Are people picking ‘magic mushrooms’ on Reykjavik roadsides?

Reports have been circulating of people spotted recently on traffic islands in Greater Reykjavik – picking mushrooms.

According to Guðríður Gyða Eyjólfsdóttir, Professor of Mycology at the Icelandic Institute of Natural History, the individuals in question are most likely looking for ‘magic mushrooms’ (Psilocybe semilanceata) for their psychedelic properties.

“These mushrooms contain a substance which is similar to a specific neurotransmitter which nerve cells in the brain use to communicate with each other,” explains Prof. Eyjólfsdóttir. “If you eat them, you will experience hallucinations as the brain tries to interpret them.”

She warns against picking mushrooms in this environment – firstly, because there is a risk of other even more harmful mushrooms finding their way into the ‘harvest’ and secondly, because mushrooms in areas of heavy traffic can contain high levels of heavy metals and toxins.

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