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St. Louis researcher says pandemic, public discussion may be reasons for higher magic mushroom use

By Megan Lynch,


A new study shows more young adults have been trying "magic mushrooms". The report published in the journal Addiction found that psilocybin use among people aged 19 to 30 has gone from 3.4% in 2018 to 6.6% in 2021

Dr. Ginger Nicol, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis tells KMOX that while overall that's a small number of users, that fact that it has doubled is reason to pay attention.

Nicol says the study doesn't necessarily tells us why there's been an increase. She says some of it could be news of clinical trials, like those she's a part of, examining possible therapeutic benefits, "so I think than increased visibility in the press, and also as we start to see state legislatures considering decriminalization laws, it's been much more discussed in the criminal domain."

Nicol also points out, that was a time when major life transitions were disrupted for this age group due to the pandemic, "the other thing that we don't know is how these rates of use may have varied regionally with infection rates and quarantine procedures and isolation, and so I think those contextual pieces are really important."

She stresses psilocybin use is still illegal, and adds that irresponsible use can put people in dangerous situations.

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