Magic Mushrooms Are ‘Safest’ Recreational Drug Says New Study, But How Safe Are They?

Mushrooms, or “magic mushrooms” as they are often referred to in the drug using world, have been deemed “safe” by the Global Drug Survey.

The term “safe” isn’t often one that comes to mind when one thinks of something like drugs. However, yesterday when the Global Drug Survey released their annual recreational drug survey, they found that of all individuals that took a trip on psychedelic mushrooms last year, only 0.2 percent of them ended up needing medical help, or, at least, 0.2 percent of those who took magic mushroom reported needing medical help.

Mushroom use in 50 countries was researched in the study and involved almost 120,000 test subjects. The Global Drug Survey used a questionnaire to ask drug users about their habits and results of using recreational drugs. A whopping 65.1 percent of the subjects said that they had used recreational drugs like mushrooms in the past year, and 79.3 percent, (almost eight out of ten!), said that they had used recreational drugs at some point in their lives. Of those using psychedelics, it was found that mushrooms were much safer than other psychedelics like MDMA or LSD as those drugs were almost five times as likely to send users to the hospital.

Global Drug Survey
The use of magic mushrooms can cause closed and open eye visuals. [Image by F. Roy Kemp/Getty Images]

Magic mushrooms are technically referred to as psilocybin mushrooms. Including over 100 different species, they belong to a subset of mushrooms that contain specific compounds that can cause altered thinking processes, euphoria, synethesia (the production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body), an altered sense of time, and closed and open eye visuals. Magic mushrooms have been used by humans for spiritual means and healing for thousands of years, including religious ceremonies and rites. Magic mushrooms are abundant in tropical areas of the United States, Mexico, and South America.

Of those.2 percent of individuals ending up the hospital because of magic mushrooms, the Global Drug Survey founder, Adam Winstock, told The Guardian that it wasn’t really because of psilocybin mushrooms, it was because people were picking and consuming the wrong kinds of mushrooms that made them sick.

“Magic mushrooms are one of the safest drugs in the world. Death from toxicity is almost unheard of with poisoning with more dangerous fungi being a much greater risk in terms of serious harms.”

Mr. Winstock went on to describe why another common hallucinogenic, LSD, was so much more dangerous.

“LSD is such a potent drug. It’s so difficult to dose accurately when tabs you buy vary so widely. It’s easy to take too much and have an experience beyond the one you were expecting.”

So, why do people take magic mushrooms? It turns out that that question was asked in this latest Global Drug Survey. The answer? More than 80 percent of the 24,000 test subjects who had taken mushrooms at some point in their life said that it was for one of two reasons. Either they wanted a “moderate psychedelic experience,” or they were looking for an “enhancement of environment and social interactions.”

Global Drug Survey
[Image by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images]

Magic mushrooms aren’t considered to be addictive. Individuals that are more inclined to take drugs like mushrooms usually have poly substance abuse disorders, co-existing mental health disorders, or are influenced by daily stresses or peer influence. Though they aren’t considered to be physically addictive, their psychological impact may lead to repeated abuse according to The Center for Substance Abuse Research.

“For several days following the use of mushrooms, users may experience a period of psychological withdrawal and have difficulty discerning reality.”

What’s more, in humans, a tolerance for the effects of magic mushrooms can quickly skyrocket with repeated use.

However safe Psilocybin hallucinogenic mushrooms are considered, readers should be warned that they are listed as a Schedule 1 drug in the United States, meaning that they have a high probability for being abused and are illegal.

[Featured Image by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images]