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Is Gwynnie inspiring mum and dad drug users?

Is Gwynnie inspiring mum and dad drug users? Middle-aged first-timers are turning to the dark web to buy ‘soft’ substances like mushrooms whose benefits are highlighted in Gwyneth Paltrow’s The Goop Lab

  • Middle-aged people fuelling a rise in first-time dark web drug buys, it is claimed
  • ‘Curious’ people in their 40s and 50s want to experiment with ‘soft’ drugs
  • The benefit of taking mushrooms in ‘microdoses’ to treat mental health conditions was explored in Gwyneth Paltrow’s Netflix series The Goop Lab
  • Media ‘rebranding’ of certain drugs has made them more acceptable to try 

Experimental middle-aged people are buying drugs off the dark web after being inspired by TV programmes like Gwyneth Paltrow‘s Goop Lab, experts have suggested.

The Global Drug Survey, which had more than 110,000 respondents in 2020, including 5,000 from the UK, found an increase in the number of first-time drug users buying substances over the dark web. 

Accessed by a browser called Tor, the dark web protects the seller’s and purchaser’s identities, with transactions completed using Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. 

The benefits of ‘microdosing’ mushrooms were explored in Netflix series Goop Lab, based around Paltrow’s multi-million-pound lifestyle empire, Goop. Pictured, Gwyneth on the show

Academics believe the rise in first-time dark web buyers could be down to ‘curious’ people in their 40s and 50s who want to try ‘soft’ drugs like cannabis or magic mushrooms that have been ‘rebranded’ in the media, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Such substances have become increasingly socially acceptable and have made headlines thanks to suggestions there could be associated health benefits. 

Mushrooms, for example, were featured in six-part Netflix series Goop Lab, based around Paltrow’s multi-million-pound lifestyle empire, Goop.

The show explores how psychedelics can be used to treat mental health conditions like depression and anxiety when taken in ‘microdoses’, or in tiny amounts over a period of time. 

Academics believe the rise in first-time dark web buyers could be down to 'curious' people in their 40s and 50s who want to try 'soft' drugs like cannabis or magic mushrooms (pictured)

Academics believe the rise in first-time dark web buyers could be down to ‘curious’ people in their 40s and 50s who want to try ‘soft’ drugs like cannabis or magic mushrooms (pictured)

What is microdosing?  

Microdosing refers to taking a small fraction of what is considered a recreational dose of LSD or other hallucinogen (like magic mushrooms). 

Some research shows microdosing certain psychedelic drugs can improve mood, induce physical and mental stimulation, and encourage creative thinking. 

Emerging studies support the notion that hallucinogenic drugs, taken in small doses or under the supervision and guidance of a medical professional, can be used to treat mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. 

However, taking consistent and frequent doses of any drug, especially one as potent as LSD, is by no means safe for all individuals and may put certain people at a high risk for developing addiction. 

Meanwhile cannabis can now be used medicinally and CBD products have been growing in popularity. 

Professor Adam Winstock, a consultant psychiatrist and addiction specialist at University College London who founded the Global Drug Survey, said this ‘rebranding’ of drugs in the media has them more acceptable to try.

‘There is an older generation in their 40s and 50s, they may be suffering from insomnia or mild anxiety and they have heard about microdosing,’ he told the Daily Telegraph.

‘I think it is things like psychedelics (being bought by dark web first-time buyers) by people who have generally never used drugs, or things like cannabis that can now be used medicinally.

‘It is people curious in experimenting rather than people who are going to develop a serious drug problem and start buying (the highly addictive opioid) Fentanyl.’ 

The dark web is part of the internet that isn’t visible to search engines and requires the use of an anonymising browser called Tor to be accessed.

Global Drug Survey researchers noted the dark web is a preferrable means of transaction because it offers a ‘wide product range, higher quality, convenience and less risk of interpersonal violence’.

Users can place an order online and drugs can be sent to their door or delivered. 

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