Terrence Mckenna, the patron saint of psilosybin, might be smiling down from heaven due to a recent study on the safety of psychedelics. According to the 2017 Global Drug Survey, conducted annually in 50 countries with an estimated 120,000 participants, magic mushrooms ranked as the least harmful of recreational drugs.
Every year, the survey is used to examine what substances people are taking, how much and how their experiences unfolded. In summary, it’s a comprehensive look at the drug habits of the entire world at any one time; an official graphic of the results is attached just below.
More than 12,000 people in the survey responded that they had taken psychedelic mushrooms in past year; of them, only 0.2 percent reported they needed emergency services during or after their shrooms trips. That means drugs like cocaine and LSD are 500 percent more dangerous than mushrooms.
But don’t go popping shrooms every Saturday because you think they are perfectly safe. If you are in the wrong setting or amongst the wrong people, you could potentially put yourself in danger. Adam Winstock, a founder of the Global Drug Survey, spoke to The Guardian about the more subtle risks.
“Death from toxicity is almost unheard of but…combined use with alcohol and use within risky or unfamiliar settings increase the risks of harm, most commonly accidental injury, panic and short-lived confusion, disorientation and fears of losing one’s mind,“ he says. He advises that you plan “your trip carefully with trusted company in a safe place and always know what mushrooms you are using.”
LSD, a similarly popular psychedelic, is a far different story, for a litany of reasons. Synthetic psychedelics that straight up melt the brain, such as NBOMe, are often put into tablets and sold as LSD. For this reason Winstock says it is “difficult to dose [LSD] accurately.” You may not even know what you are getting, and even if your stuff is pure, dosing remains difficult when “tabs you buy vary so widely.”
With the decreased lack in danger from mushrooms, though the drug moves even closer to being used in psychiatric medicine. Compelling research suggests that shrooms could treat anxiety and depression, and with this new studied suggesting their safety, the momentum continues to build.
If you’d like to find out how to find magic mushrooms yourself, let Yoonj Kim from our Journalista documentary series help you out.