Other Conditions & Exposures

Expert reports about Other Conditions & Exposures


INFORMATION FOR WOMEN WHO ARE THINKING OF USING, ARE USING, OR HAVE USED PSILOCYBIN DURING PREGNANCY OR BREASTFEEDING

 

What is Psilocybin?

Psilocybin is the active agent in mushrooms of the species Psilocybe semilanceata and Psilocybe cyanescens. Both of these species are known informally as “magic mushrooms”, because psilocybin has hallucinogenic effects, meaning that it alters signals between neurons in the brain to the point of causing hallucinations, apparent perceptions of sensations that do not exist, or perceptions that are extremely altered from what the actual sensation should produce. Psilocybin is part of a category of agents known as psychedelic drugs, which also includes the hallucinogen lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). The latter was the subject of studies in the middle of the 20th century looking into its potential to treat certain psychiatric conditions. Since that time, a few small studies have suggested that psilocybin may have some beneficial effects against a type of severe headache called a cluster headache, but mostly the drug is used illicitly for its hallucinogenic effects. Psilocybin usually is taken orally, but it also can be taken intravenously. Psilocybin does not produce what’s called drug-seeking behavior. It does not cause cravings, nor does it lead people to commit desperate acts such as crimes to acquire more of the drug. Consequently, it is not considered a typical drug of abuse.


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