Magic mushrooms

Magic mushrooms

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Street names

Liberties, magics, mushies, liberty cap, psilocybe semilanceata, psilcybin, shrooms, Amani agaric, Fly Agaric.


Magic mushrooms are hallucinogenic mushrooms which grow wild in many localities in Autumn.
The main type is Liberty Cap (Psilocybe) but Fly Agaric (Amanita Muscaria) is also sometimes used. After picking, they’re either eaten raw or dried out and stored. Most people who use take between 1-5 grams. Also they are sometimes cooked with and then eaten or made into a tea/infusion and drunk.

Some recent local UK surveys have found 12 – 15 % of 16 year olds claiming to have used magic mushrooms at least once. Young people in Scotland and Wales are more likely to have taken them. In Scotland for example, one in five 16 years olds will have typically tried them.

The Telegraph (Nov 2014) reports that “Recent studies have suggested that magic mushrooms could be used to treat depression. Prof David Nutt, of Imperial College London, claims that a dose of the key psychedelic ingredient in the fungi, equivalent to five magic mushrooms, can switch off parts of the brain involved in depression. In a small-scale study by his team, volunteers reported that their mood improved for up to two weeks after being injected with the drug. A separate study found the drug psilocybin, improved mood and reduced anxiety in the caner patients for up to six months.”


Free if you know where to find them for up to £5 for a handful.

Paraphernalia / what to look out for

  • Includes the dried mushrooms themselves, similar in appearance to the dried mushrooms you may see in the supermarket, or a brownish powder.

Possible short-term indicators

  • The effects can take between 30 minutes to two hours to happen. The strongest part of the trip takes 4-10 hours and the after-effects usually last a further 2-6 hours. The more you take, the longer your trip could last.
  • Mushrooms can distort colour, sound and objects.
  • Mushrooms can speed up and slow down time and movement.
  • Both mushrooms can make you feel more emotionally sensitive. Some people feel more creative and enlightened.
  • Bad trips are seriously frightening and unsettling.
  • Sometimes, magic mushrooms can make you feel disoriented, tired or sick and can give you stomach pains or diarrhoea.
  • May include dilated pupils, sweating, hyperventilation, rambling speech, increased blood pressure, vomiting.

According to “psychedelic mushrooms containing psilocybin are one of the oldest and safest traditional medicines and have been used for centuries in many countries around the world. The therapeutic and spiritual uses of mushrooms are what make it such an important tool for growth and healing.”

Harm reduction

  • Start with a small dose to minimise chance of poisoning and wait at least 30 minutes before considering ‘topping up’.
  • Ensure mushrooms are from a reliable source to reduce the risk of poisoning
  • Use in a safe, comfortable place in case of a bad trip.
  • Plan time to recover post-trip.
  • After a mushroom session you should try to get a good night’s sleep afterwards, and you may feel a little tired the next day.
  • Avoid driving.
  • Call an ambulance if poisoning is suspected.
  • Avoid driving.
  • Call an ambulance if poisoning is suspected.
  • Do not use mushrooms if you are currently taking psychoactive pharmaceuticals, such as anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, etc. Always research any supplements or other medicines that you may be taking to avoid interactions.

Check out this harm reduction video

Legal status

  • 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.

This page is for information purposes only. In general, please verify any information from other independent and reliable sources. Please contact a health or a drug and alcohol professional for personal information and support.