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Are psilocybin mushrooms dangerous?

After the recent decisions to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms in the cities of Denver and Oakland, many people are wondering if their state may be next in line to change its policies on the substance. Here's the impact that this hallucinogenic can have.

Questioning the danger of shrooms

In recent years, attitudes toward marijuana have transformed from "probably the most dangerous drug in the United States," according to Ronald Reagan in 1984 to viewing the plant as a legitimate form of medical treatment in 33 states and Washington D.C.

Now many people are wondering if psilocybin mushrooms are as dangerous as the federal government has claimed. The substance is labeled as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substance Act, meaning it has no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Marijuana is still currently also in this category.

Medicinal properties

Proving a Schedule I classification wrong is challenging because scientists cannot study a drug that is illegal to possess. However, experts in other countries have been studying the effects of psilocybin mushrooms.

Some studies have found that taking extremely small doses of the substance improved the participants' convergent thinking skills, making it easier for them to come up with more creative solutions to problems faster.

Potential threat

Despite positive research, psilocybin mushrooms alter a person's perception of reality, which can impair their judgment. Hallucinations can be experienced as a visual or auditory sensation and may also come with a mystical feeling. Some may enjoy this experience, however, others have reportedly hallucinated frightening images and felt fear or anxiety.

The drug causes very little toxicity to organ systems and is not considered clinically addictive. The substance itself causes the least amount of damage when compared to other recreational drugs, but planning ahead and self-conscious thinking is essentially impossible while taking it. This could cause the user to make an unsafe decision that could result in an accident.

In Virginia, possessing psilocybin mushrooms is still very much against the law and could result in felony charges.

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