Harm potential of magic mushroom use: a review

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2011 Apr;59(3):423-9. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2011.01.006. Epub 2011 Jan 21.


In 2007, the Minister of Health of the Netherlands requested the CAM (Coordination point Assessment and Monitoring new drugs) to assess the overall risk of magic mushrooms. The present paper is an updated redraft of the review, written to support the assessment by CAM experts. It summarizes the literature on physical or psychological dependence, acute and chronic toxicity, risk for public health and criminal aspects related to the consumption of magic mushrooms. In the Netherlands, the prevalence of magic mushroom use was declining since 2000 (last year prevalence of 6.3% in 2000 to 2.9% in 2005), and further declined after possession and use became illegal in December 2008. The CAM concluded that the physical and psychological dependence potential of magic mushrooms was low, that acute toxicity was moderate, chronic toxicity low and public health and criminal aspects negligible. The combined use of mushrooms and alcohol and the quality of the setting in which magic mushrooms are used deserve, however, attention. In conclusion, the use of magic mushrooms is relatively safe as only few and relatively mild adverse effects have been reported. The low prevalent but unpredictable provocation of panic attacks and flash-backs remain, however, a point of concern.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents / psychology
  • Agaricales / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Hallucinogens / isolation & purification
  • Hallucinogens / poisoning
  • Hallucinogens / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Panic Disorder / chemically induced
  • Panic Disorder / epidemiology
  • Panic Disorder / psychology
  • Psilocybin / toxicity*
  • Psychoses, Substance-Induced / epidemiology
  • Psychoses, Substance-Induced / psychology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology


  • Hallucinogens
  • Psilocybin