3 min

Magic Mushrooms Are The Safest Drug

3 min

A psilocybin trip can be fun and enlightening, but just how safe is it to trip on magic mushrooms? In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of magic mushrooms, and show you just how safe they really are.

Psilocybin—the main psychoactive constituent of magic mushrooms—has received a lot of attention recently. After a long stint of prohibition, city governments in the United States are starting to relax laws surrounding the mind-altering molecule. This recent mark of acceptance follows early human trials suggesting psilocybin to offer relief in certain settings.


Magic mushrooms contain psilocybin, a natural psychedelic alkaloid. When ingested, your body breaks down psilocybin into psilocin, which affects serotonin signalling in two main ways: by stopping the reuptake of serotonin (leading to higher serotonin levels in the brain), and by binding directly to specific serotonin receptors. This increase in serotonin and serotonin signalling is what causes the hallucinations that characterise a magic mushroom trip.

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How Safe Is Psilocybin?

When we talk about the safety of a substance, we’re really talking about two main things: whether a substance is addictive, and how toxic it is to the body. Based on those two metrics, psilocybin mushrooms are amongst the safest recreational substances out there.

A 2011 review published in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology found that “the physical and psychological dependence potential of magic mushrooms was low, that acute toxicity was moderate, chronic toxicity low and public health and criminal aspects negligible”.

According to the 2017 Global Drug Survey, psilocybin mushrooms were considered the safest of all recreational drugs due to their limited toxicity and extremely low addiction potential. That being said, it is possible for people to develop a dependence on mushrooms, but this dependence is psychological as mushrooms aren’t physically addictive.

global comparison of emergency medical treatment seeking

Another study conducted by Professor David Nutt, former chief drug advisor of the UK government, ranked a variety of drugs based on their potential to cause harm to individuals, as well as society. Mushrooms ranked last, posing little harm to users and none to others. Making the top of the list as the most harmful drug both for users and society was - drum roll please - alcohol.

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How To Prepare For A Safe Psychedelic Trip?

Arguably the biggest risk of taking mushrooms is that of a “bad trip”. It’s important to note that the experience of psychedelic drugs is really subjective, so the way a bad trip manifests for one person may be completely different to how it manifests for another. Nevertheless, the effects of a bad trip can be very intense.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to know for sure how mushrooms will affect you, especially if you’re taking them for the first time. There are, however, many things you can do to ensure your experience with mushrooms is enjoyable.


The Benefits Of Mushrooms

We’ve spent some time talking about the potential negative effects of magic mushrooms. But there are many positives to gain from using psilocybin mushrooms, too. These include:


Magic mushrooms, when taken responsibly, can produce extremely pleasurable effects, especially when you find the right dose. Microdoses of psilocybin, for example, can subtly reduce anxiety and improve mood. High doses, on the other hand, can propel your mind into a euphoric dimension where you fully “understand” the whole universe, making you cry from joy over your newfound enlightenment. MICRODOSING


The use of magic mushrooms as a spiritual tool dates back thousands of years. Like other psychedelics, magic mushrooms can catalyse breakthrough experiences that help people feel more in tune with themselves and the world around them. Some people may even experience ego death and forge a spiritual connection with the world that forever changes the way they lead their lives.


The last few years have given rise to several studies into the potential of psilocybin. Some of these studies have investigated the effects of psilocybin on the mood. As one of the most prominent institutions in the field, Imperial College London has led numerous studies where psilocybin was administered to patients with associated issues.

A 2020 paper published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology details a study conducted at the institution. The authors state that psilocybin has shown promise for low mood, but the mechanism remains to be understood. In an attempt to uncover brain changes following psilocybin use, the researchers exposed patients to different emotional stimuli and measured their response using functional magnetic resonance imaging. They found that psilocybin altered connectivity in the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, resulting in revived emotional responsiveness. The authors state that the results may have uncovered why psilocybin appears to be effective. However, more placebo-controlled studies are required.

Other studies have shown that psilocybin may play a role in curbing compulsive use of other substances. Researchers at John Hopkins University state that 80% of smokers were abstinent up to six months after participating in psilocybin research. They also suggest the ability of psilocybin to cause changes in brain plasticity that may result in altered mood, behaviour, and attitude.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about the potential of psilocybin and magic mushrooms. However, science has shown us that these substances seem to disrupt some of the neuronal patterns in our brain, enabling cross-talk between regions of the brain that normally don't communicate with one another. This in turn can lead to extreme out-of-thebox thinking and problem solving approaches.


What Does This Mean For You?

If you’re planning on using magic mushrooms, you can rest assured that you’ll be trying the least addictive and least toxic recreational substance out there, according to the Global Drug Survey. However, that doesn’t mean you should start chewing on shrooms like crazy. Like with any other substance, it’s super important to take mushrooms responsibly and pay extra attention to your dose, set, and setting to ensure you get the most out of these powerful fungi.

Steven Voser
Steven Voser
Steven Voser is an independent cannabis journalist with over 6 years of experience writing about all things weed; how to grow it, how best to enjoy it, and the booming industry and murky legal landscape surrounding it.
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