Psychedelic ‘cookies’ are a mushrooming problem
Suzy Cohen, a registered pharmacist, writes for Tribune Media Services.
April 4, 2006
I’m in college and went to a party where everyone was acting strange. I found out they were all eating some type of chocolate “cookie” they called “silly putty.” I left the party because my friend said the cookies were laced. Have you heard of these cookies?
– D.W., Portland, Ore.
Yes, but these are not cookies. They’re chocolate-covered mushrooms that make your brain feel like putty because they’re psychedelic drugs. You were smart to leave the party when you did.
“Shrooming,” a form of drug use, has found its way into the fringes of youth culture. Unfortunately, it’s dangerous and sometimes kids die.
There are many varieties of mushrooms that contain hallucinogenic ingredients; one can get high from eating them. The possibility of a tragic or fatal outcome is even more likely if alcohol is consumed.
Effects begin in half an hour and can last for six hours.
Psilocybin is one of the substances isolated from these “magic” mushrooms. Its use is an ancient practice in many cultures. The euphoria it causes may include an ecstatic, out-of-body experience that some people call religious. Other effects of the drug are not so dreamy: vomiting, muscle weakness, clumsiness, chills, confusion, paranoia, stomach pains and panic.
College kids should have enough willpower to stay away from drugs, especially dangerous ones like psychedelic “cookies.” But open-minded people can recognize that there may be good uses for controversial substances. For instance, Harvard Medical School is testing psilocybin and LSD in the treatment of cluster headaches – the ones that feel like someone just stabbed you in the eye with a hot poker.
Far-fetched? Not really. Many excellent medications sold in the pharmacy come from plants. Aspirin started out that way. And then there are those wonderful painkillers like morphine and codeine, the heart medication digoxin, colchicine for gout, theophylline for asthma and quinine for malaria and leg cramps. The active ingredient in marijuana eases nausea, vomiting and wasting syndrome; Marinol, a synthetic version, is sold in the United States by prescription only.
And mind-boggling as it sounds, Ecstasy is being studied to see if it can ease the fear suffered by people who are terminally ill.
Clearly, psychedelic mushrooms should never be abused, but not all mushrooms are bad. Some types are cultivated and used for their antioxidant, immune-boosting and energy-enhancing benefits. I’m referring to high-quality supplements of Maitake, Cordyceps, Reishi and Coriolus, which are safe. Certain kinds lessen the dreadful side effects of radiation and chemotherapy.
In case you are wondering, psychedelic mushrooms are illegal in the United States in any form – even if they’re disguised as chocolate dessert. Personally, if nonmedicinal mushrooms are going to find their way into my mouth, they will be served up by a chef at a nice restaurant, smothered in Marsala sauce.
Did you know? Many asthma attacks are triggered by aspirin products. Be careful with products that contain such ingredients as salsalate, salicylate, homosalate or salicylic acid.
Suzy Cohen, a registered pharmacist, writes for Tribune Media Services. To contact her, visit www.dearpharmacist.com or write c/o Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207. This information is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose your condition
Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.
Tribune Media Services published “Psychedelic ‘cookies’ are a mushrooming problem,” an op-ed written by a registered pharmacist who mentions the LSD/Psilocybin Cluster Headache study at Harvard Medical School and who would rather consume her mushrooms “at a nice restaurant, smothered in Marsala sauce.”