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Abstract

A comprehensive review is presented of the recreational and accidental ingestion of psychoactive mushrooms in Australia and New Zealand; 15 recognized species are considered from Australia and eight from New Zealand. Common epithets, potency levels, and methods of ingestion are discussed. Legal aspects involving the use of these psychoactive fungi are noted. In addition, medical and psychoactive effects of these mushrooms and treatment for psilocybian mushroom poisoning are described. Numerous case reports, with commentary, are also presented.
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... Although psilocybin has very low physiological toxicity and is not associated with compulsive drug seeking, it sometimes produces acute and, more rarely, persisting adverse psychological reactions Tylš et al., 2014). Case reports document adverse effects of psilocybin in non-research settings, including short-term distressing psychological symptoms such as fear (Nordic Council of Ministries, 2009;Riley and Blackman, 2008;van Amsterdam et al., 2011), individuals putting themselves at risk for physical harm (Allen et al., 1991;Schwartz and Smith, 1988; van Amsterdam et al., 2011), seeking medical help (Allen et al., 1991;Nordic Council of Ministries, 2009;Mowry et al., 2014), and enduring negative psychological or psychiatric problems (Allen et al., 1991;Nordic Council of Ministries, 2009;Nielen et al., 2004). However, the perceived risk of psilocybin-related harm was found to be very low when evaluated by drug experts (Nutt et al., 2010; van Amsterdam and van den Brink, 2010) and by experienced drug users (Carhart-Harris and Nutt, 2013), and psilocybin was ranked as moderately beneficial by experienced drug users (Carhart-Harris and Nutt, 2013). ...
... Although psilocybin has very low physiological toxicity and is not associated with compulsive drug seeking, it sometimes produces acute and, more rarely, persisting adverse psychological reactions Tylš et al., 2014). Case reports document adverse effects of psilocybin in non-research settings, including short-term distressing psychological symptoms such as fear (Nordic Council of Ministries, 2009;Riley and Blackman, 2008;van Amsterdam et al., 2011), individuals putting themselves at risk for physical harm (Allen et al., 1991;Schwartz and Smith, 1988; van Amsterdam et al., 2011), seeking medical help (Allen et al., 1991;Nordic Council of Ministries, 2009;Mowry et al., 2014), and enduring negative psychological or psychiatric problems (Allen et al., 1991;Nordic Council of Ministries, 2009;Nielen et al., 2004). However, the perceived risk of psilocybin-related harm was found to be very low when evaluated by drug experts (Nutt et al., 2010; van Amsterdam and van den Brink, 2010) and by experienced drug users (Carhart-Harris and Nutt, 2013), and psilocybin was ranked as moderately beneficial by experienced drug users (Carhart-Harris and Nutt, 2013). ...
... Although psilocybin has very low physiological toxicity and is not associated with compulsive drug seeking, it sometimes produces acute and, more rarely, persisting adverse psychological reactions Tylš et al., 2014). Case reports document adverse effects of psilocybin in non-research settings, including short-term distressing psychological symptoms such as fear (Nordic Council of Ministries, 2009;Riley and Blackman, 2008;van Amsterdam et al., 2011), individuals putting themselves at risk for physical harm (Allen et al., 1991;Schwartz and Smith, 1988; van Amsterdam et al., 2011), seeking medical help (Allen et al., 1991;Nordic Council of Ministries, 2009;Mowry et al., 2014), and enduring negative psychological or psychiatric problems (Allen et al., 1991;Nordic Council of Ministries, 2009;Nielen et al., 2004). However, the perceived risk of psilocybin-related harm was found to be very low when evaluated by drug experts (Nutt et al., 2010; van Amsterdam and van den Brink, 2010) and by experienced drug users (Carhart-Harris and Nutt, 2013), and psilocybin was ranked as moderately beneficial by experienced drug users (Carhart-Harris and Nutt, 2013). ...
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Acute and enduring adverse effects of psilocybin have been reported anecdotally, but have not been well characterized. For this study, 1993 individuals (mean age 30 yrs; 78% male) completed an online survey about their single most psychologically difficult or challenging experience (worst “bad trip”) after consuming psilocybin mushrooms. Thirty-nine percent rated it among the top five most challenging experiences of his/her lifetime. Eleven percent put self or others at risk of physical harm; factors increasing the likelihood of risk included estimated dose, duration and difficulty of the experience, and absence of physical comfort and social support. Of the respondents, 2.6% behaved in a physically aggressive or violent manner and 2.7% received medical help. Of those whose experience occurred >1 year before, 7.6% sought treatment for enduring psychological symptoms. Three cases appeared associated with onset of enduring psychotic symptoms and three cases with attempted suicide. Multiple regression analysis showed degree of difficulty was positively associated, and duration was negatively associated, with enduring increases in well-being. Difficulty of experience was positively associated with dose. Despite difficulties, 84% endorsed benefiting from the experience. The incidence of risky behavior or enduring psychological distress is extremely low when psilocybin is given in laboratory studies to screened, prepared, and supported participants.
... Foreign tourists in Bangkok who had recently vacationed on Bali mentioned that surfers at Kuta beach often consumed mushrooms prior to surfing; one tourist claimed that the waves were easier to handle when high on the mushrooms (i.e., see Allen and Merlin, 1989;Allen, Merlin and Jansen, 1991). This is very difficult to explain in pharmacological terms. ...
... There is no evidence in the medical literature to support this latter statement (see Allen, Merlin & Jansen, 1991). ...
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I: The Symbiosis of Entheogenic fungi, Illicit Drug Use, and Tourist Influence on Third World Indigenous Peoples. The following notes regarding indigenous third world inhabitants who cater to tourist influence through entheogenic fungi association is not a scientific report but merely a subjective report based on some personal observations of the authors. Special attention is focused on the transition from the traditional use of the sacred mushrooms by indigenous peoples residing in México to the popular and widespread illicit use by tourists in some third world countries.
... Psilocybin mainly acts on the autonomic nerves, causing nerve excitation, hallucination, tachycardia, dilated pupils and dysuria, but is generally not life-threatening [60]. In general, taking poisonous mushrooms can cause central nervous poisoning (within 20 min) [61]. ...
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Mushroom poisoning has always been a threat to human health. There are a large number of reports about ingestion of poisonous mushrooms every year around the world. It attracts the attention of researchers, especially in the aspects of toxin composition, toxic mechanism and toxin application in poisonous mushroom. Inocybe is a large genus of mushrooms and contains toxic substances including muscarine, psilocybin, psilocin, aeruginascin, lectins and baeocystin. In order to prevent and remedy mushroom poisoning, it is significant to clarify the toxic effects and mechanisms of these bioactive substances. In this review article, we summarize the chemistry, most known toxic effects and mechanisms of major toxic substances in Inocybe mushrooms, especially muscarine, psilocybin and psilocin. Their available toxicity data (different species, different administration routes) published formerly are also summarized. In addition, the treatment and medical application of these toxic substances in Inocybe mushrooms are also discussed. We hope that this review will help understanding of the chemistry and toxicology of Inocybe mushrooms as well as the potential clinical application of its bioactive substances to benefit human beings.
... The fruiting bodies also contained the alkyl cyclopentenone hygrophorone B 12 (249), of which the asymmetric total synthesis has been described (Otto et al., 2015). Both, pseudohygrophorones A 12 (247) and B 12 (248), and hygrophorone B 12 (249) showed moderate activities against the phytopathogens Phytophthora infestans, Botrytis cinerea, and Septoria tritici (Otto et al., 2016 (252) and Mycena pura the toxic muscarine (253) (Allen et al., 1991) Another unusual Mycena species, the bleeding fairy helmet (M. haematopus), was reported to produce the pyrroloquinoline alkaloid, haematopodin (254) (Baumann et al., 1993). ...
Article
The Basidiomycota constitutes the second largest higher taxonomic group of the Fungi after the Ascomycota and comprises over 30.000 species. Mycelial cultures of Basidiomycota have already been studied since the 1950s for production of antibiotics and other beneficial secondary metabolites. Despite the fact that unique and selective compounds like pleuromutilin were obtained early on, it took several decades more until they were subjected to a systematic screening for antimicrobial and anticancer activities. These efforts led to the discovery of the strobilurins and several hundreds of further compounds that mainly constitute terpenoids. In parallel the traditional medicinal mushrooms of Asia were also studied intensively for metabolite production, aimed at finding new therapeutic agents for treatment of various diseases including metabolic disorders and the central nervous system. While the evaluation of this organism group has in general been more tedious as compared to the Ascomycota, the chances to discover new metabolites and to develop them further to candidates for drugs, agrochemicals and other products for the Life Science industry have substantially increased over the past decade. This is owing to the revolutionary developments in –OMICS techniques, bioinformatics, analytical chemistry and biotechnological process technology, which are steadily being developed further. On the other hand, the new developments in polythetic fungal taxonomy now also allow a more concise selection of previously untapped organisms. The current review is dedicated to summarize the state of the art and to give an outlook to further developments.
... Psilocybin mainly acts on the autonomic nerves, causing nerve excitation, hallucination, tachycardia, dilated pupils and dysuria, but is generally not life-threatening [60]. In general, taking poisonous mushrooms can cause central nervous poisoning (within 20 min) [61]. ...
... A UK clubbing magazine survey conducted in 2005 found that nearly a quarter of those who had used magic mushrooms in the last year had experienced a panic attack (Mixmag, 2005). However, of 150 known cases of intoxication from magic mushrooms in Australia and New Zealand between 1934 and 1989, four subjects showed serious psychological symptoms of which one required hospital care (Allen et al., 1991). Recently, 23 case reports on acute psychiatric symptoms after consumption of magic mushrooms were reviewed by the Nordic Council of Ministers (2009). ...
Article
In 2007, the Minister of Health of the Netherlands requested the CAM (Coordination point Assessment and Monitoring new drugs) to assess the overall risk of magic mushrooms. The present paper is an updated redraft of the review, written to support the assessment by CAM experts. It summarizes the literature on physical or psychological dependence, acute and chronic toxicity, risk for public health and criminal aspects related to the consumption of magic mushrooms. In the Netherlands, the prevalence of magic mushroom use was declining since 2000 (last year prevalence of 6.3% in 2000 to 2.9% in 2005), and further declined after possession and use became illegal in December 2008. The CAM concluded that the physical and psychological dependence potential of magic mushrooms was low, that acute toxicity was moderate, chronic toxicity low and public health and criminal aspects negligible. The combined use of mushrooms and alcohol and the quality of the setting in which magic mushrooms are used deserve, however, attention. In conclusion, the use of magic mushrooms is relatively safe as only few and relatively mild adverse effects have been reported. The low prevalent but unpredictable provocation of panic attacks and flash-backs remain, however, a point of concern.
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All of the >1600 names that have been applied to “agarics” and “boletes” recorded from New Zealand in the literature up to the end of 1999 are listed with full citations and representative bibliographic references. Five hundred and sixty of the names are basionyms with New Zealand types, and an additional 63 names are based on New Zealand material but have not been formally published. Synonymous, misapplied, and misspelt names and lapsus calami are cross‐referenced to their accepted modern names wherever possible. Historical and misapplied names that are of uncertain application because of lost or inadequate material are indicated and annotated.
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This paper presents the results of recent ethnomycological exploration in southern Thailand. Field observations, interviews and collection of fungi specimens were carried out primarily on two islands, Koh Samui and Koh Pha-ngan, situated in the western region of the Gulf of Siam. Some fieldwork was also conducted in the northern Thai province of Chiang Dao and in the southern Thai province of Surat Thani. During five separate excursions (1989-90), observations were made of occurrence, harvesting, use, and marketing of psychoactive fungi by local Thai natives (males and females, adults and children), foreign tourists, and German immigrants. The first records of psychoactive Psilocybe subcubensis and Copelandia dung fungi in Thailand are presented in this paper. These fungi exhibited intense bluing reactions when handled, indicating the presence of psilocybin and/or psilocin. Seven collections of Psilocybe cubensis (Earle) Singer and/or Psilocybe subcubensis Guzman and four collections of Copelandia sp. were harvested and sun-dried for herbarium deposit. These fungi are cultivated or occur spontaneously, often appearing in the decomposed manure of domesticated water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) and at least three different species of cattle (Bos indicus, B. guarus, and B. sundaicus). The psychoactive fungi are cultivated in clandestine plots, both indoors and outdoors, in the uplands and villages on Koh Samui by both Thai natives and some foreigners. The sale of psychoactive fungi directly to tourists and to resort restaurants for use in edible food items such as omelettes and soups is discussed in detail. The preparation and sale of mushroom omelettes adulterated with artificial hallucinogens in some restaurants is also discussed. In addition, the marketing of items such as hand painted T-shirts, post cards, and posters bearing mushroom related motifs in Thailand is described.
Article
Among poisonous mushrooms, a small number may cause serious intoxication and even fatalities in man. Humans may become symptomatic after a mushroom meal for rather different reasons: (1) ingestion of mushrooms containing toxins, (2) large amounts of mushrooms may be hard to digest, (3) immunological reactions to mushroom-derived antigens, (4) ingestion of mushrooms causing ethanol intolerance, and (5) vegetative symptoms may occur whenever a patient realizes that there might be a possibility of ingestion of a toxic mushroom after a mushroom meal. Based on the classes of toxins and their clinical symptoms, seven different types of mushroom poisoning can be distinguished: (1) phalloides, (2) orellanus, (3) gyromitra, (4) muscarine, (5) pantherina, (6) psilocybin, and (7) gastrointestinal mushroom syndrome. Two other entities of adverse reactions to mushrooms are (8) coprinus and (9) paxillus syndrome. Phalloides, orellanus, gyromitra and paxillus syndrome may lead to serious poisoning, which generally requires treatment of the patient in an intensive care unit. Diagnosis of mushroom poisoning is primarily based on anamnestic data, identification of mushrooms from leftovers of the mushroom meal, spore analysis, and/or chemical analysis. Therapeutic strategies include primary detoxification by induced emesis, gastric lavage and activated charcoal, secondary detoxification, symptomatic treatment and rarely specific antidotes. Owing to progressing fulminant hepatic failure, lethality associated with phalloides syndrome is still high (5-20%). Basic treatment includes administration of silibinin and penicillin G, although controlled studies on its therapeutic efficacy are still lacking. In serious phalloides syndrome, orthotopic liver transplantation has to be considered. Fortunately, the prognosis in most other mushroom poisonings is excellent.
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The study of flashback phenomena has been neglected in recent years. A case study and a subsequent literature review examine areas about which conflicting opinions exist. Epidemiological studies have not arrived at universally acceptable classificatory schemes. Clinical approaches vary in accounts of phenomenology of the syndrome and the typology of personalities involved. Etiology remains unknown in spite of numerous theories, most of them not experimentally tested. Diagnostic studies may benefit from recent technological advances such as continuous electroencephalogram, computerized axial tomography scan, cerebral blood flow, and neuropsychological tests. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd Edition, does not seem to provide an adequate taxonomic niche for this disorder. Therapeutic interventions are examined and their results critically analyzed.