Perceived harm, motivations for use, and subjective experiences of recreational psychedelic ‘magic’ mushroom use

Roberts, Carl ORCID: 0000-0003-4275-601X, Osborne Miller, Isaac, Cole, Jonathan, Gage, Suzanne ORCID: 0000-0002-2368-1115 and Christiansen, Paul
(2020) Perceived harm, motivations for use, and subjective experiences of recreational psychedelic ‘magic’ mushroom use. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 34 (9). 999 - 1007.

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Background: Data on actual harm of magic mushrooms suggest that toxicity and abuse potential is low, however its legal status suggests otherwise. We aimed to gauge perception of harm of magic mushrooms in both users and mushroom naïve participants. We also aimed to observe differences in expectations of effects between users, and mushroom naïve participants, and also whether motivations for use predicted their expected effects. Method: Seventy-three polydrug users with experience of using magic mushrooms, and 78 mushroom naïve participants completed an online survey. We asked participants to rank a list of 10 substances from most dangerous to least dangerous, and questions about expectation of effect using a modified magic mushroom expectation (MM-EXP) questionnaire. Users were asked about their motivations for using magic mushrooms. Results: Both groups perceive mushrooms to be safer than; heroin, cocaine, prescription painkillers, GHB, ecstasy, tobacco and alcohol. However the mushroom naïve group ranked mushrooms as significantly more dangerous than the user group. Non-users reported greater expectancy for negative intoxication. Users reported greater expected entactogenic, prosocial, aesthetic and mood effects, and perceptual alterations. Finally, expectant effects of mushroom use were associated with different motivations for use, for example using for personal psychotherapy was associated with expectation of increased entactogenic effects, and decreased negative effects. Conclusion: Our data suggest a general perception of harm which is in-line with data on actual harm, but at odds with current legal classifications. Future clinical investigations may require management of negative intoxication expectation of participants with no prior experience of psilocybin.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: magic mushrooms, psilocybin, perceived harm, subjective effects
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2020 07:54
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2022 09:11
DOI: 10.1177/0269881120936508
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