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What's the Safest Party Drug?

Researchers find the drug least likely to send you to emergency room.

Credit: Getty Images

A large new study claims that among recreational drugs, magic mushrooms seem to be the safest to use. This was based on the statistic that only .2% of nearly 10,000 people who used psilocybin-containing mushrooms in 2016 went to emergency room.

The annual Global Drug Survey involved over 120,000 participants from 50 countries and concluded that as far as ending up in emergency rooms afterwards, taking MDMA, LSD, alcohol and cocaine made that five times more likely. The drug causing the most emergency visits - methamphetamine, followed by synthetic cannabis. 

“Magic mushrooms are one of the safest drugs in the world,” said Adam Winstock, a consultant addiction psychiatrist and the founder of the Global Drug Survey in an interview with The Guardian

Winstock thinks the biggest danger with shrooms is eating the wrong ones. 

“Death from toxicity is almost unheard of with poisoning with more dangerous fungi being a much greater risk in terms of serious harms,” warned the psychiatrist.

He pointed out the need to be in a controlled safe environment and have “trusted company” to ensure a good, panic-free trip. He also warned of other dangers like taking psychedelic mushrooms with alcohol and possible confusion.

“Combined use with alcohol and use within risky or unfamiliar settings increase the risks of harm most commonly accidental injury, panic and short lived confusion, disorientation and fears of losing one’s mind,” said Winstock to The Guardian. 

28,000 of the survey people admitted to taking magic mushrooms at some time in their lives. 81.7% of these did it in hopes of having a “moderate psychedelic experience” as well the “enhancement of environment and social interactions”.

Interestingly, MDMA beat out the other drugs in previous surveys when compared using the Net Pleasure Index, designed to balance out the perceived positive effects of the drug with the negative. 

It should also be noted that all these drugs are currently illegal in the U.S.

Previous studies also found the possible effectiveness of magic mushrooms in the treatment of depression.

Neom, Saudi Arabia's $500 billion megacity, reaches its next phase

Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.

Credit: Neom
Technology & Innovation
  • The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
  • The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
  • It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
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Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?

  • From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
  • "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
  • Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.

COVID-19 brain study to explore long-term effects of the virus

A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.

Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.

  • The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
  • Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
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Better reskilling can future-proof jobs in the age of automation. Enter SkillUp's new coalition.

Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.

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