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Young RE, Milroy R, Hutchison S, Kesson CM. 
“The Rising Price Of Mushrooms”. 
The Lancet. 1982 Jan 23.
HARD on the heels of reports on the rapid rise in heroin addiction, the increasing drugs problem, and continuing solvent inhalations in Glasgow there has been an unprecedented epidemic of the abuse of indigenous hallucinogenic fungi. In September and October, 1981, 49 teenagers and young adults (44 males, 5 females; age range 12 to 28 years, mean age l 7 5 years) presented to the accident and-emergency department of four Glasgow teaching hospitals after deliberate ingestion of varying quantities of raw, freshly picked Psilocybe semilanceata (liberty cap), known colloquially as "magic mushrooms". 41(83 7%) had evidence of sympathomimetic stimulation including mydriasis and tachycardia, while 47 (95 9%) had experienced or were experiencing euphoria and/or.visual hallucinations. 4 patients had also ingested alcohol, but no other intoxicants had been taken. There was incomplete documentation of previous drug or alcohol abuse, but none had eaten "magic mushrooms" before, and none admitted to practicing solvent inhalation. Gastric ravage was carried out in 39 (79 Who) patients. 35 (7 l 4%) of the 49 were admitted for observation, and all of these made a rapid and uneventful recovery without further therapy. Of the remainder, 13 were discharged after. assessment and l refused to be admitted. At one of the hospitals 14 patients attended during September and October for the effects of "mushroom" abuse, compared with 6 for manifestations ofthe abuse ofather hallucinogenic agents or narcotics (2 cannabis, 2 toluene-containing compounds, 1 lysergic acid diethylamide, 1 heroin). The figures for the latter group of substances are representative for any two-month period in 1981. Ps. semilanceata is a gill fungus, commonly-found growing in troops among grass in parklands, gardens, fields, and heaths in Britain, particularly in western regions. It has a sharply pointed pale-yellow cap 8 to 14 mm wide and up to l8 mm tall, supported by a tall cream-coloured wavy stem.s 6 Its gills are purple/black with a white edge. A few hours after picking, the base ofthe fungus turns greenish-blue, especially the part which was below ground. This is due to an oxidation reactions which is characteristic of Psiloybe genus. Liberty caps appear in autumn (mainly September to November), and cropping is heavy when the season is wet. The fruiting-bodies contain indoles, 4 phosphoryloxy-N, N-dimethyl-tryptamine (psilocybin) and the demethylated equivalents of this (baeocystin and norbaeocystin), as well as the more unstable psilocin.8 All these are psychoactive compounds of varying potency and are found in varying quantities within the fungus. Psilocin is also produced by the hydrolysis of psilocybin after ingestion, and it is the more potent hallucinogenic agent. The effect of these substances on brain biochemistry is very complex and ill understood. They are thought to act by altering the concentrations of indoles, including serotonin, in the central nervous system, and thus interfering with the transmission of stimuli regulating the
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