybin mushrooms will begin around 30 minutes after you consume them and may last up to 5 hours. On the other hand, it can take LSD anywhere between 20 minutes to 2 hours to kick in and the effects may last 6 to 12 hours.

While the time it takes for these substances to begin affecting you may differ, they can produce similar symptoms.

The side effects of drugs like LSD and psilocybin mushrooms may include:

  • Distorted sense of space and time
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations
  • Seeing solid objects melting or stationary objects moving
  • Altered perception (touch, smell, taste)
  • Increased empathy and lowered inhibitions
  • Spiritual awakenings
  • Excitement
  • Anxiety or paranoid delusions
  • Fear of death
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sweating
  • Numbness
  • Tremors

Method of Use

One of the most obvious differences between shrooms and LSD is how they are used. Because shrooms are mushrooms, they are typically dried and eaten or brewed into tea. LSD is a liquid chemical, so people usually drop the liquid on small squares of paper, or sugar cubes, or straight into their mouths.

Neither LSD or shrooms are snorted or smoked. Because LSD is a liquid, there have been reports of people injecting the drug intravenously. IV use of LSD is extremely rare and dangerous, as it already produces potent effects when swallowed.

The Dangers

Both acid and magic mushrooms can cause a “bad trip”. This means that instead of having a good time, the effects of LSD or shrooms become scary and anxiety-inducing.

According to a study completed by Johns Hopkins University, nearly 11% of the people surveyed said their bad trip put themselves or the people around them at risk for physical harm. Additionally, “62% said the experience was among the top 10 most difficult ones in their lifetime.”[7]

Even further, both substances can result in a variety of health risks, including:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Numbness
  • Tremors
  • Dehydration
  • Impaired judgment

Lastly, chronic users of LSD or psilocybin mushrooms could develop a condition known as hallucinogen-persisting perception disorder (HPPD). HPPD causes recurring symptoms that last for weeks, months, or even years after an LSD or shroom trip.

Find Help for Hallucinogen Abuse

Hallucinogenic drugs like LSD or psilocybin mushrooms are not thought to be addictive, however, you can become psychologically dependent on them. Some people believe that they need to abuse psychedelics to experience spiritual experiences, causing them to routinely abuse the drugs in large amounts. On the other hand, you may continue abusing them simply because you think the effects benefit you in some manner.

Unfortunately, the longer you abuse LSD or shrooms, the more you are at risk of developing adverse side effects. Attending a drug rehab program like Carolina Center for Recovery can help you regain control over your life. Contact us today for more information on our substance abuse treatment programs.

References:

  1. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/hallucinogens
  2. https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/psilocybin/
  3. https://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs6/6038/index.htm
  4. https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/lsd/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4910402/
  6. https://hub.jhu.edu/2017/01/04/bad-trips-mushrooms/

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