LSD and magic mushrooms are two commonly used psychedelics said to provide deep and introspective experiences. There are many similarities between them, but there are also some key differences.
If you’re curious about the differences between magic mushrooms and LSD, check out the following guide.
What is Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)?
Lysergic acid diethylamide or simply “LSD”, is a psychedelic drug used for recreational and spiritual purposes. It also has some therapeutic potential, though it is not currently approved for any medical use.
It’s an incredibly potent drug that produces effects in very small doses, and it is often consumed in the form of “window panes”, which are small pieces of blotter paper that have been soaked in LSD. It can also be found in liquid and pellet form.
LSD is synthetic, but this doesn’t mean it was simply conjured out of thin air as some people seem to believe.
It was synthesized from lysergic acid, which itself is derived from ergotamine, a compound found in ergot.
Ergot is a fungus that affects grain. In previous centuries, ergot infected entire crops and worked its way into the food supply. As a result, ergot poisoning (and the hallucinogenic effects it produces) has been suggested as a cause for many cases of mass hysteria, including everything from the so-called “dancing plague” in medieval Europe, to the Salem witch trials.
The effects of LSD are vastly different from those of ergot, and they are not the same compounds, but it’s a fascinating link, nonetheless.
What are Psilocybin Mushrooms (Magic Mushrooms)?
“Magic mushrooms” is an umbrella term that refers to varieties of fungi that contain psilocybin, a psychedelic compound.
Most of these mushrooms come from the Psilocybe genus, of which there are dozens of varieties. The term typically isn’t used to cover other varieties of psychedelic mushrooms, such as amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric), which produces hallucinogenic effects as a result of muscimol and ibotenic acid, and not psilocybin.
It’s believed that psilocybin mushrooms have been in use for over 6,000 years, with evidence of use found throughout Europe and Mesoamerica.
The mushrooms are either eaten whole (fresh or dried) or used to make teas, powders, capsules, and edibles.
Effects of LSD vs Mushrooms
The actual experiences of LSD and magic mushrooms can vary in intensity, length, and onset time. However, if you strip everything back to a list of effects, they look pretty similar.
Both LSD and magic mushrooms can produce the following effects:
- Dilated pupils
- Excitement and giddiness
- Visual hallucinations
- Auditory hallucinations
- Spiritual connections
- Altered sense of smell, touch, and taste
Micro doses produce a mere glimpse of these effects and tend to create more of a relaxing, calming high. In larger doses, mushroom and LSD trips can produce something known as “ego-death”.
During an “ego-death”, the user may feel like they have lost all sense of self. They are detached from reality. It can be an eye-opening experience that leads to life-changing insights, but it can also be terrifying.
Bad Trips and Side Effects of Mushrooms and LSD
LSD trips and mushroom trips are largely dependent on something known as “set and setting”.
It refers to the mindset of the user and the environment in which they place themselves.
If you’re very anxious about using psychedelic drugs and you’re in a strange, unfamiliar environment, you’re more likely to experience a bad trip. It’s literally all in the mind, and these drugs won’t necessarily force a calm and enjoyable experience on you in the same way as stimulants or opioids.
The dose can also greatly change the effects, with larger doses taking the user deeper and deeper into their consciousness until they feel like they have disconnected from reality.
In addition to unwelcome thoughts and hallucinations, shrooms and LSD can cause the following side effects:
- Elevated blood pressure
Shrooms and Acid: Ingestion Methods
One of the ways that mushrooms and LSD differ is that the former is more likely to cause nausea and even vomiting. However, this is largely down to the ingestion methods.
LSD is typically taken orally, either as a liquid or on blotter paper. It’s odorless and colorless but does have a somewhat bitter taste.
Magic mushrooms can be eaten fresh, providing they are consumed a few days after harvesting. However, they lose their potency relatively quickly and are also prone to mold and bacterial growth, so they are often dried.
Although mushrooms are generally prized for their flavor and nutritional content, the same can’t be said for magic mushrooms. They are not pleasant.
Dried psilocybin mushrooms can be eaten, made into a tea, added to foods, or ground into a powder. These methods often help to disguise the taste and make the mushrooms more palatable.
Eating mushrooms whole tends to produce the fastest onset but it’s also more likely to cause nausea.
Are Shrooms and LSD Addictive?
Both psilocybin mushrooms and LSD are considered non-addictive, so they don’t cause the sort of dependency and withdrawal symptoms seen with opioids, sedatives, and stimulants.
However, they can become psychologically addictive. If you use something every day for many weeks or months, you get used to it and come to rely on it. When that happens, you may find that you struggle to live without it and constantly crave it.
The risks of such an addiction are very low, though.
Magic Mushrooms or LSD for a First-Time Psychedelic Experience?
As a first-time tripper, the dose is more important than the drug. Many experienced trippers recommend starting with a micro-dose to assess tolerance.
Don’t be tempted to increase your dose an hour or two into the experience, as the onset can be very slow and you may experience unwanted symptoms if you take more.
After your LSD or mushroom trip, you can decide whether the experience was enjoyable or not and then adjust your dose accordingly for the next time.
Summary: LSD VS Mushrooms
LSD and mushrooms both produce psychedelic effects and, technically, they are both derived from compounds found in fungi. As with any psychedelic drugs, they need to be treated with caution to avoid a bad trip, but the risk of causing series harm is very low and it’s not possible to get physically addicted to either of them.