There are many mushrooms that grow in the wild in New Zealand. Some are poisonous and look similar to psilocybin mushrooms.
Key things to know
Make sure you aren’t taking a poisonous mushroom. Online guides like shroomery.org can help you avoid accidentally picking poisonous mushrooms▼ Know your shrooms
Wait an hour for the effects to kick in before deciding to take more▼ Safer using
Try to have a sober person that can help you if you have a bad trip▼ Tripsitting
Make sure you are in a good mindset and a place you feel comfortable before you use▼ Trip tips
What to expect
How do psilocybin mushrooms make you feel?
The effects of psilocybin mushrooms can vary depending on the type of mushroom. Like many psychedelic drugs, mushrooms can be a positive experience for some and a challenging experience for others, depending on your state of mind. They can make you hallucinate and feel euphoric, energised, anxious or nauseous.
Below are the pleasant and unpleasant effects from psilocybin mushrooms. This does not include other psychoactive mushrooms like fly agaric mushrooms or if you accidentally consume a poisonous mushroom.
Remember, a low dose for one person can be a high dose for another as people’s bodies process drugs differently.
Also keep in mind that, when mixed with alcohol or other drugs, psilocybin mushrooms can have different effects to those listed below.
An Erowid user talks about their first experience using psilocybin mushrooms and their mixed emotions of euphoria and fear:
“I sat down in a comfortable chair after both me and my buddy had our drugs. The first thing that I noticed was that the walls began to breathe. Ecstatic emotion shivered down my body as I realized that the mushrooms were doing things to me."
Mild hallucinations, ‘visuals’
In awe of people and things around you
Having ‘spiritual’ experiences
Feeling connected to people or nature
Distortion of sense of time, place and self (can be pleasant for some people)
Intense spiritual experiences
Having positive realisations about yourself or the world around you
Increased lack of coordination
Distortion of sense of time, place and self (can be unpleasant for some people)
Weakness in your body
Fast or irregular heartbeat
Sweating or feeling very hot
Breathing quickly or irregularly
Feeling panicked or having panic attacks
Very high dose
Intense mental and spiritual experiences and revelations
Severe weakness in your body
Full or partial paralysis of the body
Intense panic attacks
Extreme emotional distress
How can you be safer when using psilocybin mushrooms?
It is very uncommon to have an overdose on real psilocybin mushrooms. Bad experiences on these drugs tend to affect your mental health more than your body itself. As these drugs affect people differently at different doses it is always a good idea to think about the ways you can be safer when using.
Be sure you don't have a poisonous mushroom. Foraging for psilocybin mushrooms can be dangerous as there are many poisonous mushrooms that look similar and may be taken accidentally. There are lots of helpful websites and forums that provide tips on how to identify psilocybin mushrooms (such as The Shroomery), and it is important to do your research before you take them. Compare the mushrooms you plan to take with a high-quality field guide photo and consider all the features of it – stem, cap, colour and size. It is also important to know the signs of poisoning from mushrooms, which can start very soon after ingesting or take as long as 24 hours to start. Symptoms include vomiting, stomach cramps, seizures, diarrhoea, chest pain, racing heart, trouble breathing, severe shaking and many other effects. If things do not feel right, seek medical attention immediately.
Be cautious of other psychoactive non-psilocybin mushrooms.
There are mushrooms that are not psilocybin but do have some psychoactive affects, such as Amanita muscaria (fly agaric), which are recommended not to take as it is easy to prepare them incorrectly and become very unwell.
Make sure you are in a good mindset before you use.
What you experience on psilocybin mushrooms has a lot to do with what state of mind you are in, what kind of environment you are in and who you are with. Many people who take mushrooms say that it is important to make sure that you are in a good headspace before using them and not feeling depressed or anxious. Similarly, it is also thought that it is important to be in a relaxing environment, such as out in nature and around people you trust and feel comfortable with. Psychedelic drugs can make you become introspective, and this can be an emotionally intense experience that can have lasting changes on the way you think and see yourself, others and the world.
Check your psilocybin to make sure it isn't mixed with other drugs.
Psilocybin mushrooms are plant material, so they cannot be tested at a drug checking clinic with a spectrometer. However, if you have powdered or dried psilocybin, a drug checking spectrometer may be able to tell you if this is a different powdered drug, such as an amphetamine. Psilocybin mushrooms can sometimes be tested with the Ehrlich reagent for adulterants. You can buy this test yourself from places like Cosmic and The Hemp Store, or these tests are available at drug checking clinics.
For more information on how to be safer when using drugs and alcohol, see Safer using.
To order self-help workbooks and other free resources for safer use, see Resources.
If you've had too much
What happens if you take too many psilocybin mushrooms?
It is not uncommon with psychedelic drugs for people to have a bad trip or experience. There are lots of factors that can influence whether you have a bad trip on psilocybin mushrooms such as how you are feeling mentally, who you are with and where you are.
While it is uncommon to overdose on mushrooms, in some cases, they can make people feel unwell, particularly if used in very high doses. It is also important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of mushroom poisoning in case you have taken a poisonous mushroom by accident.
You might feel dizzy, have headaches or stomach-aches, feel like time is standing still, feel nauseous, experience unpleasant hallucinations, feel anxious or paranoid or have distressing thought patterns about yourself and the world.
- Focus on breathing – try taking slow, deep breaths.
- If you are able, call and talk to somebody you trust and ask them to help keep you calm.
- Do not take more psilocybin mushrooms, caffeine, alcohol or other drugs, as these can make you feel worse.
- Move to somewhere quiet – try to sit or lie down and do something relaxing.
- Drink water to stay hydrated.
If you're vomiting, have have severe nausea, headaches or stomach aches, experience worsening mental health, have paranoia, thoughts of hurting yourself or violent thoughts, call a doctor or Healthline (0800 611 116). You won't get in trouble if you tell them you've used drugs.
If you have a high fever, difficulty breathing or psychosis, or you: harm yourself, act violently, lose consciousness, have a fever or seizure, you or the people around you should act quickly. Call 111.
If you have taken a poisonous mushroom, you may:
- Be producing excessive saliva
- Have severe stomach-aches
- Have extreme weakness in your body
- Have an irregular heartbeat
- Have difficulty breathing
- Experience severe vomiting
- Have severe or bloody diarrhea
- Have a seizure
- Lose consciousness
- Become unresponsive
If you think you have taken a poisonous mushroom, call 111 immediately.
If you experience unexpected or concerning effects from psilocybin you can notify High Alert to help keep others safe.
A Reddit user talks about taking a high dose of mushrooms and having his experience quickly turn from good to bad:
“At around 1, they started kicking in and I felt good and was having a great time for the first hour, then I started to get a little overwhelmed and left the spot we had set up at near the beach and said, ‘I’m going for a walk I’ll be back in a little bit.’ To anyone who has been in this sort of scenario, you know that those words don’t usually end in a good way. I started to walk around, and I could feel myself starting to peak, I had no idea what I was doing, what I wanted to do, what I was or who I was, and the world around seemed to be falling apart. Keep in mind I was walking in a public trail and a lot of people were giving me dirty looks and were reasonably scared as I also couldn’t find my sunglasses and I can’t imagine how weird I looked.”
What do shroom comedowns feel like, and how can you feel better?
Similar to other psychedelics like LSD, there is not often a big physical comedown from psilocybin mushrooms. Most of the effects of the comedown from these drugs are mental and emotional. How long the comedown lasts and how unpleasant you feel can depend on many factors including what type of mushroom you took, how much and your state of mind when you used. The effects of mushrooms and their comedown usually disappear 24 hours after ingesting them.
That said, you may experience ‘shroom glow’ (feeling of peace and relaxation when the effects of a trip wear off). Or you may feel anxious, unsettled, low or agitated. You may feelings of sadness about the trip ending, or feel a bit 'brain fried' with difficult concentrating. You may feel dehydrated or hot-and-cold. You may feel tired or have difficulty sleeping. You might have trouble adjusting to reality or understanding what is real and what is not.
If you're experiencing a comedown from shrooms, you can try...
- Get plenty of rest and sleep
- Remember to eat and drink plenty of water
- Get moving to release feel-good brain chemicals
- Reach out and talk with friends and whānau for support
- Relax and do things that you enjoy to take your mind off not feeling well
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and other drugs
- Practise mindfulness and deep breathing, and try writing down your thoughts and feelings
If any of these symptoms intensify or don't go away then call a doctor or Healthline 0800 611 116. They can talk you through the next steps.
If your symptoms worsen or you are with somebody who:
- Experiences psychosis
- Has severe or dangerous flashbacks
- Is severely dehydrated
Call 111. These are signs that something more serious is going on. You or the people around you should act quickly.
What are the long-term effects of using psilocybin mushrooms?
For people who use psilocybin mushrooms from time to time, there are unlikely to be long-term effects. However, people who use these drugs heavily or often may be more likely to experience long-term impacts, mainly on their mental health. Research also suggests that some of the long-term psychological effects from using psilocybin mushrooms may be related to underlying mental health conditions. These drugs have a low addiction potential, but it is still possible to become addicted or dependent on psilocybin mushrooms.
Though rare, psychedelic drugs such as LSD and psilocybin mushrooms can cause a condition called hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) , sometimes called ‘flashbacks’. With HPPD, you may find that you have times where your perception and senses suddenly become distorted – this might be what you see, feel, hear or taste. You may have visual hallucinations, see halos of light around objects or see flashes of colour. These can last anywhere from a few seconds to several days (or longer in some severe cases). The research is not clear on how or why these happen or how common it is to experience HPPD, but it can be managed with some prescription medicines and with psychological support.
Psilocybin mushrooms may also have longer-term effects on your brain, sometimes after only one use. One study found that people were more positive for up to a month after a high dose of mushrooms. For other people, a bad trip may leave them feeling depressed or anxious. Psilocybin mushrooms can also contribute to problems with memory, anxiety and depression. It is important to keep in mind that the research on long-term effects of these drugs is very limited.
How do you manage withdrawal from psilocybin mushrooms?
See the 'Making changes' page for more information on how to Manage withdrawal from drugs and alcohol.
Psilocybin mushrooms, like many psychedelic drugs, do not commonly cause addiction and dependence. However, this isn’t always the case, and some people do find it difficult to stop using psilocybin mushrooms, which is more common in young people.
Some people may not experience addiction to these drugs but may want to cut back or stop using because of the psychological effects or because they are using more than they would like to. Most people who use psilocybin mushrooms regularly will only experience mild symptoms when withdrawing.
- Feel tired, irritable or agitated
- Have cravings to use mushrooms
- Experience memory loss
- Feel anxious or down
- Have trouble adjusting to reality or understanding what is real and what is not
You can try:
- Consider counselling or support groups if feelings of anxiety and depression are getting worse.
- Lean on a support network of friends, family and professionals.
- Stick to a routine – waking up, eating well, keeping active and rewarding yourself with things that bring you joy.
- Practise mindfulness by writing down your feelings, doing breathing exercises or meditating.
If you have severe memory loss, worsening mental health, are not able to reconnect with reality for a longer period of time, or you have flashbacks, call call a doctor or Healthline (0800 611 116).
If you have sever or dangerous flashbacks or are experiencing psychosis, these are signs that something more serious is going on. You or the people around you should act quickly. Call 111.
For more information on getting support for drug and alcohol use, see Finding support.
Working and driving
How can psilocybin mushrooms affect your daily activities?
Psilocybin mushrooms are hallucinogenic and psychedelic drugs, meaning that they change your perception of reality, yourself and your surroundings. The effects of psilocybin mushrooms can kick in from 20 minutes to 2 hours after taking them, and the effects can last up to 8 hours. There is a lot of variation on how strong and how long the effects of psilocybin mushrooms last for. This can depend on your individual body, how much you have taken, what kind you have taken, if you have used alcohol and other drugs with them and how often you use mushrooms.
Because psilocybin mushrooms can cause you to hallucinate, become uncoordinated and have weak muscles, it is unsafe to drive or operate heavy machinery while using. Psilocybin mushrooms can also cause you to have a distorted sense of time, place and self, feel ‘out of body’ and feel anxious or paranoid, which can make everyday interactions with other people difficult. Psychedelic drugs can cause very intense emotional experiences, so taking these while working or in everyday situations may not have pleasant effects.
If you take psilocybin mushrooms, will it show up on a drug test?
Psilocybin mushrooms can be tested for in several ways. However, like other psychedelic drugs, they aren’t often tested for in routine drug testing as they can only be detected for a short period of time and tests can be costly and unreliable. They can be tested for in hair, urine and blood.
Psilocybin mushrooms are metabolised very quickly by the body, meaning that they are hard to test for. This may also mean that small or microdoses of these drugs are even harder to pick up with drug tests. It’s also important to remember that every person’s body is different and will process drugs differently
It is thought that psilocybin mushrooms can be detected for about 24 hours in urine, only a few hours in blood and up to 90 days in hair. Some research says that you may need quite a large hair sample to get a reliable reading.
Are psilocybin mushrooms illegal?
Psilocybin mushrooms are illegal in New Zealand and are considered a Class A controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act. This means that buying, selling, possessing, importing, growing or giving these drugs to others is against the law. It is important to remember that just because psilocybin mushrooms grow in the wild in New Zealand does not mean that you are legally allowed to pick or cultivate them. Some people use psilocybin mushrooms to microdose for mental health reasons. However, this is not a legal defence for possessing these drugs in New Zealand.
You can also get in trouble with the law if you are found to be impaired by psilocybin mushrooms while driving.
To find out more about the law around legal and controlled drugs, including psilocybin mushrooms, see Drugs and the law.