Self-reported negative outcomes of psilocybin users: A quantitative textual analysis PMC

dangers of magic mushrooms

Understanding the specific circumstances in which psilocybin may lead to negative outcomes may have important implications for the future clinical use of this substance, also providing relevant information for harm reduction initiatives. With adequate inclusion and exclusion criteria and clinical supervision, adverse physiological reactions are minimal (Malleson, 1971; Muttoni et al., 2019). As emotional experiences can be intensified when under the influence of psychedelics, set and setting are crucial. Set and setting – the expectations and personal experiences of the users as well as the external environment – are established elements of psychedelic research and recognised as having a major impact on users’ experience (Aday et al., 2021; Johnson et al., 2008).

The Greatist Magical Mystery Tour: Health Benefits of Psychedelic Mushrooms

In addition, these studies differed from the current report in that all previous studies conducted resting-state imaging with eyes closed, whereas the current study conducted resting-state imaging with eyes open. Also, while the current study collected 16 minutes worth of resting-state data, previous studies measured 7 or 8 minute resting-state scans, which may yield less reliable resting-state connectivity estimates than scans of 12 minutes or longer83. Participants completed the Big Five Inventory (BFI)51 and the Tellegen Absorption Scale (TAS)52 one day before and one month after psilocybin, and responses were compared between time points to investigate the enduring effect of psilocybin on personality. One day before, one week after, and one month after psilocybin, participants also underwent fMRI measurements during rest and during the completion of three separate emotion processing tasks (the emotion discrimination task15, the emotion recognition task53, and an emotional conflict Stroop task54).

Associated Data

In the wild, people may mistake mushrooms containing psilocybin for any number of other mushrooms that are poisonous. This article explains how psilocybin works, including the potential effects and risks. It’s meant to be a meticulously controlled environment to ensure that nothing unexpected happens. In fact, a small open-label study on psilocybin and alcohol dependence found that following treatment, both drinking and heavy drinking declined. Here’s what the current research says about psilocybin treatment for some potential indications. Yet, despite social stigma and legal red tape, researchers are forging ahead with clinical trials for FDA approval.

dangers of magic mushrooms

Psilocybin for Mental Health and Addiction: What You Need To Know

dangers of magic mushrooms

Hallucinogenic drugs can cause hallucinations, which are sensations and images that seem real but aren’t. Some psychedelic drugs cause people to feel out of control or disconnected from their bodies biofeedback and environment. Hallucinogens are a type of drug that changes a person’s awareness of their surroundings. Also known as psychedelics, they alter a person’s thoughts and feelings, as well.

In an emergency? Need treatment?

dangers of magic mushrooms

An adverse reaction to psychedelics can include a ‘bad trip’ (in lay language) or a ‘challenging experience’ (in therapeutic language). Although there is no exact definition of such an experience, most involve feelings of fear, anxiety, dysphoria and/or paranoia, making it essential that the experience is prepared for, supervised and followed by extensive integration. These experiences are usually short-lived, that is, lasting the time of the experience, and are often found to be cathartic. In Carbonaro et al.’s (2016) online survey about challenging experiences after consuming ‘mushrooms’, 11% of users reported putting themselves or others at risk of physical harm. This was often related to greater (estimated) dosage, difficulty of the experience and lack of physical comfort and social support – all of which can be controlled under clinical conditions. Cross-tolerance exists between LSD and other hallucinogens (e.g. psilocybin and mescaline).

Specificities analysis

Our study demonstrates a steady increase in psilocybin exposures in adolescents beginning in 2019. Case reports indicate that magic mushroom abuse can increase the risk of mental illness and cause flashbacks and memory problems. Within the clinical environment, set and setting, as well as the overall care experienced, can be largely controlled (Rucker et al., 2018).

Mood and Perception Changes

However, genetic polymorphisms of the CYP2D6 enzyme – responsible for breaking down many commonly used medicines – significantly influenced the pharmacokinetics and in part also the subjective effects of LSD (Holze et al., 2021). Psychedelics have come a long way since the first wave of experimentation and research. However, their potential range of psychological and psychiatric, as well as physiological risks remains to be fully understood.

Flashbacks can be brief, or they can reoccur for years after an experience with a substance. Studies suggest flashback episodes are rare and when they do occur are not always a negative experience. People may do higher-risk things after taking mushrooms in an unsupervised environment—driving dangerously or walking in traffic, for example—as they may be less aware of their physical surroundings and have an impairment in their ability to think clearly. A person taking psilocybin may have what’s called a mystical experience, where they enter a dreamlike, euphoric state, perhaps having visions or reliving memories. They may have a different sense of self, feeling that they have no personal boundaries and are one with the universe – what some researchers call “oceanic self-boundlessness”.

  1. Participants were assigned two session monitors with whom they met during two preparatory meetings before drug administration, for a total of roughly eight hours of preparation time.
  2. But today’s scientific-technological approaches have advanced considerably since the early research.
  3. As you'll see the manuscript has merits, though several revisions are needed before it can be considered suitable for publication.

An annual nationally representative survey on drug use and health reported that 9.68 percent of U.S. adults have used psilocybin at least once in their lifetime, based on data gathered between 2015 and 2018. A breakdown of data from the same survey data (gathered between 2005 and 2019) showed that lifetime psilocybin use was higher among non-Hispanic White adults (11.8 percent) than in Hispanic adults (5.1 percent) alprazolam oral route side effects or non-Hispanic adults from racial minorities (3.3 percent). A 2022 national survey of substance use in students in grades 8, 10, and 12 reported that 4 percent of adolescents used psychedelics (referred to as “hallucinogens” in the survey) including psilocybin during the past 12 months. Microdosing means regularly taking a very small amount of a hallucinogenic substance, typically 5-10% of a standard dose.

This is an interesting study based in an unusual approach which accessed publically available self-reported negative outcomes of psilocybin use. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider(s). We encourage you to discuss alcohol withdrawal any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by NCCIH. There is no data on the safety of taking psilocybin during pregnancy, for either a mother or a developing baby.

Nonetheless, replication of this study in a larger sample with compelling control conditions is warranted. Now, there is a new surge of interest in discovering how psilocybin works and its potential to help treat conditions such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addiction, pain, and neurodegenerative disorders. Individuals are also curious to see how psilocybin might affect their way of thinking and living. According to a survey published in 2021 of more than 7,000 people, some 7%—or about 500 people—reported having used psilocybin mushrooms in the past year. People who use them may hope to have fun, to improve their well-being, or to self-treat a medical disorder such as depression or anxiety. Most studies examined involved healthy subjects, some included patients with anxiety, or OCD, and in one large study of participants in ayahuasca ceremonies, a small number were taking antidepressant medication.