Shrooming Up: Magic Mushroom Use Rises as Other Drug Use Falls

Guess what’s on the rise in England and Wales? Magic mushroom! New stats from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) spill the beans—more people are getting into hallucinogenic trips with shrooms, while other drug use like ecstasy and nitrous oxide is taking a nosedive.

The Magic Mushroom Trend

Ever wondered about taking a trip on magic mushrooms? Well, it turns out, more folks in England and Wales are diving into that experience. The ONS found that about 1 in 100 people in these areas have tried hallucinogenic drugs recently. And guess what’s fueling this rise? It’s not the younger crowd but the older adults who are adding a touch of psychedelic tripping to their lives.

The Numbers Game

Here’s the kicker: While magic mushroom use is blooming, the use of other party favours like ecstasy and nitrous oxide is actually dropping. It seems like the younger folks, aged 16 to 24, are cutting down on their overall drug use. The ONS data shows a dip from 21% to 18% in the past year—a record low since 2014.

Shroom Scene Growing Stronger

Get this: around 260,000 people between 16 and 59 years old got their hands on magic mushrooms in the last year. That’s a whopping 100,000 more than in 2020! But here’s the catch: these mushrooms, known by various names like shrooms or mushies, are classed as a big no-no in the UK—they’re in the same category as Class A drugs. So, possessing or sharing them, whether fresh or dried, is against the law.

The Mushroom Market

Here’s the twist: even though they’re illegal, magic mushrooms are available online, can you believe it? You can order them by mail or even get grow-your-own kits. And yes, some folks just go out and pick them from fields or forests. Seems like the fascination with mushrooms isn’t just about the trips. There’s a whole culture embracing them. Ever heard of Merlin Sheldrake, the biology whiz? He penned a hit book in 2020 called “Entangled Life,” where he delves into the mind-bending properties of mushrooms. And Netflix? They had a real hit with their series “Fantastic Fungi.”

Real-Life Shroom Story

Meet Simon, a fifty-something architect and parent. He’s not your typical drug enthusiast. Last year, feeling down despite antidepressants, he turned to magic mushrooms. But not to trip—instead, he went for small daily doses, thanks to a grow-your-own kit he scored online through a magic mushroom community on Telegram, a social app.

Simon swears by these tiny doses, claiming they’ve boosted his mood without causing hallucinations. He says it’s more about feeling content and remembering what happiness is like. And when he does take a slightly larger dose, he describes it as a gentle buzz—definitely not the ‘let’s dance all night’ vibe you’d get from ecstasy.

The Ups and Downs of Tripping

Simon’s advice? These shrooms aren’t just for party animals; they’re more about chilling and soul-searching. But he’s also cautious—he admits that taking bigger doses can mess with your head. He once found himself in a crazy mind loop where trees seemed like animals, and when he shut his eyes, it was like a Beatles album cover. He even freaked out his wife by thinking he was a higher power at the kitchen table.

The Word on Safety

Frank, the drug advice service, says magic mushrooms aren’t addictive, but watch out for mistaking a poisonous mushroom for the real deal. And if you’re dealing with mental health issues, be careful—these shrooms might make things worse.

Hope on the Horizon?

Interestingly, scientists worldwide are exploring the potential of psychedelics like magic mushrooms to treat depression. A recent study found that with the right mental support, these substances could quickly lift the mood of depressed individuals for months. Looks like there’s more to these mushrooms than just a wild trip!