Only A Handful Of People In History Have Ever Overdosed On LSD. This Is What Happened To Them

Psilocybin, found in magic mushrooms, is responsible for less emergency medical treatment than any other recreational drug. Kichigin/Shutterstock

“You build up tolerance so quickly to the effects of psychedelics that they tend not to lend themselves to overuse,” he explains. “So if you take mushrooms or LSD five days in a row, by day five you’re not going to be tripping, and that’s incredibly protective.”

So Can You Die On Psychedelics?

While psychedelics may be much safer than other drugs like alcohol, opioids, or amphetamines, those who try hard enough can still find a way to take a mortal trip.

“When an average healthy person administers a psychedelic drug in the way it’s supposed to be used, without any other psychoactive substances, then it’s very difficult to die as a result,” explains Gable. Yet those who fail to meet these criteria run some serious risks.

Cannabis, for example, is considered by some to be a mild psychedelic, even though it mainly acts upon the body’s cannabinoid receptors. There are a grand total of zero recorded deaths from smoked marijuana, with studies suggesting that you’d need to ingest over 40,000 times the concentration of THC in an average joint to get anywhere close to dying.

According to Gable, however, there are two recorded marijuana deaths, both of which were caused by unconventional use of the drug.

“One was because they put a bunch of marijuana in a blender and then tried to inject it – I mean into the veins – using a syringe. And the other one was packing a bunch of marijuana leaves into the vagina. Not clever.”

Aside from general stupidity, a few other risk factors can contribute to a psychedelic demise. According to Winstock, the biggest danger when using magic mushrooms is simply picking the wrong specimen and ending up ingesting a toxic mushroom instead of a hallucinogenic one.

Similarly, people who think they are buying LSD are sometimes sold similar but considerably more toxic hallucinogens known as N-bombs, which can cause death.

Finally, if the drug itself doesn’t kill you, what you do after you’ve taken it could still finish you off. It should go without saying, but attempting to drive or swim while under the effects of a hallucinogen could make you a candidate for the Darwin Awards.


There are many ways to ingest drugs, most of which are not advisable. Monika Gruszewicz/Shutterstock

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