Substances | 5 min read

LSD Vs. Mushrooms: The Differences and Side Effects

Medically Reviewed

Medically Reviewed By

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu

On May 08, 2023

Written By

Amanda Stevens

Amanda Stevens, B.S.

On May 8, 2023

LSD Vs. Mushrooms

What you will learn

  • LSD and magic mushrooms are psychedelic drugs recreationally used for their hallucinogenic effects.
  • LSD and mushroom use can lead to psychological dependency and long-term health risks.
  • Behavioral issues associated with LSD and mushrooms include psychosis, anxiety, and impaired judgment.
  • Effective treatment options for LSD and mushroom dependency include drug detoxification, group therapy, and holistic practices.
Reading Time: 5 minutes

LSD is a man-made chemical compound heavily popularized for its hallucinogenic and mind-altering effects. Magic mushrooms are naturally grown and well-known for providing a calming high, and spiritualistic experience.

Despite the lure of their psychedelic effects, both LSD and mushrooms can lead to substance use disorder if not taken seriously. Understanding how these substances can affect your body and your mind can help you avoid unfortunate encounters and remain healthy and drug-free.

What Is LSD?

Lysergic acid diethylamide, also known as acid or LSD, is a psychoactive chemical compound commonly used as a recreational drug. LSD is typically man-made from ergot fungi, a mold found on rye bread and other grains.[1]

Once synthesized, LSD becomes a white or crystalline substance resembling a rock-like appearance. However, due to its potency, acid is typically diluted into a liquid form.

When ingested, LSD binds to the brain’s serotonin receptors and alters neural pathway activity throughout the cells. As a result, small doses of LSD can cause minor changes in mood, thought, and perception. Larger quantities of LSD may induce more psychedelic side effects, such as intensely vivid hallucinations and distorted perception of identity, time, and space.

Is LSD addictive?

Yes, while LSD is rarely physically addictive, it can be psychologically addictive. Many cases have shown that regular recreational use of LSD can lead to behavioral addiction or psychological dependence.

Many people can become addicted to the hallucinations they experience and build a psychological dependence over time. Additionally, repeated use can result in drug tolerance, causing users to consume larger doses to attain the same hallucinogenic effects of their previous encounters.

Can you overdose on LSD?

Yes, it is possible to overdose on LSD. Despite the fact that deaths due to LSD overdose are rare. The substance affects each person differently, and it is unclear how much LSD would be enough to cause someone to overdose.

In one case, a 15-year-old female accidentally ingested more than 1,000 micrograms at a party and needed to be hospitalized overnight after exhibiting erratic behavior.[2] At the same party, a 26-year-old woman also accidentally ingested 500 mcg of LSD and experienced no adverse effects.

What Are Hallucinogenic Mushrooms or Shrooms?

Magic mushrooms, or “shrooms” are wild mushrooms that contain psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychoactive compound.[3] These mushrooms are commonly found in the tropical and subtropical regions of South America, Mexico, and the United States.

Psilocybin mushrooms have long, slender stems topped by caps with dark gills on the underside. Once they are digested, the psilocybin in the fungi is broken down into psilocin, which interacts with the serotonin receptors in the brain and initiates the drug’s calming, psychedelic effects.

If taken in large quantities, these fungi can produce opposite reactions, such as anxiety, fear, paranoia, and hallucinations.

Are mushrooms addictive?

Psilocybin mushrooms are not considered physically addictive and rarely lead to compulsive use. However, some users grow accustomed to the hallucinations and mind-altering effects of psilocybin, resulting in increased consumption and tolerance. Eventually, regular psilocybin use can lead to a psychological dependency on the drug, making it easier to develop a substance use disorder.

Can you overdose on mushrooms?

Although psilocybin mushrooms have low toxicity, it is possible to overdose on the drug after consuming large amounts. In most cases, psilocybin overdoses lead to adverse physical and mental effects, usually categorized as a “bad trip.” Depending on the user, a psilocybin bad trip can last between 6-8 hours, but some effects may linger for several days before they finally fade.

LSD Vs. Mushrooms: Understanding The Differences

Despite the fact that both psychedelics are derived from fungi, psilocybin mushrooms are produced naturally, while LSD is synthetically created. Due to their different compositions, LSD and shrooms also differ greatly in their side effects and overall influences on the body.

Side Effects of LSD

The side effects of LSD are unpredictable and can vary depending on the person’s experience with the drug.[4] In many instances, these side effects consist of various mental and emotional changes, such as:

  • Impaired perception of depth
  • Fear of death
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression

LSD can also affect your central nervous system and lead to an increase in monosynaptic reflexes, muscle tension, and muscular incoordination. Although these issues are rare, the odds of them occurring can increase with repeated use.

Side Effects of Mushrooms

Side Effects of Mushrooms

Similar to LSD, psilocybin mushrooms have not been shown to cause extensive physical damage after use.[5] Psilocybin can cause users to experience serious side effects, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fainting
  • Confusion

Excessive consumption of psilocybin mushrooms can cause behavioral issues such as aggression, violence, and risky behavior. In an LSD survey conducted by John Hopkins University, 10.7% of respondents recalled putting themselves or others at risk for physical harm during their bad trip. [6]

Different Avenues of Use

Despite both LSD and magic mushrooms providing similar hallucinogenic effects, the two drugs differ greatly in terms of how they’re used.

In most cases, fresh or dried shrooms are eaten raw but can also be mixed with food and drinks. Some users even brew psilocybin mushrooms in tea or coat them with chocolate to disguise the taste and presence of the drug.

Due to its high potency, LSD is typically broken down and mixed with other substances, making it available in various forms. As a result, LSD is commonly found in capsules, tablets, gelatin sheets, blotted paper, and liquid droppers.

Different Health Risks

Both LSD and psilocybin mushrooms can pose serious short-term health issues for some people after use, such as:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Tremors
  • Numbness
  • Impaired judgment

If you use antidepressants, such as SSRIs, ingesting LSD and psilocybin can also cause the body to produce abnormally high levels of serotonin. This can lead to serotonin syndrome, which can cause various symptoms such as:

  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle spasms

While most psychedelic effects associated with LSD and psilocybin are usually temporary, some users may experience flashbacks of past trips for weeks and even years after use. This condition is known as hallucinogen-persisting perception disorder (HPPD). Though the condition is usually rare, regular LSD and mushroom users have a greater chance of experiencing HPPD if they have pre-existing mental disorders.

Can you mix LSD and mushrooms?

You should never mix LSD and mushrooms in any setting, especially during recreational use. Due to each drug’s potency, it can be difficult to determine a safe dosage for a person’s body composition. Combining LSD with psilocybin may increase your chances of experiencing a bad trip or an overdose.

Treatment For LSD and Mushroom Misuse or Addiction

If you’ve become dependent on LSD or psilocybin mushrooms, don’t wait until a bad episode occurs to get treatment. Joining an NYC drug rehab program can provide a safe environment for you to recover and overcome your dependency.

Once you’re admitted, detox professionals will help you transition to sobriety and address any emotional or mental difficulties that may occur from abstinence. They can provide individual and group therapy sessions to help strengthen your recovery. After treatment, our addiction treatment center professionals will provide you with a follow-up plan for post-treatment to help you stay committed to sobriety.

Also available are self-care and holistic recovery programs such as acupressure, yoga, meditation, massage, and Tai Chi to help further your transition to a healthier, drug-free lifestyle. At Ascendant, we offer a holistic approach to treatment that revitalizes the mind and body to help patients unlock the shackles of substance use disorder. Contact us today to start your recovery journey!

Frequently Asked Questions About LSD vs. Mushrooms

What is micro-dosing?

Microdosing is administering minuscule amounts of a new drug to test or minimize its side effects. Many psychedelic users also implement this method to improve their cognition and avoid experiencing the full effects of psychoactive drugs. However, micro-dosing can still be unsafe for certain individuals and place users at greater risk of developing a substance use disorder.

What are club drugs?

“Club drugs” refer to the class of psychoactive drugs heavily used by young adults at clubs, parties, and concerts. These drugs are illegal and can cause impaired judgment that results in serious injury, illness, and death. Common club drugs include ketamine, LSD, Rohypnol, MDMA, and psilocybin. 

Are there health benefits to magic mushrooms?

In some extreme cases (terminal cancer), psilocybin therapies may be helpful to aid in comfort levels. It is also possible that intermittent microdoses of psilocybin can lead to depression and other mental health disorders. It is imperative to consult with a physician before consuming magic mushrooms.

LSD Vs. Mushrooms: Stay Safe and Stay Informed.

Understanding the differences and side effects of LSD and mushrooms can help you safely pursue healing and wellness. Stay informed and be empowered to pursue a drug-free future.

Ascendant New York Editorial Guidelines

Here at Ascendant New York, we understand the importance of having access to accurate medical information you can trust, especially when you or a loved one is suffering from addiction. Find out more on our policy.

Amanda Stevens

MEDICAL CONTENT WRITER

Amanda Stevens, B.S.

Amanda is a prolific medical content writer specializing in eating disorders and addiction treatment. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Purdue University with a B.S. in Social Work. Read more

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Sources

[1] Hwang, K.J. & Saadabadi, A. (2022, January). Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD). National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482407/ on July 9, 2023
[2] Haden, M., & Woods, B. (2020). LSD Overdoses: Three Case Reports. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339234169_LSD_Overdoses_Three_Case_Reports on July 9, 2023
[3] U.S. Department of Justice. (n.d.). Psilocybin Fast Facts. National Drug Center. Retrieved from https://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs6/6038/6038p.pdf on July 9, 2023
[4] Hwang, K.J. & Saadabadi, A. (2022, January). Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD). National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482407/ on July 9, 2023
[5] Kopra, E., Ferris, A., Winstock, Young, A., & Rucker, J. (2022). Adverse experiences resulting in emergency medical treatment seeking following the use of magic mushrooms. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9353971/ on July 9, 2023
[6] McMains, V. (2017). John Hopkins University. Study explores the enduring positive, negative consequences of ingesting ‘magic mushrooms. Retrieved from https://hub.jhu.edu/2017/01/04/bad-trips-mushrooms/ on July 9, 2023