How Long Does Psilocybin Stay in Your System?

Hallucinogenic Mushrooms Affect the Brain

Mushrooms
Psilocybin Remains in the System for Days. DEA

Determining how long shrooms stay in your system can be tricky. The amount of time it takes for the body to excrete psilocybin, the psychoactive chemical in hallucinogenic mushrooms, depends on many variables, including someone's pattern of use, age, body mass, metabolism, hydration level, and overall health.

Detection times are also influenced by the species of magic mushroom you or someone you care about consumes. There are nearly 200 species with varying levels of psilocybin, which is illegal and classified under Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act.

Knowing how these psychoactive chemicals act in the body and how long they stay in your system can help you understand why they are illegal.

The Effects of Psilocybin

Psilocybin (4-phosphoryloxyN, N-dimethyltryptamine) is found in specific varieties of mushrooms. They can be found in the wild in many places. Users might harvest them themselves or buy them from others. They can be eaten fresh or dried, or brewed in a tea.

In the body, psilocybin is converted to psilocin. It is believed to act on serotonin levels in the brain as it is an analog of serotonin. 

Studies with brain imaging during psilocybin use have shown some areas of the brain have decreased activity, while there may also be more communication across different regions of the brain, leading to altered and unusual perceptions.

The effects take about 30 to 45 minutes to begin, peak at about 90 minutes and can last up to 6 hours. This matches the timing of when the metabolite psilocin enters the bloodstream and then is mostly eliminated through the kidneys.

Physical effects include nausea, yawning, headaches, and increased heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature. Mental effects include feeling relaxed and having introspective experiences that may feel spiritual as well as unpleasant effects like nervousness, paranoia, and panic reactions.

The average half-life of psilocin is 50 minutes, and after 3 hours about two-thirds of a dose has been eliminated through the kidneys in the urine. It generally takes five to six half-lives for a substance to be entirely eliminated from the system.

The dosage is a large factor in the effects felt by those who take psilocybin, but studies found that age, personality traits, emotions, and the setting also affected whether the experience was unpleasant.

Psilocybin Detection Times

The immediate effects of using psilocybin wear off in 6 to 12 hours. Some studies and sources report that users can have long-term changes in personality, lasting for over a year. Some users have reported flashback experiences long after taking mushrooms.

Psilocybin is not tested for on a typical urine drug screen, such as for employment. If use is suspected, however, specific tests for it may be ordered. Like many other illicit substances, magic mushrooms can be found in hair follicles for up to 90 days.

Keep in mind that if you have any other drugs in your system, they may be detectable on drug screens for longer than psilocybin and might influence how long the drug stays in your system.

Factors Affecting Excretion

The more shrooms you ingest, the longer psilocybin remains and can be detected. In addition to the volume and frequency, the type of magic mushroom can also affect how quickly the metabolite is eliminated from the body.

There are more than 180 magic mushroom species and they all have varying levels of psilocybin content, ranging from psilocybe liniformans with 0.16 percent to psilocybe tampanensis with 0.68% percent to psilocybe azurenscens with 1.78 percent.

How soon psilocybin is eliminated from your body also depends on your metabolism and factors such as your age, how much you weigh, whether you are well-hydrated, and the health of your body systems.

A look at some factors that can cause psilocybin to linger include:

  • Age: People over age 65 tend to have reduced blood flow to their kidneys and liver, which can delay the excretion of psilocybin.
  • Body mass: People with higher body mass tend to excrete psilocybin faster than those with low BMIs.
  • Being inactive: Psilocybin is excreted faster in active people with higher metabolism rates.
  • Not drinking water: Water can speed up the excretion of psilocybin.
  • Liver and kidney function: Having liver or kidney disease can slow down the time it takes for psilocybin to pass through the body.

Risks of Shrooms and Psilocybin

One of the biggest risks of using mushrooms is mushroom poisoning. Even experienced mushroom hunters can mistake a highly poisonous mushroom for the one they intended to gather. Mushroom poisoning can result in catastrophic liver damage and death unless there is immediate access to having a liver transplant.

When to Call 911

If you suspect mushroom poisoning, call 911 or poison control right away at 800-222-122. Don’t wait to experience symptoms.

There are also risks of having a "bad trip" and possibly experiencing ongoing effects. Research is just beginning in the area of lasting effects, however.

Ways to Rid the Body of Psilocybin

If you are concerned about having too much psilocybin in your system or testing positive for the drug, consider seeking help.

There are many products and websites that claim they can "flush out" your system after taking shrooms, yet if you are chronically taking magic shrooms or abusing other drugs, you likely need a reliable and long-term solution. Seeking counseling or joining a support group can increase your chances of ridding the drug from your body and life for good.

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