Shrooms is the slang term for mushrooms that contain psilocybin, a substance that is hallucinogenic. There are hundreds of types of mushrooms that contain psilocybin, and they grow in areas of Mexico, South America, India, Malaysia, Southern U.S., Eastern Australia, and Indonesia. Experts believe that mushrooms have been used in rituals for thousands of years by people such as the Aztecs. The mushrooms can be eaten, mixed into other foods, or brewed into a tea. Many users mask the bitter taste by coating them with chocolate before consuming.

Psilocybin mushrooms are popular at clubs, raves, and on college campuses, and are usually used and abused by teens and young adults. In the U.S., several surveys reveal that around 9 percent of high school seniors use hallucinogens at least one time during their lifetime, and 2 percent report using a hallucinogen during the past 30 days. The street names for mushrooms are Boomers, Mush, Silly Putty, God’s Flesh, Flower Flipping (MDMA along with psilocybin), Hombrecitos, and Little Smoke, just to name a few.

Magic Mushrooms

Experimentation with mushrooms in American began in the 50s and 60s, along with LSD and mescaline, which cause bad experiences (trips). The effects of this hallucinogenic starts around 30 minutes after the mushroom is eaten. These include alterations in perception of sound, light, and color, movement or rippling of surfaces, nausea, muscle weakness, and altered though process. These effects last from 3 to 8 hours after the mushrooms are consumed.

Certain types of psilocybin-containing mushrooms are considered to be “magic” mushrooms because the hallucinations make the user think he or she has achieved great insight into a certain subject or matter. Psychiatrists have been studying the use of mushrooms for the treatment of various mental disorders. Apparently, the use of a mind-altering drug helps with personal growth, but also can lead to serious repercussions, a risk of dependence, and an altered acceptance of reality.

Effects of Mushrooms

Mushrooms work on the brain by altering how the neurotransmitter serotonin is released and interacts. When the normal levels of serotonin are changed, a person has distorted thoughts and does not process information appropriately. This leads to hallucinations, and it is hard to distinguish fantasy from reality. Many people report feeling, seeing, and hearing things that are not there or do not exists, and also, they experience severe mood swings and intense emotions. The shift of perception is often scary, leading to psychosis and panic attacks.

For someone who uses mushrooms regularly, there are serious long-term effects. Without warning, the brain has severe flashbacks, and there are altered thoughts and feelings that replay weeks and months later. Mushrooms disturb normal brain functioning, so they can also lead to a long-term mental health disorder or serious memory impairment. At present in America, psilocybin is a Schedule I substance and regulated under the Controlled Substances Act. These drugs are illegal and have a high abuse potential and no legitimate medical purposes.


National Institute on Drug Abuse. Research Report Series-Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs. Retrieved from: