One of the drugs often discussed in comparison with psilocybin “magic” mushrooms or shrooms is LSD, commonly known as acid. While both shrooms and LSD are potent psychedelic drugs that can dramatically alter how individuals perceive the external world and themselves, they are both incredibly different drugs. They come from drastically various sources and cause different effects on the users.
LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is a synthetic compound not found anywhere in nature. It is derived from ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. Ingesting the fungus can cause severe health issues, up to and including death.
LSD is a pure white crystalline substance that is odorless and tasteless. It is more potent than other common street drugs and is measured and dosed in micrograms. When LSD is prepared, it is typically suspended in an alcohol solution for storage and administration.
The most common route of administration is blotter paper, or a sheet of paper perforated into small squares that look similar to tiny postage stamps. The sheets are soaked in a tray of LSD and alcohol solution. Once the alcohol has evaporated, the LSD will remain on the paper. The papers are then separated along the perforations and placed on the tongue for ingestion.
LSD can also be placed directly onto sugar cubes or gummy bears and consumed. It can also be combined with gelatin and pressed into molds, producing what is known as gel tabs. These have a longer shelf life and are often made with more potent dosages.
Shrooms contain the hallucinogenic compound psilocybin and are consumed for recreational purposes, can be found in nature, and have several common appearances. They can be found in the wild in moist or tropical regions of Europe, Central, North, and South America, and Mexico.
There are mushrooms with colored caps and spots and mushrooms that are plain, brown, and unmarked. While many are easy to identify to the educated eye, naïve mushroom hunters can be at risk of poisoning if they collect and ingest the wrong mushroom.
Side-Effects of Shrooms vs. LSD
Unlike LSD, shrooms rarely cause intense audio and visual hallucinations and delusions. Instead, they affect the users’ perception of people, objects, and reality around them. Once the user consumes the mushrooms, often in a brewed tea, the effects can begin to onset in as little as 30 minutes and typically last for about 4-6 hours after ingestion.
LSD induces intense visual and auditory hallucinations and delusions in the user. Once the person has ingested the LSD, commonly referred to as “dropping acid,” they will have approximately an hour before the LSD begins to take effect fully. When the trip starts, it will typically last about 8 hours, although effects of higher doses endure for 10-12 hours or more.
Both can induce feelings of euphoria and can be accompanied by the following symptoms in some instances:
- Persisting psychological changes
- Lasting changes in perception
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased body temperature
- Mild to extreme confusion
Abuse Potential of Using Shrooms vs. LSD
While neither LSD nor shrooms are thought to produce any significant physical dependence or have addictive potential, psychoemotional addiction is possible, resulting in further abuse.
Users can become fascinated with the effects of psychedelic trips and can continue seeking them as a misguided means of escapism. This can increase the frequency of use and the potential to begin taking increasingly larger doses to gain new experiences.
Regarding LSD, there has been a noted effect of some individuals experiencing a diminishing return of the drug’s effects if it is ingested too frequently over just a few days. Therefore, users who use the drug daily will begin to notice that it no longer produces the desired effects, and the user will need to use larger doses if they continue to take LSD.
Getting Help for Drug Abuse
Importantly, although shrooms and LSD may not technically be addictive, they can lead to more severe addictions later on. This is especially if the user becomes dependent on the drug’s effects and begins to seek out other, more potent drugs to satisfy their curiosity.
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery offer state-of-the-art, multifaceted programs designed to address all aspects of substance abuse and mental health. Therapeutic services and activities available include psychotherapy, counseling, group support, substance abuse education, relapse prevention, art and music therapy, mindfulness therapy, aftercare planning, and much more.