With new decriminalization and legalization efforts for magic mushrooms, there’s been increasing interest in understanding how shroom effects vary by individual.
Just as every person is different, every mushroom is, too. That can make the process of experimenting with shrooms a challenge for someone who’s just getting started. Despite the exciting research that’s come from Johns Hopkins University and other peer-reviewed, professional studies throughout the world, there’s still a lot to know about what’s best for each person.
Everyone arrives at the idea of magic mushrooms differently. Some people find shrooms for the first time at a music festival or during college. Other people use them specifically to address issues they are facing in their lives. While shrooms are not for everyone, most people report positive experiences that don’t leave them addicted.
Luckily, magic mushrooms are available for recreational and certain medical conditions in Canada and are decriminalized in many cities throughout the U.S., including Washington, D.C., Santa Cruz, California,Detroit and the entire state of Oregon. To find a store near you, log on to WheresMagicMushrooms.com today.
But what is the feeling of shrooms all about? Here are real-world stories from real people who have made shrooms a part of their lives. Their names have been changed, but the details of their stories may inspire readers to experiment with magic mushrooms to enrich their lives in similar ways.
Belinda tried shrooms when she was in her mid-20s, but she once ate too many and decided to take a 10-year break from all psychedelics. When she was 35, a group of kayaking friends was planning on eating some while camping on an island. She expressed her fears to a friend, who volunteered to serve as a monitor for her during the trip. The results were, indeed, magical.
“I had the most beautiful experiences. I wasn’t taking a lot, but I walked around the island, climbed a tree, went to sleep, and woke up crying because life was so beautiful,” she said. “Then, I went for a paddle and ate some more. Manatees were surfacing around me, and dolphins jumping with their offspring. I saw a school of baitfish sparkling under my paddleboard. I sat and cried with joy.”
She began to integrate the shroom experience into her life, taking small doses to enjoy walks alone in nature. When she and a friend visited Costa Rica, she happily agreed to share some mushroom tea before a day of surfing. But it turned into a dangerous situation — a surfboard hit her in the forehead, causing a nasty gash. Tripping with blood gushing into her eyes, she surprised herself by calmly getting on her board and paddling back to shore.
“Although it was awful to be bleeding from my forehead and in another country needing stitches, people were around me and caring for me,” she said. “It was intense, but I think I was calmer than if I were sober. Instead, it was surreal.”
When the coronavirus pandemic hit the following year, she found herself overwhelmed with anxiety and depression. She started taking small amounts of psilocybin mushroom chocolates and spending hours in her room painting. She reverted to her inner child, she said.
“That felt really comfortable when everything was upside down,” she said. “It helped me cope and deal with what was going on in the outside world.”
In his 20s, Frankie was living with his parents and sister in a New York suburb. His older brother had moved to Hawaii and told him about magic mushrooms. His brother also mailed him a package of shrooms in honey. He and his sister tried a little bit. At first, neither of them got much out of the experience. Then, one day, their parents weren’t home. He and his sister decided to try some more, and this time, they felt it.
“We were finishing each other’s sentences. It was crazy,” he said. “If my sister were here now, she’d be laughing about it too.” He said the shrooms helped to improve the relationship with his sister, which remains strong to this day.
A couple of years ago, John and his wife went on vacation in the Florida Keys. Their friend had left them a small amount of shrooms, and they decided to try it even though they suspected it wasn’t enough to feel anything. They were wrong.
“I hadn’t done them in 25 years, and my wife had never done them,” he said. “We just split a little bit.” They took the bus to downtown Key West, which was about two miles away. About 20 minutes after they ate the shrooms, his wife said she thought she was feeling something. John did, too.
“Actually, I was super-high,” he said. “I remembered that I wasn’t one for giggling on mushrooms. Shrooms can be very heavy for me. I like to be in control.” The crowds downtown and in Mallory Square became challenging, as tourists gathered to watch the beautiful sun setting over the water. His wife started to get a little nervous. He said she kept asking him if she had all her teeth. He had to take a picture of her with his phone to show her that, yes, her teeth were all there.
“She kept asking, ‘Are you sure?’” he said. “Then, I ate some loaded mac and cheese, and it was delicious. I really liked that.” After a few hours, they started to feel normal again. They were glad they tried it, but they knew next time they would enjoy the experience more if they were relaxing at home as they normally do on the weekend.
Ed’s first experience with shrooms happened when he was 19 after his friends gave him some that they had picked from a nearby field.
“I got this tiny cap, ate it, and I got super-high,” he remembered. “I was laying in my bed, melting, and I imagined plants growing up around me. It was great.” He continued to take magic mushrooms recreationally, but he discovered their benefits for him when he developed debilitating cluster headaches. He described the migraines as so bad that light hurt his eyes. Knowing a little about the research surrounding magic mushrooms and the feeling of shrooms, he started to micro-dose. He took less than a gram just to see what would happen.
“It didn’t take long. I started doing it, and I never got the headaches after that,” he said.
Maggie said she has taken magic mushrooms regularly ever since her first experience with her friends in college. While it started as a recreational activity that involved playing in the trees and laughing, now she uses shrooms in a more meaningful way. She suffers from depression, she explained, and shrooms are the only thing that helps her get out of a negative space.
“As I got older and started working with plant medicine, now when I take it, I’m working through whatever I’m going through,” she said. “It doesn’t feel recreational for me anymore.” She even created a sweat lodge in her backyard, and she organizes ceremonies based around the shrooms. Much like an Ayahuasca ceremony, she facilitates a group to create an intention before consuming the magic mushrooms.
“It’s a good way to have a conversation to get deeper into thought in what we’re working on,” she said. “It works because it helps me connect with spirit. I can ask the questions to the universe about what I want, so I can figure out my direction and path. It shows me things that I wouldn’t see before if I wasn’t sober.”
Back in his late 20s, Dennis was staying with a large group of friends who chipped in for a giant bag of magic mushrooms. But he had to work, and by the time he got home, all that was left was sludge at the bottom of a vat of tea. Dennis couldn’t believe that his friends didn’t leave him any.
“I was mad because there was nothing left. They had a little pint filled with purple, dark fluid. I just said, ‘That’s it?’ I drank the whole thing,” he said. It turned out to be an extremely powerful dose that resulted in a life-changing experience. When the shroom effects began, he was sitting on his couch and realized that he could hear everything that was happening from miles away. His friends, meanwhile, had built a huge fire out back and were throwing fireworks into the flames. Sirens blared in the distance.
“It felt like a war scene. I was thinking how someone is going to hit me, and it’s not going to be funny. I didn’t want to go to the hospital,” he said. “My sister got me out of there.” Back home and still feeling the shrooms, he tried to calm himself by looking at his fish tanks. But it wasn’t enough. He realized he needed to be near a person, so he checked in our his sister, who was sleeping.
“I had to find something that was alive, so I went into my sister’s heart. I used my sister’s heartbeat. I realized she needed some help, and I focused on that,” he said. “I saw people completely differently, and I saw beauty with my sister.” He felt like he was forever changed by the experience, and he gained a lot of respect for the power of magic mushrooms. He said he doesn’t feel called to do another large dose, although he’ll still micro-dose from time to time with friends.
Aaron never had a bad time eating magic mushrooms, and he’s done it dozens of times.
“It makes everything brighter. I know we live in 3D, but it puts everything in more 3D. Everything is more vibrant,” he said. When he was younger, he said he would take magic mushrooms whenever he could. Now, he reserves the experience for music festivals when he’s surrounded by his favorite friends.
“We laugh a lot,” he said. “It’s like being a kid again.” While he credits another psychedelic drug for helping him to quit chewing tobacco, he said that he’s always known that mushrooms could provide messages to help, too. He said he will take around four grams to go on trips that last around eight hours. Often, the experience lasts so long that he forgets some of the most important things.
Once, he tried to take notes, but he found that his brain was moving faster than his hand could write. He said he currently has some mushrooms, and he’s thinking about experimenting with micro-dosing. He said that if you yawn, that means you took too much for the micro-dose. That’s usually an indication that you’re going to have that feeling of shrooms. The goal is to barely feel it, he said.
“But it’s working. Just like people who take Zoloft. You’re not supposed to get high off that, but it’s supposed to be working,” he said. “You have to find the right dose; you have to experiment.”
Although she’s enjoyed regular magic mushroom trips throughout her life, Sally never liked the taste of the raw caps and stems. So, when her boyfriend at the time offered to create grilled cheese sandwiches with freshly baked bread, garlic, basil from the garden, heirloom tomatoes, and shrooms at home one day, she was in. They enjoyed the lunch and talked about their plans for the afternoon. They had just moved into a new home and had a lot of projects.
Once the shrooms kicked in, she worked on building a floor in the outdoor shower with rocks and shells she collected from morning walks on the beach. She hung more shells on lamp pulls and decided to paint a door. She realized that the magic mushrooms brought out her creativity and ability to solve problems around the house in artistic ways.
Together, the two laughed and enjoyed their chores. Later, she took out her acrylic paints and made some pictures to hang on their new walls. As the sun set, her boyfriend finished transplanting trees and she fixed a dinner of butternut squash, pinto bean, and cheese burritos. They showered, ate, and fell into each other’s arms in bed.
Janet married her husband Jason when she was 22 years old, and she knew right away that she had found the love of her life. He was her favorite person in the world, and they did everything together. They loved to have fun and took magic mushrooms recreationally for the first few years of their marriage but stopped when they decided to try for a family.
Almost 20 years after their last psychedelic experience, Janet got a phone call that turned her world upside down. On the way home from a concert with his friend, Jason had a completely unexpected heart attack and passed away immediately.
“I lost my mind completely,” she remembered of the time about four years ago. “I didn’t think I could keep living without him. I couldn’t face anything. About six months later, a really close friend suggested I try psychedelics.” The friend came to be with her during the experience, and they even had Xanax on hand just in case she couldn’t handle it. At first, it was complete experimentation to know how much to take. She said she took about a gram and waited for about 30 minutes, then took some more. The experience, she said, was a clear and powerful start to her healing journey.
“I took a walk, and I remember looking up at a tree and saying to my friend, ‘I forgot the world was beautiful,’” she said. “We sat in the dark in the quiet, and for the first time, I was able to face what I was going through. I was able to accept the fact that just because Jason wasn’t in the world didn’t mean he didn’t exist everywhere with me.”
Janet said she saw Jason walking on a beach with footsteps behind him. She realized his daughter, who returned to his life just weeks before his death, and their grandchildren were part of the impact he had on the world. By staying alive herself, she was able to preserve his legacy. Shrooms helped her find new meaning in her life. Since then, Janet said she takes magic mushrooms every few months when she starts to feel sad again. She credits shrooms for helping her better understand herself and honor her path, like when she realized while tripping recently that it was okay that she wasn’t quite ready to date yet. While she does what she calls “megadoses” a few times a year, she’s considering micro-dosing, too.
“I tried going to therapy, but it didn’t work. I’m the only person who can heal myself,” she said. “No one else could do it for me.”
Elliot said he partakes in magic mushrooms a few times a year because he believes they help him get in touch with his true nature. His experience mirrors some of the hypotheses currently being researched in studies at Johns Hopkins University regarding brain neurobiology.
“By the time you’re five years old, you’re pretty much set how you are personality-wise based on the way you’re raised,” he said. “With mushrooms and micro-dosing, you have the ability to change the way your brain works. You can adapt and doors can open that you didn’t even realize were there. You can change how you are as a person when you’re stuck in a mindset.” He said shrooms have helped him with compression headaches, depression, and even chronic pain. He called shrooms a “natural healing mechanism.” However, he warns about taking too much too often. As he’s felt better, he takes them less often.
“If you abuse a hallucinogen, it will abuse you back,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of fun on shrooms, but they’re not just for hallucinating it. It can be medicinally beneficial, too.”