Harmful Effects of Mushrooms

If you are like me, mushrooms are considered a delicious cuisine. They’re a popular addition to many dishes, salads and sauces. Mushrooms are actually fungi, but for cooking purposes, they’re grouped under the vegetable category. They come in various sizes, shapes and colors. Mushrooms are saprophytes, meaning they are grown on their food source, above or below the ground. Only 10 percent of mushroom species are safe and edible.

Poisonous mushrooms can be challenging to pinpoint in the wild as there’s no home-test that can help you tell the difference. They include entoloma, amanita pantherina, and chlorophyllum molybdites. To be safe, you should always buy all your mushrooms from a reliable supermarket,  grocery store or another reputable source. Mushrooms that are not toxic happen to be quite tasty and healthy foods.

Common types of edible mushrooms include:

  • Crimini
  • Portobello
  • Shiitake
  • Enoki
  • Oyster
  • White mushroom
  • Maitake
  • Beech

Nutritional Value of Mushrooms

For centuries, mushrooms have been used for their amazing ability to add flavor in various cultures’ cuisines around the world. Each of the above types has a unique look and taste. The nutritional benefits of mushrooms are many and vary depending on the type of mushroom. But overall, they are low-calorie, low-sodium, fat and cholesterol-free. They are also packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Mushrooms are rich in nutrients and rank higher in their nutrient density than most fruits and vegetables. Presence of Iron in mushrooms helps prevent hair loss. Mushrooms have anti-oxidants, Vitamin D and selenium making them beneficial for our skin. It is common to find them as an ingredient in many serums, topical creams and facial preparations.

Mushrooms help regulate different types of conditions and fight different types of cancer. The cell walls of mushrooms are indigestible. To enjoy their nutritional benefits, mushrooms have to be cooked. But are mushrooms good for you? Do mushrooms have any side effects? These are just a few of the questions that often go unanswered.

Read on to know about the unknown harmful effects of mushroom.

Side-Effects and Allergies of Mushrooms

Because they belong to the fungus group, mushrooms may cause some side effects on folks with fungi allergies. Though the risk is small, you risk accidental poisoning from mistakenly ingesting a poisonous mushroom. Symptoms of mushroom poisoning occur 6-24 hours after ingestion and can include stomach cramps, delirium, confusion, diarrhea and muscle spasms. If you notice any of these symptoms, visit an emergency room immediately. These mushrooms can be deadly and can kill within 48 hours.

Protect Yourself and Your Children From Mushroom Poisoning

Many varieties of poisonous mushroom grow wild in the United States. Its normal for kids under 5 to put random things in their mouths. Most kids who ingest poisonous mushrooms find them in gardens. As a safety measure, to prevent accidental consumption, ensure to get rid of all mushrooms from areas where kids are routinely present. Also, if you’re not sure if a mushroom is safe to eat, don’t eat it!

The Effects of Mushroom Abuse – Magic Mushrooms

Some kinds of mushrooms contain a naturally occurring hallucinogenic substance called psilocybin. Street names for psilocybin include shrooms, boomers, God’s flesh, mushies, zoomers, sacred mushrooms, little smoke, purple passion, Simple Simon and cubes. This chemical compound is found in more than 75 known species of mushrooms. These types of mushrooms grow in certain regions of South America, Mexico, Europe and the United States. They change how different parts of the central nervous system communicate.

Though they are naturally occurring, it doesn’t mean that they are not as dangerous as synthetic drugs. Psilocybin dangers on mental health can be devastating to your life and deteriorate your outlook on life, career and family ties. Keep reading to understand how.

Being a schedule-I controlled substance, psilocybin has a high potential for abuse and no proven medical use. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), between 2009-2015, approximately 8.5 percent of people in the United States confessed to be using psilocybin at a point in their life. When used in large doses, these mushrooms cause similar side effects to the drug LSD.

Hallucinogenic mushrooms can be either dried or fresh. According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, their potency depends on origin, the species, growing conditions, and whether eaten fresh or dried. People take them as recreational drugs by mixing them with food to mask the bitter taste or brewing them in a beverage. Others sniff them up the nose in powder form. When ingested, they provide feelings of sensory distortion and euphoria. They do this by activating serotonin receptors – the part of the brain that affects perception, mood and cognition.

Varying, Unpredictable Outcomes

After ingesting and absorbing psilocybin, your body converts it into psilocin. The effects of magic mushrooms are usually felt within 20 minutes of ingestion. You experience the peak of the effects within 30-45 minutes and can last for up to 6 hours. Early effects include excessive yawning and nausea after which the “trip” or “experience” starts. The length and intensity of each mushroom trip vary depending on the dosage, past experiences, how strong the mushrooms are and what other drugs you may have also taken.

The experience can be positive or negative. How a trip turns out will depend on your personality, mood and expectations. Generally, a mild “trip” can leave you feeling relaxed or drowsy. Some people may giggle or laugh a lot, while others experience a sense of emotional and mental clarity. Higher doses lead to hallucinations, nervousness, anxiety and paranoia. You may have a distorted sense of reality, time and place. Excessive doses can lead to psychosis. In very rare cases, excessive doses can cause death.

Possible physical and psychological short-term effects of mushrooms can include:

  • Altered perception of time and space
  • Feeling blissful
  • Yawning and vomiting
  • Frightening hallucinations (mostly visual)
  • Muscle weakness/twitching
  • Increased blood pressure, temperature and heart rate
  • Impaired concentration
  • Spiritual awakening
  • Lack of coordination
  • Distorted thinking
  • Dilated pupils
  • Acute mood changes, sometimes from very positive to very negative
  • Dry mouth that can lead to nausea and vomiting

Psilocybin isn’t chemically addictive, and after stopping use, no physical symptoms occur. However, frequent usage can cause you to become tolerant to the effects. After continued usage, you might possibly experience psychological withdrawal and have a hard time adjusting to reality.

Risks Related To Recreational Use Of Magic Mushroom

If you take psilocybin in an uncontrolled setting, you might suffer from impaired judgment. Performing activities while intoxicated can lead to risk-taking behavior, accidents and even death.

As mentioned, not everyone will get a good trip. Some people may experience an unpleasant reaction to hallucinogenic effects, which may be emotionally disturbing. This is especially common with high doses. Experiences may include loss of boundaries, paranoia and distorted sense of self.  Drug-induced psychosis may persist beyond the acute period.

Some folks may experience continuous, distressing alterations to the way they perceive the world. After using the hallucinogen, these effects can last anywhere from months to years. This condition has a name, hallucinogen-persisting perception disorder (HPPD). Also known as a flashback, this condition can take a disturbing turn.

If you have anxiety or bipolar disorder, psilocybin may heighten your anxiety. For people with cardiac diseases, using magic mushrooms can temporarily increase heart rate and blood pressure, which could be potentially harmful.

Since many mushroom species look alike, it can be challenging to tell them apart. This means that there is a possibility for you to unknowingly consume poisonous mushrooms, mistaking them for magic mushrooms. This is the biggest danger to your health.

Conclusion

Since magic mushrooms are illegal in many countries, they are aren’t regulated like other pharmaceuticals. When purchasing them, there’s no way you can tell what you’re purchasing. Some rogue sellers combine store-bought mushrooms with another hallucinogen such as LSD or PCP. Now that you’re conversant with the harmful effects of mushroom, you should be cautious of what you feed your body.

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