Mushrooms Essay, Research Paper


Mushrooms contain psilocybin which is hallucinogenic and produces a potent, dreamy delirium. Mushrooms predominant pharmacological effect is to alter perception, feelings and thought in the user.

Psilocybin is found in approximately 75 different species of mushrooms from three different genera. Psychic effects can be obtained from dosages between 10 and 60 mg. And generally last for 5 to 6 hours. Both wild and cultivated mushrooms vary greatly in strength, so one strong plant may have as much psilocybin as 10 week ones. The chemical structure of psilocybin is similar to that of LSD.

Most mushrooms containing psilocybin cause nausea and other physical symptoms before the mental effects take over. The mental effects include visceral sensations, changes in sight, hearing, taste, touch, and altered states of consciousness. There is usually less dissociation and panic that with LSD. Prolonged psychotic reactions are rare. However, the mental effects are not consistent and depend on the setting in which the drug is taken and the mindset of the user.

Problems with shrooms come with mistaken harvesting (harvesting poisonous varieties of mushrooms instead of the ones containing psilocybin). Some of these can cause death or permanent liver damage within hours of ingestion.

There are two time-tested ways to identify mushrooms. The first is to gou out into the field with experienced collectors and learn each mushroom on an individual basis until you are thoroughly familiar with its appearance and habits. The second is to get some books on mushroom identification and learn to identify mushrooms based on diagnostic features. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, but the best course by far is to combine both.

The features are universal in mushrooms, but typical gilled mushrooms possess a cap and usually a stalk. The fertile surface where spores are produced is often on the underside of the cap. It may consist of blade like, radiating gills, as in the grocery store mushrooms. The gills vary between species in their point of attachment to the stem and/or cap. Other fertile surface arrangements include pores and teeth. It is preferable to have a few specimens on hand to illustrate these, although pictures may suffice. The stem may be off-center or absent, especially in mushrooms growing on wood. The cap may be smooth, or may have attached particles as shown here. The annulus, when present, is the remnant of a partial veil that covers the gills of young mushrooms and breaks at maturity to form a ring on the stalk. In some groups, an additional, universal veil covers the entire mushroom and breaks to form a cup like volva at the base of the stripe. Like the cap, the stem may be smooth or roughened. Cap and stem shape may sometimes be used as identifying characteristics; this mushroom has a convex cap and s stem with a basal bulb.

The different parts of a mushroom can have different textures. The stems of some species are crisp and break cleanly, whereas some have a fibrous stem. A mushroom?s cap may be dry. The overall texture of a mushroom may be described as fleshy, woody, gelatinous, or rubbery, among other adjectives.

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