Growing up, all of us were given the same anti-drug lectures: Drugs are bad, drugs kill, drugs will ruin your life, etc.
I'm not going to argue: Most drugs are harmful and best avoided at all costs.
One neuropsychiatrist, however, begs to differ.
Teri Krebs, a researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, insists that psychedelics -- a class of hallucinogenic drugs including LSD and mushrooms -- are actually minimally harmful.
In a letter to medical journal Lancet Psychiatry, Krebs writes,
In the past 50 years, people have used at least half a billion doses of psychedelics. Overall, psychedelics are not particularly dangerous when compared with other common activities, such as riding a bike or playing soccer. Based on extensive human experience, it is generally acknowledged that psychedelics do not elicit addiction or compulsive use and that there is a lack of evidence for an association between psychedelic use and birth defects, chromosome damage, lasting mental illness or toxic effects to the brain or other body organs.
Because of this, Krebs insists, drug laws banning the use of psychedelic drugs are “not based on science.”
Bad trips, she concludes, are really the only negative side effect of hallucinogenic drugs.
Krebs even believes this class of drugs could be the key to treating long-term addiction to alcohol and hard drugs, such as heroin.
It's a compelling argument but not a popular one (though ibogaine, another hallucinogenic, is an alternative treatment used for heroin detox).
Though her evidence is compelling and does support her claim of psychedelics' low harm factor, it's hard to fathom the drugs are as dangerous as -- or safer than -- playing soccer.
As far as I'm concerned, they're best avoided -- if only because there's nothing worse than a bad trip.