A U.S. man was hospitalized with organ failure after he injected himself with a tea made from psychedelic mushrooms, which later started growing in his veins.
The unusual and dangerous episode is described in a case report published in the Journal of the Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry. The unidentified patient, 30, ultimately survived.
Doctors say the patient had tried to use the so-called “magic” mushrooms as an alternative treatment for his bipolar disorder, after skipping his usual course of medications.
Psychedelic mushrooms contain psilocybin, a drug that causes intense hallucinations when ingested through food or drink.
According to the case report, the unidentified man made a tea out of some mushrooms, then ran it through a filter and injected it into his body. He fell ill a few days later, and showed symptoms of jaundice, diarrhea, fatigue and nausea. He also vomited blood.
The man’s family rushed him to a Nebraska hospital, but he was too confused to answer doctors’ questions about his health.
Doctors ran a battery of tests and found that his liver was damaged, his kidneys weren’t functioning properly and he was on the verge of organ failure.
They also conducted a blood test and were shocked by what they found: the pulverized mushrooms had begun sprouting in the darkness of the man’s bloodstream.
Doctors put the man on a ventilator to keep him breathing and gave him antibiotics and antifungals to stamp out the spores. He ultimately spent 22 days in hospital and will remain on the antifungals and antibiotics over the long term, doctors say.
Researchers have been investigating psilocybin as a treatment for anxiety and depression for years, but the research does not recommend injecting mushroom tea or any hallucinogenic drug, for that matter — straight into your veins.
The authors of the case study say it shows that more public education is needed around the drug.
They also injected a bad pun into the title of their case report, calling it “A ‘trip’ to the ICU.”