“Kids – don’t try this at home!”
How often have you read that warning and thought, “Well, that doesn’t apply to me because I’m an adult”? Pretty often, if one reads the news on a regular basis. The latest case involves a man who made the annals of medical oddities when he tried beating the lag time between ingesting psilocybin mushrooms and the psychedelic high by switching a couple of letters in “ingest” and injected them instead. The end result not only sent him to the emergency room, but also into medical history when the doctors found psilocybin mushrooms growing in his veins. Before you start thinking, remember the warning at the top of this article.
According to Gizmodo, which reviewed the study by Creighton University (Phoenix, Arizona) doctors published this week in the Journal of the Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, an unnamed 30-year-old man was admitted to an unnamed hospital in a confused state. The family members who brought him in told doctors he stopped taking medication prescribed for bipolar disorder type I suffering severe mood swings, had a history of opioid addiction and had recently been investigating microdosing LSD and psilocybin as a way to treat all of his afflictions. Positive research results on microdosing and magic mushrooms make this seem like an idea worth investigating … unfortunately, the man went far beyond nibbling on ‘shrooms.
During questioning, the man admitted to obtaining psilocybin mushrooms, boiling them down to something he referred to as “mushroom tea,” filtering the ‘liquid’ through cotton and then injecting it. Instead of feeling better with a reduced craving for opioids, soon he became lethargic and nauseous, developed jaundice and diarrhea, and began vomiting blood.
Then it got worse.
A few days later in a hospital’s intensive care unit, he was diagnosed with multiple organ failures, including his lungs, kidneys and liver, an elevated heart rate and septic shock. Blood clots appeared in a sample and were analyzed. That’s when the case took a strange twist – the mushrooms had begun growing in his bloodstream and were the cause of the organ failures and the rest of his life-threatening problems. Finding the cause was only half the battle – the doctors treated the man with antifungal drugs (no surprise here) and antibiotics, but it took eight days in the ICU and 22 overall before he was cleared for discharge … with a prescription for antimicrobial drugs.
While the ER doctors had made the diagnosis of mushrooms-in-the-blood on their own, the study authors amazingly found two similar cases in 1985. With the ease of ingesting mushrooms orally and the push to standardize and manage dosages of psilocybin so the benefits can be realized without dangerous side effects, states like Oregon, which legalized psilocybin last year, shouldn’t see cases like this.
Especially if they adopt the new mantra:
“ADULTS! Don’t try this at home!”