Shrooms, also called magic mushrooms, are a variety of mushroom that contains psilocybin and psilocin, two chemicals that have hallucinogenic effects.
Other hallucinogenic drugs, such as mescaline, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD-25), n-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), and even cannabis and MDMA, share some effects with shrooms.
Drug tolerance to shrooms can develop quickly in people who take the drug regularly. In fact, studies have shown that shroom tolerance can increase after just a few days of using the drug.
How Psilocybin Tolerance Works
When someone develops a shroom tolerance, it takes a higher dose for them to feel the same effects of psilocybin.
The pharmacology of shrooms is such that it interacts with many systems in the brain, body, and nervous system.
Like many drugs including opioids and stimulants, psilocybin interacts with 5-HT2A serotonin receptors in the brain.
After repeated use, these receptors become less sensitive to psilocybin, which is part of what leads to an increased tolerance for the drug.
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Factors That Affect Psilocybin Tolerance
Many factors can affect how high someone’s tolerance to psilocybin is. Most importantly, how often and how heavily someone uses the drug will affect tolerance.
But heavy use of psilocybin is not the only drug that can increase tolerance to shrooms. Ingestion of other hallucinogens, including LSD, can also increase tolerance to shrooms.
This phenomenon is called “cross-tolerance”. The effects of hallucinogens across the board might be lessened by taking another hallucinogen.
Other factors that affect psilocybin tolerance include age, weight, and health, as well as genetics. In general, heavier, younger, and healthier people will have a higher shroom tolerance.
How Long Shrooms Stay In The Body May Affect Tolerance
Mushrooms stay in the body for a relatively short period of time compared to other drugs. It takes about 24 hours for the kidneys and other mechanisms of action to filter out the substance.
However, larger doses may stay in the system longer. Effects may be felt for several more hours when someone takes a large dose of shrooms.
When shrooms stay in the body longer, it can increase tolerance even more, partially due to the large dose.
Risks Of Psilocybin Tolerance
A high tolerance to psilocybin means you need to take more of the drug to feel its effects. But this can be dangerous, since high doses of shrooms are most likely to lead to negative effects.
One risk of high tolerance to shrooms is having “bad trips”. This is when someone has a very traumatizing experience on shrooms that may resemble temporary psychosis.
A bad trip may include side effects like increased heart rate and flashbacks to traumatizing memories in one’s life.
Hallucinogen-Induced Persisting Perception Disorder
Another risk of high psilocybin tolerance is hallucinogen-induced persisting perception disorder. This disorder is rare but can occur in people after taking large doses of shrooms or other hallucinogens.
It is characterized by continued hallucinations and changes in perception similar to those that happen commonly during a shroom trip. These can last for days, weeks, or even permanently.
Large doses of psilocybin also have the potential to induce psychosis. Long-term psychosis can occur in people who use shrooms, especially those who take a large dose and have a bad trip.
Treatment Options For Psilocybin Use
Psilocybin is becoming more popular in many states as a treatment for different mental health conditions. Techniques like “microdosing” are being used to treat everything from PTSD to anxiety.
But shrooms are still a very dangerous drug that are federally illegal and are not safe to use at any dose.
People can become reliant on shrooms and abuse them, increasing their tolerance and raising the chances for a bad trip.
Treatment options for psilocybin abuse include psychiatry interventions, behavioral therapy, and more. Inpatient care is often the most effective start to addiction treatment.
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- National Library of Medicine (PubMed) –– Cross tolerance between LSD and psilocybin
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) –– Hallucinogens DrugFacts
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) –– Psilocybin Drug Fact Sheet