Psilocybin: /3-(2-Dimethylaminoethyl)-1H-indol-4-yl/dihydrogen phosphate
C12H17N2O4P
Psilocybin truffles are fungi that contain the psychoactive substance psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychedelic substance that can produce powerful hallucinations and mystical experiences, along with other effects. Truffles are the underground survival mechanism of Psilocybin-containing mushrooms. More than 180 species of mushrooms contain psilocybin or its derivative psilocin, and the fungi have a long history of use in Mesoamerican spiritual and religious rituals. They are also one of the most popular and widely used psychedelics in the US and Europe.
Psilocybin mushrooms are more than just a drug and a sacrament, however. They are used in therapeutic settings to treat a variety of ailments and conditions, including cluster headaches, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction, and a recent resurgence of research into the therapeutic effects of psilocybin shows promising results.
Although psilocybin mushrooms have been decriminalized in three North American cities (see "Legality" for details), they are still illegal at the federal level and are categorized as a Schedule I controlled substance in the US. Recently, however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) have authorized several small, highly controlled human studies on their potential for use in medical and psychiatric settings.
The FDA has also designated psilocybin as a "breakthrough therapy" for depression, which could speed up the process of developing and reviewing psilocybin drugs.
Pharmacology
Psilocybin is the active psychedelic ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms. The threshold for feeling the effects of dried mushrooms is usually in the 0.2-0.5g range, although this varies from person to person. A moderate dose in the 1-2.5g range, taken orally, usually produces effects that last three to six hours. Psilocybin is about 100 times less potent than LSD and 10 times less potent than mescaline.
When you take psilocybin, your body metabolizes the substance to psilocin, both of which produce the psychedelic effects. Psilocybin and psilocin mainly interact with serotonin receptors in the brain and have a particularly high affinity for the 5-HT (serotonin) 2A subtype receptors. In rodents, psilocybin has shown a strong interaction with receptors in the hub regions of the brain that integrate sensory experiences. This could explain effects such as synesthesia - the experience of mixing sensory modalities, such as hearing colors or tasting sounds - and altered sensory experiences.