How long do shrooms take to kick in? The answer depends

how long do shrooms take to kick in

Psychedelics are becoming more mainstream by the day, particularly psilocybin—aka magic mushrooms. A number of communities across the United States are opting to decriminalize the Schedule I compound thanks to its perceived benefits. But some may wonder: how long do shrooms take to kick in?

After all, you don’t smoke shrooms like cannabis. Instead, you eat them. Since mushrooms are processed through the digestive system there are a number of factors at play that can affect the time it takes to feel the effects—and how intense the experience is.

RELATED: The best movies to watch on shrooms

Those curious about shrooms are not alone. And while streamlined guides to psychedelics may be lacking, this guide should provide some pertinent and useful information.

Key takeaways:

  • “Magic” mushrooms are varieties of fungi that contain psychedelic compounds called tryptamines
  • There are many different types of magic mushrooms; the variety and dose impact your experience
  • Shrooms can take as little as 20 minutes to kick in
  • A magic mushroom trip lasts six to eight hours on average
how long do shrooms take to kick in
The durating of a mushroom trip can vary depending on many factors. Photo: GreenState Team / Canva

What are magic mushrooms?

“Magic mushrooms” is a broad term for any type of mushroom containing psychoactive compounds called tryptamines. The most famous tryptamine is psilocybin, followed by its sister, psilocin.

There are many different magic mushroom strains, Golden Teachers, Penis Envy, and Blue Meanies are some of the most popular. Currently, there are over 180 known species of magic mushrooms in the Psilocybe genus. Each type of mushroom offers its own unique experience.

Magic mushrooms in modern history 

Psilocybin mushrooms rose to popularity among the American counterculture in the 1950s. An article in Life chronicled writer R. Gordon Wasson’s time in a psilocybin mushroom ritual with the Indigenous Mazatec tribe in Mexico.

Shrooms stayed mostly underground for decades. In the last several years, psilocybin has become more mainstream as research uncovers a wide range of therapeutic uses—particularly for mental health conditions. Microdosing mushrooms is increasingly popular, as it offers the potential benefits without the overt psychedelic effects.

Effects of psychedelic mushrooms

How magic mushrooms feel varies depending on the person, the dosage, and the type of mushroom. The “set and setting,” i.e., mindset and environment, also play a big role.

Tryptamines like psilocybin target the serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is sometimes called the “feel good” chemical; the compound helps regulate mood and other nervous system functions. This may be why people feel euphoric on shrooms.

A number of physical and psychological effects that may arise during a shroom trip. Senses may be heightened, emotions may feel more intense, and the mind may appear sharper. Visual hallucinations in the form of vapor trails or tracers may appear. However, seeing demons or monsters isn’t likely—these stereotypes often represented in movies and TV.

Many people also experience something called “ego death” during their psilocybin journey. It’s a separation from identity or sense of self that can be incredibly humbling. Some who achieve ego death describe it as having a profound impact on their everyday lives.

And while mushrooms may have wide-ranging benefits (from reducing anxiety and depression to neuroprotection), they can also have some side effects. One of the most common is nausea, especially during the come-up. 

Some people also find the psychedelic experience to be scary, leading to increased worry or a “bad trip.” Fortunately, if the vibes go south, not all is lost-—sometimes a change of scenery, upbeat music, or a close friend is all that’s needed to turn things around. Avoiding negative vibes is another reason to make sure your set and setting are sound.

RELATED: Which countries have decriminalized magic mushrooms?

Magic mushroom dosing

Consuming magic mushrooms typically resembles eating a few stems and caps, a powder capsule, or drinking mushroom tea. Some people opt to make finished goods like chocolate or gummies since dried mushrooms may not taste the greatest.

The amount of shrooms someone decides to take is deeply personal, and tolerance can build over time. Here are some of the generally accepted magic mushroom doses.

Microdose (0.1-0.3 g) –  A microdose of psilocybin is just enough to feel euphoria but without the rest of the trippy effects.

Low dose (0.4 – 1 g) – A low dose of mushrooms may bring on more pronounced mental effects but should not result in a psychedelic trip.

Medium dose (1 – 2 g) – A medium dose of shrooms is enough for some people to have a psychedelic journey that lasts several hours. 

Large dose (2 – 5 g) – A large dose of psilocybin will likely elicit a full-blown trip, which may include sensory hallucinations and distorted visuals.

Heroic dose (5+ g) – Heroic doses of psilocybin, also called a “committed” dose, will have profoundly psychedelic effects and should only be consumed in professional therapeutic settings.

How long do shrooms take to kick in?

Magic mushrooms can take as little as 20 minutes or up to a couple of hours to kick in. It depends on a number of factors: dosage, consumption type, and individual metabolism are some of the most common. 

Lemon tek is one mushroom consumption method gaining steam in the psychedelic community. The practice involves soaking ground mushrooms in lemon juice and drinking it like a shot. Fans of lemon tekking believe it helps the mushrooms kick in faster while reducing any potential stomach upset. The psychedelic compounds are concentrated and get into the bloodstream quickly. 

According to online accounts, eating mushrooms on an empty stomach could hasten absorption—a.k.a., get you to the trip faster. The argument is the more food you have to digest along with mushrooms, the more time it will ultimately take. Cannabis edibles are the opposite; THC binds to fat, so snacking on high-fat foods prior to dosing actually speeds up the process.

how long do shrooms take to kick in
The type of mushroom, dosage, and your body chemistry play a role in your psychedelic journey. Photo: GreenState Team / Canva

How long does a mushroom trip last?

A magic mushroom trip lasts six to eight hours on average. The “come up” typically starts in as little as 20 minutes, with effects peaking within an hour or two. However, the duration of a shroom trip may vary, especially when taking a higher dose versus a micro.

A magic mushroom experience is like riding a sailboat— take off in a mellow fashion toadventure on the high seas, waves may swirl and rage before finding smooth waters. Some people find the “come down” to be difficult; hours of euphoria may give way to a crash. It makes sense since serotonin levels are boosted during the trip and then taper off.

The typical half-life of psychedelic mushrooms is approximately two to three hours, meaning it will take the body this long to process and excrete roughly half the total dosage. However, the active compounds could stay in the system for several weeks, depending on metabolism.

Do shrooms show up on a drug test?

Whether psilocybin or psilocin will appear on a drug test depends on the type of test itself. Most drug tests in the U.S. are urine-based, with five and ten-panel screens being the most popular. The panel number refers to the number of compounds tested for; typical urine screens check for marijuana, cocaine, opioids, PCP, and amphetamines.

That’s not to say tests for psychedelics don’t exist—they’re just more uncommon (and costly to administer). Hair follicle tests may detect hallucinogens like psilocybin up to 90 days after consumption.

It’s important to note that while some communities have decriminalized magic mushrooms, they’re still illegal on the federal level. People who are subject to drug tests should exercise extreme caution when consuming psilocybin—even if they live in a place that has enacted reform.

Mushroom trips: an unexpected journey

Those wondering how long it takes for shrooms to kick in should know that the answer depends. How big of a dose did you take? Did you eat anything before? What type of mushroom did you consume?

The subjective nature of shrooms may feel a bit frustrating, especially for folks who are new to the scene. But generally speaking, one can anticipate a mushroom experience starting within 20 minutes of consumption at the earliest. 

The duration also varies, but the average length is six to eight hours. Again, many factors are at play, so take plenty of time just in case—some people feel the effects of psychedelics the day after the trip.

Bottom line: no two psychedelic experiences are quite alike. The best way to prepare is to assume things will take longer than anticipated, ready the environment with plenty of activities, snacks, and cozy blankets, and have a friend or professional to serve as a safe guidethrough the journey. 

rachelle gordon

Rachelle Gordon is a cannabis journalist, Emerald Cup judge, Budist critic, and editor of She began her weed writing journey in 2015 and has been featured in High Times, CannabisNow, Beard Bros, MG, Skunk, and many others. Rachelle currently splits her time between Minneapolis and Oakland; her favorite cannabis cultivars include Silver Haze and Tangie. Follow Rachelle on Instagram @rachellethewriter