In the eternal words of Howard Moon: “We all like having fun, but it’s even more fun when we can have safe fun.”
Well Howard would be over the bloody moon after hearing the findings of this year’s Global Drug Survey, which concluded that magic mushrooms are in fact the safest drug to be taken recreationally.
Trusted as the world’s “biggest annual drug survey”, the Global Drug Survey 2017 quizzed around 120,000 participants from 50 countries about the types of substances they’ve taken, their patterns of use, and any negative side effects that they may or may not have experienced.
Of the some 12,000 people who reported taking psilocybin in 2016, only 0.2% of them admitted to having required emergency medical assistance. That works out to a mere 24 trippers when you run the maths, and a rate at least five times lower than that for MDMA, LSD and cocaine.
“Magic mushrooms are one of the safest drugs in the world,” said Adam Winstock, a consultant addiction psychiatrist and founder of the Global Drug Survey. The more prevalent risk, according to Winstock, was the chance of someone picking and ingesting the wrong type of mushrooms.
“Death from toxicity is almost unheard of,” he said, “with poisoning with more dangerous fungi being a much greater risk in terms of serious harms.”
Know your Golden Tops from your Deadly Amanitas, in other words.
Winstock also points out that shrooms aren’t always completely harmless. “Combined use with alcohol and use within risky or unfamiliar settings increase the risks of harm,” he notes – the most common of those risks being “accidental injury, panic and short lived confusion, disorientation and fears of losing one’s mind.”
LSD, meanwhile, prompted emergency medical treatment for around 1% of the 10,000 consumers surveyed. Synthetic cannabis was also highlighted as one of the riskiest recreational drugs – second only to crystal meth – with one in every thirty users seeking emergency medical treatment.
As Brad Burge of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies points out, however, the question of whether people ‘sought emergency medical treatment’ is an inconsistent metric for how safe or dangerous a drug might be. Dialling 000 on a heroin overdose is not the same as dialling 000 during a heavy trip, for example: the former is often a case of life and death, while the latter can usually be treated with ‘supportive psychological reassurance’.
“There is no known lethal dose for LSD or pure psilocybin,” he said.
Winstock took this positive spin a few steps further, insisting that drug laws ought to reassess their largely negative view of psychedelics and bump them down from schedule one list of the most dangerous controlled substances.
“People don’t tend to abuse psychedelics, they don’t get dependent, they don’t rot every organ from head to toe, and many would cite their impact upon their life as profound and positive,” he said. “But you need to know how to use them.”
Source: The Guardian
Feature image: Hallucinogens.com