With so many voices and opinions out there, it’s important to understand the facts.
Fact is that while you’re a teen (and even into your early 20’s!), you’re still growing and developing, and drug abuse during these years in particular can have a lasting impact. Another fact to consider: the brain is much more vulnerable to addiction as it continues to develop as well. 90% of Americans with a substance abuse problem starting smoking, drinking or using other drugs before age 18.
When it comes to drug use, individual reactions and experiences vary, so it’s important to understand the usual risks and effects, both short- and long-term. Knowledge can be the key to making your own best decisions.
Keep reading to the get the facts on the most frequently abused substances.
Natural doesn’t always mean safe. Hallucinogenic mushrooms contain a natural toxin that can potentially cause harm.
Magic mushrooms, shrooms, caps, boomers
What is it?
The active chemical in hallucinogenic mushrooms is called psilocybin. This chemical is found in approximately 190 species of edible mushrooms.
Mushrooms work by disrupting how your nerve cells and the neurotransmitter serotonin interact throughout the brain and spinal cord. By changing the normal functioning of serotonin in the brain, mushrooms distort the way you process information and can make you hallucinate.1
When you hallucinate, it becomes difficult to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. You may see, feel and hear things that don’t exist. You can also have rapid and intense emotional mood swings.1 This shift in perception can be frightening. It can cause panic attacks and psychosis (a complete loss of contact with reality).2 In this state of mind, it’s easy for unexpected and dangerous – or even fatal – accidents to happen.
Suddenly and without warning, a few days or even a year later, the brain can produce flashbacks: feelings and thoughts that replay the effects of being on the drug. And because mushrooms disturb the normal functioning of the brain, it’s important to note that some long-term effects like psychiatric illness and impaired memory have been reported.3
The Bottom Line
Psilocybin mushrooms disrupt and potentially damage the normal functioning of your brain, which presents a danger, regardless of how natural they are.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. Research Report Series — Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs. Retrieved July 2011. View Source
National Institute on Drug Abuse. DrugFacts Hallucinogens- LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP. Retrieved July 2011. View Source