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Side Effects Of The Drug Psilocybin

2794 words - 11 pages

Side Effects of the Drug Psilocybin

There have been many experiments and personal testimonies
documenting the side effect behavior changes and effects
reported by users of the drug Psilocybin from ancient history
until more modern times. For instance, the Aztecs believed that
they were capable of moving back and forth between the earthly
and supernatural realms (Schwartz 1988). This travel between
realms was often associated with hallucinatory trances guided by
their god for the entheogens-the Prince of Flowers. The Aztecs
called this ritual "the flowery dream;" this was induced by
sacred mushrooms (Erowid). The trend towards experimenting with
Psilocybin to determine its effects on the body started in the
early 1960's with prominent psychologists like Timothy Leary and
Albert Hofmann taking Psilocybin themselves and reporting their
experiences (Levitt 1975: 270). Later, there were more
controlled double-blind studies performed with groups of
subjects where the drug is administered and neither the subjects
nor the experimenter know which group is receiving the drug and
which group is receiving the placebo. It is much easier in these
types of experiments to control for extraneous variables and to
find a good operational measure for the subjects' reactions to
Psilocybin. However, since the experiences reported by most
users of Psilocybin are within a narrow radius of variation, it
is possible to utilize individual's personal experiences of
Psilocybin as long as they are comparable to the experiences
reported by the majority of the Psilocybin users in other

In general, both psilocybin and psilocybin produce yawning,
inability to concentrate, restlessness, increased heart rate,
and hallucinations (visual and auditory). These symptoms may
appear 30 to 60 minutes after the mushroom is eaten and can last
about four hours (Kuhn 1998). According to one online source,
there is a effect-time curve documenting the general reaction to
Psilocybin (see Appendix 1). The total duration of the reaction
is about 4-7 hours when the Psilocybin is ingested orally, but
the experience is divided into four stages: Onset, lasting from
15-60 minutes, Coming Up, lasting from 15-30 minutes, Plateau,
lasting from 2-4 hours, and Coming Down, lasting from 1-3 hours
(Schwartz 1988). In addition to these four general stages, there
are three different levels of effects. The mildest are the
Threshold Effects (from .25 gm to .75 gms of Psilcybe), which
are characterized by a slight cold feeling, mild gas or nausea,
nervous-feeling, pupil dilation, mild visual changes including
lights seeming brighter, and noticing movement at the periphery
of vision, giddiness, more emotional sensitivity, and other
effects related to a change in neurochemistry (Erowid, Schwartz

The next level, termed Medium Effects (from .75 gm to 2.5
gms of Psilocybe)...

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