Both cannabis and mushrooms are becoming increasingly accessible across the United States. Since the 1960s and 70s, shrooms and weed have been two popular drugs becoming legal in many states. The recent rise in popularity makes it more critical than ever to understand the effects, consequences, and risks of shrooms vs. weed.
Still, even before legalization, cannabis and mushrooms were popular drugs that would show up in art, music, and movies. The portrayal of these “fun” drugs made them popular among party-goers, young adults, and even teenagers.
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Cannabis vs. Mushrooms
In many ways, shrooms and weed are very similar. Some people argue that marijuana has psychedelic effects, much like magic mushrooms. However, at their core, each substance causes different effects and experiences.
Cannabis marijuana, also known as weed, is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main ingredient in marijuana and is responsible for the psychological effects of ingesting in any way the plant. The effects of marijuana will depend on the plant’s dose, strain, and potency; the higher THC contents, the more intense the experience.
When smoked or vaped, marijuana effects can be felt as quickly as minutes after use. Most people reach the peak of their experience around 1 hour after ingestion, and the effects start to dwindle after 2 hours.
Cannabis is also available in edibles, such as candies, gummies, and baked goods. It takes them longer to kick in since the digestive system breaks these down: about 30 to 60 minutes.
Cannabis affects people differently. Some experience improved focus and productivity, while others feel more relaxed and dull. Other effects of marijuana include:
- Dry mouth
- Rapid heart rate
- Intense sensory perceptions
- Increased appetite
There are many types of hallucinogenic mushrooms on the market. The most popular ones are a variety of species called Psilocybe cubensis, which contain psychedelic components. Shrooms, also known as magic mushrooms, cause hallucinogenic effects. However, these are more sensitive substances that can have “good” experiences or a “bad trip” determined by different factors.
Mushrooms are mostly dried and then eaten, steeped as tea, or ground into powder for edibles like chocolates and baked goods; however, some people use the powder to fill empty capsules and take it in pill form. Because most mushrooms are ingested, they take a bit longer to work, so people experience their effects within the hour, and the experience can last up to 6 hours.
People experience all sorts of effects since psilocybin mushrooms decrease brain activity in certain areas. Most people experience out-of-this-world sensations. Common effects include:
- Perception of time changes
- Humans appear distorted
- Stationary objects might appear to move or melt
- Fluctuating body temperature
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle twitching
The Main Difference
When comparing shrooms vs. weed, they can affect your perception of the world; but do it at different degrees. That said, specific strains of cannabis or type of mushrooms can change the way of the experience.
The main difference lies in the amount of research that’s been poured towards marijuana versus mushrooms. Even though psilocybin mushrooms have been used for religious practices for thousands of years, while they both have potential risks, it’s fair to say that shrooms’ hallucinogenic effects are far more dangerous than those of weed. Nonetheless, ingesting any of these substances poses a risk to your health, the risk of addiction, and potentially fatal accidents that can happen while under the influence.
Like with any substance used recreationally, people engage in various dangerous practices that can lead to fatal results.
The most common practice is combining shrooms and weed. People either ingest cannabis before a “mushroom trip” or during a trip. This can help with nausea or anxiety, but it can also enhance the experience and prolong mushrooms’ effects. However, these effects are based solely on anecdotal reports, as there’s not enough research behind these practices.
While there doesn’t seem to be much of a health risk on the surface, it’s impossible to know for sure. Lack of factual evidence and research is enough reason to stay away from combining these types of substances.
The Decriminalization Issue
In the United States, psychedelic drugs like mushrooms remain Schedule I drugs, which means they have a high potential for abuse or have no recognized medical uses. However, there’s somewhat evidence that suggests mushrooms can be medicinal. Both mushrooms and cannabis remain illegal; however, the laws are slightly different at state and provincial levels.
Mushrooms: Remain illegal but decriminalized in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Denver, Colorado; Oakland, California; Santa Cruz, California; and Washington, D.C. It’s also legal in Oregon for mental health treatment since February 2021 and decriminalized for recreational use.
Cannabis: Remains legal in 17 states, including California, Oregon, and Nevada. It’s legal for medical uses in 20 states, including Florida, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. But, it is still illegal in states like Idaho and Nebraska.
Decriminalization is that it takes away the subject of addiction and the risk these substances pose. While the same can be said of alcohol and tobacco, these substances affect the brain differently. They can be manipulated to the point that they become highly addictive even after short-term use.
The Bottom Line
Whether someone uses them separately or together, both shrooms and weed are potentially dangerous substances. Not to mention, they can worsen mental health symptoms and any other co-occurring condition. As the call for decriminalization spreads, the opportunities to use these substances are increasing. This is why we need to understand more about these substances to prevent disastrous effects tomorrow.
While physical addiction to weed and mushrooms is rare, psychological dependence is widespread, with almost 8 out of every 10 marijuana users becoming addicted in their lifetime. If you ever feel like your substance use has crossed the line to drug abuse, consider speaking with a specialist to understand your use better.
Borodovsky, J. T., Crosier, B. S., Lee, D. C., Sargent, J. D., & Budney, A. J. (2016). Smoking, vaping, eating: Is legalization impacting the way people use cannabis?. The International journal on drug policy, 36, 141–147. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2016.02.022
State Medical Marijuana Laws. (2021). Retrieved 23 March 2021, from https://www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-medical-marijuana-laws.aspx