A worldwide study found hallucinogenic mushrooms, known as magic mushrooms, to be the safest illegal drug. Meanwhile, the medical community has been studying them as a treatment for a variety of mental health conditions, from anxiety and depression to PTSD and addiction. A debate continues over FDA approval for both medical and recreational use.
Magic Mushrooms—Safest Illegal Substance
The Global Health Survey 2017 (GDS2017) found magic mushrooms the safest drug, above marijuana, LSD, cocaine, amphetamines, MDMA, alcohol, Synthetic cannabis, and methamphetamines. For its purposes, GDS2017 measured safety based on the number of times people sought emergency medical treatment after taking these various drugs.
GDS2017’s results are based on almost 120,000 anonymous participants who responded online from 50 countries. As the world’s largest annual drug survey, for the past four years it has reported substance use, patterns of usage, and negative effects.
In 2016, greater than 12,000 respondents reported taking magic mushrooms. They ranked 6th most popular, slightly behind LSD, and well behind the most popular choices: cannabis, cocaine, MDMA and amphetamines. Of the 12,000 users of psilocybin hallucinogenic mushrooms in 2016, only 0.2 percent or 17 people, sought emergency medical treatment. GDS2017 explained that the greatest risk of taking mushrooms is ingesting the wrong type.
“Magic mushrooms are one of the safest drugs in the world,” according to Adam Winstock, founder of GDS and consultant addiction psychiatrist. He added, “There is no known lethal dose for… pure psilocybin.”
As additional basis for its findings, the study noted that “People who use psychedelics are generally very sensible and show some of the best preparation and adoption of harm reduction practices of any drug.”
Concurring with GDS2017’s conclusions about magic mushrooms, the Beckley Foundation—an NGO that supports psychedelic drug research—said they may lead to less emergency
Amy McElroy is a contributing editor and writer for Rewire Me. She has written for print, radio, and online publications such as The Bold Italic, The Billfold, Noodle, Cosmopolitan, BlogHer, and others. Her website, amyjmcelroy.net, lists her editorial services. She’s on twitter at @amyjmcelroy. Amy balances her work at the computer by teaching yoga and fitness.