How Long Does Psilocybin Stay in Your System?

Psilocybin in Your Blood, Urine, & Hair

Psilocybin mushrooms in a bag and on a bowl

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Psilocybin is a psychedelic compound found in specific varieties of mushrooms, also known as "shrooms" or "magic mushrooms." Psilocybin-containing mushrooms can be found in the wild in many parts of the world. They can be eaten fresh or dried, or brewed in a tea. Common sources include the P.cubensis mushroom and others of the genus Psilocybe. Nearly 100 species with varying levels of psilocybin have been identified.

Psilocybin has been granted a breakthrough therapy designation by the FDA to be studied as a possible treatment for depression. Despite promising clinical application, psilocybin remains classified under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and is illegal to possess or sell in the United States, though it has been decriminalized in some parts of the country, such as Oakland and Denver.

How Long Does Psilocybin Stay in Your System?

Urine: Up to 24 hours

Blood: Less than 24 hours

Hair: Up to 90 days

How Long Does It Take to Feel Effects?

After ingesting psilocybin-containing mushrooms, it will take 20 to 40 minutes to start feeling the effects. By then, psilocybin will have broken down into psilocin which acts on serotonin receptors in the brain. The effects peak at about 90 minutes to two hours after ingestion. The bulk of the effects are felt during the first six hours, which matches the timing of when the metabolite psilocin enters the bloodstream to be 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.

Some studies and sources report that users can have long-term changes in personality, lasting for over a year. Some people who use psilocybin have reported flashback experiences long after taking mushrooms. Though typically not severe, there have been rare reports of people developing hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) after taking psilocybin mushrooms, and this requires further study.

How Long Does Psilocybin Last?

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

Psilocybin is metabolized more quickly by some people than others. Dosage is a large factor and so is the frequency of use, weight, and age. The experience is highly determined by the person's mindset and their physical setting, often referenced together as "set and setting."

A 2017 study of healthy adults found that the psilocin levels peak after about 80 minutes, corresponding with the average peak in effects after 90 minutes, but this varies across individuals.

The immediate effects of using psilocybin wear off in six to 12 hours, though most people report continuing to feel the effects until they sleep and a "glow" the next day.

Urine

The standard five- and nine-panel drug tests ordered by most drug testing companies do not typically include tests for psilocybin, but companies such as Quest Diagnostics and NMS Labs do offer urine tests for psilocybin and one of its metabolites, psilocin, that could be purchased by an employer or probation office. Only small traces of the drug are detectable by a urine test for up to 24 hours after ingestion.

Blood

Blood testing for psilocybin is much less common, but it may happen under some conditions. However, the detection window is very brief, which means that the test must be administered within hours after use.

Hair

Like many other substances, magic mushrooms can be found in hair follicles for up to 90 days. However, such tests may require larger hair samples in order to find detectable amounts of the substance.

Factors That Affect Detection Time

Determining how long "shrooms" stay in your system can be tricky. The amount of time it takes for the body to excrete psilocybin depends on many variables.

Detection times are influenced by the species of mushroom. The type of psilocybin mushroom a person takes affects how quickly the metabolite is eliminated from the body. There are more than 100 magic mushroom species and they all have varying levels of psilocybin content, ranging from psilocybe liniformans with 0.16% to psilocybe tampanensis with 0.68% to psilocybe azurenscens with 1.78%.

How soon psilocybin is eliminated from your body depends on dosage, frequency of use, type of mushroom, your metabolism, and factors such as your age, how much you weigh, your hydration level, and the health of your body systems.

A look at some factors that can affect psilocybin metabolism 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.
  • Activity levels: Psilocybin is excreted faster in physically active people with higher metabolism rates.
  • Hydration levels: 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.
  • Ingestion vs injection: The half-life for intravenously injected psilocybin is much faster than if it is consumed by oral ingestion. When injected, the drug may be cleared from the body in about seven to eight hours.

Psilocybin is not tested for on the typical urine drug screen used by employers. If use is suspected, however, specific tests for it may be ordered.

How to Get Psilocybin Out of Your System

Drug tests of psilocybin and psilocin involve screening urine samples using High-Performance Liquid Chromatography or Tandem Mass Spectrometry. The report is usually made available between four to eight days. The more shrooms you ingest, the longer the psilocybin remains and can be detected.

Drinking water can speed up the elimination of psilocybin, but not in any way that is significant for people trying to avoid detection on a drug test. The only way to get psilocybin out of your system is to discontinue use and allow your body time to metabolize and eliminate the substance.

Symptoms of Overdose

Use caution whenever handling wild mushrooms. Make sure that you get all mushrooms that you pick yourself looked over by an expert before eating them to ensure proper identification. 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 a liver transplant.

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

While physical overdose on most correctly identified species of psilocybin-containing mushrooms is not likely, some people do have what is called a "bad trip," in which they experience confusion, loss of awareness, and exposure to challenging psychological material.

A bad trip is largely a product of "set" and "setting," but can also be an indicator of a need for more in-depth psychological support. Many people find that bad or difficult trips are minimized through attending to their basic physical needs before and during the experience, keeping overstimulation to a minimum, using lower doses, and checking in with a trusted friend.

That said, psychedelic experiences may bring psychological material into your awareness that you find challenging, and it is also helpful to be aware of that in advance and have a plan for working with it. If you are someone with a trauma disorder or other ongoing psychological condition, speak to your psychologist before taking psilocybin.

Getting Help

While psilocybin may have a low potential for physical dependence, that does not mean that psychological addiction is not possible. While many people feel that a handful of psychedelic experiences are enough to get the healing benefits, some people who regularly take psilocybin may start to feel like their default reality does not compare and may seek to have as many psychedelic experiences as possible.

If you feel you may have a substance use disorder, talk to your doctor or speak to a mental health professional. There are different schools of therapy that may be helpful, including harm reduction, psychotherapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

For help locating treatment services in your area, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's national hotline at 1-800-662-4357 or use their online treatment locator.

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Article Sources

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