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Treatment with magic mushrooms should be done with caution, researchers say

Researchers using magic mushrooms to treat mental illness and help people quit smoking found that some who take the drug often have such bad trips they put themselves or other in dangerous situations.

The scientists from Johns Hopkins surveyed 2,000 people who had a bad experience when taking magic mushrooms. Ten percent said they put themselves or others in harm's way and most said it was one of the top 10 biggest challenges of their lives.


Most also said the negative experiences were some of the most meaningful in their lives.

The results of the survey were published last month in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
The survey was limited and did not assess good experiences taking the drug. Nor was it an indicator of how often bad trips happen.
“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, a psychopharmacologist and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and neurosciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a statement.
Griffiths has spent more than 15 years studying the drug's effects on various diseases and health disorders.

Griffith has said treatment with magic mushrooms should be under the guidance of a professional with experience with the drug.

­“We are vigilant in screening out volunteers who may not be suited to receive psilocybin, and we mentally prepare study participants before their psilocybin sessions," he said in the statement.
Magic mushrooms are not considered addictive or toxic to the body's organs, the researchers said.