How Bad Trips on LSD and Magic Mushrooms Compare

The Global Drug Survey (GDS) tells us a lot about how drug use differs from country to country and one of those metrics is how people feel when doing drugs.


The GDS produces a “High-way Code” to safer drug use, based on the experiences of users. According to this guide, those taking psychedelics such as LSD and magic mushrooms are among the most safety conscious users.

However, one of the well known possible outcomes of psychedelics is the ‘bad trip’. The simplest way to describe this is as a disturbing psychological experience, usually characterised by extreme levels of anxiety.

Not all users of LSD and magic mushrooms have experienced one - according to the survey, the majority of respondents have not, but a significant proportion have.

Isolating only countries where there were over 500 survey respondents in 2014, Portugal was the place where LSD users were most likely to have had a bad trip at some point.

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Over a third of users in both Portugal and Mexico had experienced a bad LSD trip at some point, with the European country coming on top of the list with 38%. In all countries, bar the Netherlands and Belgium, respondents have reported experiencing this effect.

Surprisingly though, the Portuguese are actually least likely of any of these nations to say they have had a bad trip on magic mushrooms. Only 12% said they had. North American countries Canada and the United States were where users were most likely to report a bad trip with 33.9% and 32.5% respectively.

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There does not seem to be much impact of legality on this metric. Spain and Brazil have no prohibition on the use of magic mushrooms. While in the former 24.9% have had a bad trip, that is almost twice the proportion of those in Brazil (12.5%).

The closing date of the Global Drug Survey 2015 has been extended to 30 December. Make sure to take part before it closes here.

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