Use of Psilocybin Not Without Risk For Personal Harm
According to a report by John Hopkins researchers, use of psilocybin mushrooms can result in a bad experience, and the user may become a harm to him or herself or others. The study, which looked at nearly 2,000 people reporting a negative experience on psilocybin, was recently published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
Researchers found than more than 10% of survey participants deemed their worst trip had put themselves and/or others in danger. Also, a significant majority called their most harrowing episode one of the top ten greatest life challenges.
However, despite this, most of the participants still thought the experience was “meaningful” or “worthwhile.” Half of the positive responses noted that it was among their most valuable life experiences. Keep in mind, these responses only included those who reported bad experiences, and did not evaluate good experiences or attempt to determine the incidence of bad trips.
Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., John Hopkins University School of Medicine:
“Considering both the negative effects and the positive outcomes that respondents sometimes reported, the survey results confirm our view that neither users nor researchers can be cavalier about the risks associated with psilocybin.”
Psilocybin and other hallucinogens first became popular in the U.S. in 1960s, but were banned for safety reasons shortly thereafter despite little evidence of its risks or benefits. Psilocybin is not considered addictive and does not appear to pose any significant risk to mental or physical health based on use alone. It is not without risk however, due to its psychoactive effects and resulting behaviors.
About The Survey
Respondents were asked to focus on their worst experience only, report the dose they took, the environment of occurrence, the duration of the trip.
Respondents were mostly male (78%) white (89%) and more than half had degrees from higher education. Two-thirds were from the U.S.
The average age of participants was 30 years old, having been 23 at the time the bad trips occurred. The vast majority (93%) said they had used the drug more than twice.
In addition to the 10% that reported putting themselves or others at risk for harm, 2.6% reported acting aggressively or violently, and 2.7% said reported seeking medical help.
Nearly two-thirds said the bad experience was among the 10 most difficult of their lives, 39% said it was in their top five, and 11% reported that it was the most difficult experience they had ever faced.
Moreover, taking any psychoactive substance is not without risk, albeit some much less risky than others.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology
Carbonaro, T.M., Bradstreet, M.P., Barrett, F.S., MacLean, K.A., Jesse, R., Johnson, M.W., & Griffiths, R.R. (2016). Survey study of challenging experiences after ingesting psilocybin mushrooms: Acute and enduring positive and negative consequences. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 30(12). 1268-1278.