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With traditional painkillers wreaking havoc— experts are looking for better choices when it comes to chronic pain management.
Strap in kids— we’re going to discuss the science behind how psilocybin works in your body, and how long it takes to get rid of it.
When it comes to taking psilocybin mushrooms for mental health, the world is slowly coming around. With programs for microdosing in Canada, the UK, and even the US popping up regularly.
However, there’s still a bunch of places around the world that stick to outdated and unfounded laws regarding the use and usefulness of mushrooms. So more than understanding how psilocybin and the mushrooms that contain it could help you out— you’ll also want to know how long they stay in your system.
How Does Psilocybin Work?
Wondering about how psilocybin works is often a question of what you mean by the word “work”. How it affects our brains, what makes us hallucinate, or how microdosing mushrooms may help alleviate certain mood disorders are all examples of psilocybin working.
In Our Brains
Psilocybin, the active and hallucinatory ingredient in magic mushrooms is rapidly broken down into a metabolite called psilocin. This metabolite is what begins to alter and affect our brain chemistry.
Psilocin, is what’s considered an “agonist” for several specific serotonin receptors. Agonist simply means any chemical that connects with receptors in our bodies— like a key into a lock— to produce certain responses. Because psilocin works like serotonin, our bodies respond to it in a similar fashion to how they would respond to our natively produced serotonin.
Agonists can vary widely in their ability to produce certain effects— this is known as “affinity”. This means that an agonist can have high, moderate, or low affinity for certain receptors, which describes the attraction between the agonist and it’s associated binding site.
For the most part, psilocin is believed to have high affinity for certain serotonin binding sites, but recent research suggests that it also may interact with dopamine and glutamate systems, which could further explain some of psilocybin’s beneficial effects.
How We Trip
What makes us hallucinate is mitigated by the same pathways that eliminate psilocybin from our systems. Dose, metabolism, and species of mushroom all play a part in whether or not we will hallucinate.
Specifically with psilocybin, it’s becoming increasingly more accepted that you don’t need to hallucinate in order to reap the benefits of mushrooms— however, some of us enjoy a good trip now and again— and there’s nothing wrong with that. Psilocybin is one of the safest substances known world wide.
This is because it’s nearly impossible to become addicted to and has an incredibly low likelihood of overdose. For most people, effects begin about 10-40 minutes after taking mushrooms, which can last anywhere from 2-6 hours depending on the situations mentioned above.
The larger the dose, the more likely you are to experience hallucinations, and the longer they may last. For most adults, hallucinations or strong psychological effects will happen with a blood concentration of psilocybin around 4 µg/liter.
These effects can be further enhanced by other recreational substances (like alcohol or tobacco) which is why it’s always suggested to use psilocybin on it’s own.
Does Microdosing Affect Concentrations?
Microdosing may affect the time it takes to clear your system of psilocybin— largely because microdosing psilocybin means taken lower doses at specific concentrations.
What is Microdosing?
Microdosing is the system in which people will take sub-hallucinogenic doses of certain psilocybin containing mushrooms, in order to address certain psychological issues or mood disorders.
Used to address things like depression, anxiety, fatigue, and other stress related mood problems. A medicinal mushroom dispensary may not be easy to find— but if you plan on microdosing it is clearly the best choice.
Largely because if you plan to buy Shrooms in Canada or elsewhere, the concentration of psilocybin can vary based on a number of factors. Which makes it extremely difficult to maintain a reliable dosing schedule.
Something that is paramount to microdosing effectively.
How Does Microdosing Work?
Depending on which microdosing guide you follow, you’ll find that different schedules, different mushrooms, and different manufacturers can all affect your results as well as whatever schedule you’ll be adhering to for the results you want.
There are a number of mushroom capsule benefits— particularly that they are individually dosed with a known concentration of psilocybin, so you never have to guess at what you’re taking. If you don’t have access to a dispensary, it is advised to get an extremely sensitive scale, so that you can better measure the incredibly small amounts of dried, powdered mushrooms that you’ll be needing to take.
Once you know the amount you’re looking to take, you’ll want to consider a dosing schedule. This means that you won’t be taking psilocybin everyday— because tolerance builds quickly to most classic hallucinogens— which could render your experience entirely ineffective.
Most schedules have an alternating system in which psilocybin is taken once every 2-3 days for a series of months. Anecdotal evidence suggests that these are the best systems to stick to, especially if you’re microdosing for mental health reasons, energy, or creativity.
How Long Does Psilocybin Stay in Your System?
While the question itself is pretty easy to frame, the answer is a bit more complicated. Largely because the time it takes your body to eliminate any trace that you may have had a mushy weekend depends on a number of different factors.
Strength of the Mushroom
Moreover, many of those factors can vary greatly themselves. Specifically when it comes to the relative strength of any one mushroom.
See, different mushrooms contain different levels of psilocybin. Different preservation methods can reduce these native levels.
Growing medium, ambient temperature, available moisture, among a number of other factors also affect the inherent levels of psilocybin in any given crop.
Which is why it’s always best to find a mushroom dispensary— especially if you plan on microdosing. That’s because most mushroom dispensaries have the ability to test the amount of psilocybin in any of their products— which means that clients can get a more accurate dose than if they had sourced the mushrooms themselves.
Intensity of Dose
Dose is another big factor when considering how long psilocybin will stay in your system. While it sounds fairly straightforward, it’s definitely still worth mentioning.
Because the higher the dose— or the more psilocybin you ingest at any one time— the longer it will take your body to completely evacuate it. This is because drug elimination (any drug, including medications and recreational substances, as well as substances your body creates naturally) has what is called a “half-life” or the time it takes for a drug to go from its maximum concentration in the bloodstream, to half of its maximum concentration in the bloodstream.
Each substance has a different half-life. This amount of time can also vary depending on the function of certain bodily systems. The approximate half-life of psilocybin is 163 ± 64 minutes when eaten and about 74.1 ± 19.6 minutes when injected.
So you can see why it would take longer for a higher maximum concentration (dose) to reach undetectable levels in the body.
While half-lives generally pertain solely to bloodstream concentration, you might also find yourself wondering how long does psilocybin stay in your urine?
While psilocybin is mostly broken down by the liver, your kidneys and urine do a bit of the work themselves. Certain amounts of psilocybin’s metabolite— psilocin— isn’t actually broken down at all. Instead it’s linked with a specific type of acid and then moved into your urine.
Within 24 hours, roughly 65% of absorbed psilocybin is moved into our urine, but exactly how long before it’s undetectable? This question can get a bit more tricky, and some studies suggest that psilocybin is detectable in urine up to 7 days after consumption— regardless of dose.
But realistically, this all depends on the functional health of your body’s kidneys and liver. Only about 15-20% of the psilocybin ingested is removed via feces.