“Shrooms” commonly refers to over 200 species of mushrooms containing the active psychedelic compound known as “psilocybin.” Psilocybin itself is a prodrug, meaning it is inactive until ingested and broken down (metabolized) within the body. Upon metabolism of psilocybin, it is converted to the active metabolite “psilocin” which functions primarily as a 5-HT2A receptor partial agonist.
To a lesser extent (than 5-HT2A), the metabolite psilocin acts as a partial agonist at 5-HT1A, 5-HT1D, 5-HT2D receptors – and increases dopamine within the basal ganglia. As a result of its relatively complex mechanism of action, users of “magic mushrooms” tend to experience: dilation of time, mood changes (e.g. euphoria), dissociation, mystical/spiritual experiences, and hallucinations (visual and/or auditory). Due to the hallucinogenic and psychotomimetic properties of psilocybin, many individuals use the drug with spiritual intentions and/or to explore altered states of consciousness.
Additionally, there is some evidence to suggest that psilocybin may treat depression and facilitate long-term personality changes, increasing the trait of “openness” for over a year after a single ingestion. Though some individuals have favorable experiences with psilocybin, others experience adverse effects such as: anxiety, increased depression, low mood, and paranoia. In some cases, these adverse effects may linger, leaving people to wonder how long “shrooms” stay in their system.
How long do “Shrooms” stay in your system? (Psilocybin)
Assuming you ingested shrooms and either: had a bad “trip,” are experiencing lingering effects, and/or have an upcoming drug test – you probably want to know how long it’ll take before psilocybin (and its metabolites) will be fully cleared from your system. Scientific literature suggests that the half-life of psilocybin likely differs based on modality of administration. When ingested orally, the half-life of psilocybin is ~163 minutes, meaning 50% of the dose will be cleared in 2 hours and 43 minutes.
This indicates that in order to fully (100%) clear orally ingested psilocybin from your system, it will take 14.94 hours (just under 15 hours). On the other hand, when a person administers the psychoactive ingredient psilocybin intravenously (IV), the half-life is substantially reduced to ~74.1 minutes. In accordance with this half-life, an intravenously administered dose of psilocybin would be fully cleared from your body in less than 7 hours (~6.8 hours).
The active metabolite of psilocybin known as “psilocin” is only ~50 minutes, indicating that 50% of it will be eliminated from your body in under an hour. The psilocin will be completely cleared from your system in approximately 4.58 hours. For the majority of people, psilocybin will have been fully cleared from your system in just over 15 hours post-ingestion. It would be extremely unlikely to find any remnants of “shrooms” in a person’s system after 24 hours.
- Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14578010
Factors that influence how long Shrooms stay in your system
Though the average half-lives of psilocybin (and metabolite “psilocin”) can be estimated, there is often significant individual variation. Research indicates that for orally ingested psilocybin (shrooms), individual factors can reduce or extend the half-life by approximately 64 minutes. This means that one person may excrete psilocybin within 7 hours, and another could take as long as 15 hours.
Two individuals may take the same dose of psilocybin, at the exact same time, yet one person may metabolize and excrete the drug several hours quicker than the other individual. Variance in metabolism and excretion rates is often due to individual attributes such as: age, body mass, genetics, and organ functionality (liver/kidneys). Understand that certain attributes may have a greater impact on shroom clearance rates than others.
Age: A person’s age could influence the rate at which shrooms are metabolized and excreted from the body. It is thought that elderly individuals (ages 65+) aren’t able to metabolize nor excrete most substances as quickly as healthy adults. This could be due to the fact that elderly individuals often have various health problems, but may be a result of reduced hepatic/renal blood flow associated with old age. If you are young, you’ll likely excrete psilocybin quicker than someone of old age.
Body height/weight/fat: An individual’s body mass (height/weight) is thought to impact clearance rates of psilocybin. In particular, the greater a person’s body mass relative to the dosage of psilocybin ingested, the quicker they’ll likely excrete it. If a short/lightweight individual takes the same amount of psilocybin as a tall/heavyweight person, they likely won’t excrete it as quickly; their system is handling a greater dose relative to their size. Additionally, individuals with a greater amount of body fat are thought to excrete drugs at a quicker rate than those with low body fat.
Genetics: A majority of psilocybin is thought to be metabolized within the liver via various enzymes. Though the specific enzymes responsible for its metabolism aren’t well-understood, it is known that genetic variations can facilitate quicker or slower rates of metabolism. Certain individuals are considered “rapid metabolizers” while others are considered “poor metabolizers.” Individuals with genes that enhance enzymatic breakdown of psilocybin in the liver may clear it at a quicker rate than those with less favorable and/or average genes.
Food intake / Hydration: Individuals that take shrooms on an empty stomach are thought to absorb them at a quicker rate than people taking them along with food (or after a meal). Ingestion of food along with shrooms could be thought to have slight effects on excretion times. In addition, since the active ingredients within shrooms are eliminated primarily via urine, degree of hydration may impact systemic clearance.
Liver / Kidney function: Psilocybin undergoes first-pass metabolism within the liver, and is excreted by the kidneys. Should an individual have hepatic (liver) and/or renal (kidney) impairment – it will likely prolong clearance rates. Someone with impaired liver functionality may be unable to efficiently metabolize the ingested psilocybin, thereby resulting in a substantially longer elimination half-life compared to a person with a healthy liver.
Metabolic rate: A person’s BMR (basal metabolic rate) may also have a slight effect on psilocybin clearance. It is thought that the quicker a person’s BMR, the more efficiently they metabolize and excrete certain drugs. Therefore, individuals with a fast BMR (as a result of genetics, diet, and exercise) could clear shrooms from their system quicker than those with slower BMRs.
Urinary pH: It is documented that lowering urinary pH (acidification) expedites clearance rates of psilocybin (and metabolites) from the body. An individual with a high urinary pH (alkalinization) may reabsorb some of the metabolites prior to their elimination, resulting in prolonged clearance. People eating diets high in citrus fruits/veggies tend to have more alkaline urine, whereas those eating a lot of meats tend to have more acidic urine.
Mushroom Species (Dosage / Potency)
The dosage of “shrooms” (specifically psilocybin) that a person ingests is thought to influence how long it remains in a person’s system. In general, the greater the dose a person ingests (especially relative to their body size), the longer the drug will take to get excreted. The lower the dose a person ingests, the quicker the clearance rate.
Certain species of mushrooms are known to be of greater potency than others in that they contain significantly more psilocybin (and psilocin) than others. Therefore an individual may need to consume a greater quantity of shrooms from a lesser potent species to attain the same amount of psilocybin as a more potent one. Below is a list of various mushroom species as well as estimates of their psilocybin contents (mg/g).
- Psilocybe Cyanescens: This is a species of mushroom commonly found on various types of wood and/or woodchips. Of all mushrooms, this is the one of greatest potency – containing between 2.8 mg/g and up to 16.8 mg/g psilocybin.
- Psilocybe Cubensis: This is considered a medium strength mushroom with an estimated .63% psilocybin and .60% psilocin when dried and in the wild. It typically grows on cow manure and/or farm soil that has been fertilized with manure. It contains between 4 mg/g and 12 mg/g psilocybin.
- Psilocybe Semilanceata: This species typically grows in fall months on roadsides, within pastures, and parks. It contains an estimated 10 mg/g to 11 mg/g psilocybin, meaning it is relatively potent compared to other species.
- Psilocybe Stuntzii: This type of mushroom is usually found in fields, on lawns, and sometimes on mulch. It is most commonly found between late summer and early winter (fall months). It contains an estimated 3.6 mg/g to 9.4 mg/g psilocybin.
- Panaeolus Subalteatus: This species of mushroom grows on grasses, pastures, lawns, and even roadsides. It is most common on fertilized soil and is most prevalent in spring and fall months. Panaeolus subalteatus is thought to contain between 1.5 mg/g and 6 mg/g of psilocybin.
- Psilocybe Caerulescens: This species of mushroom tends to grow on riverbanks and near streams in summer months, especially during rainy seasons. It is unknown how many mg/g of psilocybin is contained within this particular species.
- Panaeolus Sphinctrinus: This species of mushroom grows on manure and is most commonly seen throughout summer months up until fall. Panaeolus sphinctrinus is thought to contain approximately 1.9 mg/g of psilocybin.
Due to the potentially 8.42-fold greater potency of Psilocybe Cyanescens compared to Panaeolus Sphinctrinus, it wouldn’t take as high of a dose to attain the same level of psilocybin. A person who ingests 2 grams of Psilocybe Cyanescens would have consumed significantly more psilocybin than someone who ingested 2 grams of Panaeolus Sphinctrinus. As a result of this heightened potency (and dosage), excretion time may be extended.
Modality of ingestion
The modality in which shrooms are ingested can impact how long psilocybin (and metabolites) stay in your system. Most individuals prefer to ingest shrooms (fresh or dried) orally by eating them “as is” or blending them into a tea. In other cases, individuals may extract psilocybin from mushrooms and inject them intravenously – this is less common among recreational users (and generally reserved for scientific research).
- Oral ingestion: Individuals that orally ingest (eating/swallowing) shrooms will take longer to metabolize and excrete them compared to those who inject them. Oral ingestion of shrooms is associated with a half-life of approximately 163 minutes (2 hours 43 minutes). This means that if you were to eat shrooms, you’d likely clear them from your system within 15 hours.
- Intravenous injection: If you were to intravenously inject a psilocybin extract, the drug will be rapidly metabolized with a quicker onset of action compared to oral ingestion. The half-life for intravenously injected psilocybin is approximately 74 minute (1 hour 14 minutes). Intravenous psilocybin users will clear the drug from their system in around 6.78 hours; less than half the time of an oral user.
Co-ingestion of other drugs
It is known that co-ingestion of other drugs may interfere with the metabolism and excretion of psilocybin. Since psilocybin is metabolized by enzymes in the liver, a host of drugs (pharmaceutical, illicit, etc.) and/or supplements are likely to affect metabolism. A person taking a drug known as an enzymatic “inhibitor” may metabolize psilocybin at a much slower rate than a person who is drug-free.
Enzymatic inhibitors can slow the metabolism of psilocybin and prolong the clearance time. On the other hand, someone who is taking a drug that acts as an enzymatic “inducer” may metabolize psilocybin at a much quicker rate. Inducers of liver enzymes tend to enhance the breakdown and excretion of substances like psilocybin.
Assuming you are taking an enzymatic inducer, you may excrete psilocybin at a much quicker rate than someone who is drug-free. It should be noted that the degree of “inhibition” and “induction” is subject to variation based on the drug; one inhibitor may be more potent than another. Since monoamine oxidase is thought to facilitate the breakdown of metabolite psilocin, taking a drug such as an MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) may detrimentally affect clearance.
Shrooms (Psilocybin): Absorption, Metabolism, Excretion (Details)
Upon oral ingestion of psilocybin, it initially undergoes “first-pass” metabolism by the liver and is converted to the primary active metabolite “psilocin.” As a result of first-pass metabolism, the amount of psilocin is significantly reduced prior to systemic circulation. Following first-pass metabolism, approximately 50% of psilocin is absorbed via the stomach and small intestine.
It is then distributed uniformly throughout the entire body, becoming detectable within 20 to 40 minutes post-ingestion, and plasma concentrations peaking in ~80 minutes. Following peak concentrations, levels are thought to slowly decline over a 6 hour period. The circulating psilocin then undergoes additional metabolism via monoamine oxidase to form secondary metabolites including:
- 4H1A (4-hydroxyindole-3-yl-acetaldehyde)
- 41-IIAA (4-hydroxyindole-3-yl-acetic-acid)
- 41-IT (4-hydroxytryptophol)
Though several metabolites are formed via breakdown of psilocin via monoamine oxidase, not all of the psilocin is fully broken down. A small amount (3%-10%) of unmetabolized psilocin undergoes glucuornidation via glucuronosyltransferase enzymes UGT1A9 (within the liver) and UGT1A10 (within the small intestine). These enzymes conjugate psilocin with glucuronic acid, thereby forming glucuronides that can be efficiently excreted via urine.
In approximately 24 hours, an estimated 65% of psilocybin will have been excreted via the urine in the form of various metabolites. Up to 20% of psilocybin will have been excreted through bile and feces. Animal studies have suggested that psilocybin metabolites may be excreted in urine in small quantities for up to 7 days post-ingestion.
That said, the elimination half-life of psilocybin in humans is 163 minutes (on average), meaning it should be fully excreted in less than 30 hours post-ingestion. Psilocin has a half-life of only 50 minutes and is usually cleared from the body in less than 5 hours. There’s no reason to think that psilocybin or its metabolites will be detectable after 15 hours.
- Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14578010
- Source: https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/inflammregen/29/1/29_1_47/_pdf
Types of Drug Tests for Shrooms (Psilocybin)
Though it is uncommon for a person to be tested for “shrooms,” there are several ways in which psilocybin (and metabolite “psilocin”) could be detected. Various types of psilocybin drug tests include: urine tests, blood tests, and hair tests. The most common way to test for psilocybin is via a urine test, but other modalities (e.g. a hair test) may offer longer detection periods.
Urine tests: The most popular way to test for the presence of psilocybin is via a urine test. A urine test involves collecting a fresh urine sample from an individual, and analyzing it with SPE (solid phase extraction) for the presence of metabolite “psilocin.” The detection time of psilocybin (psilocin) within urine is usually less than 24 hours.
In rare cases of chronic, high-dose mushroom users would psilocybin metabolites remain detectable between 1 and 2 days. It is generally pretty expensive to test for psilocybin metabolites in the urine, but yields a longer detection window compared to blood tests. In addition, urine testing is considered less invasive and more convenient than a blood draw.
Blood tests: A blood test can determine whether someone has recently ingested psilocybin (shrooms), but is seldom utilized. Because blood tests are usually invasive, time consuming, and have a short window of detection, other drug testing modalities are usually preferred. A blood sample will be able to detect the presence of metabolite “psilocin” within 30 minutes of psilocybin ingestion.
The psilocin may remain detectable for between 3-5 hours post-psilocybin ingestion. Unless an individual is hospitalized and/or unable to take a urine test, a blood test to detect psilocin isn’t common. Blood tests to detect psilocybin are generally reserved for scientific research.
Hair tests: A hair test for psilocybin would likely involve collecting a sample of 20-50 hair follicles (at least 3 cm) from the head of a potential user. These follicles would then be sent to a laboratory for assessment with ultra-high-pressure liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. One study showed that a shrooms user had approximately 0.8 ng of psilocybin per ng of hair.
Outside of scientific research, a hair test is unlikely to be administered to detect psilocybin. Though psilocybin (and metabolites) may take several days (or weeks) to become detectable within a person’s hair, they would likely remain detectable for a much longer duration (2 to 4 weeks). To derive accurate information from a hair test, testing would need to be administered at least several days after ingestion to allow outgrowth of follicles infused with psilocybin.
- Source: http://www.norchemlab.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Psilocybin-facts.pdf
- Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25171488
Who could get tested for Shrooms (Psilocybin)?
Most standard drug tests such as the SAMHSA-5 only test for the presence of cannabinoids, cocaine, amphetamines, opioids, and PCP. Standard drug tests are generally administered often to employees, athletes, military, and more. Psilocybin is not tested on standardized drug tests, and is rarely tested for on more advanced panels. That said, certain individuals such as criminals or rehab patients may be tested for shrooms.
- Criminals: If a law enforcement agent suspects that an individual ingested an illicit substance (e.g. psilocybin), that person may be subject to a drug test. If a standard drug test doesn’t detect a common drug, an extensive panel may be administered to assess for other drugs (including psilocybin). A criminal who tests positive for psilocybin may face harsher penalization.
- Drug rehab clients: Individuals at drug rehab facilities are commonly tested for a variety of drugs. Though testing for shrooms isn’t common due to their low abuse potential, an individual in rehabilitation may still be tested for psilocybin. Should a drug test detect psilocybin ingestion among a rehab patient, they may need to spend additional time at the facility.
- Military personnel: It is considered uncommon for the military to test for ingestion of psilocybin. That said, military personnel should always be prepared for extensive/advanced drug tests. Should an individual in the military get caught with psilocybin metabolites in their system, he/she may be delisted without compensation.
- Students: In rare cases, students could undergo extensive drug testing. Though standardized tests for students are more likely, a more comprehensive testing protocol may be implemented in certain cases. If a student is caught with psilocybin (or other drugs) in their system, they may be penalized, sent for counseling, and/or forced to attend a rehabilitation facility.
Tips to clear Shrooms from your system (Psilocybin metabolites)
There may be some tricks that can be used to help clear psilocybin (and its metabolites) from your body quicker-than-average. Understand that you should always consult a medical professional prior to implementing any of these tricks. Additionally, you should realize that these tips may be more useful for certain individuals than others.
- Cease usage: If you want to clear psilocybin (and psilocin) from your system as fast as possible, you’ll want to stop using shrooms immediately. Individuals who use shrooms more often tend to accumulate various metabolites within fat stores throughout the body. Accumulation of these metabolites results in longer retention among frequent users. To efficiently eliminate psilocybin from your body – cease usage sooner than later.
- Decrease urinary pH: There is evidence to suggest that acidification of urine can substantially increase clearance of psilocybin (and psilocin). If you have a high urinary pH (i.e. alkaline urine), decreasing your urinary pH could significantly expedite excretion of psilocybin. Those with a high urinary pH are more likely to reabsorb the drug prior to elimination, resulting in prolonged systemic clearance.
- Enzymatic inducers: Certain drugs and/or supplements may be useful for inducing activity of various liver enzymes that metabolize psilocybin. Though it is unclear as to which enzymes are primarily responsible for the breakdown of psilocybin (and psilocin), certain substances could have a profound effect on clearance times. Drugs that increase levels of monoamine oxidase may bolster elimination.
- Maintain hydration: Since a majority of psilocybin metabolites are excreted via urine, maintaining adequate hydration may optimize psilocybin clearance times. It is known that greater urinary flow usually results in slightly quicker excretion of various drugs via urine. Staying hydrated will prevent metabolite reabsorption and ensure that clearance isn’t prolonged.
- Get some exercise: Getting some daily exercise can increase your metabolism, which may have a negligible (but slight) impact on clearance of psilocybin metabolites. Going for a jog/run daily may also enhance blood flow to various organs and aid in the elimination of psilocybin metabolites from lipids within the body. If you aren’t staying active, consider some exercise to optimize psilocybin clearance.
Have you ever been drug-tested for shrooms (psilocybin)?
If you’ve undergone drug testing for psilocybin after ingesting shrooms, share your experience. Mention the type of drug test you were administered, as well as whether you passed (i.e. tested negative) or failed (i.e. tested positive). To help others understand your situation, discuss the amount of time between when you ingested shrooms and when you were drug-tested.
Also share the specific species of mushrooms you ingested, the dosage, modality of ingestion, and frequency of ingestion (single dose vs. multi-dose). If you have any tips or tricks that you believe helped you detoxify from psilocybin, share them in the comments section below. Realize that most users of “shrooms” will not have any remnants of psilocybin (nor its metabolites) within their system after 24 hours.