John Hopkins researchers urged caution on the use of psilocybin mushrooms also dubbed as the "magic mushrooms. The researchers studied the negative effects of psilocybin by surveying people who had negative experiences while using psilocybin. Although many of the users yielded positive outcomes, it was revealed that psilocybin use has behavioral effects that might put the patients at risk.
Psilocybin is considered as a drug with high potential for abuse and is not considered for medicinal use. However, mushroom-derived psilocybin is used in developing treatment for neurological disorders. When used properly, psilocybin mushrooms are found to be effective antidepressants. It can also be used to treat alcoholism and other addictions.
In a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, researchers surveyed 2,000 people who experienced negative effects while taking psilocybin-containing "magic mushrooms," The survey was focused on the challenging experiences the respondents had linked to the drug.
Results revealed that 10.7 percent of the participants have exposed themselves or others to physical harm, meanwhile, 2.6 percent said there were times when they acted violently or aggressively. Some 2.7 percent said they had the need to seek medical help while five of the participants said they attempted suicide at worst.
Still, most of the respondents reported that psilocybin use resulted in positive outcomes and they had meaningful and worthwhile experiences. They added that it enlightened them spiritually and became an instrument for life change.
"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," Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., a psychopharmacologist and one of the researchers said in a press release provided by John Hopkins.
The researchers advised caution in using the magic mushrooms. They added it must be used under supportive and safe environments, like those in ongoing studies, to prevent negative effects.