Answers to questions about : Fatality after consuming Psilocybe...
gerault at shom.fr
Mon Jun 10 04:12:14 EST 1996
As an answer to all the pertinent and interesting questions I have been asked
about this case on my e-mail, here is a new abstract in order to shed light on
the subject .
The 22-year-old healthy male comsumed hallucinogenic mushrooms the following
- Gone on his own to gather mushrooms in the fields, he consumed 30 to 50 of
them, raw, right in the fields, around 3:00 pm.
- He consumed around 10 raw mushrooms around 6:00 pm.
- With some friends of his, he consumed cooked mushrooms around 8:00 pm. The
quantity ingested by each participant of the "shrooms party" was estimated to
5 to 10. The other participants, who had not consumed any mushrooms earlier in
the day got "high" with this quantity, some of them did even feel adverse
effects : cramps, drunkeness...which proves that the Psilocybe semilanceata
variety was particularly potent.
- The victim fell in a coma around 11:00 pm, left unattended by his friends
who were "gone" not realizing how serious his state was, he died around 3:00
The sypmtomatology before the coma was :
- Hallucinations, hyperreflexia, tremor, drowsiness, cramps in his legs,
spasm, he urinated in his trousers.
- During the postmortem examination and the analysis of the blood and urine
samples and of the stomach content : alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepins
tricyclics, cannabinoids, opiates, amatoxins and anticholinesterases proved
negatif. Level of psilocin in the blood : 4 micrograms/ml by HPLC. There were
some spores of psilocybe semilanceata in the gastric content, but no other
spores of a different type.
Conclusion after the postmortem examination by the forensic expert : The death
is due to a collapse after an overdose.
Our personal conclusions are:
The death is due to a combination of unfavourable and aggravating
- Three intakes of mushrooms in short intervals with cumulative effects ( I
have estimated the number to 50 mushrooms, but it is probably more).
- In this case, raw mushrooms certainly increase the toxicity.
- No vomiting (vomiting is common when the intake of mushrooms is too
important, it is a good defensive reflex of the body which prevents from a
severe poisening. The vomiting could be caused by baeocystin.)
- Variety f P. semilanceata very potent, containing an important amount of
total indole derivatives. According to my personal analysis psilocybin,
psilocin and baeocystin are present and also many other unidentified
derivatives. Studies are in progress in my laboratory. In this specific case,
we can not reason in terms of psilocybin because a synergy between the
different components is to be considered.
- Absolute lack of medical care, and maybe a weak resistance of the victim, he
was left several hours in the coma. Cares in hospital would certainly have
saved the victim.
It is actually an unusual case about shrooms' consumption (but not in
toxicology where fatality or severe injuries are reported in some cases with
substances that are not said to be very toxic.)
I would add that the accumulation of several unfavourable circumstances is
necessary. Unfortunately, all of them were gathered in this dramatic case. The
nil risk does not exist, especially about natural stuff with changeable
The english version of the issue is in process, I will e-mail it to those who
asked for it as soon as ready (by the end of the week).
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