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Eyes on Shrooms: The Effect of Shrooms and Other Substances on the Eyes

When it comes to substance abuse, the adage “the eyes are windows to the soul,” rings especially true.

When a person is under the influence, several changes in the eyes can be observed: they’d appear bloodshot and dilated, with the pupils moving rapidly and involuntarily.

This article discusses what happens to eyes on shrooms as well as other substances to help you detect signs of addiction early on.

Eyes on shrooms

What Are the Side Effects of Taking Shrooms?

Shrooms, also known as psilocybin mushrooms or magic mushrooms, are fungi with hallucinogenic properties. When ingested, they can cause short-term and long-term mental and physical effects. They can alter a person’s thinking, senses, and emotions.

Common mental side effects include:

  • Distorted sense of reality
  • Altered sense of time
  • Mixed senses, such as seeing music or hearing color
  • Light-headedness
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Changes in mood
  • Fear or paranoia
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Loss of boundaries
  • Impaired judgment

On the other hand, common physical side effects include:

  • Exaggerated reflexes
  • Numbness, especially on the face
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive sweating
  • High body temperature, followed by chills
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increase blood pressure

When taken in high doses, users may experience what’s called a “bad trip.” These experiences are often frightening and may include a distorted sense of self, loss of boundaries, paranoia, abrupt flashbacks, and impaired judgment. Bad trips can also lead to risk-taking behavior, which may result in traumatic injuries and, in some cases, death.

Users who take shrooms alongside other substances like amphetamines, cannabis, and alcohol elevate the risks of serious side effects. The same is said for users with existing psychiatric conditions.

With users with existing heart disease, short-term effects like increased heart rate and blood pressure could potentially result in cardiac arrest.            

Can Shrooms Induce Permanent Pupillary Changes?

The long-term effects of shrooms have yet to be thoroughly investigated. However, some studies suggest that shrooms can induce pupillary changes in users.

In a study published in the Center for Neuropsychopharmacology, researchers found that psilocin and psilocybin, which are substances present in magic shrooms, are structurally related to the “feel good” neurotransmitter serotonin. It’s concluded that shrooms can increase the levels of serotonin in the brain, which can result in the dilution of pupils.

The permanence of such dilation is debated across all fields.

In a case report that reviewed the long-term effects of Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS), a patient with a history of substance use and misuse developed permanently dilated pupils in both eyes.

The dilation was correlated with the repeated and long-term use of hallucinogens, particularly LSD (acid) and psilocybin mushrooms. The condition started at age 11, shortly after she started using, so it wasn’t congenital but rather acquired.

“Certain pathophysiological changes can influence the pupillary aperture,” said medical doctor and researcher Dr. Ahmed Al-Imam. Some of these pathophysiological changes can be triggered by psychedelic drugs.

Neurological exams failed to detect any abnormalities outside the dilated pupils, so the dilution was unlikely to have been caused by existing neurological disorders.

Dr. Ahmed Al-Imam’s case is one of the few cases that documented the long-term effects of psychedelics, NPS, and other psychoactive chemicals. While permanent dilution is still non-conclusive, the study shows that it can’t be ruled out completely.

Other Substances That Cause Pupillary Changes

Shrooms aside, there are a number of drugs and substances that can trigger pupillary changes. These are as follows:


Marijuana, also known as cannabis, contains a psychoactive constituent called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

THC lowers blood pressure, triggering the increase of blood flow and the dilation of blood vessels. Lowered blood pressure causes the blood vessels in the eyes to expand, leading to redness or bloodshot eyes.

Marijuana also slows down the brain’s image-processing function. Under the influence of marijuana, hand-eye reflexes are reduced and spatial perception is disrupted.

Pupil dilation provoked by cannabis can create imbalances and dazzlements between far vision and near vision. This effect is especially apparent among those who wear multifocal contact lenses, and those who have had laser surgery such as Lasik, PRK, Lasik, Relex, or Smile.


Meth users often develop “meth eyes,” a term that describes a wide range of signs and symptoms associated with meth abuse. These symptoms include dilated pupils, bloodshot eyes due to increased visibility of blood vessels, and yellow eyes.

Meth can also cause Crystalline retinopathy, which refers to a group of disorders associated with crystal deposits in and/or around the retina.

Crystalline retinopathy is what causes the yellowing of the eyes of meth users, often a result of intranasal methamphetamine use (i.e., administered by way of the nasal structures). If left without treatment, Crystalline retinopathy can cause:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Night blindness
  • Deteriorating vision
  • Uncontrollable twitching of the eyelids

Other effects of meth on the eyes include rapid eye movement, blurred vision, and retinal vein occlusion (RVO), one of the most common causes of vision loss worldwide.


Dilation is one of the more noticeable effects of cocaine use.

Cocaine is a stimulant, meaning that it can trigger the release of chemicals and endorphins in the brain. Among these chemicals is norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that can cause pupil dilation due to it activating the body’s “fight-or-flight” response.

Bloodshot eyes are another common effect of cocaine use. Like marijuana, cocaine causes blood vessels to constrict, which then increases blood pressure. This results in bloodshot eyes that can last anywhere from a few hours to several days after use.

Over time, cocaine abuse can lead to an array of eye conditions, including:


Short-term exposure to alcohol can lead to dilated pupils, blurry vision, and night blindness.

Alcohol can likewise alter a person’s ability to perceive contrast. Consuming alcohol above the legal limit of 0.05% affects a person’s ability to visually adjust to the brightness, making distinctions between bright objects like stoplights more difficult.

Regular consumption of alcohol can result in dry eyes and eyelid twitching (myokymia). Myokymia can trigger short-term double vision and inflammation, which can cause itchy eyes, light sensitivity, and migraines. It can also cause the blood vessels of the eyes to expand, making them appear red and bloodshot.

Long-term consumption of alcohol can trigger the development of premature cataract formation, permanent blurriness caused by the weakening of eye muscles, retinal bleeding from vascular occlusions, and, in severe cases, optic neuropathy.

Left untreated, optic neuropathy can lead to reduced color vision, decreased peripheral vision, and, eventually, complete loss of vision.


Opioids are a class of drugs that contain active ingredients derived from the naturally-occurring poppy plant Papaver somniferum. These drugs include heroin, codeine, meperidine and methadone, and morphine, as well as prescription opioids such as fentanyl, hydrocodone, pentazocine, and oxycodone.

Opioids stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which can result in the decreased velocity of pupil dilation when eyes come in contact with light. In other words, opioids can impair the pupil’s response to light.

These drugs may also trigger several eye abnormalities, such as droopiness, temporary blurred vision, and double vision.

If used long-term, opioids can cause several retinal issues such as eye infections, which can lead to photophobia and vision loss.


MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine), otherwise known as Molly or Ecstasy, is reported to cause severe eye problems and complications like retinal hemorrhage and intravascular thrombosis.

Retinal hemorrhage occurs when blood vessels in the retina begin to bleed, while intravascular thrombosis occurs when the body is affected by inflammation from an infection, injury, or illness.

These complications are associated with the long-term use of MDMA. MDMA elevates noradrenaline levels, thereby provoking hypertension and tachycardia

The short-term effects of MDMA, though less severe, shouldn’t be understated. Much like the substances on this list, MDMA can cause pupil dilation, blurriness, and distorted perception. It can also cause redness and rapid quivering of the pupils (nystagmus).


Known for their calming effects, benzodiazepines, also known as benzos or BZDs, are used to offset the side effects of withdrawal, reduce seizures, and produce sedation and hypnosis. In this way, they’re often classified as a type of tranquilizer.

Common names of benzos include Valium, Xanax, Ativan, Halcion, and Klonopin.

Because of their potency and availability, benzos are easily abused. At recreational doses, they can cause blurry, altered, or double vision, and dilated pupils, with the latter being a sign of an overdose. Other symptoms of overdose include ataxia, slurred speech, and altered mental status.

When taken with alcohol or other drugs, respiratory depression resulting in a coma can occur.

Wrap Up

Whether it’s shrooms, meth, benzos, or alcohol, pupil dilation and bloodshot eyes/redness are the biggest tell-tale signs of substance abuse.

If someone you know appears to have enlarged pupils and bloodshot or glassy eyes, watch out for accompanying symptoms of addiction. This is important because as the symptoms progress, they’ll become harder to treat.

Are Drunk Words Really Sober Thoughts? 

Alcohol is the most widely used drug in the world, and in the United States alone, excessive alcohol use is responsible for about 88,000 deaths annually, according to the CDC. With this in mind, why do so many people drink? Why is alcohol legal at all?

The explanation is simple: The alcohol industry lobbies like no other. Every year, the alcohol industry spends $1 to $2 billion trying to convince people that drinking is fun, cool, normal, and, most importantly, harmless. While drinking can be relatively harmless for some, it can be devastating and even fatal for others.

Alcohol lowers inhibitions, making it an excellent catalyst for socialization and making friends. Unfortunately, it can also be a great catalyst for making a complete and utter fool out of yourself. Anyone who has overindulged in booze on Saturday has probably made an apology or two on Sunday.

Are Drunk Words Really Sober Thoughts

People like to say that drunk words, sober thoughts. This old adage implies that the things people say when they’re drunk, however crass, rude, or vile, are indicative of their actual thoughts and feelings.

Is it true? Is alcohol a truth serum? The reality is that it’s not quite that simple. While alcohol can cause drunk people to blurt out things they believe but would normally repress, sometimes drunk talk is just nonsense.

Here’s an overview of what experts know about the short- and long-term effects of consuming alcohol:

Short-Term Effects of Drinking Alcohol

Lowered Inhibitions

Inhibitions refer to inner impediments to free activity; in other words, they’re filters and a necessary part of a functioning society. If everyone ran around doing and saying the first thing that popped into their heads, chaos would quickly ensue. Ethanol, the psychoactive component that gets people drunk, temporarily lowers these inhibitions, which is why people often quip that drunk words are sober thoughts.

In some circumstances, the lowering of inhibitions can be a good thing. Shy people can come out of their shells a bit and be less self-conscious. On the other hand, lowering inhibitions can cause people to be rude, obnoxious, politically incorrect, and even violent.

Blacking Out

Blacking out refers to drinking to the point of short-term memory loss. The scary part about this is that people who are blackout drunk can often still function relatively normally. They can walk, engage with others and even drive or operate machinery. This temporary memory loss can be partial, but it can also be complete; it’s not unusual for someone who blacks out to remember nothing.

Many people who get blackout drunk are horrified when they learn about their previous day’s actions, and a good number of them wake up in jail.

Loss of Coordination

Being under The influence of alcohol affects GABA, one of the brain’s neurotransmitters. This slows people’s reaction times and makes them clumsy. When people drink enough, walking or even standing can be nearly impossible. It can also lead to a total system shutdown and medical emergency.

Increased Blood Pressure

Excessive alcohol consumption temporarily raises blood pressure, which isn’t that big of a deal. Repeated binge drinking, which is defined as drinking four drinks within two hours for women and five drinks within two hours for men, can lead to long-term increases in blood pressure.

Long-term high blood pressure increases the risk of stroke and other cardiovascular conditions. Additionally, alcohol contains a lot of calories. This often leads to weight gain, increasing the risk of high blood pressure.

Lower Body Temperature

Alcohol widens blood vessels, which makes more blood flow to the skin. This makes drinkers feel warm, but it’s only temporary; the extra heat dissipates quickly, and this is why drinking alcohol is not an effective way to prevent hypothermia.

Other short-term effects of alcohol consumption include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Vomiting
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating

Long-Term Effects of Drinking Alcohol

People who drink alcohol to excess over a long period of time are at risk of the following conditions:

Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

When the liver processes alcohol, it also creates a toxic compound called acetaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Over time, this substance damages liver cells causes inflammation and weakens the body’s immune system. Fatty liver disease is the first stage of liver disease caused by alcohol and can eventually advance to alcoholic hepatitis and, eventually, cirrhosis.

Alcoholic Hepatitis

Alcoholic hepatitis is the second stage of liver disease, and it’s serious. Symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Low-grade fever
  • Tenderness in the abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness and fatigue

Alcoholic hepatitis can be fatal, especially for those who continue to drink. People with alcoholic hepatitis risk developing cirrhosis, the final stage of liver disease.


The liver is damaged and attempts to repair itself whenever people drink to excess. This repair process causes scarring, also called fibrosis, and over time, the buildup of scar tissue impairs the liver’s ability to function properly. Some symptoms of cirrhosis include:

  • Bleeding or bruising more easily
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or skin)
  • Confusion
  • Itching
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet
  • A buildup of fluid in the abdomen

Liver damage caused by cirrhosis is almost always permanent, but it can be slowed or stopped when treating the underlying cause.


People who drink heavily over many years can develop cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle disease that impairs its ability to pump blood through the body. The main symptoms are shortness of breath, coughing or difficulty sleeping when lying flat, pressure or discomfort in the chest, and a pounding, fluttering or rapid heartbeat.

Cardiomyopathy is generally mild at first, but it gets worse over time. Depending on the type and severity, cardiomyopathy can be life-threatening.

Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorder, more commonly referred to as alcoholism, describes a pattern of problematic alcohol consumption. Because more than half of all Americans consume at least one drink per day, it can be difficult to determine whether someone’s drinking constitutes a clinically-significant problem. To help remedy this, the DSM-5 identifies 11 factors that constitute problem drinking:

  1. Drinking more or for longer than intended.
  2. Repeated failed attempts to stop drinking
  3. Spending a lot of time drinking alcohol or recovering from its effects
  4. Strong urges to drink
  5. Failing to fulfill major responsibilities (work, school, relationships, etc.)
  6. Drinking when it could be dangerous, such as when driving or operating machinery
  7. Experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms
  8. Foregoing activities one used to enjoy in order to drink
  9. Needing more alcohol to achieve the desired effects
  10. Drinking even though it’s making physical or psychological conditions worse
  11. Continuing to drink even though it’s damaging personal relationships

Alcoholism is considered mild, moderate, or severe depending on how many of the above factors a person experiences in a 12-month period.

What To Do if You Think You Have a Problem

1. Be Honest With Yourself

It may sound cliche, but admitting you have a problem is half the battle. Acknowledging your drinking problem will allow your brain to work on correcting it actively.

2. Don’t Bother Feeling Ashamed

Alcohol abuse is an incredibly common problem; at any given time, the United States alone has more than 14 million problem drinkers, and in all likelihood, that figure is a gross underestimate.

3. Gauge the Severity of Your Problem

Go through the DSM’s 11 factors, and answer honestly. If you decide that six or more factors apply to you, your drinking problem is likely severe. For severe cases of alcoholism, self-detoxification can be dangerous. In these cases, it’s best to get professional help. Supervised detoxification will greatly decrease your risk of dangerous side effects, and medication can significantly ease your withdrawal symptoms.

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask for Help

If it was easy to fix a drinking problem, it wouldn’t be much of a problem. Your odds of success are greatly increased when you have a good support system, find the right rehab and get medical advice. Addiction is both physical and mental, and both aspects need to be addressed. There are people who dedicate their lives to helping people quit drinking, and a lot of them do so because they’ve struggled with alcohol themselves. Without addiction treatment services and medical detoxification, both active alcoholism and alcohol withdrawals can be life-threatening.

5. Never Give Up

Perseverance is king. Most people who successfully quit drinking relapse at least once; it’s often part of the process. Relapsing can help people determine what their personal triggers are and provide invaluable insight on how to avoid them in the future.


  • Do your true feelings come out when you are drunk?
  • Does drinking alcohol make you speak the truth?
  • Are drunk thoughts sober words?