Throughout the 1960s and the 1970s, psychedelics became a significant part of the counterculture. Many have turned to plants and other natural psychedelics to get the kind of high they are looking for. Two of the most popular examples of these naturally-occurring substances are magic mushroom and marijuana.
Since these two have been included in the Controlled Substances Act scheduling of the United States, particularly in the Schedule I. Fortunately, many states are starting to reform their shroom and marijuana laws to decriminalize these two. In fact, some are even moving to fully legalize, regulate, and tax shrooms and weed in an effort to address the impact of the disparate implementation of prohibition laws and generate revenues.
Many may equate weed and psilocybin mushrooms as having the same effects. However, these have different components that offer varying impacts. Here we will outline the difference between shrooms and cannabis. Let’s start with one of the most basic questions.
What are Magic Mushrooms?
These shrooms are properly called psilocybin mushrooms because, well, they contain the chemical compound psilocybin. They are often found in the US, South America, and Europe. In the West, people started to consume these fungi toward the end of the 50s when a mycologist participated in a Mazatec ritual involving magic mushrooms led by a shaman in Mexico.
He later wrote about it in an article tackling its effects. Some researchers took interest in the components and its effects, and from then on, magic mushrooms began to be widely used as part of counterculture in the Psychedelic Era.
If you think that the amazing effects of these fungi were only discovered in the 20th century, but historians believe that ancient cultures have been using them. Some indigenous groups in the Americas are confirmed to have used these shrooms including the Mixtec, Nauhua, Zapatec, and the Mazatec.
Now, what gives shrooms the psychedelic effects is the chemical psilocybin, a Schedule I substance, which means that the law considers it as having a high potential for abuse and without any medical application.
However, medical experts do not consider this compound an addictive substance. In fact, it is not naturally addictive. What it does, however, is produce hallucinogenic effects, making it a psychedelic.
What Exactly is Marijuana?
So, if magic mushrooms is a psychedelic, you might be wondering what you would consider marijuana. The first thing you need to know is that marijuana is a naturally occurring plant. It is a variety of the cannabis plant that is rich in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Hemp, another variety of the cannabis plant, is rich in cannabidiol (CBD). However, it is important to note that marijuana can also smaller amounts of CBD while hemp can also have lower doses of THC.
This plant also rose in popularity during the Psychedelic Era. In fact, many notable musicians at that time have tried it. Some like Bob Marley also used their music to advocate for the legalization of the plant.
THC and CBD are the primary chemical compounds, also called cannabinoids, found in the cannabis plant. However, scientists have found more than 100 cannabinoids in the crop. These compounds offer a wide variety of effects. THC, in particular, is known for being a psychoactive substance.
One common thing between marijuana and shrooms is that they are both Schedule I drugs. While the mushrooms are placed on that list because of psilocybin and psilocin, marijuana is on the list because of THC. Like psilocybin, experts do not consider THC an addictive substance. However, there are instances in which psilocybin and THC use can lead to addiction, especially in excessive, improper, and unsafe use. Keep in mind that alcohol can be addictive, as well.
Is Marijuana a Psychedelic?
Given that magic mushrooms contains a hallucinogen and it is under the same Schedule I list as THC, you might be wondering if this cannabinoid, and marijuana by extension, is a psychedelic? The first thing you need to know is that psychoactive agents are an umbrella term for substances that produce changes in cognition, perception, and moods. It can affect how one person perceives time, emotions, and thoughts.
THC and psilocybin are psychoactive substances. However, there are different kinds of psychoactive substances including psychedelics, stimulants, and narcotics. Psilocybin and THC fall under the category of psychedelics or hallucinogens.
It is important to note that marijuana and THC are not generally considered a psychedelic. However, it is necessary to note that some experts say that some of the effects produced by THC are psychedelic in nature.
How Psilocybin and Marijuana Work in the Body
So, you may be curious as to how these substances interact with your body. Let’s talk about their effects and how they produce such effects, starting with psilocybin. To create the hallucinogenic effects of magic mushrooms upon consumption, the compound travels to your brain and activates your brain’s serotonin receptors. Usually, these are located in the prefrontal cortex.
This substance bind to the 5-HT2A receptor in the serotonergic system. This receptor is in charge of various brain functions such as mood regulation, sexual behavior, impulsivity, aggression, appetite, appetite, pain, sleep, and memory. This chemical mimics the effects of serotonin and takes it to a whole new level.
Consuming magic mushrooms can have effects on those functions. Its effects include euphoria, mental and visual hallucinations, altered perception, and spiritual experiences. So, it is understandable that shrooms are considered entheogenic fungi.
On the other hand, THC’s psychoactive effects rely on the body’s endocannabinoid system. By its name, it is easy to conclude that the body has its own internal system that deals with cannabinoids. In fact, it produces its own cannabinoids called, you guessed it, endocannabinoids.
So, your body is intrinsically equipped to handle cannabinoids, whether from internal or external sources. When cannabinoids such as THC enter your system, then interact with your endocannabinoid receptors, particularly CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are usually found in the central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are usually in their peripheral nervous system and immune cells.
The receptors are located in the parts of the body that are in charge of various functions such as sleep, pain and pleasure, cognition, metabolism, mood, learning, stress, and many others. Consuming cannabis with THC can help address pain and inflammation, sleep issues, reduce stress, and improve moods, just to name a few.
Practical Applications of Marijuana and Shrooms
In the 60s and 70s, magic mushrooms and marijuana were used for many things, but most popularly, for recreational purposes. The thing about these products, however, is that they can have more productive applications with the right use. Today, many studies are looking at the practical usage of these things, especially with regard to lifestyle and medicine.
Psilocybin is currently being used by many for productive reasons through microdosing. This is the psilocybin-assisted therapeutic intervention of using extremely low dosages of psychedelics to boost the brain in just the right amount. A microdose is considered a sub-perceptual dose, which creates minimal effects.
Such a low dose of psychedelics offers a whole lot of benefits, according to anecdotal evidence. It is known to boost convergent and divergent thinking, improves creativity, increases productivity, and boosts energy and mood. With these effects, consumers are able to come up with more unique ideas, combined with improved mental flexibility, problem-solving, imagination, and awareness.
On the other hand, THC is known for its body high, which is characterized by the sedated feeling and body-in-couch effect. However, it also has medicinal effects, which is why marijuana has been legalized for medical purposes. In fact, states have released lists of their respective qualifying conditions, so physicians can prescribe this plant for various chronic and debilitating symptoms and conditions. Some qualifying conditions include glaucoma, fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder, cachexia, and many others.
THC is also an effective treatment aid for nausea and vomiting due to cancer, epilepsy, chronic pain, and other mental and emotional disorders.
Marijuana and Shroom Alternatives
For many, marijuana and shrooms are great options. However, there are people who do not have access to these products such as those living in states where these are still considered illegal. However, there are alternative items they can check out, provided that these are legal in their area.
One of the safest alternatives to these items is CBD, another cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, which is present in small amounts in marijuana, but can be found in hemp in big amounts. Many interpret the law to be on the side of CBD, especially with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill.
While cannabis remains to be illegal on the federal level, cannabis law experts say that the bill technically makes hemp-derived CBD legal as long as the products remain inside the legal threshold. According to the law, any hemp crop and infused products can have less than 0.3% of THC in it. Such products include CBD oil, topicals, edibles, drinkables, and many other products.
CBD is the most therapeutic cannabinoid in the plant. It is known not only to address pain and inflammation, but also to help regulate sleep issues, moisturize dry skin and regulate excessive sebum production, increase energy, and improve moods. The most important distinction of CBD is it is not a psychoactive. So, you do not have to worry about mind-bending effects.
Good Old Coffee
Those who plan to use these psychedelics or CBD for an energy boost might want to consider drinking coffee. It is a tried and tested approach to get more energy for the day. Plus, it is guaranteed to be legal. One thing you should watch out when drinking coffee or consuming any coffee products is an excessive dosage can lead to palpitations and coffee crash. So, make sure to consume only the right amount.
Kratom is a tree in the coffee family that offers psychoactive effects. It is currently not illegal in the United States, federally or locally. However, it may be difficult to purchase kratom in the country as the government has issued a warning regarding the safety of kratom available in the market. Some states are also moving to regulate this plant.
Usually infused in teas, kratom is known to offer pain and inflammation relief, as well as an energy boost. It is native to Southeast Asia, whose native cultures show uses of it for medical and spiritual purposes. It is used to treat various conditions such as fatigue, diarrhea, cramps, and pains.
Peyote is a cactus that offers hallucinogenic effects. While it is illegal in most parts of the United States, but it is legal to sell in Texas. It contains the psychoactive substance called mescaline, which plays a role in peyote becoming an integral part of many rituals, especially by various native cultures.
Only registered sellers are allowed to sell this cactus, and they can only sell it to religious organizations. Specifically, it can only be sold to members of the Native American Church who can provide proof of their ancestry. For church members, this is a medicinal and spiritual plant, making it an entheogen like shrooms and marijuana.
Like peyote, this tropical vine is a hallucinogenic and is only allowed for consumption in spiritual contexts. In fact, it can only be used in ayahuasca ceremonies, making it difficult to access this plant. However, those who wish to partake in these rituals can join such ceremonies, especially as there are a lot of groups in the US that use ayahuasca drinks.
When you consume ayahuasca, you can experience feelings of euphoria, as well as visual and auditory hallucinations, just to name a dew. Some researchers are also looking at the positive effects of ayahuasca on mental health and quality of life.
The Bottom Line
Magic mushroom and marijuana can be a positive addition to people’s lifestyle and medical treatments. Now that you know how they differ, you can decide which one to consume. Just make sure that they are available in your state. Or, you can consider getting some of the alternatives provided above. Just make sure that they are legal in your area and you are good to go.