The street value of mushrooms is around $80 according to a drug bust in Oshawa.
A mushroom (or toadstool) is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source. The standard for the name "mushroom" is the cultivated white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus; hence the word "mushroom" is most often applied to those fungi (Basidiomycota, Agaricomycetes) that have a stem (stipe), a cap (pileus), and gills (lamellae, sing. lamella) or pores on the underside of the cap.
"Mushroom" describes a variety of gilled fungi, with or without stems, and the term is used even more generally, to describe both the fleshy fruiting bodies of some Ascomycota and the woody or leathery fruiting bodies of some Basidiomycota, depending upon the context of the word.
Forms deviating from the standard morphology usually have more specific names, such as "puffball", "stinkhorn", and "morel", and gilled mushrooms themselves are often called "agarics" in reference to their similarity to Agaricus or their place Agaricales. By extension, the term "mushroom" can also designate the entire fungus when in culture; the thallus (called a mycelium) of species forming the fruiting bodies called mushrooms; or the species itself.
Identifying mushrooms requires a basic understanding of their macroscopic structure. Most are Basidiomycetes and gilled. Their spores, called basidiospores, are produced on the gills and fall in a fine rain of powder from under the caps as a result. At the microscopic level the basidiospores are shot off basidia and then fall between the gills in the dead air space. As a result, for most mushrooms, if the cap is cut off and placed gill-side-down overnight, a powdery impression reflecting the shape of the gills (or pores, or spines, etc.) is formed (when the fruit body is sporulating). The color of the powdery print, called a spore print, is used to help classify mushrooms and can help to identify them. Spore print colors include white (most common), brown, black, purple-brown, pink, yellow, and creamy, but almost never blue, green, or red.
While modern identification of mushrooms is quickly becoming molecular, the standard methods for identification are still used by most and have developed into a fine art harking back to medieval times and the Victorian era, combined with microscopic examination. The presence of juices upon breaking, bruising reactions, odors, tastes, shades of color, habitat, habit, and season are all considered by both amateur and professional mycologists. Tasting and smelling mushrooms carries its own hazards because of poisons and allergens. Chemical tests are also used for some genera.
In general, identification to genus can often be accomplished in the field using a local mushroom guide. Identification to species, however, requires more effort; one must remember that a mushroom develops from a button stage into a mature structure, and only the latter can provide certain characteristics needed for the identification of the species. However, over-mature specimens lose features and cease producing spores. Many novices have mistaken humid water marks on paper for white spore prints, or discolored paper from oozing liquids on lamella edges for colored spored prints.
Typical mushrooms are the fruit bodies of members of the order Agaricales, whose type genus is Agaricus and type species is the field mushroom, Agaricus campestris. However, in modern molecularly defined classifications, not all members of the order Agaricales produce mushroom fruit bodies, and many other gilled fungi, collectively called mushrooms, occur in other orders of the class Agaricomycetes. For example, chanterelles are in the Cantharellales, false chanterelles such as Gomphus are in the Gomphales, milk mushrooms (Lactarius) and russulas (Russula), as well as Lentinellus, are in the Russulales, while the tough, leathery genera Lentinus and Panus are among the Polyporales, but Neolentinus is in the Gloeophyllales, and the little pin-mushroom genus, Rickenella, along with similar genera, are in the Hymenochaetales.
Within the main body of mushrooms, in the Agaricales, are common fungi like the common fairy-ring mushroom (Marasmius oreades), shiitake, enoki, oyster mushrooms, fly agarics, and other amanitas, magic mushrooms like species of Psilocybe, paddy straw mushrooms, shaggy manes, etc.
An atypical mushroom is the lobster mushroom, which is a deformed, cooked-lobster-colored parasitized fruitbody of a Russula or Lactarius, colored and deformed by the mycoparasitic Ascomycete Hypomyces lactifluorum.
Other mushrooms are not gilled, so the term "mushroom" is loosely used, and giving a full account of their classifications is difficult. Some have pores underneath (and are usually called boletes), others have spines, such as the hedgehog mushroom and other tooth fungi, and so on. "Mushroom" has been used for polypores, puffballs, jelly fungi, coral fungi, bracket fungi, stinkhorns, and cup fungi. Thus, the term is more one of common application to macroscopic fungal fruiting bodies than one having precise taxonomic meaning. Approximately 14,000 species of mushrooms are described.
The terms "mushroom" and "toadstool" go back centuries and were never precisely defined, nor was there consensus on application. The term "toadstool" was often, but not exclusively, applied to poisonous mushrooms or to those that have the classic umbrella-like cap-and-stem form. Between 1400 and 1600 AD, the terms tadstoles, frogstooles, frogge stoles, tadstooles, tode stoles, toodys hatte, paddockstool, puddockstool, paddocstol, toadstoole, and paddockstooles sometimes were used synonymously with mushrom, mushrum, muscheron, mousheroms, mussheron, or musserouns.
The word has apparent analogies in Dutch padde(n)stoel (toad-stool/chair, mushroom) and German Krötenschwamm (toad-fungus, alt. word for panther cap). Others have proposed a connection with German Todesstuhl (death's chair). Since Tod is a direct cognate to "death", in that case it would be a German borrowing. However, no common word akin to Todesstuhl is used in German referring to mushrooms, poisonous or not.
In German folklore and old fairy tales, toads are often depicted sitting on toadstool mushrooms and catching, with their tongues, the flies that are said to be drawn to the Fliegenpilz, a German name for the toadstool, meaning "flies' mushroom". This is how the mushroom got another of its names, Krötenstuhl (a less-used German name for the mushroom), literally translating to "toad-stool".
The term "mushroom" and its variations may have been derived from the French word mousseron in reference to moss (mousse). The toadstool's connection to toads may be direct, in reference to some species of poisonous toad, or may just be a case of phonosemantic matching from the German word. However, delineation between edible and poisonous fungi is not clear-cut, so a "mushroom" may be edible, poisonous, or unpalatable. The term "toadstool" is nowadays used in storytelling when referring to poisonous or suspect mushrooms. The classic example of a toadstool is Amanita muscaria.
Cultural or social phobias of mushrooms and fungi may be related. The term "fungophobia" was coined by William Delisle Hay of England, who noted a national superstition or fear of "toadstools". He described the "fungus-hunter" as being contemptible and detailed the larger demographic's attitude toward mushrooms as "abnormal, worthless, or inexplicable". Fungophobia spread to the United States and Australia, where it was inherited from England. The underlying cause of a cultural fungaphobia may also be related to the exaggerated importance placed on the few deadly and poisonous mushrooms found in the region of that culture. In these regions, mushrooms were also sometimes regarded as magic or satanic, their fruiting bodies appearing quickly overnight from underground. Some believed they were the Devil's fruit, and others that mushroom rings were magical portals.][
A mushroom develops from a nodule, or pinhead, less than two millimeters in diameter, called a primordium, which is typically found on or near the surface of the substrate. It is formed within the mycelium, the mass of threadlike hyphae that make up the fungus. The primordium enlarges into a roundish structure of interwoven hyphae roughly resembling an egg, called a "button". The button has a cottony roll of mycelium, the universal veil, that surrounds the developing fruit body. As the egg expands, the universal veil ruptures and may remain as a cup, or volva, at the base of the stalk, or as warts or volval patches on the cap. Many mushrooms lack a universal veil, therefore they do not have either a volva or volval patches. Often, a second layer of tissue, the partial veil, covers the bladelike gills that bear spores. As the cap expands, the veil breaks, and remnants of the partial veil may remain as a ring, or annulus, around the middle of the stalk or as fragments hanging from the margin of the cap. The ring may be skirt-like as in some species of Amanita, collar-like as in many species of Lepiota, or merely the faint remnants of a cortina (a partial veil composed of filaments resembling a spiderweb), which is typical of the genus Cortinarius. Mushrooms lacking partial veils do not form an annulus.
The stalk (also called the stipe, or stem) may be central and support the cap in the middle, or it may be off-center and/or lateral, as in species of Pleurotus and Panus. In other mushrooms, a stalk may be absent, as in the polypores that form shelf-like brackets. Puffballs lack a stalk, but may have a supporting base. Other mushrooms, such as truffles, jellies, earthstars, and bird's nests, usually do not have stalks, and a specialized mycological vocabulary exists to describe their parts.
The way the gills attach to the top of the stalk is an important feature of mushroom morphology. Mushrooms in the genera Agaricus, Amanita, Lepiota and Pluteus, among others, have free gills that do not extend to the top of the stalk. Others have decurrent gills that extend down the stalk, as in the genera Omphalotus and Pleurotus. There are a great number of variations between the extremes of free and decurrent, collectively called attached gills. Finer distinctions are often made to distinguish the types of attached gills: adnate gills, which adjoin squarely to the stalk; notched gills, which are notched where they join the top of the stalk; adnexed gills, which curve upward to meet the stalk, and so on. These distinctions between attached gills are sometimes difficult to interpret, since gill attachment may change as the mushroom matures, or with different environmental conditions.
A hymenium is a layer of microscopic spore-bearing cells that covers the surface of gills. In the nongilled mushrooms, the hymenium lines the inner surfaces of the tubes of boletes and polypores, or covers the teeth of spine fungi and the branches of corals. In the Ascomycota, spores develop within microscopic elongated, sac-like cells called asci, which typically contain eight spores in each ascus. The Discomycetes, which contain the cup, sponge, brain, and some club-like fungi, develop an exposed layer of asci, as on the inner surfaces of cup fungi or within the pits of morels. The Pyrenomycetes, tiny dark-colored fungi that live on a wide range of substrates including soil, dung, leaf litter, and decaying wood, as well as other fungi, produce minute, flask-shaped structures called perithecia, within which the asci develop.
In the Basidiomycetes, usually four spores develop on the tips of thin projections called sterigmata, which extend from club-shaped cells called a basidia. The fertile portion of the Gasteromycetes, called a gleba, may become powdery as in the puffballs or slimy as in the stinkhorns. Interspersed among the asci are threadlike sterile cells called paraphyses. Similar structures called cystidia often occur within the hymenium of the Basidiomycota. Many types of cystidia exist, and assessing their presence, shape, and size is often used to verify the identification of a mushroom.
The most important microscopic feature for identification of mushrooms is the spores. Their color, shape, size, attachment, ornamentation, and reaction to chemical tests often can be the crux of an identification. A spore often has a protrusion at one end, called an apiculus, which is the point of attachment to the basidium, termed the apical germ pore, from which the hypha emerges when the spore germinates.
Many species of mushrooms seemingly appear overnight, growing or expanding rapidly. This phenomenon is the source of several common expressions in the English language including "to mushroom" or "mushrooming" (expanding rapidly in size or scope) and "to pop up like a mushroom" (to appear unexpectedly and quickly). In reality all species of mushrooms take several days to form primordial mushroom fruit bodies, though they do expand rapidly by the absorption of fluids.
The cultivated mushroom as well as the common field mushroom initially form a minute fruiting body, referred to as the pin stage because of their small size. Slightly expanded they are called buttons, once again because of the relative size and shape. Once such stages are formed, the mushroom can rapidly pull in water from its mycelium and expand, mainly by inflating preformed cells that took several days to form in the primordia.
Similarly, there are even more ephemeral mushrooms, like Parasola plicatilis (formerly Coprinus plicatlis), that literally appear overnight and may disappear by late afternoon on a hot day after rainfall. The primordia form at ground level in lawns in humid spaces under the thatch and after heavy rainfall or in dewy conditions balloon to full size in a few hours, release spores, and then collapse. They "mushroom" to full size.
Not all mushrooms expand overnight; some grow very slowly and add tissue to their fruitbodies by growing from the edges of the colony or by inserting hyphae. For example Pleurotus nebrodensis grows slowly, and because of this combined with human collection, it is now critically endangered.
Though mushroom fruiting bodies are short-lived, the underlying mycelium can itself be long-lived and massive. A colony of Armillaria solidipes (formerly known as Armillaria ostoyae) in Malheur National Forest in the United States is estimated to be 2,400 years old, possibly older, and spans an estimated 2,200 acres (8.9 km2). Most of the fungus is underground and in decaying wood or dying tree roots in the form of white mycelia combined with black shoelace-like rhizomorphs that bridge colonized separated woody substrates.
Mushrooms are a low-calorie food usually eaten cooked or raw and as garnish to a meal. Dietary mushrooms are a good source of B vitamins, such as riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid, and the essential minerals, selenium, copper and potassium. Fat, carbohydrate and calorie content are low, with absence of vitamin C and sodium. There are approximately 20 calories in an ounce of mushrooms.
When exposed to ultraviolet light, natural ergosterols in mushrooms produce vitamin D2, a process now exploited for the functional food retail market.
Mushrooms are used extensively in cooking, in many cuisines (notably Chinese, Korean, European, Japanese and Indian). Mushroom is called Khumb in Hindi. They are known as the "meat" of the vegetable world.
Most mushrooms sold in supermarkets have been commercially grown on mushroom farms. The most popular of these, Agaricus bisporus, is considered safe for most people to eat because it is grown in controlled, sterilized environments. Several varieties of A. bisporus are grown commercially, including whites, crimini, and portobello. Other cultivated species now available at many grocers include shiitake, maitake or hen-of-the-woods, oyster, and enoki. In recent years, increasing affluence in developing countries has led to a considerable growth in interest in mushroom cultivation, which is now seen as a potentially important economic activity for small farmers.
A number of species of mushrooms are poisonous; although some resemble certain edible species, consuming them could be fatal. Eating mushrooms gathered in the wild is risky and should not be undertaken by individuals not knowledgeable in mushroom identification, unless the individuals limit themselves to a relatively small number of good edible species that are visually distinctive. A. bisporus contains carcinogens called hydrazines, the most abundant of which is agaritine. However, the carcinogens are destroyed by moderate heat when cooking.
More generally, and particularly with gilled mushrooms, separating edible from poisonous species requires meticulous attention to detail; there is no single trait by which all toxic mushrooms can be identified, nor one by which all edible mushrooms can be identified. Additionally, even edible mushrooms may produce allergic reactions in susceptible individuals, from a mild asthmatic response to severe anaphylactic shock.
People who collect mushrooms for consumption are known as mycophagists, and the act of collecting them for such is known as mushroom hunting, or simply "mushrooming".
China is the world's largest edible mushroom producer. The country produces about half of all cultivated mushrooms, and around 2.7 kilograms (6.0 lb) of mushrooms are consumed per person per year by over a billion people.
Many mushroom species produce secondary metabolites that can be toxic, mind-altering, antibiotic, antiviral, or bioluminescent. Although there are only a small number of deadly species, several others can cause particularly severe and unpleasant symptoms. Toxicity likely plays a role in protecting the function of the basidiocarp: the mycelium has expended considerable energy and protoplasmic material to develop a structure to efficiently distribute its spores. One defense against consumption and premature destruction is the evolution of chemicals that render the mushroom inedible, either causing the consumer to vomit the meal (see emetics), or to learn to avoid consumption altogether. In addition, due to the ability of mushrooms to absorb heavy metals, including those that are radioactive, European mushrooms may, to date, include toxicity from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and continue to be studied.
Mushrooms with psychoactive properties have long played a role in various native medicine traditions in cultures all around the world. They have been used as sacrament in rituals aimed at mental and physical healing, and to facilitate visionary states. One such ritual is the velada ceremony. A practitioner of traditional mushroom use is the shaman or curandera (priest-healer).
Psilocybin mushrooms possess psychedelic properties. Commonly known as "magic mushrooms" or "'shrooms," they are openly available in smart shops in many parts of the world, or on the black market in those countries that have outlawed their sale. Psilocybin mushrooms have been reported as facilitating profound and life-changing insights often described as mystical experiences. Recent scientific work has supported these claims, as well as the long-lasting effects of such induced spiritual experiences.
Psilocybin, a naturally occurring chemical in certain psychedelic mushrooms such as Psilocybe cubensis, is being studied for its ability to help people suffering from psychological disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. Minute amounts have been reported to stop cluster and migraine headaches. A double-blind study, done by the Johns Hopkins Hospital, showed psychedelic mushrooms could provide people an experience with substantial personal meaning and spiritual significance. In the study, one-third of the subjects reported ingestion of psychedelic mushrooms was the single most spiritually significant event of their lives. Over two-thirds reported it among their five most meaningful and spiritually significant events. On the other hand, one-third of the subjects reported extreme anxiety. However, the anxiety went away after a short period of time.
A few species in the Amanita genus contain the psychoactive compound muscimol. The muscimol-containing chemotaxonomic group of Amanitas contains no amatoxins or phallotoxins, and are not hepatoxic. The effects of these mushrooms can be hallucinogenic, but are mostly depressant.
Medicinal mushrooms are mushrooms or extracts used or studied as possible treatments for diseases. Some mushroom materials, including polysaccharides, glycoproteins and proteoglycans, modulate immune system responses and inhibit tumor growth in preliminary research, whereas other isolates show potential cardiovascular, antiviral, antibacterial, antiparasitic, anti-inflammatory, and antidiabetic properties. Currently, several extracts have widespread use in Japan, Korea and China, as adjuncts to radiation treatments and chemotherapy, even though clinical evidence of efficacy in humans has not been confirmed.
Historically, mushrooms have long been thought to hold medicinal value, especially in traditional Chinese medicine.][ They have been studied in modern medical research since the 1960s, where most studies use extracts, rather than whole mushrooms. Only a few specific extracts have been tested for efficacy in laboratory research. Polysaccharide-K and lentinan are among extracts best understood from in vitro research, animal models such as mice, or early-stage human pilot studies.
Preliminary experiments show glucan-containing mushroom extracts may affect function of the innate and adaptive immune systems, functioning as bioresponse modulators. In some countries, extracts of polysaccharide-K, schizophyllan, polysaccharide peptide, or lentinan are government-registered adjuvant cancer therapies.
Mushrooms can be used for dyeing wool and other natural fibers. The chromophores of mushroom dyes are organic compounds and produce strong and vivid colors, and all colors of the spectrum can be achieved with mushroom dyes. Before the invention of synthetic dyes, mushrooms were the source of many textile dyes.
Some fungi, types of polypores loosely called mushrooms, have been used as fire starters (known as tinder fungi).
Mushrooms and other fungi play a role in the development of new biological remediation techniques (e.g., using mycorrhizae to spur plant growth) and filtration technologies (e.g. using fungi to lower bacterial levels in contaminated water). The US Patent and Trademark Office can be searched for patents related to the latest developments in mycoremediation and mycofiltration.
Shrooms is a 2007 horror film about a group of American students and their Irish guide who are stalked by a serial killer while out in the woods looking for psilocybin mushrooms. The film was written by Pearse Elliott directed by Paddy Breathnach, and stars Lindsey Haun, Jack Huston, and Max Kasch.
American student Tara and her college friends visit Ireland to meet with local resident and friend Jake, and go camping in woodlands surrounding a long-disused children's home. Whilst collecting psilocybin mushrooms for later consumption, Tara ingests a deathcap mushroom and suffers a seizure after which she experiences dream-like trances in which she begins having premonitions of future events.
Around the evening camp fire, with Tara resting in her tent, Jake tells a ghost story of the empty children's home nearby, and of a violent sadistic monk who survived an assault by one of his charges, as revenge for killing his twin brother. Overhearing this causes Tara to have premonitions of the murders of her friends one by one, and ultimately herself.
After a nocturnal row with his girlfriend and the others, aggressive jock Bluto drinks some of the hallucinogenic tea (supposedly for all to share in the morning) and experiences a trip which culminates in his murder, seemingly at the hands of the rogue monk from the children's home.
The following morning, unconcerned by Bluto's disappearance – the others consume the mushroom tea, only to become separated from one another in the woods whilst under its effects. The three women, arguing and squabbling, get lost until they themselves are split, and Holly and Lisa are violently murdered – in accordance with Tara's continuing visions – after an encounter with local woodsmen Ernie and Bernie.
Jake and Troy locate Tara on the opposite bank of a river, and instruct her to meet them in the abandoned children's home to summon help. Upon investigating the property, Troy is apparently killed by the monk, and Jake makes good his escape by leaping from a high window, breaking his leg as he lands. Tara finds him and the two flee the haunted scene. Then, whilst resting his leg, he is murdered.
Tara awakes as a Garda helicopter hovers over the camp, and is dispatched into an ambulance as the sole survivor. As her mobile phone rings, she experiences a rapid flashback and realises that the hallucinogenic deathcap mushroom caused her to murder all of her friends.
When Shrooms was released, it opened to generally negative reviews. As of 2012 it holds a 24% approval rating on the film rating website Rotten Tomatoes. Variety described it as "A shake-'n'-bake slasher movie that shows just how difficult it is to do effective, modestly budgeted horror".
An Irish and Danish co-production, Shrooms was shot over a period of seven weeks – largely in Rossmore Park in Monaghan, Ireland.
Something Weird is a 1967 American exploitation film directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis. It stars, among others, Tony McCabe and Elizabeth Lee and features a paranormal plot involving LSD drug use, a psychic, a hideous witch who morphs into a sexy young woman, a séance, a kung-fu chopping socialite, ghosts, psychopaths and federal agents.
A man named Cronin Mitchell (Tony McCabe) survives a horrible electrical accident but ends up with a badly scarred face. He also finds that he has developed strange psychic and telekinetic powers. His maimed face depresses him and he strikes a bargain with a witch, Ellen (Elizabeth Lee), who agrees to fix him, on the condition that he becomes her lover. This is difficult, because although she appears beautiful to every one else, his powers enable him to see that she is hideously ugly. Still, he vainly wants his good looks back and so they become lovers and begin traveling the country. Cronin Mitchell becomes a renowned psychic. Circumstances change when he attempts to use his psychic abilities to identify a maniac who is committing murders in the small town of Jefferson, Wisconsin and runs head-to-head into a karate-happy government official, Alex Jordan (William Brooker), sent by the federal government to work on the case. Trouble really begins when Alex begins falling in love with the witch, and he has no idea what he is getting himself into.
-indol-4-yl] dihydrogen phosphate
220–228 °C (428–442 °F)
( ) is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound produced by more than 200 species of mushrooms, collectively known as psilocybin mushrooms. The most potent are members of the genus Psilocybe
, such as P. azurescens
, P. semilanceata
, and P. cyanescens
, but psilocybin has also been isolated from about a dozen other genera. As a prodrug, psilocybin is quickly converted by the body to psilocin, which has mind-altering effects similar to those of LSD, mescaline, and DMT. The effects generally include euphoria, visual and mental hallucinations, changes in perception, a distorted sense of time, and spiritual experiences, and can include possible adverse reactions such as nausea and panic attacks.
Imagery found on prehistoric murals and rock paintings of modern-day Spain and Algeria suggest that human usage of psilocybin mushrooms dates back thousands of years. In Mesoamerica, the mushrooms had long been consumed in spiritual and divinatory ceremonies before Spanish chroniclers first documented their use in the 16th century. In a 1957 Life
magazine article, American banker and ethnomycologist described his experiences ingesting psilocybin-containing mushrooms during a traditional ceremony in Mexico, introducing the drug to popular culture. Shortly afterward, the Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann isolated the active principle psilocybin from the mushroom Psilocybe mexicana
. Hofmann's employer Sandoz marketed and sold pure psilocybin to physicians and clinicians worldwide for use in psychedelic psychotherapy. Although increasingly restrictive drug laws of the late 1960s curbed scientific research into the effects of psilocybin and other hallucinogens, its popularity as an entheogen (spirituality-enhancing agent) grew in the next decade, largely owing to the increased availability of information on how to cultivate psilocybin mushrooms.
Some users of the drug consider it an entheogen and a tool to supplement practices for transcendence, including meditation and psychonautics. The intensity and duration of the effects of psilocybin are variable, depending on species or cultivar of mushrooms, dosage, individual physiology, and set and setting, as was shown in experiments led by Timothy Leary at Harvard University in the early 1960s. Once ingested, psilocybin is rapidly metabolized to psilocin, which then acts on serotonin receptors in the brain. The mind-altering effects of psilocybin typically last from two to six hours, although to individuals under the influence of psilocybin, the effects may seem to last much longer, since the drug can distort the perception of time. Psilocybin has a low toxicity and a relatively low harm potential, and reports of lethal doses of the drug are rare. Several modern bioanalytical methods have been adapted to rapidly and accurately screen the levels of psilocybin in mushroom samples and body fluids. Since the 1990s, there has been a renewal of scientific research into the potential medical and psychological therapeutic benefits of psilocybin for treating conditions including obsessive-compulsive disorder, cluster headaches, and anxiety related to terminal cancer. Possession of psilocybin-containing mushrooms has been outlawed in most countries, and it has been classified as a scheduled drug by many national drug laws.
There is evidence to suggest that psychoactive mushrooms have been used by humans in religious ceremonies for thousands of years. Murals dated 9000 to 7000 BCE found in the Sahara desert in southeast Algeria depict horned beings dressed as dancers, clothed in garb decorated with geometrical designs, and holding mushroom-like objects. Parallel lines extend from the mushroom shapes to the center of the dancers' heads. 6,000-year-old pictographs discovered near the Spanish town of Villar del Humo illustrate several mushrooms that have been tentatively identified as Psilocybe hispanica
, a hallucinogenic species native to the area. Archaeological artifacts from Mexico, as well as the so-called Mayan "mushroom stones" of Guatemala have similarly been interpreted by some scholars as evidence for ritual and ceremonial usage of psychoactive mushrooms in the Mayan and Aztec cultures of Mesoamerica. In Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, the mushrooms were called teonanácatl
, or "God's flesh". Following the arrival of Spanish explorers to the New World in the 16th century, chroniclers reported the use of mushrooms by the natives for ceremonial and religious purposes. According to the Dominican friar Diego Durán in The History of the Indies of New Spain
(published c. 1581), mushrooms were eaten in festivities conducted on the occasion of the accession to the throne of Aztec emperor Moctezuma II in 1502. The Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagún wrote of witnessing mushroom usage in his Florentine Codex (published 1545–1590), and described how some merchants would celebrate upon returning from a successful business trip by consuming mushrooms to evoke revelatory visions. After the defeat of the Aztecs, the Spanish forbade traditional religious practices and rituals that they considered "pagan idolatry", including ceremonial mushroom use. For the next four centuries, the Indians of Mesoamerica hid their use of entheogens from the Spanish conquerors.
Although several psychedelic mushrooms are found in Europe, there is little documented usage of these species in Old World history. The few existing historical accounts about psilocybin mushrooms typically lack sufficient information to allow species identification, and usually refer to the nature of their effects. For example, Flemish botanist Carolus Clusius (1526–1609) described the bolond gomba
(crazy mushroom), used in rural Hungary to prepare love potions. English botanist John Parkinson included details about a "foolish mushroom" in his 1640 herbal Theatricum Botanicum
. The first reliably documented report of intoxication with Psilocybe semilanceata
—Europe's most common and widespread psychedelic mushroom—involved a British family in 1799, who prepared a meal with mushrooms they had picked in London's Green Park.
American banker and amateur ethnomycologist R. Gordon Wasson and his wife Valentina studied the ritual use of psychoactive mushrooms by the native population in the Mazatec village Huautla de Jiménez. In 1957, Wasson described the psychedelic visions that he experienced during these rituals in "Seeking the Magic Mushroom", an article published in the popular American weekly Life
magazine. Later the same year they were accompanied on a follow-up expedition by French mycologist Roger Heim, who identified several of the mushrooms as Psilocybe
species. Heim cultivated the mushrooms in France, and sent samples for analysis to Albert Hofmann, a chemist employed by the Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company Sandoz (now Novartis). Hofmann, who had in 1938 created LSD, led a research group that isolated and identified the psychoactive compounds from Psilocybe mexicana
. Hofmann was aided in the discovery process by his willingness to ingest mushroom extracts to help verify the presence of the active compounds. He and his colleagues later synthesized a number of compounds chemically related to the naturally occurring psilocybin, to see how structural changes would affect psychoactivity. The new molecules differed from psilocybin in the position of the phosphoryl or hydroxyl group at the top of the indole ring, and in the numbers of methyl groups (CH3
) and other additional carbon chains.
Two diethyl analogs (containing two ethyl groups in place of the two methyl groups) of psilocybin and psilocin were synthesized by Hofmann: 4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-diethyltryptamine, called CEY-19, and 4-hydroxy-N,N-diethyltryptamine, called CZ-74. Because their physiological effects last only about three and a half hours (about half as long as psilocybin), they proved more manageable in European clinics using "psycholytic therapy"—a form of psychotherapy involving the controlled use of psychedelic drugs. Sandoz marketed and sold pure psilocybin under the name Indocybin to physicians and clinicians worldwide. There were no reports of serious complications when psilocybin was used in this way.
In the early 1960s, Harvard University became a testing ground for psilocybin, through the efforts of Timothy Leary and his associates Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert (who later changed his name to Ram Dass). Leary obtained synthesized psilocybin from Hofmann through Sandoz pharmaceutical. Some studies, such as the Concord Prison Experiment, suggested promising results using psilocybin in clinical psychiatry. According to a 2008 review of safety guidelines in human hallucinogenic research, however, Leary and Alpert's well-publicized termination from Harvard and later advocacy of hallucinogen use "further undermined an objective scientific approach to studying these compounds". In response to concerns about the increase in unauthorized use of psychedelic drugs by the general public, psilocybin and other hallucinogenic drugs suffered negative press and faced increasingly restrictive laws. In the United States, laws were passed in 1966 that prohibited the production, trade, or ingestion of hallucinogenic drugs; Sandoz stopped producing LSD and psilocybin the same year. Further backlash against LSD usage swept psilocybin along with it into the Schedule I category of illicit drugs in 1970. Subsequent restrictions on the use of these drugs in human research made funding for such projects difficult to obtain, and scientists who worked with psychedelic drugs faced being "professionally marginalized".
Despite the legal restrictions on psilocybin use, the 1970s witnessed the emergence of psilocybin as the "entheogen of choice". This was due in large part to a wide dissemination of information on the topic, which included works such as those by author Carlos Castaneda, and several books that taught the technique of growing psilocybin mushrooms. One of the most popular of this latter group was published in 1976 under the pseudonyms O.T. Oss and O.N. Oeric by Jeremy Bigwood, Dennis J. McKenna, K. Harrison McKenna, and Terence McKenna, entitled Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower's Guide
. Over 100,000 copies were sold by 1981. As ethnobiologist Jonathan Ott explains, "These authors adapted San Antonio's technique (for producing edible mushrooms by casing mycelial cultures on a rye grain substrate; San Antonio 1971) to the production of Psilocybe [Stropharia] cubensis
. The new technique involved the use of ordinary kitchen implements, and for the first time the layperson was able to produce a potent entheogen in his own home, without access to sophisticated technology, equipment or chemical supplies."
Because of a lack of clarity about laws about psilocybin mushrooms, retailers in the late 1990s and early 2000s (decade) commercialized and marketed them in smartshops in the Netherlands and the UK, and online. Several websites emerged that have contributed to the accessibility of information on description, use, effects and exchange of experiences among users. Since 2001, six EU countries have tightened their legislation on psilocybin mushrooms in response to concerns about their prevalence and increasing usage. In the 1990s, hallucinogens and their effects on human consciousness were again the subject of scientific study, particularly in Europe. Advances in neuropharmacology and neuropsychology, and the availability of brain imaging techniques have provided impetus for using drugs like psilocybin to probe the "neural underpinnings of psychotic symptom formation including ego disorders and hallucinations". Recent studies in the United States have attracted attention from the popular press and thrust psilocybin back into the limelight.
Psilocybin is present in varying concentrations in over 200 species of Basidiomycota mushrooms. In a 2000 review on the worldwide distribution of hallucinogenic mushrooms, Gastón Guzmán and colleagues considered these to be distributed amongst the following genera: Psilocybe
(116 species), Gymnopilus
(2) and Agrocybe
(1 species each). Guzmán increased his estimate of the number of psilocybin-containing Psilocybe
to 144 species in a 2005 review. The majority of these are found in Mexico (53 species), with the remainder distributed in the US and Canada (22), Europe (16), Asia (15), Africa (4), and Australia and associated islands (19). In general, psilocybin-containing species are dark-spored, gilled mushrooms that grow in meadows and woods of the subtropics and tropics, usually in soils rich in humus and plant debris. Psilocybin mushrooms occur on all continents, but the majority of species are found in subtropical humid forests. Psilocybe
species commonly found in the tropics include P. cubensis
and P. subcubensis
. P. semilanceata
—considered by Guzmán to be the world's most widely distributed psilocybin mushroom—is found in Europe, North America, Asia, South America, Australia and New Zealand, but is entirely absent from Mexico. Although the presence or absence of psilocybin is not of much use as a chemotaxonomical marker at the familial level or higher, it is used to classify taxa of lower taxonomic groups.
Both the caps and the stems contain the psychoactive compounds, although the caps contain consistently more. The spores of these mushrooms do not contain psilocybin or psilocin. The total potency varies greatly between species and even between specimens of a species collected or grown from the same strain. Because most psilocybin biosynthesis occurs early in the formation of fruit bodies or sclerotia, younger, smaller mushrooms tend to have a higher concentration of the drug than larger, mature mushrooms. In general, the psilocybin content of mushrooms is quite variable (ranging from almost nothing to 1.5% of the dry weight) and depends on species, strain, growth and drying conditions, and mushroom size. Cultivated mushrooms have less variability in psilocybin content than wild mushrooms. The drug is more stable in dried than fresh mushrooms; dried mushrooms retain their potency for months or even years, while mushrooms stored fresh for four weeks contain only traces of the original psilocybin. The psilocybin contents of dried herbarium specimens of Psilocybe semilanceata
in one study were shown to decrease with the increasing age of the sample: collections dated 11, 33, or 118 years old contained 0.84%, 0.67%, and 0.014% (all dry weight), respectively. Mature mycelia contain some psilocybin, while young mycelia (recently germinated from spores) lack appreciable amounts. Many species of mushrooms containing psilocybin also contain lesser amounts of the analog compounds baeocystin and norbaeocystin, chemicals thought to be biogenic precursors. Although most species of psilocybin-containing mushrooms bruise blue when handled or damaged due to the oxidization of phenolic compounds, this reaction is not a definitive method of identification or determining a mushroom's potency.
-dimethyltryptamine or 4-PO-DMT) is a prodrug that is converted into the pharmacologically active compound psilocin in the body by a dephosphorylation reaction. This chemical reaction takes place under strongly acidic conditions, or under physiological conditions in the body, through the action of enzymes called phosphatases.
Psilocybin is a tryptamine compound with a chemical structure containing an indole ring linked to an ethylamine substituent. It is chemically related to the amino acid tryptophan, and is structurally similar to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Psilocybin is a member of the general class of tryptophan-based compounds that originally functioned as antioxidants in earlier life forms before assuming more complex functions in multicellular organisms, including humans. Other related indole-containing psychedelic compounds include dimethyltryptamine, found in many plant species and in trace amounts in some mammals, and bufotenine, found in the skin of psychoactive toads. Biosynthetically, the biochemical transformation from tryptophan to psilocybin involves several enzyme reactions: decarboxylation, methylation at the N9 position, 4-hydroxylation, and O
-phosphorylation. Isotopic labeling experiments suggest that tryptophan decarboxylation is the initial biosynthetic step and that O
-phosphorylation is the final step. The precise sequence of the intermediate enzymatic steps is not known with certainty, and the biosynthetic pathway may differ between species.
Psilocybin is a zwitterionic alkaloid that is soluble in water, methanol and aqueous ethanol, but insoluble in organic solvents like chloroform and petroleum ether. Exposure to light is detrimental to the stability of aqueous solutions of psilocybin, and will cause it to rapidly oxidize—an important consideration when using it as an analytical standard. Osamu Shirota and colleagues reported a method for the large-scale synthesis of psilocybin without chromatographic purification in 2003. Starting with 4-hydroxyindole, they generated psilocybin from psilocin in 85% yield, a marked improvement over yields reported from previous syntheses. Purified psilocybin is a white, needle-like crystalline powder with a melting point between 220–228 °C (428–442 °F), and a slightly ammonia-like taste.
Several relatively simple chemical tests—commercially available as reagent testing kits—can be used to assess the presence of psilocybin in extracts prepared from mushrooms. The drug reacts in the Marquis test to produce a yellow color, and a green color in the Mandelin test. Neither of these tests, however, is specific for psilocybin; for example, the Marquis test will react with many classes of controlled drugs, such as those containing primary amino groups and unsubstituted benzene rings, including amphetamine and methamphetamine. Ehrlich's reagent and DMACA reagent are used as chemical sprays to detect the drug after thin layer chromatography. Many modern techniques of analytical chemistry have been used to quantify psilocybin levels in mushroom samples. Although the earliest methods commonly used gas chromatography, the high temperature required to vaporize the psilocybin sample prior to analysis causes it to spontaneously lose its phosphoryl group and become psilocin—making it difficult to chemically discriminate between the two drugs. In forensic toxicology, techniques involving gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC–MS) are the most widely used due to their high sensitivity and ability to separate compounds in complex biological mixtures. These techniques include ion mobility spectrometry, capillary zone electrophoresis, ultraviolet spectroscopy, and infrared spectroscopy. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is used with ultraviolet, fluorescence, electrochemical, and electrospray mass spectrometric detection methods.
Various chromatographic methods have been developed to detect psilocin in body fluids: the rapid emergency drug identification system (REMEDi HS), a drug screening method based on HPLC; HPLC with electrochemical detection; GC–MS; and liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. Although the determination of psilocin levels in urine can be performed without sample clean-up (i.e., removing potential contaminants that make it difficult to accurately assess concentration), the analysis in plasma or serum requires a preliminary extraction, followed by derivatization of the extracts in the case of GC–MS. A specific immunoassay has also been developed to detect psilocin in whole blood samples. A 2009 publication reported using HPLC to quickly separate forensically important illicit drugs including psilocybin and psilocin, which were identifiable within about half a minute of analysis time. These analytical techniques to determine psilocybin concentrations in body fluids are, however, not routinely available, and not typically used in clinical settings.
Psilocybin is rapidly dephosphorylated in the body to psilocin, which is a partial agonist for several serotonergic receptors. Psilocin has a high affinity for the 2A
5-HT serotonin receptor in the brain, where it mimics the effects of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, or 5-HT). Psilocin binds less tightly to other serotonergic receptors 1A
5-HT, and 2C
5-HT. Serotonin receptors are located in numerous parts of the brain, including the cerebral cortex, and are involved in a wide range of functions, including regulation of mood and motivation. The psychotomimetic (psychosis-mimicking) effects of psilocin can be blocked in a dose-dependent fashion by the 5-HT2A
antagonist drugs ketanserin and risperidone. Although the 5-HT2A
receptor is responsible for most of the effects of psilocin, various lines of evidence have shown that interactions with non-5-HT2A
receptors also contribute to the subjective and behavioral effects of the drug. For example, psilocin indirectly increases the concentration of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the basal ganglia, and some psychotomimetic symptoms of psilocin are reduced by haloperidol, a non-selective dopamine receptor antagonist. Taken together, these suggest that there may be an indirect dopaminergic contribution to psilocin's psychotomimetic effects. In contrast to LSD, which binds to all dopamine receptor subtypes, psilocybin and psilocin have no affinity for the dopamine receptors.
The chemical structures of psilocybin and related analogs have been used in computational biology to help model the structure, function, and ligand-binding properties of the 5-HT2C
The toxicity of psilocybin is low. In rats, the median lethal dose (LD50
) when administered orally is 280 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg), approximately one and a half times that of caffeine. When administered intravenously in rabbits, psilocybin's LD50
is approximately 12.5 mg/kg. Psilocybin comprises approximately 1% of the weight of Psilocybe cubensis
mushrooms, and so nearly 1.7 kilograms (3.7 lb) of dried mushrooms, or 17 kilograms (37 lb) of fresh mushrooms, would be required for a 60-kilogram (130 lb) person to reach the 280 mg/kg LD50
value of rats. Based on the results of animal studies, the lethal dose of psilocybin has been extrapolated to be 6 grams, 1000 times greater than the effective dose of 6 milligrams. The Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances assigns psilocybin a relatively high therapeutic index of 641 (higher values correspond to a better safety profile); for comparison, the therapeutic indices of aspirin and nicotine are 199 and 21, respectively. The lethal dose from psilocybin toxicity alone is unknown at recreational or medicinal levels, and has rarely been documented—as of 2011, only two cases attributed to overdosing on hallucinogenic mushrooms (without concurrent use of other drugs) have been reported in the scientific literature.
Most of the comparatively few fatal incidents reported in the literature that are associated with psychedelic mushroom usage involve the simultaneous use of other drugs, especially alcohol. Probably the most common cause of hospital admissions resulting from magic mushroom usage involve "bad trips" or panic reactions, in which affected individuals become extremely anxious, confused, agitated, or disoriented. Accidents, self-injury, or suicide attempts can result from serious cases of acute psychotic episodes.
Repeated use of psilocybin does not lead to physical dependence. A 2008 study concluded that, based on US data from the period 2000–2002, adolescent-onset (defined here as ages 11–17) usage of hallucinogenic drugs (including psilocybin) did not increase the risk of drug dependence in adulthood; this was in contrast to adolescent usage of cannabis, cocaine, inhalants, anxiolytic medicines, and stimulants, all of which were associated with "an excess risk of developing clinical features associated with drug dependence". Similarly, a 2010 Dutch study ranked the relative harm of psilocybin mushrooms compared to a selection of 19 recreational drugs, including alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, and tobacco. Magic mushrooms were ranked as the illicit drug with the lowest harm, corroborating conclusions reached earlier by expert groups in the United Kingdom.
Although no studies have linked psilocybin with birth defects, it is recommended that pregnant women avoid its usage.
Although psilocybin may be prepared synthetically, outside of the research setting, it is not typically used in this form. The psilocybin present in certain species of mushrooms can be ingested in several ways: by consuming fresh or dried fruit bodies, by preparing a tisane, or by combining with other foods to mask the bitter taste. In rare cases people have injected mushroom extracts intravenously. The effects of the drug begin 10–40 minutes after ingestion, and last 2–6 hours depending on dose, species, and individual metabolism. The half life of psilocybin is 163 ± 64 minutes when taken orally, or 74.1 ± 19.6 minutes when injected intravenously. A dosage of 4–10 mg, corresponding roughly to 50–300 micrograms per kilogram (µg/kg) of body weight, is required to induce psychedelic effects. A typical recreational dosage is 10–50 mg psilocybin, which is roughly equivalent to 10–50 grams of fresh mushrooms, or 1–5 grams of dried mushrooms. A small number of people are unusually sensitive to psilocybin, such that a normally threshold-level dose of about 2 mg can result in effects usually associated with medium or high doses. In contrast, there are some who require relatively high doses to experience noticeable effects. Individual brain chemistry and metabolism play a large role in determining a person's response to psilocybin.
Psilocybin is metabolized mostly in the liver. As it becomes converted to psilocin, it undergoes a first-pass effect, whereby its concentration is greatly reduced before it reaches the systemic circulation. Psilocin is broken down by the enzyme monoamine oxidase to produce several metabolites that can circulate in the blood plasma, including 4-hydroxyindole-3-acetaldehyde, 4-hydroxytryptophol, and 4-hydroxyindole-3-acetic acid. Some psilocin is not broken down by enzymes, and instead forms a glucuronide; this is a biochemical mechanism animals use to eliminate toxic substances by linking them with glucuronic acid, which can then be excreted in the urine. Psilocin is glucuronated by the glucuronosyltransferase enzymes UGT1A9 in the liver, and by UGT1A10 in the small intestine. Based on studies using animals, about 50% of ingested psilocybin is absorbed through the stomach and intestine. Within 24 hours, about 65% of the absorbed psilocybin is excreted into the urine, and a further 15–20% is excreted in the bile and feces. Although most of the remaining drug is eliminated in this way within 8 hours, it is still detectable in the urine after 7 days. Clinical studies show that psilocin concentrations in the plasma of adults average about 8 µg/liter within 2 hours after ingestion of a single 15 mg oral psilocybin dose; psychological effects occur with a blood plasma concentration of 4–6 µg/liter. Psilocybin is about 100 times less potent than LSD on a weight per weight basis, and the physiological effects last about half as long.
Tolerance to psilocybin builds and dissipates quickly; ingesting psilocybin more than about once a week can lead to diminished effects. Tolerance dissipates after a few days, so doses can be spaced several days apart to avoid the effect. A cross-tolerance can develop between psilocybin and the pharmacologically similar LSD, and between psilocybin and phenethylamines such as mescaline and DOM. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) have been known to prolong and enhance the effects of psilocybin. Alcohol consumption may enhance the effects of psilocybin, because acetaldehyde, one of the primary breakdown metabolites of consumed alcohol, reacts with biogenic amines present in the body to produce MAOIs related to tetrahydroisoquinoline and β-carboline. Tobacco smokers can also experience more powerful effects with psilocybin, because tobacco smoke exposure decreases levels of MAO in the brain and peripheral organs.
The effects of psilocybin are highly variable and depend on the mindset and environment in which the user has the experience, factors commonly referred to as set and setting. In the early 1960s, Timothy Leary and colleagues at Harvard University investigated the role of set and setting on the effects of psilocybin. They administered the drug to 175 volunteers from various backgrounds in an environment intended to be similar to a comfortable living room. Ninety-eight of the subjects were given questionnaires to assess their experiences and the contribution of background and situational factors. Individuals who had experience with psilocybin prior to the study reported more pleasant experiences than those for whom the drug was novel. Group size, dosage, preparation, and expectancy were important determinants of the drug response. Those placed in groups of more than eight individuals generally felt that the groups were less supportive, and their experiences were less pleasant. Conversely, smaller groups (fewer than six individuals) were seen as more supportive. Participants also reported having more positive reactions to the drug in those groups. Leary and colleagues proposed that psilocybin heightens suggestibility, making an individual more receptive to interpersonal interactions and environmental stimuli. These findings were affirmed in a later review by Jos ten Berge (1999), who concluded that dosage, set, and setting were fundamental factors in determining the outcome of experiments that tested the effects of psychedelic drugs on artists' creativity.
After ingesting psilocybin, a wide range of subjective effects may be experienced: feelings of disorientation, lethargy, giddiness, euphoria, joy, and depression. About a third of users report feelings of anxiety or paranoia. Low doses of the drug can induce hallucinatory effects. Closed-eye hallucinations may occur, in which the affected individual sees multicolored geometric shapes and vivid imaginative sequences. Some individuals report experiencing synesthesia, such as tactile sensations when viewing colors. At higher doses, psilocybin can lead to "Intensification of affective responses, enhanced ability for introspection, regression to primitive and childlike thinking, and activation of vivid memory traces with pronounced emotional undertones". Open-eye visual hallucinations are common, and may be very detailed although rarely confused with reality.
A 2011 prospective study by Roland R. Griffiths and colleagues suggests that a single high dosage of psilocybin can cause long-term changes in the personality of its users. About half of the study participants—described as healthy, "spiritually active", and many possessing postgraduate degrees—showed an increase in the personality dimension of openness (assessed using the Revised NEO Personality Inventory), and this positive effect was apparent more than a year after the psilocybin session. According to the study authors, the finding is significant because "no study has prospectively demonstrated personality change in healthy adults after an experimentally manipulated discrete event." Although other researchers have described instances of psychedelic drug usage leading to new psychological understandings and personal insights, it is not known whether these experimental results can be generalized to larger populations.
Common responses include: pupil dilation (93%); changes in heart rate (100%), including increases (56%), decreases (13%), and variable responses (31%); changes in blood pressure (84%), including hypotension (34%), hypertension (28%), and general instability (22%); changes in stretch reflex (86%), including increases (80%) and decreases (6%); nausea (44%); tremor (25%); and dysmetria (16%) (inability to properly direct or limit motions). The temporary increases in blood pressure caused by the drug can be a risk factor for users with pre-existing hypertension. These qualitative somatic effects caused by psilocybin have been corroborated by several early clinical studies. A 2005 magazine survey of club goers in the UK found that nausea or vomiting was experienced by over a quarter of those who had used hallucinogenic mushrooms in the last year, although this effect is caused by the mushroom rather than psilocybin itself. In one study, administration of gradually increasing dosages of psilocybin daily for 21 days had no measurable effect on electrolyte levels, blood sugar levels, or liver toxicity tests.
Psilocybin is known to strongly influence the subjective experience of the passage of time. Users often feel as if time is slowed down, resulting in the perception that "minutes appear to be hours" or "time is standing still". Studies have demonstrated that psilocybin significantly impairs subjects' ability to gauge time intervals longer than 2.5 seconds, impairs their ability to synchronize to inter-beat intervals longer than 2 seconds, and reduces their preferred tapping rate. These results are consistent with the drug's role in affecting prefrontal cortex activity, and the role that the prefrontal cortex is known to play in time perception. However, the neurochemical basis of psilocybin's effects on the perception of time are not known with certainty.
Users having a pleasant experience can feel a sense of connection to others, nature, and the universe; other perceptions and emotions are also often intensified. Users having an unpleasant experience (a "bad trip") describe a reaction accompanied by fear, other unpleasant feelings, and occasionally by dangerous behavior. In general, the phrase "bad trip" is used to describe a reaction that is characterized primarily by fear or other unpleasant emotions, not just transitory experience of such feelings. A variety of factors may contribute to a psilocybin user experiencing a bad trip, including "tripping" during an emotional or physical low or in a non-supportive environment (see: set and setting
). Ingesting psilocybin in combination with other drugs, including alcohol, can also increase the likelihood of a bad trip. Other than the duration of the experience, the effects of psilocybin are similar to comparable dosages of LSD or mescaline. However, in the Psychedelics Encyclopedia
, author Peter Stafford noted, "The psilocybin experience seems to be warmer, not as forceful and less isolating. It tends to build connections between people, who are generally much more in communication than when they use LSD."
Panic reactions can occur after consumption of psilocybin-containing mushrooms, especially if the ingestion is accidental or otherwise unexpected. Reactions characterized by violence, aggression, homicidal and suicidal attempts, prolonged schizophrenia-like psychosis, and convulsions have been reported in the literature. A 2005 survey conducted in the United Kingdom found that almost a quarter of those who had used psilocybin mushrooms in the past year had experienced a panic attack. Other adverse effects less frequently reported include paranoia, confusion, derealization, disconnection from reality, and mania. Psilocybin usage can temporarily induce a state of depersonalization disorder. Usage by those with schizophrenia can induce acute psychotic states requiring hospitalization.
The similarity of psilocybin-induced symptoms to those of schizophrenia has made the drug a useful research tool in behavioral and neuroimaging studies of this psychotic disorder. In both cases, psychotic symptoms are thought to arise from a "deficient gating of sensory and cognitive information" in the brain that ultimately lead to "cognitive fragmentation and psychosis". Flashbacks (spontaneous recurrences of a previous psilocybin experience) can occur long after having used psilocybin mushrooms. Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) is characterized by a continual presence of visual disturbances similar to those generated by psychedelic substances. Neither flashbacks nor HPPD are commonly associated with psilocybin usage, and correlations between HPPD and psychedelics are further obscured by polydrug use and other variables.
Psilocybin mushrooms have been and continue to be used in indigenous New World cultures in religious, divinatory, or spiritual contexts. Reflecting the meaning of the word entheogen
("the god within"), the mushrooms are revered as powerful spiritual sacraments that provide access to sacred worlds. Typically used in small group community settings, they enhance group cohesion and reaffirm traditional values. Terence McKenna documented the worldwide practices of psilocybin mushroom usage as part of a cultural ethos relating to the Earth and mysteries of nature, and suggested that mushrooms enhanced self-awareness and a sense of contact with a "Transcendent Other"—reflecting a deeper understanding of our connectedness with nature.
Psychedelic drugs can induce states of consciousness that have lasting personal meaning and spiritual significance in individuals who are religious or spiritually inclined; these states are called mystical experiences. Some scholars have proposed that many of the qualities of a drug-induced mystical experience are indistinguishable from mystical experiences achieved through non-drug techniques, such as meditation or holotropic breathwork. In the 1960s, Walter Pahnke and colleagues systematically evaluated mystical experiences (which they called "mystical consciousness") by categorizing their common features. These categories, according to Pahnke, "describe the core of a universal psychological experience, free from culturally determined philosophical or theological interpretations", and allow researchers to assess mystical experiences on a qualitative, numerical scale.
In the 1962 Marsh Chapel Experiment, which was run by Pahnke at the Harvard Divinity School under the supervision of Timothy Leary, almost all of the graduate degree divinity student volunteers who received psilocybin reported profound religious experiences. One of the participants was religious scholar Huston Smith, author of several textbooks on comparative religion; he later described his experience as "the most powerful cosmic homecoming I have ever experienced." In a 25-year followup to the experiment, all of the subjects given psilocybin described their experience as having elements of "a genuine mystical nature and characterized it as one of the high points of their spiritual life". Psychedelic researcher Rick Doblin considered the study partially flawed due to incorrect implementation of the double-blind procedure, and several imprecise questions in the mystical experience questionnaire. Nevertheless, he said that the study cast "a considerable doubt on the assertion that mystical experiences catalyzed by drugs are in any way inferior to non-drug mystical experiences in both their immediate content and long-term effects". This sentiment was echoed by psychiatrist William A. Richards, who in a 2007 review stated "[psychedelic] mushroom use may constitute one technology for evoking revelatory experiences that are similar, if not identical, to those that occur through so-called spontaneous alterations of brain chemistry."
A group of researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine led by Griffiths conducted a study to assess the immediate and long-term psychological effects of the psilocybin experience, using a modified version of the mystical experience questionnaire and a rigorous double-blind procedure. When asked in an interview about the similarity of his work with Leary's, Griffiths explained the difference: "We are conducting rigorous, systematic research with psilocybin under carefully monitored conditions, a route which Dr. Leary abandoned in the early 1960s." The National Institute of Drug Abuse-funded study, published in 2006, has been praised by experts for the soundness of its experimental design. In the experiment, 36 volunteers without prior experience with hallucinogens were given psilocybin and methylphenidate (Ritalin) in separate sessions; the methylphenidate sessions served as a control and psychoactive placebo. The degree of mystical experience was measured using a questionnaire developed by Ralph W. Hood; 61% of subjects reported a "complete mystical experience" after their psilocybin session, while only 13% reported such an outcome after their experience with methylphenidate. Two months after taking psilocybin, 79% of the participants reported moderately to greatly increased life satisfaction and sense of well-being. About 36% of participants also had a strong to extreme "experience of fear" or dysphoria (i.e., a "bad trip") at some point during the psilocybin session (which was not reported by any subject during the methylphenidate session); about one-third of these (13% of the total) reported that this dysphoria dominated the entire session. These negative effects were reported to be easily managed by the researchers and did not have a lasting negative effect on the subject's sense of well-being.
A follow-up study conducted 14 months after the original psilocybin session confirmed that participants continued to attribute deep personal meaning to the experience. Almost one-third of the subjects reported that the experience was the single most meaningful or spiritually significant event of their lives, and over two-thirds reported it among their five most spiritually significant events. About two-thirds indicated that the experience increased their sense of well-being or life satisfaction. Similarly, in a recent (2010) web-based questionnaire study designed to investigate user perceptions of the benefits and harms of hallucinogenic drug use, 60% of the 503 psilocybin users reported that their use of psilocybin had a long-term positive impact on their sense of well-being.
In 2011, Griffiths and colleagues published the results of further studies designed to learn more about the optimum psilocybin doses needed for positive life-changing experiences, while minimizing the chance of negative reactions. In a 14-month followup, the researchers found that 94% of the volunteers rated their experiences with the drug as one of the top five most spiritually significant of their lives (44% said it was the single most significant). None of the 90 sessions that took place throughout the study were rated as decreasing well-being or life satisfaction. Moreover, 89% reported positive changes in their behaviors as a result of the experiences. The conditions of the experimental design included a single drug experience a month, on a couch, in a living-room-like setting, with eye shades and carefully chosen music (classical and world music). As an additional precaution to guide the experience, as with the 2006 study, the 2011 study included a "monitor" or "guide" whom the volunteers supposedly trusted. The monitors provided gentle reassurance when the volunteers experienced anxiety. The volunteers and monitors all remained blind to the exact dosages for the sake of the experiment.
Psilocybin has been a subject of medical research since the 1960s, when Leary and Alpert ran the Harvard Psilocybin Project, in which they carried out a number of experiments to evaluate the therapeutic value of psilocybin in the treatment of personality disorders, or to augment psychological counseling. In the 2000s (decade), there was a renewal of research concerning the use of psychedelic drugs for potential clinical applications, such as to address anxiety disorders, major depression, and various addictions. In 2008, the Johns Hopkins research team published guidelines for responsibly conducting medical research trials with psilocybin and other hallucinogens in humans. These included recommendations on how to screen potential study volunteers to exclude those with personal or family psychiatric histories that suggest a risk of adverse reactions to hallucinogens. A 2010 study on the short- and long-term subjective effects of psilocybin administration in clinical settings concluded that despite a small risk of acute reactions such as dysphoria, anxiety, or panic, "the administration of moderate doses of psilocybin to healthy, high-functioning and well-prepared subjects in the context of a carefully monitored research environment is associated with an acceptable level of risk"; the authors note, however, that the safety of the drug "cannot be generalized to situations in which psilocybin is used recreationally or administered under less controlled conditions."
The first FDA-approved clinical study of psilocybin since 1970—led by Francisco Moreno at the University of Arizona and supported by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies—studied the effects of psilocybin on nine patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). The pilot study found that, when administered by trained professionals in a medical setting, the use of psilocybin was associated with substantial reductions in OCD symptoms in several of the patients. This effect may be caused by psilocybin's ability to reduce the levels of the 5-HT2A
receptor, resulting in decreased responsiveness to serotonin. Psilocybin has additionally shown promise to ease the pain caused by cluster headaches, often considered not only the most painful of all types of headaches but "one of the worst pain syndromes known to mankind." In a 2006 study, half of cluster headache patients reported that psilocybin aborted the attacks, and most reported extended remission periods; similar results were reported for LSD. A 2011 review of alternative headache treatments concluded that, despite flaws in the study design, these results suggest that LSD and psilocybin may warrant further study for use in the prevention of cluster headaches—only subhallucinogenic doses of the drugs are required for effective treatment, and no other medications have been reported to stop a cluster headache cycle.
Several modern studies have investigated the possibility that psilocybin can ease the psychological suffering associated with end-stage cancer. Preliminary results indicate that low doses of psilocybin can improve the mood and reduce the anxiety of patients with advanced cancer, and that the effects last from two weeks to six months. These results are comparable to those obtained from early studies that explored the use of LSD to improve the psychological well-being of terminally ill patients, but without the experimental rigor employed in modern clinical psychopharmacology research.
A 2009 national survey of drug use by the US Department of Health and Human Services concluded that the number of first-time psilocybin mushroom users in the United States was roughly equivalent to the number of first-time users of marijuana. In European countries, the lifetime prevalence estimates of psychedelic mushroom usage among young adults (15–34 years) range from 0.3% to 14.1%. In modern Mexico, traditional ceremonial use survives among several indigenous groups, including the Nahuatls, the Matlazinca, the Totonacs, the Mazatecs, Mixes, Zapotecs, and the Chatino. Although hallucinogenic Psilocybe
species are abundant in low-lying areas of Mexico, most ceremonial use takes places in mountainous areas of elevations greater than 1,500 meters (4,900 ft). Guzmán suggests this is a vestige of Spanish colonial influence from several hundred years earlier, when mushroom use was persecuted by the Catholic Church.
In the United States, psilocybin (and psilocin) were first subjected to federal regulation by the Drug Abuse Control Amendments of 1965, a product of a bill sponsored by Senator Thomas J. Dodd. The law—passed in July 1965 and effected on February 1, 1966—was an amendment to the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and was intended to regulate the unlicensed "possession, manufacture, or sale of depressant, stimulant and hallucinogenic drugs". The statutes themselves, however, did not list the "hallucinogenic drugs" that were being regulated. Instead, the term "hallucinogenic drugs" was meant to refer to those substances believed to have a "hallucinogenic effect on the central nervous system".
Despite the seemingly strict provisions of the law, many people were exempt from prosecution. The statutes "permit[ted] … people to possess such drugs so long as they were for the personal use of the possessor, [for] a member of his household, or for administration to an animal". The federal law that specifically banned psilocybin and psilocin was enacted on October 24, 1968. The substances were said to have "a high potential for abuse", "no currently accepted medical use," and "a lack of accepted safety". On October 27, 1970, both psilocybin and psilocin became classified as Schedule I drugs and were simultaneously labeled "hallucinogens" under a section of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act known as the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I drugs are illicit drugs that are claimed to have no known therapeutic benefit. The United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances (adopted in 1971) requires its members to prohibit psilocybin, and parties to the treaty are required to restrict use of the drug to medical and scientific research under strictly controlled conditions. However, the mushrooms containing the drug were not specifically included in the convention, due largely to pressure from the Mexican government. Most national drug laws have been amended to reflect the terms of the convention; examples include the UK Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, the US Psychotropic Substances Act of 1978, the Canadian Controlled Drugs and Substances Act of 1996, and the Japanese Narcotics and Psychotropics Control Law of 2002. The possession and use of psilocybin is prohibited under almost all circumstances, and often carries severe legal penalties.
Possession and use of psilocybin mushrooms, including the bluing species of Psilocybe
, is therefore prohibited by extension. However, in many national, state, and provincial drug laws, there has been a great deal of ambiguity about the legal status of psilocybin mushrooms, as well as a strong element of selective enforcement in some places. Most US state courts have considered the mushroom a 'container' of the illicit drugs, and therefore illegal. A loophole further complicates the legal situation—the spores of psilocybin mushrooms do not contain the drugs, and are legal to possess in many areas. Jurisdictions that have specifically enacted or amended laws to criminalize the possession of psilocybin mushroom spores include Germany (since 1998), and California, Georgia, and Idaho in the United States. There is consequently an active underground economy involved in the sale of spores and cultivation materials, and an internet-based social network to support the illicit activity. After a long interruption in the use of psilocybin in research, there has been a general shift in attitudes regarding research with hallucinogenic agents. Many countries are revising their positions and have started to approve studies to test the physiological and therapeutic effects of hallucinogens.
Kinsmen Stadium is the home of the Oshawa Dodgers of the Intercounty Baseball League. It is located on Arena Street in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, next to the Oshawa Creek, and directly to the north of the former Hambly Arena.
Oshawa (2011 population 149,607; CMA 356,177) is a city in Ontario, Canada, on the Lake Ontario shoreline. It lies in Southern Ontario approximately 60 kilometres east of downtown Toronto. It is commonly viewed as the eastern anchor of both the Greater Toronto Area and the Golden Horseshoe. It is the largest municipality in the Regional Municipality of Durham. The name Oshawa originates from the Ojibwa term aazhaway, meaning "the crossing place" or just "(a)cross".
Oshawa is, as of 2011, the sole "Automotive Capital of Canada", having shared the title with Windsor, Ontario in the past. The automobile industry, specifically the Canadian division of General Motors Company, known as General Motors Canada, has always been at the forefront of Oshawa's economy. Founded in 1876 as the McLaughlin Carriage Company, General Motors of Canada's headquarters and major assembly plants are located in the city. Until the current motto, Oshawa's previous mottos were "The City That Motovates Canada", and "The City in Motion". The lavish home of the carriage company's founder, Parkwood Estate, is a National Historic Site of Canada, and a backdrop favoured by numerous film crews, and has been featured in many movies including Studio 54, Billy Madison, Chicago, and X-Men.
Oshawa was also home to Windfields Farm, a thoroughbred horse breeding operation and birthplace of Canada's most famous racehorse, Northern Dancer.
Oshawa will be hosting the boxing, shooting (shotgun) and softball events for the 2015 Pan American Games.
Historians believe that the area that would become Oshawa began as a transfer point for the fur trade. Beaver and other animals trapped for their pelts by local natives were traded with the Coureurs des bois (voyagers). Furs were loaded onto canoes by the Mississauga Indians at the Oshawa harbour and transported to the trading posts located to the west at the mouth of the Credit River. Around 1760, the French constructed a trading post near the harbour location; this was abandoned after a few years, but its ruins provided shelter for the first residents of what later became Oshawa. Most notably, one of the fur traders was Moody Farewell, an early resident of the community who was to some extent responsible for its name change.
In the late 18th century a local resident, Roger Conant, started an export business shipping salmon to the United States. His success attracted further migration into the region. A large number of the founding immigrants were United Empire Loyalists, who left the United States to live under British rule. Later Irish and then French Canadian immigration increased as did industrialization. Oshawa and the surrounding Ontario County were also the settling grounds of a disproportionate number of 19th century Cornish immigrants during the Cornish emigration which emptied large tracts of that part of England. As well, the surveys ordered by Governor John Graves Simcoe, and the subsequent land grants, helped populate the area. When Col. Asa Danforth laid out his York-to-Kingston road, it passed through what would later become Oshawa.
In 1822, a "colonization road" (a north-south road to facilitate settlement) known as Simcoe Street was constructed. It more or less followed the path of an old native trail known as the Nonquon Road, and ran from the harbour to the area of Lake Scugog. This intersected the "Kingston Road" at what would become Oshawa's "Four Corners." In 1836, Edward Skae relocated his general store approximately 800 m east to the southeast corner of this intersection; as his store became a popular meeting place (probably because it also served as the Post Office), the corner and the growing settlement that surrounded it, were known as Skae's Corners. In 1842, Skae, the postmaster, applied for official post office status, but was informed the community needed a better name. Moody Farewell was requested to ask his native acquaintances what they called the area; their reply was "Oshawa," which translates to "where we must leave our canoes." Thus, the name of Oshawa, one of the primary "motor cities" of Canada, has a name meaning "where we have to get out and walk!" The name "Oshawa" was adopted and the post office named accordingly. In 1849, the requirements for incorporation were eased, and Oshawa was incorporated as a village in 1850.
The newly established village became an industrial centre, and implement works, tanneries, asheries and wagon factories opened (and often closed shortly after, as economic "panics" occurred regularly). In 1876, Robert Samuel McLaughlin, Sr. moved his carriage works to Oshawa from Enniskillen to take advantage of its harbour as well as the availability of a rail link not too far away. He constructed a two-story building, which was soon added to. This building was heavily remodelled in 1929, receiving a new facade and being extended to the north using land where the city's gaol (jail, firehall & townhall) had once stood. The village became a town in 1879, in what was then called East Whitby Township. Around 1890, the carriage works relocated from its Simcoe Street address to an unused furniture factory a couple of blocks to the northeast, and this remained its site until the building burnt in 1899. Offered assistance by the town, McLaughlin elected to stay in Oshawa, building a new factory across Mary Street from the old site. Rail service had been provided in 1890 by the Oshawa Railway; this was originally set up as a streetcar line, but c. 1910 constructed a second "freight line" was built slightly to the east of Simcoe Street. This electric line provided both streetcar and freight service, connected central Oshawa with the Grand Trunk (now Canadian National) Railway, as well as the long-defunct Canadian Northern (which ran through the very north of Oshawa) and the Canadian Pacific, built in 1912-13. The Oshawa Railway was acquired by the Grand Trunk operation around 1910, and streetcar service was replaced by buses in 1940. After GM moved its main plants to south Oshawa in 1951, freight traffic fell and most of the tracks were removed in 1963, although a line to the older remaining "north" plant via Ritson Road remained until 2000.
In 1907 the McLaughlin Motor Car Company began to manufacture with Buick automobiles under the McLaughlin name. This resulted from talks between Col. R. S. McLaughlin and "Billy" Durant a 15 year contract at cost plus(the entrepreneur who with McLaughlin's contract in 1907 had created General Motors in the U.S.in 1908). In 1915 the firm acquired the manufacturing rights to the Chevrolet brand. Within three years his firm and the Chevrolet Motor Car Company of Canada merged, creating General Motors of Canada. Col. R. S. McLaughlin became the head of this new operation in 1918 McLaughlin was Director and Vice-President of General Motors Corporation (from GM archives), and his factory expanded rapidly, eventually covering several blocks. The popularity of the automobile in the nineteen-twenties generated rapid expansion of Oshawa, which grew in population from 4,000 to 16,000 during this decade as well as in land area. In 1924, Oshawa annexed the area to its south, including both the harbour and the community of Cedardale. This growth allowed Oshawa to seek incorporation as a city, which took place March 8, 1924.
With the wealth he gained in his business venture, in 1916 Robert Samuel McLaughlin built one of the most stately homes in Canada, "Parkwood." The 55-room residence was built using inexpensive labour, and designed by Toronto architect John M. Lyle. McLaughlin lived in the house for 55 years with his wife and 5 children. The house replaced an older mansion, which was about thirty years old when it was demolished; the grounds of the earlier home had been operated as Prospect Park, and this land was acquired by the town and became its first municipal park, Alexandra Park. Parkwood today is open to the public as a National Historic Site and tours are offered as well.
On April 8, 1937, disputes between 4000 assembly line workers and General Motors management led to the Oshawa Strike, a salient event in the history of Canadian trade unionism. As the weight of the Great Depression slowly began to lift, demand for automobiles again began to grow. The workers sought higher wages, an eight-hour workday, better working conditions and recognition of their union, the United Auto Workers (Local 222). The then-Liberal government of Mitchell Hepburn, which had, ironically, been elected on a platform of being the working man's friend, sided with the corporation and even brought in armed university students to break up any union agitation. Fortunately, these much-derided "Hepburn's Hussars" and "Sons of Mitches" were never needed as the union refused to be drawn into any violent act. The union and workers had the backing of the local population, other unions and the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, and on April 23, two weeks after the strike started, the company gave in to most of the workers' demands, although—pointedly—it did not recognize the union.
In 1950, the city annexed a portion of East Whitby Township west of Park Road. Some of this area had been developed during the 1920s boom period, although it was not within the boundaries of the city proper. The opening of the Oshawa Shopping Centre (now the Oshawa Centre) fewer than two kilometres west of the "four corners" in 1956 struck a blow to Oshawa's downtown from which it has never been able to recover. The shopping centre was built on land which had been an unproductive farm; when its owner gave up on agriculture, this released a very large area of land for the construction of a mall. The Oshawa Centre is the largest shopping mall in Ontario east of Toronto. The opening of what later became Highway 401, then known as Highway 2A, shortly after World War II sparked increased residential growth in Oshawa and the other lakeshore municipalities of Ontario County, which ultimately led to the creation of the Regional Municipality of Durham in 1974. Oshawa was amalgamated with the remaining portions of East Whitby Township and took on its present boundaries, which included the outlying villages of Columbus, Raglan and Kedron. Much of Oshawa's industry has closed over the years; however, it is still the headquarters of GM Canada as well as its major manufacturing site. Current industries of note include manufacturing of railway maintenance equipment, mining equipment, steel fabrication, and rubber products. Oshawa is also recognized as an official port of entry for immigration and customs services.
Oshawa is headquarters to General Motors Canada, which has large-scale manufacturing and administrative operations in the city and employs many thousands both directly and indirectly. Since Windsor, Ontario houses Chrysler Canada headquarters, the two cities have something of a friendly rivalry for the title of "Automotive Capital of Canada". Currently, Oshawa holds this title.
The revenue collection divisions of the Ontario Ministry of Finance occupy one of the few major office buildings in the city's downtown, which continues to struggle despite business improvement efforts. The city's older southern neighbourhoods tend to be considerably less affluent than its more suburban northern sections, which are rapidly expanding as Toronto commuters move in. The southern half of the city consists of industrial zones and compact housing designed for early 20th century industrial workers, while the northern half has a suburban feel more typical of later decades. High wages paid to unionized GM employees have meant that these workers could enjoy a relatively high standard of living, although such jobs are much scarcer today than they once were. During its post-World War II heyday, General Motors offered some of the best manufacturing jobs available in Canada and attracted thousands of workers from economically depressed areas of the country, particularly the Maritimes, Newfoundland, rural Quebec and northern Ontario. The city was also a magnet for European immigrants in the skilled trades, and boasts substantial Polish, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Croatian, German, Slovak and Russian ethnic communities.
Although the workforce at General Motors of Canada has shrunk dramatically in recent years, the company continues to make significant technology and capital investments at its sites in Oshawa. While the company's once essential role in the local economy has diminished, it remains the largest local employer. Many of its operations have been spun off to contractors. In most cases, new owners at the spun off facilities are not bound by the collective bargaining agreements of the Canadian Auto Workers, and wages at such operations tend to be much lower than at General Motors itself.
Oshawa has become one of the fastest growing cities in Canada, although statements to this effect are often in reference to the Census Metropolitan Area, which includes neighbouring Whitby and Clarington. Many commuters have been enticed to Oshawa by comparatively low housing prices and the regular rail service into downtown Toronto provided by GO Transit and Via Rail. The growth of subdivisions to house Toronto commuters will likely accelerate when the long-planned Highway 407 extension is built across the city's northern tier by 2013. The trend suggests major social changes for Oshawa, which has long had a vigorous labour union presence and largely blue collar identity. Rising property values and the emergence of land speculation associated with suburban growth have created new dynamics for the local economy. While unchecked growth was largely accepted (even embraced) in the 1980s and 1990s, concern over urban sprawl has emerged.
In late 2004, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority announced a plan under which the Oshawa Airport would be closed and its traffic diverted to a major new Toronto reliever airport to be constructed in Pickering. The Oshawa airport handles occasional traffic related to General Motors (emergency spare parts and executives); GM has indicated that a move of its air traffic to Pickering would not affect its operations. The airport also handles significant general aviation, two flight training facilities, and numerous other aviation and non-aviation related companies, all of which would need to be diverted or relocated. Significant helicopter support services are also provided for police, military, and HydroOne aircraft. The city has considered ambitious proposals to repurpose the airport lands, but as of January 2006, significant upgrade work is being performed on the main terminal building by the city itself, signalling that the city has no immediate plans to close the busy facility, understanding its importance to the community and local economy (injecting $52 million yearly). Additional aviation related construction is also taking place on the airport lands.
The dominant presence of General Motors (and its autoworkers) meant that Oshawa was well known as a bastion of unionist, left-wing support during the decades following the Second World War. The city played an important role in Canada's labour history, including the 1937 "Oshawa Strike" against General Motors and the considerable financial support provided by the city's autoworkers to the NDP and its predecessors.
However, Oshawa was part of the Ontario (County) riding when Michael Starr, a high ranking Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) and Cabinet Member in the Diefenbaker era served. Starr served the new Oshawa—Whitby riding for one term, before being narrowly defeated by future federal New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Ed Broadbent in 1968. Broadbent then represented the city in the House of Commons of Canada until 1989, and in the 1980s led the NDP to its greatest electoral successes.
By the end of the 1990s, the city's changing economy and demographics led many voters to the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario and the Canadian Alliance, a conservative party at the federal level. Conservative candidates have won recent provincial and federal elections, whereas from 1968-93 the city was a safe NDP seat in both the federal and provincial legislatures.
The city's shifting social and political dynamics were seen in the 2004 federal election - the riding of Oshawa (not coterminous with the City of Oshawa, but containing most of it) was the country's most competitive. The candidate of the new Conservative Party of Canada, Colin Carrie, edged out his NDP rival Sid Ryan by several hundred votes; it was an atypical and ideologically stark race that left Louise Parkes of the Liberals in third place.
In 2006, Whitby—Oshawa also became a Conservative seat; Jim Flaherty followed Starr (after over 40 years) into the Cabinet of Canada as Minister of Finance.
The council of the City of Oshawa is made up of eleven members - one mayor, seven regional councillors and three city councillors.
The mayor is elected at large by electors throughout the city, heads the council of the City of Oshawa and is also a representative of the city on the council of the Regional Municipality of Durham. Seven regional councillors are elected at large by electors throughout the city to represent the city on both the council of the City of Oshawa and the council of the Regional Municipality of Durham. Three city councillors are elected at large by electors throughout the city to represent the city on the council of the City of Oshawa.
City council meetings are held every third Monday and the public is welcome to attend. There are four standing committees of council: Finance and Administration Committee, Development Services Committee, Community Services Committee, and the Strategic Initiatives Committee.
Public education in Oshawa is provided via the Durham District School Board. As of late 2006, there were 32 elementary schools and six secondary schools. The Durham Catholic District School Board, which has its headquarters in Oshawa, oversees public Catholic education in Durham Region. There are 14 Catholic elementary schools and two secondary schools. The Conseil scolaire Viamonde operates one French Public elementary school, while the Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud runs one publicly funded French-language Catholic elementary school. Private schools include Durham Elementary School, Immanuel Christian School, Kingsway College and College Park Elementary School. The Durham Catholic District School Board decided to shut down several Catholic Elementary Schools in Oshawa in June 2008, due to shifting enrolment.][
Oshawa is home to the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, opened in 2003. The main campus of Durham College is also located in the city. The university and college share a campus and some facilities, but the two institutions are independent. Given the city's industrial heritage, the university's courses emphasize technology, manufacturing and engineering themes. It is the only university in Canada to offer degree programs in Automotive Engineering and Nuclear Engineering. Trent University also offers full-time programs at its campus near the Oshawa Civic Auditorium in the city's west end, which opened in September 2010.
Oshawa is the site of Lakeridge Health Oshawa, formerly Oshawa General Hospital. This 437-bed facility is the major regional hospital for the area and also houses the R.S. McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Centre.
Policing in Oshawa is provided the Durham Regional Police Service. There are two police stations in Oshawa — one at 77 Centre Street North in the downtown area, and a South Oshawa Community Policing Centre on Cedar Street. EMS/Ambulance services are also operated by the Region of Durham. Oshawa Fire Services - operated by the city - operates from five fire stations located throughout the city.
Oshawa was the first city in Ontario to provide Paramedic services. In 1979 a group of 16 ambulance attendants were given specialized training to treat cardiac related problems in the pre-hospital setting. The program was called the "Pre-hospital Cardiac Care" program or PHCC program. From this single service, paramedic training was expanded to Toronto, Hamilton and the Provincial air ambulance service. The program has been the source of all paramedic programs in Ontario. Three of the original paramedics are still certified in 2011.
Oshawa has few media outlets of its own due to its proximity to Toronto. The city has one AM station, CKDO (1580) which is rebroadcast on 107.7 FM, and one FM station, 94.9 CKGE. Both stations are owned by Durham Radio, which also owns CJKX, which is licenced to the nearby community of Ajax, although all three stations are operated from the same studios at the Oshawa Airport.
Oshawa also has a CBC Television affiliate station, CHEX-TV-2 (Channel 12), which airs a daily supper hour news and current affairs program specially targeted to Durham Region viewers. Although a larger city than Peterborough then and now, Oshawa was not granted a television station in the original 1950s assignments as it was geographically too close to Toronto, since the original spacings were set at 145 km (90 mi). Rogers TV, the local cable provider also serves the community with local television programming.
Oshawa is served by a number of community newspapers, including the Oshawa Express, an independent which publishes every Wednesday, and Oshawa This Week, published three times per week by Metroland. The long-standing daily newspaper, the Oshawa Times (also known at various times as the Oshawa Daily Times and Times-Gazette), was closed by its owner Thomson Newspapers, after a lengthy strike in 1994. John Short Larke was the proprietor of the Oshawa Vindicator, a strongly pro-Conservative newspaper, in the late 19th century.
Oshawa is also home to Artsforum Magazine, an award-winning, not-for-profit magazine of arts and ideas launched in Fall 2000 by John Arkelian, its publisher and editor-in-chief. With a wide-ranging writ that runs the gamut from foreign policy to film, Artsforum's readership extends far beyond its home in the Greater Toronto Area, with readers and contributors across Canada, the United States, and Western Europe.
Oshawa is home to the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League, the top level for players aged 15–20. Famous alumni of this team include Bobby Orr, Alex Delvecchio, Wayne Cashman, Tony Tanti, Dave Andreychuk, Marc Savard, Eric Lindros, and John Tavares. The team moved from the Oshawa Civic Auditorium into the new General Motors Centre in November 2006.
The Oshawa Generals have the dubious distinction of having their home arena destroyed by fire not once, but twice in the franchise history. In June 1928 the Bradley Arena was destroyed by fire. Then 25 years later, the Hambly Arena was also destroyed by fire.
The Oshawa Power of the National Basketball League of Canada began playing in October 2011. In the Spring of 2013, the Power announced a move to Mississauga, a western suburb of Toronto from Oshawa. The Power played home games at the General Motors Centre.
Oshawa was for many years one of the main centres for the sport of lacrosse and home of the Oshawa Green Gaels, one of the most storied teams in the sport. A player of note in the 1920s was Nels Stewart, who became a Hall of Famer in the National Hockey League. During the 1980s, when lacrosse seemed on the edge of oblivion in Canada, (the Green Gaels themselves having folded in the early part of the decade), lacrosse continued to be played in the neighbouring towns of Whitby and Brooklin, and many of the players were from Oshawa. However, since then, Clarington has taken over the Green Gaels association. With the rise of the National Lacrosse League the sport's survival seems assured and again, many players and others involved in the professional league are from the Oshawa area. Former Oshawa Green Gaels captain and Oshawa native, Derek Keenan, is the current coach and general manager of the Edmonton Rush. He was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2012.
Oshawa has been the home of Oshawa Vikings Rugby Football Club since 1959. Notable players from the club since its inception include Dave Thompson (Ontario Rugby Hall of Fame) and Dean Van Camp (Rugby Canada Men XV squad). The clubhouse (Thompson Rugby Park) is located in the Oshawa Hamlet of Raglan.
With over 3000 members The Oshawa Kicks Soccer Club is the largest Soccer Club in the City. The Club offers recreational programs for 2000 children as well as adult men's and women's leagues. In 2011 the Kicks were the first soccer club to operate children's and adult's winter soccer leagues in the new Civic Fieldhouse. The Club has a competitive program for both youth and adults, with an impressive history of Ontario Cup Championships, winning 7 provincial titles from 2000-2010. Founded in 1967, the Oshawa Turul Soccer Club had a sizeable role in the development of competitive soccer community of Oshawa. The club had 2 national championship teams, the first in 1978 and again in 1989. The Club was founded by Oshawa Sports Hall Of Fame Member, Nick Springer. The Oshawa Central Council of Neighbourhood Associations offers recreational soccer, softball and hockey leagues for children through its Neighbourhood Association Sports Committee.
GO Transit trains connect the city with Toronto, Hamilton and points between. GO Transit buses provide service from Oshawa along the Highway 401 and Highway 2 corridors in Durham Region and to Toronto and York Region. GO Transit bus service is also provided from Oshawa Train station to Clarington and Peterborough via the downtown bus terminal. The Oshawa Station is owned by the national rail carrier Via Rail, which operates a service along the Quebec City–Windsor Corridor. Other services from the station include GO Buses, and the regional transit system Durham Region Transit provides local bus service, having replaced Oshawa Transit on January 1, 2006.
Private intercity buses are provided by Greyhound Canada (to Toronto, Port Hope, Cobourg and Belleville, as well as to Peterborough and Ottawa, and Can-Ar daily to/from Lindsay and Toronto.
Rail freight is carried on both the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railways which traverse the city.
Other than Highway 2, which reverted to local jurisdiction (King Street and Bond Street) in 1998, the city had no provincially maintained highways until the original section of Highway 401 opened in 1947 (as Highway 2A). The highway originally terminated at Ritson Road, and was extended east through the remainder of the city to Newcastle in 1952. Oshawa was the only city that Highway 401 was built directly through, rather than bypassing. This resulted in the demolition of several streets and hundreds of homes in the 1930s and 1940s.
The Port of Oshawa is a major stop for the auto and steel industries as well as winter road salt handling and agricultural fertilizer. A marine rescue unit (COMRA) is also stationed at the port. A regional airport with on-site customs and immigration authorities also services the City (see above). On May 21, 2009, Canadian Transportation Minister John Baird announced that the status of Oshawa's port would be changed from a harbour commission to a full-fledged Port Authority. The creation of a federal port authority has caused some controversy as there are others who wish to see the port transferred to municipal ownership and recreational use.
According to the 2011 census, the population of Oshawa is 149,607, up from 141,590 (5.7%) in the 2006 census. In 2001, 49.3% of the population was male and 50.7% female. Children under five accounted for approximately 6.5% of the resident population of Oshawa. This compares with 5.8% in Ontario, and almost 5.6% for Canada overall.
In mid-2001, 10.4% of the resident population in Oshawa were of retirement age (65 and over for males and females) compared with 13.2% in Canada, therefore, the average age is 35.8 years of age comparing to 37.6 years of age for all of Canada.
In the five years between 1996 and 2001, the population of Oshawa grew by 10.2%, compared with an increase of 6.1% for Ontario as a whole. Population density of Oshawa averaged 328.0 people per square kilometre, compared with an average of 12.6, for Ontario altogether.
According to the 2006 census, the Oshawa Census Metropolitan Area, which includes neighbouring Whitby and Clarington, has a population of 330,594.
The information regarding ethnicities at the left is from the 2001 Canadian Census. The percentages add to more than 100% because of dual responses (e.g. "French-Canadian" generates an entry in both the category "French" and the category "Canadian".) Groups with greater than 10,000 responses are included.
In 2006, 8.1% of the residents were visible minorities, 37.4% of whom were Black Canadians.
Oshawa is also home to the Canadian headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist church, who for many years maintained a college here, and currently operate a high school and elementary school.
According to the 2011 Census English is the mother tongue of 86.7% of the residents of Oshawa. 2.2% of the population have French as their mother tongue, which is one of the highest proportions within the GTA. Polish is the mother tongue of 1.3% of the population, with Italian trailing at 1.0%.
Oshawa has a diverse array of parks, walking trails, conservation areas, public pools (both indoors and outdoors), community centers, and sports facilities. Lakeview Park stretches along the coast of Lake Ontario, complete with a sandy beach. And the McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve and Second Marsh Wildlife Area offer protected marshland areas with interpretive trails and viewing platforms. Oshawa's harbor is often a port of call for vessels from the Canadian Navy.
The Oshawa Dodgers were an independent, minor league baseball team of the semi-pro Intercounty Baseball League based in Oshawa, Ontario. They played their home games at Kinsmen Stadium.
The team was founded by local amateur baseball coach Troy May and began play in the 2002 season. In addition to owning the Dodgers, May managed the club for their first four seasons before passing over the managerial duties to Mike Prosper in 2006.
Troy May died during the final week of the 2006 season on July 19, four days after being involved in a serious automobile accident.
Following the 2009 season, the Dodgers announced that they would be suspending all baseball operations indefinitely. The lack of fan support and high cost of operating the team were ownership's primary concerns.
Psilocybin mushrooms, also known as psychedelic mushrooms, are mushrooms that contain psychoactive indole alkaloids. Common colloquial terms include magic mushrooms and shrooms. Biological genera containing psilocybin mushrooms include Copelandia, Galerina, Gymnopilus, Inocybe, Mycena, Panaeolus, Pholiotina, Pluteus, and Psilocybe. About 40 species are found in the genus Psilocybe. Psilocybe cubensis is the most common psilocybin mushroom in subtropical areas and the black market.
Psilocybin mushrooms have likely been used since prehistoric times and may have been depicted in rock art. Many cultures have used these mushrooms in religious rites. In modern Western society, they are used recreationally for their psychedelic effects. Shrooms
A mushroom (or toadstool) is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source. The standard for the name "mushroom" is the cultivated white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus; hence the word "mushroom" is most often applied to those fungi (Basidiomycota, Agaricomycetes) that have a stem (stipe), a cap (pileus), and gills (lamellae, sing. lamella) or pores on the underside of the cap.
"Mushroom" describes a variety of gilled fungi, with or without stems, and the term is used even more generally, to describe both the fleshy fruiting bodies of some Ascomycota and the woody or leathery fruiting bodies of some Basidiomycota, depending upon the context of the word. Oshawa
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