You already know something about psilocybin if someone has ever offered you mushrooms to get high. Psilocybin is the psychoactive ingredient found in certain types of fungus. When ingested, it causes hallucinations. 

Mushrooms containing psilocybin have long stalks and dark brown caps that become lighter when dried. They grow in Central America, Mexico and the United States. 

What is the legal status of psilocybin? 

Psilocybin has no accepted medical use in the United States and a high potential for abuse. Therefore, the Drug Enforcement Agency classifies it as a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it is illegal to possess or use. 

How do people use it? 

People wishing to get high on psilocybin typically ingest the mushrooms, sometimes brewing them into a tea. However, in an attempt to mask the bitter taste, some people add the mushrooms to other food to ingest them. 

What are the effects of psilocybin on the body and mind? 

Psilocybin can cause a lack of coordination and muscle weakness, as well as nausea and vomiting. An overdose could be fatal. A person hallucinating due to psilocybin could confuse reality for fantasy and vice versa. If you were to take a large dose, it would put you at risk for psychosis, a mental condition marked by false perceptions and beliefs, as well as panic reactions. 

What are other possible risks related to psilocybin? 

There are poisonous mushrooms that resemble those containing psilocybin. Therefore, psilocybin use could lead indirectly to poisoning if you or someone you know were to ingest a toxic mushroom thinking it was one containing the hallucinogen.