Adverse experiences resulting in emergency medical treatment seeking following the use of magic mushrooms

This survey study (n=9,233) assessed the prevalence and nature of magic mushroom-related adverse reactions resulting in emergency medical treatment seeking in a global sample of people reporting magic mushroom use. 0.2% of respondents sought emergency medical treatment the most common symptoms being anxiety/panic and paranoia/suspiciousness. Poor ‘mindset’, poor ‘setting’ and mixing of substances were the most reported reasons for incidents. Young age was the only predictor associated with a higher risk of emergency medical presentations.

Abstract

Background: Psilocybin-containing mushrooms are used for recreational, spiritual, self-development and therapeutic purposes. However, physiologically relatively nontoxic, adverse reactions are occasionally reported.

Aims: This study investigated the 12-month prevalence and nature of magic mushroom-related adverse reactions resulting in emergency medical treatment seeking in a global sample of people reporting magic mushroom use.

Methods: We use data from the 2017 Global Drug Survey – a large anonymous online survey on patterns of drug use conducted between November 2016 and January 2017.

Results: Out of 9233 past year magic mushroom users, 19 (0.2%) reported having sought emergency medical treatment, with a per-event risk estimate of 0.06%. Young age was the only predictor associated with a higher risk of emergency medical presentations. The most common symptoms were psychological, namely anxiety/panic and paranoia/suspiciousness. Poor ‘mindset’, poor ‘setting’ and mixing of substances were the most reported reasons for incidents. All but one respondent returned back to normality within 24 h.

Conclusions: The results confirm psilocybin mushrooms are a relatively safe drug, with serious incidents rare and short-lasting. Providing harm-reduction information likely plays a key role in preventing adverse effects. More research is needed to examine the detailed circumstances and predictors of adverse reactions including rarer physiological reactions.”

Authors: Emma I. Kopra, Jason A. Ferris, Adam R. Winstock, Allan H. Young & James J. Rucker

Study details

Compounds studied
Psilocybin

Topics studied
Safety

Study characteristics
Survey

Participants
9233 Humans

Authors

Authors associated with this publication with profiles on Blossom

James Rucker
James Rucker is a Senior Clinical Lecturer at The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience in King's College London.

Institutes

Institutes associated with this publication

King's College London
KCL is home to the Psychedleic Trials Group.