Magic mushroom chocolate bars, also known as “shroom bars” and psilocybin chocolate, are one of the most popular kinds of magic mushroom edibles available today, although they are illegal in most places. Many people say that the modern-day pairing of chocolate and psychedelic mushrooms was inspired by the Aztecs, who are believed to have combined cacao with magic mushrooms to create a ceremonial psychoactive drink in pre-Columbian times. Today, modern psilocybin chocolate producers are creating new and enjoyable ways to consume mind-altering mushrooms, but they come with some risks.
Although psilocybin use has become more common, the chemical compound remains a highly restricted substance that is believed to have a high potential for abuse. The 1971 United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances classifies psilocybin as a Schedule I substance that is said to have no recognized medical use. At the same time, research shows that magic mushrooms are not likely to cause physical or psychological addiction. Magic mushrooms are illegal in most areas of the United States, but they have been decriminalized in some states and localities. In recent years, restrictions on research into psychedelics have eased, and scientific and medical researchers have been looking into their potential therapeutic benefits. They are increasingly the subject of reporting by mainstream media outlets such as The Guardian, Bon Appetit, GQ, and National Public Radio (NPR).
When it comes to magic mushroom chocolate products, Polka Dot chocolate bars are among the most recognized. These bars (and their fake counterparts) can be easily found online, but they may pose unknown and undisclosed legal and health risks to consumers. In order to make informed decisions about consuming these products, it’s important to assess their safety and potential for misuse.
Table of Contents
- 1 Understanding Magic Mushrooms
- 2 Magic Mushroom Chocolate Bars: An Emerging Trend
- 3 Addiction and Psychedelics
- 4 Polka Dot Chocolates: Popularity and User Demographics
- 5 Composition and Safety of Polka Dot Chocolate
- 6 Responsible Psychedelic Use and Harm Reduction
- 7 Personal Experiences and Societal Impact
- 8 Legal and Regulatory Perspectives
- 9 Impact of Magic Mushroom Chocolates on Society and Public Health
- 10 The Future of Magic Mushroom Chocolates and Medical Research
- 11 Magic Mushroom Chocolates: Balancing Their Potential and Risks
Understanding Magic Mushrooms
Magic mushrooms, also known as “shrooms,” are a kind of fungus that contain psilocybin, which turns into a hallucinogenic compound called psilocin when it is consumed. Psilocin binds to serotonin receptors, alters neural activity associated with emotion and self-awareness, and reduces the activity of slow brain waves. Many people who consume psilocybin will hallucinate and feel that time is slowing down. The substance also increases and disrupts regular neural function, changes perception, and may help people deal with and release past trauma.
Psilocybin mushrooms have historical ceremonial significance in many cultures, are often used as recreational drugs, and may potentially have therapeutic benefits as well as serious side effects. Some researchers believe that people have been intentionally consuming psilocybin mushrooms since ancient times. Many historians are confident that glyphs and sculptures created by indigenous South Americans represent mushrooms, which the Aztecs called teonanacatl. As the Spanish colonized the New World in the 16th century, they are believed to have created the first written account of psychoactive mushrooms when they made note of their use in indigenous religious ceremonies.
Magic Mushroom Chocolate Bars: An Emerging Trend
The use and mention of magic mushrooms in Western art and culture is not new, but when psilocybin was prohibited in the 1970s, the drug became stigmatized. Nevertheless, people continued to experiment with magic mushrooms and use them in the edibles that have become popular today.
Overview of Different Magic Mushroom Chocolate Brands
Of all the magic mushroom chocolate bars available, Polka Dot bars are perhaps the most widespread. They are available in many appealing flavors, like “Reese’s,” “Fruity Pebbles,” Belgian Chocolate, and Cookies and Cream. Other psychedelic chocolate brands that have gained attention in the media include Trē House, Azul Chocolates, Wonder, Neautropics, Mycoday, Woosah, Humboldt Mycology, ROMS, and Master Mind.
How Magic Mushroom Chocolate Bars Are Made
Magic mushroom chocolate bars are typically made by mixing full-spectrum mushroom extracts or powdered dried ground mushrooms into liquified chocolate at 70 degrees Celsius. In a best-case scenario, producers control and can measure the amount of psilocybin in their products so that their customers can easily know how much of the psychoactive compound is contained in each serving and adjust their consumption accordingly. In reality, there is currently no way for producers to know or test exactly how much psilocybin is in any given batch of mushroom powder before it is mixed into chocolate, making it difficult to predict what its effects might be or expect a consistent experience.
The Increasing Popularity of Magic Mushroom Chocolate
Magic mushrooms have captured the imaginations of people for centuries, and they have frequently been used as a means of seeing the world in a new way. A variety of cultural influences are also changing perceptions about psychedelics, opening minds to their potential benefits, and bringing these ideas to a broader mainstream audience.
Many non-psychoactive mushroom species, such as lion’s mane and cordyceps, are known to benefit cognitive and immune function. Wellness brands are making all kinds of non-toxic mushrooms into tasty treats, and combining them with cacao or chocolate may provide synergistic health benefits. People also appreciate that mushroom chocolate can be better tasting and more enjoyable than eating unaltered, dried mushrooms that can taste unpleasant or “dirty.” Magic mushrooms can oxidize and spoil if they are not properly stored; mushroom chocolate is unlikely to spoil. If the amount of psilocybin in a bar could be standardized, it would allow people to control their own dosage to suit themselves.
Addiction and Psychedelics
Psilocybin has strong mind-altering and physiological effects and can potentially be abused, but the belief that it is addictive is not supported by science. The 16th edition of Meyler’s Side Effects of Drugs notes that, in general, hallucinogens, including psilocybin, are not habit-forming and do not cause cravings or dependence. Frequent use of psilocybin can create a tolerance to its effects, but consumption is not known to cause withdrawal.
Current research indicates that there is little scientific information to suggest that magic mushrooms are physically or psychologically addictive. Research published in the quarterly journal Addiction Biology in 2002 found that repeat use of psilocybin does not create a physical dependence on the drug, while a 2008 study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors concluded that using psilocybin as an adolescent did not create a greater potential for drug addiction in adulthood.
Potential Side Effects of Psychedelics
Psilocybin has an inherently low toxicity, but ingesting too much at once has psychological and physiological risks, especially for people who have a history of mental illness. Overdosing on magic mushroom chocolate bars can induce unpleasant or dangerous symptoms, which may include:
- extreme anxiety
- frightening panic attacks
- an hours-long altered state of mind
- a feeling of losing control
- impaired judgment
- intense paranoia
- auditory or visual hallucinations
Potential for Harm from Consuming Magic Mushrooms
According to the 2017 Global Drug Survey, magic mushrooms are the safest recreational drug, with 0.2% of 12,000 interviewed users reporting that they needed emergency medical care as a result of ingestion. Unfortunately, psilocybin can be extremely hazardous when it is misused, potentially leading to harmful behavior, poor decision-making, and illegal activity. When used indiscriminately, it can also worsen mental illnesses like mania and depression and even lead to psychosis. Some users have reported long-term and possibly irreversible ill effects, like depression and loss of a sense of self, after a psilocybin trip.
On the other hand, recent scientific research suggests that psilocybin may be instrumental in treating substance use disorders like alcoholism in a medically supervised setting. Alcohol, opiates, and nicotine can create physical dependencies and psychological addictions that can have devastating effects on a person’s well-being. Psychedelic substances like psilocybin affect the body and mind differently. Research by Johns Hopkins University published in 2019 found that psilocybin may effectively treat alcohol use disorder by disrupting or diminishing cravings for the substance. It may also be a promising treatment for other substance use disorders, including tobacco and heroin abuse. More study is needed to determine psilocybin’s potential for abuse when it is prescribed by doctors.
Polka Dot Chocolates: Popularity and User Demographics
As magic mushroom use becomes more socially acceptable, consumption of magic mushroom chocolates is rising. According to research published in the journal Addiction, 6.6% of adults aged 19 to 30 used psilocybin and other non-LSD hallucinogens in 2021, an increase from 3.4% in 2018. Anecdotally, many creative professionals in large cities and “middle-class moms” also like to consume psychedelic chocolate recreationally. Respected authors like Michael Pollan have also touted the benefits of psychedelics in popular literature.
Composition and Safety of Polka Dot Chocolate
When people move toward consuming Polka Dot and similar chocolates, they should consider these factors:
Online message boards that link to purported sources for Polka Dot magic mushroom chocolate bars claim that they are “highly potent” with four grams of magic mushrooms per bar. The intensity of a mushroom chocolate experience is said to depend on how much of the bar they eat. Polka Dot bars have 15 same-sized pieces each. The more pieces you eat, the greater the effects, which usually kick in 20 to 30 minutes after ingestion. A one- to three-piece serving is considered to be a “mind-stimulating” microdose, while four to nine pieces are said to create a therapeutic “mindful and elevated” euphoria. Eating 10 to 15 pieces is purported to send a person into “god mode” with a full psychedelic experience. While the site claims that Polka Dot bars offer“ a convenient and consistent dosage for those seeking a “controlled psychedelic experience,” there may be no way to know for sure, even if the bars are authentic. The amount of psilocybin in mushrooms can vary, and there is no way for a consumer to test for or guarantee the amount of psilocybin in a chocolate bar that has been infused with natural magic mushrooms.
Negative Effects of Overdose
Consuming too much psilocybin-containing chocolate of any variety, including Polka Dot mushroom chocolate bars, could induce the same side effects that can occur when eating plain psilocybin mushrooms. These effects can vary in onset, duration, and intensity and can include derealization, depersonalization, distorted thinking, dilated pupils, dizziness, visual or auditory hallucinations, drowsiness, impaired concentration, lack of coordination, nausea, vomiting, confusion, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and more. A psychedelic experience can be very dangerous if it happens in a setting where it can contribute to accidents.
Potential Dangers from Counterfeit Products
Unfortunately, since all magic mushroom chocolate “brands” are illicit and not trademarked, and packaging and molds can be purchased online, the candy is easy to counterfeit. The greatest risk to safety from consuming a Polka Dot chocolate bar is likely to come from unknowingly ingesting a fake product that doesn’t actually contain psilocybin. Since the psychedelic compound is illegal in most places, products like magic mushroom chocolates are unregulated by any recognized independent agency and are therefore potentially unsafe. There are often rumors among people who consume psychedelics that some, or even most, magic mushroom chocolates contain a research chemical known as 4-AcO-DMT, not psilocybin derived from mushrooms. Although both chemicals are broken down by the body into psilocin and are said to have similar effects, 4-AcO-DMT is not known or proven to be safe.
Online, people sometimes report that they have unintentionally consumed some other substance, like cannabis, when they believed they were ingesting psilocybin. Some people report having very bad and even regrettable experiences.
Counterfeit magic mushroom chocolate can be truly hazardous if it is laced with fentanyl or related compounds. Unfortunately, the illicit nature of psilocybin in most places, plus the fact that anyone can buy mushroom chocolate molds and packaging, makes it easy for bad actors to produce bad bars.
Responsible Psychedelic Use and Harm Reduction
Because Polka Dot chocolates are attractively packaged and designed to be tastier than unadulterated magic mushrooms, they are potentially more appealing to some users than plain magic mushrooms. People who like the taste of magic mushroom chocolate but dislike the taste of plain mushrooms might be more inclined to consume this psychoactive candy more often than they would be to eat plain magic mushrooms.
Despite the risks, it is likely that the consumption of magic mushroom chocolate will only increase in the years to come. To reduce the risk of harm, people who insist on using magic mushroom chocolate should:
- Purchase and consume magic mushroom chocolate in an area where psilocybin has been legalized or decriminalized.
- Only buy magic mushroom chocolate from authorized, licensed psilocybin dispensaries.
- Consume at home or in a safe place with trustworthy people.
- Stay away from potential sources of physical danger like roadways, windows, standing bodies of water, automobiles, and heavy machinery.
- Start with a very small piece of chocolate and gradually increase the dose after about 30 minutes if no effects are felt.
- Avoid consuming a full bar in one sitting.
Personal Experiences and Societal Impact
As the use of magic mushroom chocolate becomes more common, stories of its effects are making the rounds. Plenty of anecdotal user experiences with magic mushroom chocolate bars can be found online, including accounts of “bad trips.”
A writer on Medium confessed that:
“Basically, I bit off more than I could chew (literally) with a magic mushroom chocolate bar. My hallucinations got intense, and my skin started changing colors. I got stuck in a paranoia thought loop, convincing myself that the chocolate had way more than it labeled or that it was laced with another drug.”
On Reddit, another user shared:
“I’ve tripped over a dozen times, mainly full mushrooms, and all those times it was the same great experience. I tried a chocolate bar from someone new, and I immediately noticed that it felt different 30 minutes in. As things set in, the feeling intensified, and I felt the most stimulated I’ve ever been. Everything became distorted, including my sense of time. There became a lag between what I wanted to do and my body actually executing the command. I felt like I was about to faint at any moment. My heart was racing, and it felt like I was drunk. I tried to get my phone to call my brother to come over and sit with me, but I couldn’t type the text fast enough before I felt like I was losing consciousness. I skipped calling my brother and tried to call 911, but I also couldn’t manage to navigate my phone long enough to call. I kept closing my eyes, and it became harder and harder to snap myself up and move around. At one point, I gave up and laid on the floor to make it easier to bag my body.”
“Eventually I came back to sobriety, and things cooled down. I wanted to take a drug test to see if there was something else at play or maybe just a bad trip, but I never did it because of the cost.”
Legal and Regulatory Perspectives
Although views toward psilocybin are changing, magic mushrooms and magic mushroom chocolate remain illegal and unregulated in most parts of the United States. In some locations, any kind of direct association with psilocybin can incur serious legal consequences. In states where psilocybin is illegal to buy, sell, or possess, the penalties for selling, distributing, purchasing, possessing, or consuming a magic mushroom chocolate bar can be severe.
In Texas, magic mushrooms are classified as a “Penalty Group 2-A” controlled substance, similar to other hard drugs such as illegal amphetamines. Possessing even a tiny amount of psilocybin is a felony-level offense, with penalties that can include incarceration, multi-thousand-dollar fines, and more. The circumstances may be different in Travis County and the city of Austin, Texas, because the District Attorney has pledged to avoid pressing charges against people who are caught possessing less than one gram of mushrooms. Still, purchasing or possessing magic mushroom chocolate in Texas or states with similar laws and penalties can be extremely risky.
In 2023, New Jersey reduced the legal penalties for possession of psilocybin. Today, possessing 1 ounce or less of the substance is classified as a disorderly offense that can incur up to six months in county jail and a $1,000 fine. Before the law was passed, possessing psilocybin could be punishable with up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $35,000. State senators are attempting to legalize psilocybin for medical use and set up a legal and regulatory framework for therapeutic use. If the Psilocybin Behavioral Health Access and Services Act is passed, psilocybin would effectively be legalized in the state.
With some exceptions, psilocybin is illegal in California, but residents and legislators are pushing for decriminalization. In 2019, Oakland decriminalized a group of naturally occurring psychedelics that include psilocybin and ayahuasca. Santa Cruz passed similar legislation in 2020. Although it is still a felony offense to sell psilocybin-infused products, including magic mushroom chocolate, in these cities, they are commonly available at bodegas and smoke shops. Another Oakland outlet, called the Zide Door Church of Entheogenic Plants, has been pushing to offer psilocybin products to its congregation under the auspice of a religious exemption, but this has not been fully approved.
Although state senators are working to decriminalize psychedelics for medical purposes state-wide, it hasn’t happened yet. In 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill to decriminalize plant-based psychedelics for adults aged 21 years and older.
Overall, more states are pushing for the decriminalization of psychedelics. In November 2020, Oregon decriminalized all drugs, and voters opted to legalize psilocybin. The first city to decriminalize psilocybin was Denver, Colorado. Washington, DC, Amherst, Massachusetts, and other cities scattered across America have passed similar laws or are moving toward low enforcement practices. Currently, permits or regulations allow psilocybin to be commercially cultivated, distributed, or sold.
Impact of Magic Mushroom Chocolates on Society and Public Health
As psychedelics continue to gain legitimacy in the medical community and positive mainstream media attention, many people contend that the United States is undergoing a “psychedelic revolution.” Still, the illicit status of psilocybin in the US can create serious risks for people who have mental contraindications or who buy, sell, consume, or get caught with the substance under the wrong circumstances.
The Future of Magic Mushroom Chocolates and Medical Research
While psilocybin undergoes reappraisal, research into its medical applications continues as legislation evolves. Scientists at Johns Hopkins University believe that psychedelic substances could help treat a range of ailments, including anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anorexia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease. Johns Hopkins and psychedelic advocacy organizations like MAPS are advocating for psilocybin to pass through U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) trials, which are now in the final stages. If psilocybin receives FDA approval, many experts believe that it will be rescheduled as a Schedule IV drug. Other centers for psychedelic studies are creating training programs for psychedelic administration to create a path toward legitimacy.
Magic Mushroom Chocolates: Balancing Their Potential and Risks
Although psychedelic substances like psilocybin are becoming increasingly popular in the United States, they still come with a fair amount of risk to public health and safety. Products like macic mushroom chocolate can be problematic or dangerous if they are faked or used irresponsibly. While psilocybin can be safe for many people, it still has the potential to create serious long-term mental disturbances in some individuals.
People who consume magic mushroom chocolates and other forms of psilicybin should educate themselves about the risks and effects of these substances and seek help immediately if they cause physical or mental disturbances.
If consuming psychedelics is making it difficult to live a happy, functional life, users can seek help at a treatment center like Garden State Treatment Center. Our caring professional staff can help users navigate the potential risks and harm that can result from using magic mushroom chocolate and set them on the path toward a healthy future.
List of sources used for the article for further reading and verification.
- https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028390818302296 (published in “Neuropharmacology”)
Published on: 2024-02-07
Updated on: 2024-02-16