Liberty caps, Psilocybe semilanceata identification and effects

Let’s start with the facts: Magic Mushrooms are illegal and have been since 2005 they are deemed as class A drugs. They bring to mind the rave and house scenes of the 1990’s and are generally looked on with disdain and suspicion. 

However magic mushrooms have been used for more than 10,000 years in various spiritual and medical rituals for their ability to alter consciousness and trigger mystical experiences.

Identify Liberty caps:
The  most common magic mushroom is Psilocybe semilanceata or the liberty cap and it is commonly found in pastures or verges.

The cap of the mushroom will change colour depending on how much moisture it retains. In wet conditions the colour will be yellowish-brown. It has a glutinous layer which can be removed. When dry out the colour fades from the mushroom. The conical cap remains a similar shape throughout these changes. It has striated markings with a distinctive small nipple at the very top

The thin stem can grow up to 7 or 8cm. The gills are pale creamy-grey at first, but as the mushroom matures they become a dark purple-brown.

 

The effects
The psychoactive ingredient of these mushrooms is called Psilocybin and is also found in a number of different species of fungi. This ingredient is what causes the hallucinations and occasionally causes alarming symptoms including vomiting, stomach pains and anxiety attacks, Liberty Caps are probably best treated with caution.It takes .2 to .5 grams of dried magic mushrooms to begin to feel the effects of the psilocybin. Height, weight and metabolism affect 

How a person may feel when ingesting magic mushrooms.

  • Euphoria and feelings of unity with everything around them
  • Exceedingly peaceful mentality
  • Spiritual awakening and transcendence
  • Rapid mood changes or swings
  • A growing feeling of detachment to the current reality, or feeling as if it is not fully real, also known as derealization
  • Feeling a sense of connection, but disengagement, from the objects and people that surround the user, this is also known as depersonalization
  • Distorted or irregular thought patterns
  • Distorted, altered, or enhanced visualizations, such as extremely vivid colors, and halos of light around people or things


Negative effects:
Alongside potential addiction and drastic changes in behaviour there are some physical effects of magic mushrooms that can be dangerous.

It can make you feel:

  • paranoid
  • anxious
  • panicked
  • overwhelmed
  • like vomiting

They can cause extreme stomach pain and diarrhea, they raise your blood pressure and heart rate and can potentially cause seizures in individuals.

 

Positive effects:
There is currently a lot of research being done into the positive effects of magic mushrooms and psychedelics on mental health and illnesses like depression.
The psilocybin seems to “re-order” the way our brain approaches problems and allows people to get to the root cause of the problem and then help to reduce the symptoms of depression. In a recent study at Imperial college London. 59 people took part in a trial comparing magic mushrooms to conventional antidepressants and they found that those taking the magic mushrooms were significantly more affected than those who took the “conventional” antidepressants. In that their mood increased and they were more able to deal with the root causes of their issues ( during these trials the participants were given therapy alongside the compounds being tested)

 

Nevertheless great care needs to be taken with this mushroom as it is still illegal to pick and possess them as well as their potentially dangerous side effects on your body. There is a great deal of research left to be done into them, for example their long term effects and whether there is any toxicity built up over time.
For further research I would look to the internet and to official studies over the coming years to see what should be done with the legality and availability but for now as i mentioned at the beginning Magic mushrooms are illegal.

 

Talk to Frank:

https://www.talktofrank.com/drug/magic-mushrooms

 

Here is a link to a map that forecasts the growth and availability of the Liberty cap:

https://www.magicmushroommap.com/map


Link to a BBC article:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-56745139

 

Guardian Article ( 4 years old):
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/oct/13/magic-mushrooms-reboot-brain-in-depressed-people-study

 

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