Project 6

Magic Mushrooms

Magic Mushrooms

Think you know about magic mushrooms? Know how to recognise them from poisonous look-alikes? Find out here. And get clued up on how magic mushroom make you feel and what they do to your body...


Mushies, shroomies, shrooms, sillies, Liberty caps, the scientific name is Psilocybe mushrooms.

What is it?

There are two types of magic mushroom in the UK - Psilocybe cubensis and Psilocybe semilanceata. The most common one is Psilocybe semilanceata or the liberty cap. These contain compounds called psilocybin and psilocin which give you a mild trip.

Liberty caps are tan coloured. The cap is no more that 5-15mm across with a 'nipple' on top. They grow on grassy meadows where sheep and cows have grazed and appear between September and November. WARNING: There are some poisonous look-a-likes which may be harmful to consume.

Magic mushrooms can be eaten raw or dried, cooked in food or brewed up in tea.

How does it make you feel?

Liberty cap mushrooms make you feel giggly, a bit spaced out and mildly trippy. A trip lasts for about 4-5 hours and is generally much milder than LSD. Afterwards you may feel a bit flat and you might get an upset stomach.

As with any psychedelic drugs you can get a bad trip which can be quite scary.

What are the health effects?

The main worry with mushrooms is that you mistake a poisonous species for a liberty cap. Picking your own is pretty risky; there have been cases of fatal poisoning by amanita species.

Your body develops a tolerance to mushrooms very quickly. So if you take them two days in a row, you'll have to take more on the second day to get the same effect. Tolerance wears off in a few days.

Be very careful with Fly Agaric. Deaths are rare, but it is pretty nasty. You'll get twitching, sickness, drowsiness, low blood pressure and dizziness, salivation and a powerful trip all at the same time. Worse, you could go into coma.

The law

  • The 2005 Drugs Act amended the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 to clarify that both fresh and prepared (e.g. dried or stewed) magic mushrooms that contain psilocin or psilocybin (such as the ‘liberty cap’) are Class A drugs. This means it’s illegal to have this type of ‘magic mushrooms’ for yourself, to give away or to sell

  • Possession is illegal and can get you up to seven years in jail and/or an unlimited fine.
  • Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you up to life imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.
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