Can You Overdose on Mushrooms?
There is a widespread realization that mushrooms are one of the best gifts that nature has to offer to humans. Their various uses, as a culinary delight, nutritional food, and functional and therapeutic powerhouse, have fascinated people for centuries. The recent medicinal and scientific breakthroughs have only increased interest and trust in the potential benefits of mushrooms.
Among the public, the growing interest in the therapeutic and recreational applications of mushrooms has brought forth an important question: Can you overdose on mushrooms?
Mushroom consumption is gaining momentum. People are including mushroom extracts, powder, tinctures, capsules, and gummies to access the health-boosting compounds of functional fungi.
There is also huge support for using the psychotropic effects of certain mushrooms to treat anxiety, PTSD, and depression.
As more people begin to explore mushrooms, it becomes imperative to understand their optimal dosage and safety limits.
The Benefits of Mushrooms and Their Dosage
As a culinary ingredient, we rarely think about the term ‘dosage.’ We generally add a cup or two, which would be enough for a family of four. But we all know that the uses of mushrooms go beyond the dining table.
Nowadays, the word ‘mushroom’ reminds us mainly of Cordyceps, which is taken to boost energy; Lion’s Mane, used to enhance cognitive function; Shiitake, which improves immune health; or Psilocybin mushrooms, which have the potential to treat PTSD, anxiety, etc.
The list of mushrooms mentioned above is just the tip of the iceberg. There are tens of thousands of known mushroom species.
Scientists believe there might be millions more waiting to be discovered and studied. In this diverse spectrum of species, each one carries multiple active compounds and boasts diverse properties.
It’s crucial to understand dosage when discussing the use of functional mushrooms, and this topic assumes even greater significance when dealing with psilocybin mushrooms which are known for their psychoactive effects.
What is a dosage? It refers to the amount of a specific substance the user consumes to experience their desired outcome (or effect) without any potential side effects.
For certain substances, especially psilocybin mushrooms, the optimal dosage depends on several factors, including body weight, tolerance, and desired experience.
For instance, a lower dose may be enough to achieve a calm and relaxed state of mind. In contrast, a higher dosage of psilocybin mushrooms might be required to treat anxiety and depression.
Since psilocybin mushrooms can cause hallucinations and alter the perception of the surrounding environment, many experts recommend micro-dosing.
Micro-dosing involves taking sub-perceptual doses, i.e., taking only a small amount of the psychedelic substance compared to the standard dosage.
Sub-perceptual dosage ensures the psychedelic substance has just a subtle effect on certain cognitive and mental faculties.
For example, after micro-dosing, the user may notice improvements in focus, attention, and mood without any intense psychedelic experiences, such as hallucinations.
Understanding Optimal Dosage: 1,000mg to 3,000mg
Considering personal experiences and keen observations of others, it is evident that people sometimes disregard recommended dosages.
The inclination to overconsume arises from the misconception that mushroom supplements are entirely devoid of serious side effects.
This sentiment recalls the timeless adage that ‘excess of anything is good for nothing’. As the usage of mushroom supplements becomes increasingly prevalent, it becomes incumbent upon us to emphasize the importance of meticulous dosage adherence.
Our comprehensive exploration into this subject has unveiled a dosage range of 1,000mg to 3,000mg as the optimal spectrum for most mushroom varieties.
This range has emerged as the equilibrium between efficacy and safety, representing the golden mean.
The rationale behind adopting this specific range is rooted in extensive deliberation. Various factors were considered, encompassing the diverse array of active compounds present in functional mushrooms.
Our research extended to compounds like terpenoids, beta-glucans, and polyphenols, among others. Following rigorous investigation, it became apparent that a minimum dosage of 1,000mg is necessary to produce at least modest benefits, including tranquility, stress alleviation, and strengthening of the immune system.
The upper threshold for mushroom dosage was set at 3,000mg. At this dosage, the therapeutic advantages of mushroom supplements manifest more clearly.
Anticipate heightened cognitive faculties, alleviation of anxiety, and augmentation of creativity and mental lucidity.
However, it is essential to note that while the upper limit remains constant for all, the ideal dosage may vary from individual to individual.
Variables such as age, weight, metabolism, prevailing health conditions, and medical history determine the appropriate dosage within this spectrum.
Before progressing, let us revisit the concept of a preventive dose, denoted by the minimal dosage of 1,000mg.
For those uncertain about the optimal dosage, beginning with 1,000mg is recommended. This initial dose, often referred to as the newcomer dosage, presents the least susceptibility to adverse reactions.
In the preventive dosage, the concentration of active compounds is calibrated to gently stimulate cognitive functions, fortify the immune system, and evoke a sense of tranquility in users. The minimal dose serves to invigorate faculties without overwhelming them.
Moreover, it is noteworthy that instances of adverse reactions have been rare among those adhering to this preferred dosage range.
However, it must be acknowledged that an individual’s response to a supplement depends on the quality of the mushroom extract, the source of raw materials, and the intricacies of the extraction process and ratio.
Individuals contending with medical conditions, under prescription medications, or grappling with sensitive stomachs are strongly advised to consult a physician, expert, or healthcare professional before incorporating mushroom supplements into their daily regimen.
The Therapeutic Potential of 3,000mg Dosage
In the absence of proper guidance, many people either underdose or overdose on mushroom supplements. They carry on for some time, and when they don't experience the outcome they desire or feel some adverse reaction, they stop taking the supplement.
One of the objectives of this article is to highlight the preventive dose and therapeutic dosage of mushroom supplements.
While 1,000mg is considered the newcomer dosage, users can increase their daily dosage up to 3,000mg for effective improvement in mood and cognition.
Bear in mind that 3,000mg isn’t the optimal dose; it’s the upper limit with maximum transformative potential without triggering any adverse reactions.
Although the optimal dosage for any mushroom species depends on multiple factors such as age, weight, overall health, etc., studies have revealed a common pattern.
In the case of Lion’s Mane mushrooms, experts recommend around 2,000mg (or 2g) per day . According to a 2019 study, to treat sleep disorders, anxiety, and depression, doctors administered 1,200mg of Lion’s Mane every day for two months .
In a 2020 study, a daily dose of 1,050mg for 49 weeks helped improve cognitive function in those suffering from Alzheimer’s .
Makers of Shiitake mushroom supplements recommend 1,000mg to 2,000mg of the mushroom extract daily. According to a study, a daily dose of 5,000mg improved immunity in young adult participants .
In the absence of universal guidelines, we must go by expert advice on the optimal dosage range for Cordyceps mushroom. The most common dosage used in human studies is 1g to 3g per day. In one study, researchers observed improvement in athletic performance in participants who used between 1,000mg to 4,500mg daily .
The standard dosage of Reishi mushroom can vary depending on its extraction method and the purpose for which the extract is used. The dosage range that is most followed in the case of Reishi is 1,500mg to 9,000mg . The optimal daily dosage that is safe to use for an adult is 1,500mg to 3,000mg.
The topic of 'dosage' assumes huge importance in the case of psychedelic mushrooms. Psilocybin – the active ingredient in magic mushrooms or shrooms – has the potential to enhance mood, concentration, creativity, and productivity.
It has also gained attention as an effective treatment option against stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other psychological disorders.
Unfortunately, even a small amount of psilocybin can tip the scales, resulting in hallucinations, headache, paranoia, confusion, high blood pressure, nausea, and vomiting.
Experts recommend micro-dosing of psychedelic mushrooms. Again, there are around 200 species of shrooms and there are no clear guidelines on micro-dosing. Typically, experts recommend using just 5 to 10 percent of the standard dose of the psychedelic substance.
Suppose 2,000 to 3,000mg of psilocybin is taken for recreational purposes. In that case, the ideal micro-dose of the substance would be around 300mg per day.
Let’s take another example. In a clinical setting, experts administer 20mg to a 155lb man to induce a full psychedelic experience . At home, a user can micro-dose 1-2mg daily for several weeks to feel a sense of calm, improve clarity and creativity, and experience a general improvement in mood.
Can You Overdose on Mushrooms?
Over the past seven decades, scientists have acquired a wealth of knowledge about mushrooms. Among the many questions they’ve been asked to address, one stands out: Can you overdose on mushrooms, specifically referring to psychedelic varieties?
Before delving into an answer, it’s essential to draw a clear distinction between overdose and adverse/side effects.
In the case of an overdose, an individual ingests a substance in an amount that surpasses the body’s capacity to handle it. Such an excess often leads to severe health consequences, including vomiting, loss of consciousness, and even fatality.
On the other hand, adverse effects can occur even when a substance is consumed within the recommended dosage range.
These negative reactions typically range from mild to moderate in severity. Nausea, vomiting, headaches, diarrhea, constipation, anxiety, and stomach spasms are common manifestations.
Due to the limited depth of research on this subject, there remains a scarcity of information regarding the seriousness of psychedelic overdose.
Nevertheless, experts concur that surpassing the recommended dosage of a psychedelic substance can result in panic attacks, hallucinations, paranoia, extreme disorientation, and potentially death.
Before leaping to conclusions, let’s take a moment to explore the nuances. A stark contrast exists between recreational and therapeutic use.
The risk of overdosing significantly heightens during the recreational consumption of psychedelic substances.
In contrast, therapeutic usage involves only a minute dose (micro-dose), sometimes under the supervision of an expert, aiming to harness the mental health benefits of the psychedelic substance.
It’s imperative to approach the consumption of psychedelic mushrooms with responsibility and awareness. While the potential for adverse reactions exists, informed and cautious use can maximize the benefits and minimize the risks associated with these intriguing substances.
The Common Signs of Overconsumption of Psilocybin Mushrooms
If you’re still not taking the repercussions of an overdose seriously, then the following are the common signs of overconsumption of psilocybin mushrooms. Understanding the risks involved will influence you to choose your dosage carefully.
- Overwhelmingly vivid and distressing hallucinations that disrupt normal cognitive function and everyday life.
- Heightened sense of anxiety or paranoia that is uncontrollable and leads to significant emotional distress.
- Nausea that doesn’t subside even after medication and severe bouts of vomiting.
- Inability to perform regular physical tasks, excessive clumsiness, and difficulty in coordinating movements.
- Sudden increase in heart rate, feeling of pounding in the chest, and a notable increase in blood pressure.
- The increase in blood pressure and heart rate may lead to a panic attack characterized by shortness of breath, sweating, and a sense of impending doom.
- Confusion, agitation, and disorientation affect the perception of the surrounding environment and impaired cognitive function.
Guidelines for Safe Psilocybin Mushroom Use
Functional mushrooms, by and large, are safe to use. A slight increase in dosage is not going to result in serious side effects.
In contrast, there is an increasing possibility of overdose leading to moderate to severe adverse effects in the case of psilocybin mushrooms.
Magic mushrooms or shrooms are emerging as a promising treatment for several psychological problems.
The experience of using psychedelic mushrooms can be exciting and profound. That said, it’s also important to maintain safety.
Hence, we have some guidelines for you to follow to ensure the safe and secure use of psilocybin mushrooms.
- Familiarize yourself with the legal status of psychedelic mushrooms and their supplements in your area.
- Thoroughly research the shrooms, their effects, and how the psychedelic substance can affect your body.
- Only use magic shrooms bought from reputable sources to ensure safety.
- Discuss micro-dosing with an expert or healthcare professional and start with the minimum dosage to check your sensitivity and reaction.
- You can increase the dosage only after getting used to the lower doses.
- You can minimize the risk of nausea and vomiting by taking the supplement on an empty stomach.
- Choose a safe, familiar, and comfortable setting to try the magic mushrooms.
- Stay hydrated but avoid consuming excess water before taking a dose.
- Keep a light snack on hand to maintain energy and hunger after dosing.
- If you’re new to psychedelic mushrooms, have a trusted friend/person with you as a sober sitter to support you if a need arises.
- To prevent emotional upheaval, calm yourself with soothing music, a peaceful ambiance, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or gentle stretching.
- The psilocybin experience can impair motor skills and some cognitive faculties, but only temporarily. Hence, avoid daily errands, responsibilities, and commitments, and set aside a few hours for the psychedelic journey.
Delving into the world of mushrooms, especially psilocybin mushrooms, can be exciting and fascinating. However, the journey also presents certain challenges, such as exploring the optimal dosage and avoiding overdosing.
More particularly, when dealing with psychedelic mushrooms, ‘Safety First and Responsible Use’ must be your mantra. Whether you’re a novice intrigued by psilocybin mushrooms or a seasoned user, informed decision-making must be your best ally.
Both functional and magic mushrooms have much to offer. But before you add them to your routine, take time to research, consult experts, and exercise caution.
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