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Doing mushrooms is safe and fun, says study we can’t officially condone

Another satisfied customer. (Amer Ghazzal/Barcroft Images/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

While The A.V. Club does not officially condone the use of illegal substances, we are bound by our professional obligation to talk about how awesome they are based on recent news regarding the experiences of people who use them. If it were written by the respondents of a new study by the Global Drug Survey, the headline for this piece would have been, “Get high on mushrooms, they are safe as hell and super-fun.” But it is not, and so we cannot therefore reasonably say that the news we’re about to impart is a wonderful reminder of the ongoing joys of recreational drug use.

According to The Guardian, more than 12,000 people responded to the survey saying they took psilocybin hallucinogenic mushrooms in 2016, and of those, only 0.2 percent reported needing emergency medical treatment. Despite legally mandated disapproval of these drug users, we are honor-bound to report the fact that this statistic is five times lower than that for MDMA, LSD, and cocaine. We are similarly obliged to note that Adam Winstock—a consultant addiction psychiatrist and founder of the Global Drug Survey—stresses that “magic mushrooms are one of the safest drugs in the world,” a statement that could again be taken as grounds for exploring the wonderful world of mild hallucinogens if you’re intent on having a good time this weekend. We would never defend these grounds, to be sure, but we must regretfully fulfill our professional duties by informing you that such a tantalizing possibility for fun exists.


The world’s largest annual drug study, the Global Drug Survey features the results of close to 120,000 participants in 50 countries. Of the 28,000 people who admitted to taking mushrooms at some point in their lives, a whopping 81.7 percent confirmed experiencing a “moderate psychedelic experience” and the “enhancement of environment and social interactions.” This news, which certainly reads like an endorsement of using the drug, also includes a word of caution, however, as Winstock says combining it with alcohol increases the risk of “accidental injury, panic and short lived confusion, disorientation, and fears of losing one’s mind.” That sounds less fun, or at least something that should be moderated, perhaps in a hella chill environment with some bomb-ass Blu-rays and bitchin’ sound system. Again, this is just speculation on our part.

And even if your trip isn’t great, it can have a positive result, according to a separate study carried out by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Eighty-four percent of those interviewed about their worst trips still said they benefitted from the experience, suggesting that recent unconfirmed reports of people suggesting you “motor through” and “you’ll have a way better time next week at Kate’s hangout sesh” may be on to something.


On the other hand, the study also confirms something you should already know: Namely, to stay the hell away from synthetic cannabis. More than one in 30 users of this constantly changing chemical compound required emergency medical treatment. Basically, if your drug is sold in a container that makes it look like a thing of Big League Chew and requires dumping unknown chemicals together in a massive vat, maybe don’t do it. And while we again reiterate our public stance against illegal drug use, just smoking regular weed would avoid all these questions altogether, and pairs phenomenally with a Jack’s frozen pizza.

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