3 min

Magic Mushrooms Are The Safest Drug

3 min
Research Shroomshop

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 intoxicating ingredient in magic mushrooms, has gotten a lot of attention lately. Not only have studies shown that it may not be as dangerous as it was made out to be in the past, but research even suggests it could have therapeutic benefits in treating depression, anxiety, and addiction, and relieving some of the existential dread associated with terminal illness.


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.

Magic Mushroomview top 10 magic mushrooms


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[1] 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[2] 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[3] 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.

While animal studies have shown that psilocybin overdose can lead to death in lab animals, this is extremely rare in humans. According to the Global Drug Survey, out of the 12,000 participants who took mushrooms in 2016, only 0.2% sought medical treatment. In terms of medical repercussions, while it may not be fatal, a mushroom overdose can cause anxiety, vomiting, and diarrhoea, and an extended, intense trip.

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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 a number of preclinical and clinical studies into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin. Most of these studies have focussed on the compound's ability to help relieve depression in long-term clinical depression patients.

Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris is one of the leading researchers in this field, and has led numerous studies that explore the benefits of psilocybin for people with severe treatment-resistant depression[4]. While his first studies included only a small number of patients, larger trials are now underway. In 2018, for example, Compass Pathways was granted permission[5] by the FDA to conduct a study on psilocybin for depression involving over 200 participants.

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5 Mind Blowing Facts About Magic Mushrooms

Other studies have shown that psilocybin may help treat addiction. Researchers from the John Hopkins School of Medicine, for example, have conducted small trials that showed psilocybin to be more effective at treating tobacco addiction than regular treatments (such as nicotine patches or chewing gum). Here you can watch a personal account of an experimentee[6].

There’s still a lot we don’t know about the therapeutic 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[7] 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

Written by: Steven Voser
Steven Voser is an Emmy Award Nominated freelance journalist with a lot of experience under his belt. Thanks to a passion for all things cannabis, he now dedicates a lot of his times exploring the world of weed.

Find out about our writers
We are not making medical claims. This article has been written for informational purposes only, and is based on research published by other externals sources.

External Resources:
  1. Harm potential of magic mushroom use: a review. - PubMed - NCBI -
  2. -
  3. Alcohol 'more harmful than heroin' says Prof David Nutt - BBC News -
  4. Psychopharmacology Institute -
  5. COMPASS Pathways Receives FDA Approval for Psilocybin Therapy Clinical Trial for Treatment-resistant Depression -
  6. Can Magic Mushrooms Cure Addiction? - YouTube -
  7. How Tripping On Mushrooms Changes The Brain - Business Insider -

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