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Are Magic Mushrooms Prohibited for Athletes?

As athletes navigate the substances and methods prohibited in sport, which are defined by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List, questions often arise about substances used for recreational use, including magic mushrooms (also known as mushrooms or shrooms). Here is what athletes need to know about the anti-doping status of magic mushrooms.

What are magic mushrooms?

Dried magic mushrooms on a white background.There are about one hundred varieties of mushrooms in the genus psilocybe that have psychoactive effects and they are often collectively referred to as “magic mushrooms.” Many of these mushrooms contain psilocybin, which is metabolized into psilocin. Both psilocybin and psilocin are hallucinogenic substances and can cause a variety of effects, including: the sensation that you are observing yourself from outside of your body (depersonalization and derealization), impaired attention, symptoms of anxiety or elation, and disruptions in thought.

Is psilocybin prohibited in sport?

No. Psilocybin is not currently prohibited as a performance enhancing drug by WADA. However, some sports may have rules against the use of psilocybin or other psychoactive compounds for health or safety reasons. Because of the effects on attention and perception, use of any hallucinogen in sport poses serious safety risks.

Is psilocybin used in medicine?

Currently, there are no FDA-approved medications that contain psilocybin. However, there are clinical trials in progress exploring the use of psilocybin in treating depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and substance-abuse disorders.

In regard to health risks, it’s worth noting that magic mushrooms can sometimes be confused with the death cap mushroom, which grows in the wild and is fatal if ingested.

What is the legal status of psilocybin?

Psilocybin is a Schedule I controlled substance because it has no approved medical purpose and the potential for abuse. Despite federal law, some cities and states have decriminalized, or are considering decriminalizing, the possession or use of psilocybin. Decriminalization of psilocybin means it would remain illegal but prosecuting the use or possession would be considered a low priority for law enforcement. 

Do dietary supplements contain psilocybin?

Because psilocybin is a Schedule I controlled substance, it does not qualify as a “dietary ingredient” and therefore it is not legal to sell dietary supplements that contain psilocybin.

Can I get a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for magic mushrooms?

No, athletes cannot get a TUE for magic mushrooms because they are not prohibited in sport.

More questions?

For questions about specific products, substances, and methods, contact USADA’s Drug Reference Line at drugreference@USADA.org or call (719) 785-2000, option 2.

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