Psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms)


Close-up of hands wearing surgical gloves selecting a specimen clipping of psilocybin.
©Getty Images/Moha El-Jaw
  • Psilocybin is a chemical in certain types of mushrooms that grow on nearly every continent. The mushrooms have a long history of use in traditional ceremonies. Some people use them recreationally or to try to improve their mental health, although researchers still have much to learn about psilocybin’s potential uses as a medicine.
  • Also known as shrooms or magic mushrooms, the mushrooms can cause people to experience distorted sights and sounds and lose their sense of time and space. People who take psilocybin may also feel intense emotions ranging from bliss to terror and may have physical side effects such as increased heart rate or nausea.
  • Along with other partners at the National Institutes of Health, NIDA is supporting research into psilocybin as a potential clinical treatment for substance use disorders and other mental illnesses.

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