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Chemical Composition

Psilocybin structure in 3D and skeletal views
      One of the most common interactions of this mushroom is with humans.  This mushroom is one of the species that humanís use as a recreational drug, although most humans do not realize some of the consequences of its use.  Many humans do not know that they are taking pleasure in a defense mechanism that is suppose to stop them from eating it in the first place. 

 

     Gymnopilus Spectabilis is commonly known as the "Big Laughing Gym" because it produces hallucinations.  The chemicals psilocybin and psilocin are responsible for the hallucinations that occur from ingestion of fruiting body. These two chemical are alkaloids, which are common in plants as a chemical defense.  Therefore, they should not be ingested because they are made to ward off predation for successful reproduction.  The effects of these chemicals is similar to the effects of LSD, although much less potent.  Another common misconception is that everyone has roughly the same tolerance.  Everyone has different a different tolerance. One person may take .25 grams and not notice any effects, while others may take the same amount and hallucinate.  The effects of the drug vary with each user, but there are some commonalities with use.  These chemicals mainly inhibit the neurotransmitter Serotonin.  The effects of this drug are as follows; extreme relaxation, dilated pupils, vision/mental hallucinations, and distortions in the sensory receptors. However, If the person's family has a past record of depression, stress, or Schizophrenia then this could invoke that mental illness. 

      In the past (1960's) research of the drug was conducted in prisons to see if it could create past feelings of guilt on the prisoner.  The researchers hypothesized that the chemicals would make them realize there crimes and become have extreme regret.  In short the researchers thought they would have a "bad trip" because there past experiences would surface.  This research came to a halt with no conclusive evidence and showed that the drug could not cure prisoners with mental problems.  Today, however, they scientist have been using small doses to try and treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder along with some Schizophrenia.