A man who injected magic mushroom tea ended up in intensive care after developing a life-threatening outbreak of fungi growing in his blood.
In a case report released this week, a team of doctors and medical students from the Creighton University School of Medicine in Phoenix describe an incident in which a 30-year-old man with type 1 bipolar disorder stopped taking his medications and attempted to self-medicate with psilocybin instead.
During a series of manic and depressive episodes, the man had read about the therapeutic effects of microdosing LSD and psilocybin, and decided to brew what he referred to as “mushroom tea” by boiling magic mushrooms down in water. He then “filtered” the concoction by drawing it through a cotton swab, and injected it intravenously.
Days later, the man started developing symptoms of lethargy, jaundice, diarrhea and nausea. Then he started vomiting blood. His family took him to the emergency department, where he was found to be suffering from acute kidney dysfunction, liver injury and multi-organ failure, and he was subsequently transferred to the intensive care unit—where blood tests revealed that he had both a bacterial and fungal infection in his blood.
To put it another way: the mushrooms he had injected were feeding off his bloodstream and growing inside his veins.
Over the following 22 days the man was given an intense course of antibiotics and antifungal drugs. He was also prescribed to continue taking the antifungal medication voriconazole long-term after leaving the hospital, so as to prevent the mushrooms from regrowing.
In their paper, the authors stress that “the case reported above underscores the need for ongoing public education regarding the dangers attendant to the use of this [psilocybin], and other drugs, in ways other than they are prescribed.” But this isn’t the first time someone’s run into complications after injecting shrooms.
Another case report from 1985 tells of how another 30-year-old man received an intravenous injection of psilocybin mushroom extract, resulting in similar symptoms of vomiting, muscle aches and acute fever, as well as low oxygen and high methemoglobin in the blood. The authors of that study further noted at the time that the event was similar to two previously reported cases.
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