By Joris Polman
October 10, 2007
AMSTERDAM – It looks like the ‘baldheads’ will be banned after all. The Dutch Minister of Public Health, Ab Klink has had enough of all the incidents concerning hallucinogenic mushrooms, called ‘baldheads’ by the fans, mostly in Amsterdam. Mushrooms are dangerous. But are they really? We asked Gerben Hellinga, one of the most renowned Dutch psychonauts en co-author of the drugbible Uit je bol (‘Out of your head’).
What will mushroom do to the user?
“For starters, there are different kinds of mushrooms that have distinct effects. Nevertheless you might distinguish some general similar effects. A normal dose will give you feelings of euphoria and energy boosts. When you take higher doses, you’ll start ‘seeing things’. Your senses will be more susceptible to colour, sound and taste. You also might observe a sort of light surrounding objects and people. A kind of halo. And when you’re outside in a natural setting you might be able to perceive energy fields.”
Are mushrooms dangerous then?
“You shouldn’t combine mushrooms with medication or alcohol. And if you’re not feeling too well or if you experience some psychological problems, the use of mushrooms might provoke a crisis. Mushrooms are no party drug. They should be used in a relaxed environment, preferably home or nature.”
But what if something goes wrong anyway?
“Then you just sit down somewhere quiet. Eating something containing lots of sugar, like raisins or chocolate, might help. After a while the trip will wear off. Be sure that others are present when you use mushrooms, if possible, some experienced users. They should be able to help you calm down, if necessary. People should be thoroughly informed before their first use. If problems would persist, they can always decide to stop the sale to tourists at the smart shops.”
You are 69, do you still use them?
“Of course, but I’m selective in when I use them.”
And now there’s a ban in the making…
“Which is rubbish, of course. You can pick your mushrooms anywhere: they grow in forests, in parks and, if you don’t use too much fertilizer, even in your garden. And that’s not the end of it. As mushrooms are easily grown anywhere, they can also be sold anywhere, illegally, of course. And thus the control will be gone. Mushroomchocolate and similar products will pop up again. This is very tasty, just like real chocolate, but problematic in determining the right dose.
Does minister Klink know what he’s talking about?
“I don’t think so. He should try some mushrooms in controlled circumstances before he makes any final judgements. Actually, it would be good for the entire 2nd Chamber to make a mushroom trip before they decide. Not in a small office in The Hague, of course, I’d take them out to the woods or the sea dunes.”Republish