Also Known As: Psychedelic mushrooms, Magic mushrooms, Shrooms, Psilocybin mushrooms
Psilocybin mushrooms, also known as psychedelic mushrooms, are mushrooms that contain psychoactive indole alkaloids. Common colloquial terms include magic mushrooms and shrooms. Biological genera containing psilocybin mushrooms include Copelandia, Galerina,Gymnopilus, Inocybe, Mycena, Panaeolus, Pholiotina, Pluteus, and Psilocybe. About 40 species are found in the genus Psilocybe. Psilocybe cubensis is the most common psilocybin mushroom in subtropical areas and the black market.
Psilocybin mushrooms have likely been used since prehistoric times and may have been depicted in rock art. Many cultures have used these mushrooms in religious rites. In modern Western society, they are used recreationally for their psychedelic effects.
Some people[who?] have been asking for medical investigation of the use of synthetic and mushroom-derived psilocybin for the development of improved treatments of various mental conditions, including chronic cluster headaches, following numerous anecdotal reports of benefits.There are also studies which include reports of psilocybin mushrooms sending both obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD) and OCD-relatedclinical depression (both being widespread and debilitating mental health conditions) into complete remission immediately and for up to months at a time, compared to current medications which often have both limited efficacy and frequent undesirable side-effects. Recent studies done at Imperial College London and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine conclude, when used properly, psilocybin acts as an antidepressant as suggested by fMRI brain scans.
Psilocybin and psilocin are listed as Schedule I drugs under the United Nations 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Schedule I drugs are deemed to have a high potential for abuse and are not recognized for medical use. However, psilocybin mushrooms are not covered by UN drug treaties.
Psilocybin mushrooms are regulated or prohibited in many countries, often carrying severe legal penalties (for example, the US Psychotropic Substances Act, the UK Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and Drugs Act 2005, and in Canada the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act).
Magic mushrooms in their fresh form still remain legal in some countries such as Austria. On November 29, 2008, the Netherlands announced it would ban the cultivation and use of psilocybin-containing fungi beginning December 1, 2008. The UK ban on fresh mushrooms (dried ones were illegal as they were considered a psilocybin-containing preparation) introduced in 2005 came under much criticism, but was rushed through at the end of the 2001-2005 Parliament; until then, magic mushrooms had been sold in the UK.
New Mexico appeals court ruled on June 14, 2005, that growing psilocybin mushrooms for personal consumption could not be considered "manufacturing a controlled substance" under state law. However it still remains illegal under federal law.