Claire Bernish, The Free Thought Project
Waking Times Media
Obliterating the war on drugs in one decisively earth-shattering move, an unprecedented new survey cited by the corporate press found that — of all recreational drugs available — magic mushrooms can be considered safest.
Of an astonishing 120,000 participants from 50 nations, researchers for the Global Drug Survey found the percentage of those seeking emergency treatment for ingesting psilocybin-containing hallucinogenic mushrooms to comprise just 0.2 percent per 10,000 individuals.
Rates of hospitalization for MDMA, alcohol, LSD, and cocaine were an astounding five times higher.
“Magic mushrooms are one of the safest drugs in the world,” Global Drug Survey founder and consultant addiction psychiatrist, Adam Winstock, told the Guardian, noting the biggest risk users face is misidentification — ingesting the wrong mushroom — not from the psychedelic fungus, itself.
“Death from toxicity is almost unheard of with poisoning with more dangerous fungi being a much greater risk in terms of serious harms,” he asserted.
Annually, the Global Drug Survey queries the planet about its drug habits — covering type of substances used and in what quantity, patterns of drug use, and whether they experienced negative effects.
Reports the Guardian, “Overall, 28,000 people said they had taken magic mushrooms at some point in their lives, with 81.7% seeking a ‘moderate psychedelic experience’ and the ‘enhancement of environment and social interactions.’”
Winstock noted the greatest risk posed by magic mushrooms comes from combining psilocybin with other substances — or careless disregard for the drug as a powerful hallucinogen — as he explained,
“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.”
Indeed, because ‘shrooms’ can induce flashbacks and panic attacks, Winstock advised those considering experimentation to plan “your trip carefully with trusted company in a safe place and always know what mushrooms you are using.”
Just because a trip devolves into a negative experience doesn’t guarantee the user will come away reeling with long-term psychological consequences, as Roland Griffiths and Robert Jesse of Johns Hopkins discovered in a 2016 survey of 2,000 people.
Quizzed about challenging or difficult magic mushroom experiences, just 2.7 percent of users reported having sought medical attention, while 7.6 percent were treated from enduring psychological symptoms — mere fractions of the 84 percent reporting beneficial effects from the psychedelic.
That finding concurs with two additional studies deeming magic mushrooms palliative for severe depression and anxiety.
Unintentionally lambasting the U.S. farcical war on drugs, Winstock pointed out that LSD — whose users, the 2017 GDS found, were hospitalized at a rate of 1 percent — came with problems due to variance in quality.
“LSD is such a potent drug,” he told the Guardian. “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.”
When partakers practice moderation, ingesting small amounts until one becomes well-acquainted with their effects; procure shrooms only from a “reliable, trustworthy supply”; and taking only “a tiny dose to start,” the ingestion of mushrooms can be made exponentially safer.
Brad Burge, of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), pointed out the self-reporting by users upon which the Global Drug Survey relies should not be taken as documented medical data — particularly as users sometimes ingest multiple substances, thus making the determination of cause and effect murky, at best.
Additionally, what someone could cite as the need to seek emergency treatment vastly differs according to the substance, as Burge explained,
“With a drug such as heroin, a trip to the emergency room is a life-or-death situation requiring resuscitation and medication. With LSD or mushrooms, there is no toxicity and the effects wear after a few hours.”
However, he added, “There is no known lethal dose for LSD or pure psilocybin.”
“People don’t tend to abuse psychedelics,” Winstock asserted, “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. But you need to know how to use them.”
“Drug laws,” he added, “need to balance the positives and problems they can create in society and well crafted laws should nudge people to find the right balance for themselves.”