September 20, 2021

September 20, 2021

A Tribute to Psilocybin: 9/20 is Magic Mushroom Day

September 20th is known to psychonauts as Global Magic Mushroom Day. Read on to find out more about the magic behind these mushrooms.

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Happy Magic Mushroom Day!

A magical day indeed, it's an “educational day of action” if you ask the inventor, Nicholas Reville. In the spirit of Magical Mushroom day's celebration, we thought we’d dive into some of the most commonly asked questions and tell you everything there is to know about what makes mushrooms so magical!

Getting to Know Psychedelic Mushrooms

First and foremost, magic mushrooms are a type of wild or cultivated fungi that contain psilocybin, a naturally-occurring psychoactive and hallucinogenic compound.

Magic mushrooms have been around for a long time, used in therapeutic and spiritual settings amongst tribal societies. Some historians even date the funky fungi back to 10,000 BCE through the images in rock art. 

In the modern era, magic mushrooms reentered collective consciousness around the 1950s when mycologists Valentina and R. Gordon Wasson participated in a ritual ceremony using magic mushrooms while travelling through Mexico. The Wassons wrote articles about the experience. Mr. Wasson's was published in Life Magazine in 1957 under the title, Seeking the Magic Mushroom. Upon his return, Wasson and his colleague, Roger Heim, enlisted the help of Albert Hofmann to extract and isolate the psilocybin and psilocin found in the mushrooms they brought back.

How Did Magic Mushroom Day Come to Be?

This holiday was inspired by the drug holidays that came before it. There's 4/20 for cannabis enthusiasts, invented in the 1970s. 4/19 is known as Bicycle Day and was invented in 1943 to celebrate the anniversary of when chemist Albert Hofmann (inventor of LSD, extractor of psilocybin) took LSD intentionally to feel the effects and rode his bike through Basel, Switzerland.

According to Reville, the designation of this day was created in the hopes of inspiring people to come together (much like 4/20) and discuss all things magic mushrooms and perhaps even partake in the medicine. 

September 20th was chosen because it is at the beginning of autumn when mushrooms are most plentiful — also representing a change in direction because it is so close to the equinox. 

What Global Magic Mushroom Day for? How can People Participate? gives a great list of 10 ways you can celebrate this day. The key components encouraging celebrators to be social, safe, present, and open to discussing magic mushrooms. So, what do people do to celebrate:

  1. Having a potluck or picnic
  2. Foraging for wild mushrooms
  3. Taking a mushroom cultivation workshop
  4. Holding a panel on magic mushrooms
  5. Spending a night by the campfire
  6. Hosting a psychedelic integration circle
  7. Having a dance party
  8. Joining an online psilocybin webcast
  9. Hosting a psychedelic movie night
  10. Getting involved in a community bike ride

Where Do Mushrooms Grow & How Are They Consumed?

Fungi is one of those amazing substances that can grow under almost any condition. To identify magic mushrooms specifically, amateur mycologists should look for dried, ordinary mushrooms with long, thin stems that are usually whitish-grey with dark brown caps. However, it's important to do your research before consuming just any ol' fungi you find as some can be dangerous.

But there are also many different types of magic mushrooms that contain psilocybin and they can be consumed in numerous ways, such as being eaten raw, brewed into tea, or consumed in liquid or capsule form.

The effects of 'shrooms are different for everyone and can vary based on dosage, age, weight, emotional state, and environment but usually take about 20–40 minutes to begin and can last up to six hours.

More recently, a very popular way to consume magic mushrooms that has started to capture the psychedelic culture is microdosing.

Microdosing is the consumption of very small, routine doses of a psychedelic drug, like magic mushrooms or LSD, for reasons other than achieving hallucinogenic side effects. More often than not, people microdose to help their minds. A study by Psychopharmacology found that 79% of people who microdose noted improvements in their mental health.

What Are the Effects of Magic Mushrooms?

Consuming magic mushrooms can affect both your physical and mental state. Some of the most noted effects of 'shrooms include nausea, yawning, feeling relaxed or drowsy, introspective experiences, nervousness, paranoia, panic, hallucinations, and psychosis.

Psilocybin is not addictive and does not lead to compulsive use. However, people can quickly build a tolerance to magic mushrooms, so it's important to strategically space out trips or stick to a microdosing schedule.

Why Do People Take“'Shrooms”?

As it currently stands, magic mushrooms are classified as a Schedule I drug, a classification that states the government feels it has a high potential for misuse and has no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. 

Despite this classification, people consume and will continue to consume magic mushrooms for a variety of reasons.

As mentioned, magic mushrooms have been used for thousands of years for both spiritual and medicinal uses among Indigenous people of America and Europe.

During the 1960s and up until President Nixon's “War on Drugs”, people continued to seek out the magic mushroom for these purposes, as a way of expanding their mind, experiencing loss of ego, and in clinical settings as a way to deal with anxiety, depression, addiction, and other mental health disorders.

In 2018, researchers from John Hopkins University recommended reclassification of the drug from Schedule I to Schedule IV in order to allow for medical use. Numerous studies suggest that psilocybin can be used to treat cancer-related psychiatric distress, end of life distress, depression, anxiety, nicotine addiction, and substance use disorders.

In 2019, Denver became the first city to decriminalize mushrooms, and a month later Oakland followed suit. Decriminalization does not mean that shrooms are legal but that the city is not permitted to "spend resources to impose criminal penalties" on people in possession of the drug.

Psilocybin in Psychedelic therapy

Researchers, clinicians and psychonauts continue to lobby for magic mushrooms and other substances like MDMA and LSD to be decriminalized in the hopes for a strong future that allows for safe psychedelic-assisted therapy.

In a new survey conducted by the Canadian Psychedelic Association, four out of five Canadians support psilocybin-assisted therapy for people suffering from terminal and treatment-resistant conditions. 

Pamela Kryskow, a doctor and psychedelics researcher, said the new poll results serve as a green light for Health Canada to proceed with updating the regulations for the psychedelic.

“The proof is in the research and patient improvement,” she said. “We’ve seen positive clinical evidence that shows that psilocybin-assisted therapy works tremendously well for addressing many mental health challenges where other options are ineffective. The healthcare practitioners are ready, the patients deserve this, and we’re ready to provide this medical service to Canadians.”

If you’d like to learn more about the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics and how MINDCURE is driving the psychedelic industry, check out our research.

Written by

Hayley Kirsh