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What is Safer - Magic Mushrooms or Alcohol?

Jun 12 2017 Read 2980 Times

For a psychedelic experience, there’s no looking past magic mushrooms. And with vivid colours, full body tingles and a seriously ‘feel good’ feeling, they’re the recreational drug of choice for a host of Brits. Of course, they do come with a stigma. Not only are they illegal, but they can be dangerous.

Alcohol on the other hand is culturally accepted, and used by four out of five British adults. However, according to the latest statistics from the 2017 Global Drug Survey, hallucinogenic magic mushrooms could actually be safer than a night of heavy drinking.

The worldwide survey drew on responses from 120,000 people, spread across 50 countries. It steps up as the most comprehensive drug survey in the world, and aims to gain insight into what types of drugs people use and how frequently they indulge, as well as the reasons behind their choices and the effects they experience.

From a safety perspective, researchers ranked drugs according to the proportion of users that required emergency medical treatment. Taking both legal and illegal drugs into account, the study concluded that magic mushrooms were one of the safest. Of more than 12,000 people who reported consuming hallucinogenic mushrooms, just 0.2 % of users required emergency assistance. In comparison, the number of users requiring emergency medical treatment after consuming MDMA, LSD, and cocaine was around five times higher.

Magic mushrooms “one of the safest drugs in the world”

“Magic mushrooms are one of the safest drugs in the world,” comments Adam Winstock, a consultant addiction psychiatrist and founder of the Global Drug Survey. He goes on to point out that one of the biggest risks is picking and eating the wrong mushrooms.

“Death from toxicity is almost unheard of with poisoning with more dangerous fungi being a much greater risk in terms of serious harms,” he explains.

Unsurprisingly, methamphetamine was ranked as the world’s most dangerous drug, with an alarming 8.2% of users needing emergency assistance. Synthetic cannabis came in second with 2.2%, while alcohol took third place with 1.4% of drinkers requiring medical attention.

Experts call for global drug class reform

So, what’s next? According to Winstock, the findings indicate an urgent need for global drug policy reform. Ideally, with a focus on removing psychedelics off the schedule one list of dangerous controlled substances, and focussing on other, more harmful drugs.

“Drug laws need to balance the positives and problems they can create in society and well crafted laws should nudge people to find the right balance for themselves,” muses Winstock. “People don’t tend to abuse psychedelics, they don’t get dependent, they don’t rot every organ from head to toe, and many would cite their impact upon their life as profound and positive. But you need to know how to use them.”

From recreational drugs to protein analysis, experts like Winstock play a pivotal role in advancing medical science. For a closer look at the legacy of US scientists Marion M. Bradford, ‘Protein Quantitation Assay According to Bradford with BRAND® Liquid Handling Station and Roti®-Quant’ compares both the manual and automated Bradford assay, in terms of precision and reproducibility.

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