The number of seizures of psychedelic mushrooms increased significantly over a five-year period, according to a new study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Law enforcement seizures nationwide of “magic mushrooms” rose from 402 in 2017 to 1,396 in 2022. Alongside the rising number, the total weight of mushrooms, which contain the psychoactive component psilocybin, increased from 498 pounds to 1,861 pounds during the same time period. The total weight of seized mushrooms reached the highest point in 2021 with 3,400 lbs captured.
Psilocybin mushrooms can alter a person’s perception, thoughts and mood. Psilocybin itself is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating any conditions or diseases.
“While psilocybin is by no means the most dangerous drug, recreational use can come with unforeseen risks such as bad trips,” said associate professor at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine Joseph J. Palamar.
During the study, the researchers found that the Midwest had the most seizures, with 36 percent. The West closely followed behind with 33.5 percent, while it led the way with the highest total weight of 4,109 pounds. The West’s total weight captured represented 42.6 percent of all seizures.
The South ranked second in total weight of seizures with 4,039 pounds.
“We are in the middle of a rapidly evolving cultural, media, and legal landscape when it comes to psychedelics, and we need data to help shape informed and appropriate public health strategies,” National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Director M.D. Nora Volkow said.
The study’s researchers said the regions where seizures are reported are not always related to the final destinations of the mushrooms. They also added that it is not known the exact quantity of mushrooms captured in “dry” or “wet” forms, a factor that can affect the recorded weight every time the psychedelics are seized.