- A 30-year-old unnamed man with bipolar disorder injected himself with "magic" mushrooms, which contain the psychedelic drug psilocybin, in a failed attempt at a trip.
- Psychedelic mushrooms are meant to be eaten or drank, not injected.
- The mushrooms grew in the man's bloodstream and caused his body to go into organ failure. He's still being treated to this day with antifungals and antibiotics.
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According to a case report out today in the Journal of the Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, the 30-year-old man's family brought him to a Nebraska emergency room after they noticed he seemed confused.
The man had bipolar disorder type 1, the doctors who wrote the case study learned, and he hadn't been taking his medications so he'd been going through manic and depressive episodes. During recent episodes related to his bipolar disorder, he'd researched how he could decrease his opioid use at home, his family said.
That's when he read about the potential for psilocybin, the psychedelic drug found in "magic" mushrooms, for treating symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Indeed, a mounting body of research suggested psilocybin could be an alternate depression treatment for people with differing magnitudes and durations of depression who haven't had success with traditional anti-depressants.
Previously, researchers at Johns Hopkins and NYU conducted multiple small studies of cancer patients who experienced anxiety and depression as a result of their diagnoses. After giving these patients psilocybin, the majority reported an improvement in these symptoms immediately after treatment and over time.
However, the drug is not to be injected, which this man learned from a three-week stint in the hospital.
Doctors found mushrooms growing in the man's bloodstream
When people want to trip on "magic" mushrooms, they consume them as-is or in the form of a powder put into a capsule or tea that is then swallowed.
But the man in the case study boiled the mushrooms in water, filtered the liquid through a cotton swab, and then injected the substance into his bloodstream.
A couple of days later, he started to become overly tired, vomited blood, and developed jaundice, diarrhea, nausea. His family found him soon after and took him to the hospital.
When the doctors met the man, he couldn't give coherent interview answers and after tests they found he had a liver injury, his kidneys weren't functioning properly, and he'd started to go into organ failure.
A blood sample revealed something even more shocking: "Magic" mushrooms, which thrive in dark places, had begun to grow in the man's bloodstream, causing the aforementioned health issues. He needed to be put on a ventilator to breath and had his blood filtered for toxins, according to the case report.
Doctors kept the man in the hospital for 22 days and gave him two antibiotics and one antifungal treatment, which he was prescribed to continue taking for the long-term after he left the hospital.