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Drug Testing for Mushrooms
Dear Dr. Shulgin:
you be drug tested for mushrooms? - Mack
Most of the "magic
mushrooms" are various species of the Genus
And the chemical that immediately comes to mind, with the mention of
this Genus, is the compound psilocybin. This alkaloid was first isolated
from Psilocybe mexicana almost fifty years ago by Albert Hofmann,
the chemist at Sandoz who first synthesized LSD and discovered its
Psilocybin is an internal salt, with an acid function at one end (a
monophosphate ester) and a basic function at the other end (a tertiary
amine group). This type of structure is known chemically as a zwitter-ion.
This is why it is rather water soluble, forming beautiful white
crystals when recrystallized from boiling water. And this is why it is
not the active component of these mushrooms in man -- it is blocked by
the blood-brain barrier from getting into the brain.
the blood stream, the phosphate group is very quickly hydrolyzed off by
a serum esterase and the resulting metabolite, psilocin, is an extremely
potent psychedelic drug and readily enters the brain. This rather
fragile compound is present in both the blood and the urine of the user,
as both the free base and its glucuronide conjugate. These are excreted
quite rapidly, reaching a maximum urinary level of about 1 microgram per
milliliter in about three hours, and this rapidly falls to below the
limits of analytical detectability (< 10 nanograms per milliliter)
within 24 hours. Maximum serum levels of the combined psilocin and its
conjugate are about 50 nanograms per milliliter. Psilocin is further
metabolized by the loss of one of the nitrogen atoms to form the alcohol
4-hydroxytryptophol and the corresponding carboxylic acid,
three of these materials, psilocin and its two deamination products, are
observable, after derivitization, by conventional chromatographic
you certainly can be tested for mushrooms, but I know of no laboratory
that is presently set up to perform this analysis.
these human studies have been performed in the last three or four years,
largely in Switzerland, and represent the cutting edge of present day
research. It will be quite some time before these procedures will be
part of any random urine test.