Psilocybin safe by all measures

Historical evidence and recent studies provide overwhelming support for the conclusion that psilocybin and its derivatives are very safe.

Psilocybin is a natural substance that has been consumed for thousands of years without any evidence that the substance is dangerous.  Recent studies of emergency room data indicate that psilocybin is the least problematic of all recreational drugs.  And, recent clinical trials support the conclusion that psilocybin is a safe and useful substance.

On May 10th, 2018, the abuse potential of psilocybin was reviewed in the journal Neuropharmacology. The authors evaluated psilocybin according to the 8 factors of the Controlled Substances Act.  The authors concluded that “placement in Schedule IV may be appropriate if a psilocybin-containing medicine is approved.”  See, Johns Hopkins Researchers Call for Rescheduling Psilocybin at Psychedelic Science Review.

Psilocybin has been used safely for thousands of years

Psilocybin has been naturally present in over 200 species of mushrooms since before human records.
Psilocybin has been consumed by people for at least that past seven thousand years.   See image of cave art from the Tassili plateau in Southern Algeria (showing use of psychoactive mushrooms).
Considering all records documenting seven thousand years of usage, the weight of the evidence shows that psilocybin is one of the safest psychoactive substances known.

Modern science confirms the safety of psilocybin

“You can’t overdose, and you can’t get addicted,” says Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, chair of the psychiatry department at Columbia University and a past president of American Psychiatric Association. Even for recreational users, he says, “The only risk is that someone intoxicated will do something stupid, and that a very small number will have a more sustained adverse reaction to taking [psilocybin].”

According to Adam Winstock, a consultant addiction psychiatrist and founder of the Global Drug Survey, “Magic mushrooms are one of the safest drugs in the world, explaining that “Death from toxicity is almost unheard of.” See also USA Today (describing psilocybin mushrooms as “the safest recreational drug”.

Mr. Winstock notes that “Magic mushrooms aren’t completely harmless,” pointing out that “[c]ombined use with alcohol and use within risky or unfamiliar settings increase the risks of harm. However, the most common harm is relatively short-lived and minor “accidental injury, panic and short lived confusion, disorientation and fears of losing one’s mind.” Compare the well documented side-effects of pharmaceutical products.

As explained by Popular Science, “If you’re looking to play it safe when it comes to illicit substances, look no further than the humble shroom. It’s non-addictive, hard to overdose on, and … it sends the fewest people to the emergency room of any drug on the market.”
Other known risks associated with consuming psilocybin include: Some physiological symptoms may occur during hallucinogen action, weakness, tremors, nausea, drowsiness, paresthesia, blurred vision, dilated pupils, and increased tendon reflexes.  Additionally, fear and paranoid delusions may lead to erratic and potentially dangerous behavior, including aggression against self or others.

According to Mr. Winstock, “the bigger risk [regarding psilocybin mushrooms] was people picking and eating the wrong mushrooms.” Another concern with consuming magic mushrooms is the poorly understood phenomenon of Wood Lover Paralysis, which appears to arise from non-psilocybin chemicals that are present in some magic mushrooms.  Other significant harms associated with consuming psilocybin mushrooms arise from mishandling of the cultivated mushrooms, which can cause a variety of harmful food borne illnesses, such as botulism.

Request of Evidence to the Contrary

If you are aware of any published studies demonstrating that psilocybin (or magic mushooms) are not safe, we would appreciate your sharing the information using the comments section below.

Additional references regarding psilocybin safety: