A new study suggests that the general public’s perception of the possible harms of psilocybin mushrooms doesn’t align with drug laws. The study found that magic mushrooms were considered to be less dangerous in comparison with tobacco, alcohol and other substances. The study was published in the “Journal of Psychopharmacology.”
The study’s author, professor Carl Roberts from the department of psychology at the University of Liverpool, stated that he was greatly interested in how substances affected an individual’s behavior as well as their brain. He explained that he had been following research on the therapeutic potential of psychedelic substances such as psilocybin, adding that he knew that the data on the actual harm of the use of psilocybin mushrooms proposed that the substance’s abuse potential and toxicity was low. However, he continued, the substance was still classified as a Schedule 1 drug in the United States, which suggests that it is just as harmful as cocaine and heroin.
Roberts revealed that his interest in finding out the general public’s perception of harms around psilocybin mushrooms and whether they aligned with scientific evidence or the government’s legal classifications is what led to the study being conducted.
For their research, the researchers recruited more than 150 participants from different social media pages and websites that provide information on recreational drug use. Roughly 20% of them came from the United States while about one-half of the remaining number were from the United Kingdom. The remainder were from other countries in the European Union.
The researchers discovered that most participants considered psilocybin mushrooms to be relatively safe, in comparison with the other substances. This is despite the fact that psilocybin mushrooms are classified as a Class A substance in the U.K. and a Schedule I substance in the U.S.
The participants who had never used psilocybin listed it as the second-least dangerous substance while those who had used these mushrooms prior to the study listed it as the least dangerous substance from the list. The non-users listed marijuana as the least dangerous substance. Roberts explained that their findings proposed that the general perception of psilocybin mushroom harm aligned with scientific data on their toxicity and abuse potential as well as the relative harms of magic mushrooms that are scientifically recognized.
He notes though that the study had some limitations, including the potential of selection bias as it was an online survey style study.
That notwithstanding, the positive public perception of psilocybin means that when companies such as Cybin Inc. (NEO: CYBN) (OTCQB: CLXPF) bring to market medicines or products relating to psilocybin, the public reception is likely to be warm from the get-go.
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