Psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms (shrooms), has psychedelic effects that lapse within six hours and is largely gone from the body within a day. However, small amounts of psilocybin will be stored in fatty deposits for a few days, before being excreted in urine, and in hair follicles, where it can be detected for up to three months.
Table of contents:
- How long does psilocybin stay in your system?
- How long do shrooms last?
- How long do shrooms take to ‘kick in’?
- Do shrooms show up on drug tests?
- Factors that affect how long shrooms are in the system
- Can I flush magic mushrooms out of my body?
- What do I do if I’m having a bad experience/trip?
- Can you overdose on magic mushrooms?
How long does psilocybin stay in your system?
Magic mushrooms and the psilocybin in them are usually quickly metabolized by the body and excreted. However, there are large differences between metabolism rates in individuals, which contributes to some contradictory evidence.
When mushrooms are ingested, the liver quickly converts some of its psilocybin into psilocin, the compound that’s actually responsible for the psychoactive effects.
The half-life of psilocin is 50 minutes. As it takes five to six half-lives for a substance to be mostly cleared from the body, psilocin is largely gone within four to five hours. One study found that approximately two-thirds of the renal excretion of psilocin is complete within three hours but also registered large differences between individuals.
However, the half-life of remaining unconverted psilocybin is longer, at 163 minutes. Some evidence suggests it can take 15 hours to clear from the body. Another study found that the majority (80-85%) is excreted within eight hours. However, a small amount (15-20%) may remain, stored in fatty tissue before being excreted in urine a week later.
Small amounts of psilocybin and its metabolites will also be stored in hair follicles, where it can be detected for up to 90 days.
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How long do shrooms last?
The acute effects of magic mushrooms—which include euphoria, distorted senses, mild visual hallucinations, and a sense of awe—typically peak 60 to 90 minutes after ingestion and last for three to six hours. However, psilocybin’s warping of time may make the experience seem substantially longer for the user.
The duration and intensity of the trip can vary depending on the dose, the mushroom species, how they’re consumed, your tolerance, your mental health, and other substances you’ve taken. For example, people on antidepressants or with recent exposure to other similar psychedelics may experience only muted, short-lived effects. The effects of a microdose—doses one-tenth the size of usual doses—may be very subtle and include only increased energy and a lifted mood for a few hours.
After large doses, people often experience lingering effects for a day or two. This is sometimes described as an afterglow and is scientifically backed up. A survey of music festival attendees found that those who consumed psychedelics including psilocybin and LSD reported a sustained boost in their mood and feelings of social connectedness 24 hours after their trip.
For some people, the positive effect can last even longer and significantly improve symptoms of major depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions for a substantial period. In a clinical trial, two doses of psilocybin, taken alongside psychotherapy, eased symptoms of major depressive disorder for up to 12 months.
How long do shrooms take to ‘kick in’?
Magic mushrooms typically take effect 20 to 40 minutes after ingestion. However, the time of onset depends on the form they’re taken in: magic mushroom tea, because it doesn’t need to be broken down by the stomach, can take effect in just five to ten minutes.
Onset is also affected by the user’s body mass and composition and the contents of their stomach.
Do shrooms show up on drug tests?
Yes, though psilocybin is metabolized and excreted from the body quickly so most drug tests won't detect shrooms after 24 hours.
Magic mushrooms in urine testing
65% of psilocybin is excreted in the urine. However, standard panel drug tests, such as five- and nine-panel tests, don’t look for it.
Specialized psilocybin tests are available but are expensive and rarely performed unless there is a strong suspicion that someone has consumed mushrooms. They also have to be done very rapidly: psilocybin is largely gone from the urine within 15 hours. In some people, a smaller amount may appear in the urine up to a week later.
Magic mushrooms in blood testing
The detection window for blood testing is similarly brief: usually under 15 hours. As the test is specialized and it’s expensive, it’s usually only done if someone is strongly suspected to have taken magic mushrooms.
Magic mushrooms in hair follicle testing
Hair follicle testing can uncover psilocybin up to 90 days after ingestion. Given the brevity of detection windows for other methods, hair follicle testing is the most commonly performed. However, it’s still done infrequently.
Factors that affect how long shrooms are in the system
Studies have found large variations in how quickly magic mushrooms are cleared from the body.
Clearance timelines can be influenced by:
mushroom species: There are more than 180 types of psychedelic mushrooms, some with much higher concentrations of psilocybin than others. The more psilocybin in a mushroom, the longer it will remain and be detectable in your body.
dose: The more you consume, the longer it takes to clear from your system.
method of consumption: Mushrooms consumed as a tea take effect more quickly and are cleared more quickly. It takes longer for mushrooms eaten, especially eaten raw, to be digested, leading to delayed onset and more time in your system.
age of user: Metabolism and liver and kidney function slow as we age, so mushrooms will be excreted more slowly in older people.
body composition: some part of a psilocybin dose is stored in fatty tissue for up to a week. It’s possible that the more fatty tissue you have, the longer it will be stored.
Can I flush magic mushrooms out of my body?
You can’t accelerate the removal of magic mushrooms from your body. As most psilocybin is excreted through urine, staying hydrated may slightly expedite clearance but not enough to make a difference if you’re hoping to fool a drug test. Additionally, drinking more water won’t impact the 15-20% of the psilocybin stored in fat cells for a few days before turning up in urine.
What do I do if I’m having a bad experience/trip?
Some people experience anxiety, paranoia, and fear while on magic mushrooms, an experience known as a bad trip. While the effects of the mushrooms will subside in just a few hours, that’s little comfort to someone in the midst of terrifying hallucinations, especially because psilocybin can warp our perception of time.
If you do find yourself having a bad trip;
Get to a safe, comfortable, and non-stimulating environment, away from heights, traffic, bodies of water, and other hazards.
Stay under the supervision of your trip sitter, the sober person who should also be present when you use psychedelics. Don’t go off on your own.
Play calming music.
Surrender to the experience. Don't try to control it.
Try to relax and meditate.
Can you overdose on magic mushrooms?
You can certainly take too many magic mushrooms, but the effects will likely be only psychological rather than physiological. People who’ve misjudged their dose of mushrooms report near-death experiences, ego death (dissolution of the self), immersive and sometimes terrifying hallucinations, and symptoms approaching psychosis.
However, it’s unlikely that anyone would die of taking too many mushrooms, even if they feel like it.
However, in rats, the median lethal dose was found to be 280 milligrams of psilocybin per kilogram (mg/kg). If that's extrapolated to humans and assuming 1% of the weight of Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms is psilocybin, a 130lb human would have to ingest 3.7lbs of dried mushrooms or 37lb of fresh mushrooms—unrealistic doses, especially given the nausea vomiting mushrooms are known to cause.
In scientific literature, only two deaths have been attributed to magic mushrooms alone, without other drugs being present, and other factors may have been involved.