Psilocybin is safe according to institute RIVM

The Dutch institute RIVM has a department that conducts research into new drugs and variants thereof. This department is called Coordination Point Assessment and Monitoring of New Drugs (CAM). At the request of the government the RIVM has written a risk analysis regarding the active substances psilocybin and psilocin in plant products such as truffles and magic mushrooms. Psilocybin is converted in the body to psilocin which acts on the serotonin receptors in the brain. A temporary increase in serotonin and a temporary decrease in noradrenaline, dopamine and histamine concentrations is thus achieved. It affects memory, sleep, emotions, self-confidence, mood, appetite and orgasm. The effect of psilocybin is experienced between 2 and 4 hours, however insights can be gained up to six weeks after use. In ceremonial sessions, psilocybin contributes to healing and processing of trauma.

This RIVM risk analysis from the year 2000 shows that psilocybin and psilocin do not pose any risks to public health. As a result, it was indicated at the time that there was no need for a legal ban. This makes the use of truffles legal. Magic mushrooms were banned in 2008 due to a number of incidents involving tourists. Truffles (Latin: sclerotia) are not magic mushrooms and therefore do not fall under the Opium Act and are therefore legal in the Netherlands.

Here you can read a summary of this risk analysis by the RIVM.

No physical dependence

There is no physical dependence on psilocybin during use. Physical dependence does not occur with the use of psilocybin. Temporary physical symptoms such as dilated pupils, balance disorders, paresthesias (feeling of itching all over the body), nausea, coldness and sleepiness are the most striking features.

No mental dependence

Psilocybin is not addictive, there is no addiction risk. This makes mental addiction negligible. However, there are users who experience the experience with psilocybin as pleasant, which makes them want to use it again. The hallucinogenic compounds can retrieve memories that can yield great insights. Recovery is complete after working out the psilocybin.

Low Toxicity

The toxicity of psilocybin is 1.5 times the toxicity of caffeine. Psilocybin is therefore harmless to the body and poses no risk when used. Due to its use, flashbacks can occur that are limited in emotions to possible positive insights or panic or anxiety attacks. Use in a safe environment minimizes the risk of panic or anxiety attacks. The setting plays a major role in this.

Even with long-term use in the form of microdosing (where the user uses a low dose according to a schedule) no form or symptoms of chronic toxicity occur. No organ damage was noted. People who are very unstable or have psychological disorders are not advised to use psilocybin.


No crime involvement

With regard to criminal involvement, psilocybin-containing plant products score low on the RIVM risk scale. There is no interest from criminals for these products, which means that no criminal interference has been detected. Partly due to the outcome of this risk analysis, there was no need in 2000 for a legal ban on truffles on magic mushrooms. In 2008 magic mushrooms were banned due to some incidents with tourists.

Safe for the user

The physical effects, in terms of blood pressure and heart rate, are within all limits. Both can increase slightly due to the anxiety that can occur with the use of psilocybin. In a safe setting, the risk is small. The chance that psilocybin is used incorrectly is present when used at home by experimenting young people, but there is not much going on with incorrect use.


The half-life of Psilocybin is 2.5 to 3 hours. This means that three hours after the administration of psilocybin, the value is halved.
In comparison, the half-life of

  • cup of coffee is 5 hours
  • three glasses of wine is 4.5 hours
  • sugar is 6,5 hours
  • ecstasy / MDMA is 7 hours

No risk to public order

Psilocybin does not lower the violence threshold, with the result that (violent) incidents based on psilocybin hardly occur, if at all. The number and seriousness of incidents after use are therefore not too bad. The risk is therefore estimated as low.

The responsiveness of the user is negatively influenced, which could negatively influence the driving ability. It is important to first become sober after use before taking part in traffic. The risk to public order has been estimated as low.

As a result, RIVM's CAM concluded in 2000 that there are no risks to public health from the use of psilocybin or psilocin.