You’ll Be Shocked By the No. 1 Drug Used at Music Festivals; The Other 8 May Not Be That Surprising

Music festivals and drug culture have been synonymous since the 60’s. The general idea in a person’s mind is of a music festival is the drippy hippy rocking through the crowd tripping on god-knows-what. These days, the drippy hippy has been changed out for the privileged millennial and the drugs have gotten stronger. Take a look at the nine most commonly used drugs at music festivals. No. 1 should surprise you, but also make you think.

9. DMT

DMT can be inhaled, smoked, snorted, or injected. | Bay Ismoyo/AFP/Getty Images

N-Dimethyltryptamine is considered one of the worlds most powerful hallucinogens. It has been used for thousands of years and is still used in shamanic rituals in South America. The drug can be inhaled, consumed orally, snorted, or injected. Only about 1.3% of people surveyed said they used this drug at music festivals. Because of its effects on the body, it has been known as the spirit molecule.

Next: The next one they couldn’t even properly categorize.

8. Unknown substances

Opioid epidemic

Some festival-goers will mix dangerous drugs. | Stas_V/Getty Images

The survey that was taken was only able to identify eight common drugs but left another marker for “other.” Approximately 2.7% of people surveyed circled this category. Those drugs could include nitrous, bath salts, PMMA, and the lists goes on. Some of these drugs are better known as research chemicals simply because they were abandoned pharmaceutical projects.

Next: How this drug could be fun at a music festival is beyond us because it’s one of the most deadly in the U.S.

7. Opioids


Opioid use is relatively low at festivals. | John Moore/Getty Images

Prescription painkillers in the class of opioids are becoming an increasing problem in the United States. Deaths related to certain analogs of opioids are skyrocketing overdose deaths related to them. Why this sounds like a fun drug to do at a festival is a mystery to us. Luckily, the consumption numbers are pretty low at 3.8%.

Next: Can somebody let the VIP section know the 1980’s are calling?

6. Cocaine


Cocaine is popular among the wealthier festival-goers.| madsci/iStock/Getty Images

Cocaine is extremely popular among VIP ticket holders versus general admission ticket holders at a rate of almost 2:1. The drug is extremely expensive and has a short half-life in the body when compared to other illicit drugs. Still, the rates of use are pretty low at 7.3% of the people surveyed.

Next: This drug was once so popular that the world’s biggest band sung a tune about it in code. 

5. LSD

LSD tabs on a US quarter

LSD blotter tabs on top of a US quarter. | Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

Lysergic acid diethylamide or LSD is better known by its street name “acid.” This is a drug that was developed by the CIA in their MKUltra project. The project’s purpose was to be able to somehow harness mental or psychic warfare to put it extremely simple.

Now it has become a recreational drug but may again hold some promise as a treatment for PTSD. 8% of festival attendees enjoy this drug.

Next: This next drug is another one that they are studying to help treat psychological disorders.

4. Mushrooms

Hallucinogenic mushrooms. | Maartje Blijdenstein/AFP/Getty Images

Certain mushrooms contain psychoactive compounds called psilocybin and psilocin. These compounds have similar effects of LSD and DMT. They are also used in some religious ceremonies. Mushrooms are most popular at festivals like Austin City Limits and Burning Man, but only 8.5% of attendees say they take them.

Next: This next drug has a lot of nicknames and it is extremely popular.


A Bureau of Customs (BOC) personnel displays confiscated illegal drugs, known Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), commonly refered to as ecstasy, at a press conference at the BOC headquarters in Manila

Confiscated MDMA in the Philippines. | NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images

You may have heard of Molly, Ecstacy, Ex, E-Bomb, Hug Drug, Disco Biscuits or any other list of slang terminology for MDMA. Methylenedioxymethamphetamine has become one of the most popular drugs in the festival circuit.

The drug elicits emotions of love, comfort, openness, and euphoria. Because of that, this drug is also being evaluated by the FDA to treat people with PTSD.

Even with its massive popularity, usage among festival goers is surprisingly low at 13%.

Next: This next one takes almost half the crowd and is the least dangerous drug out there. 

2. Marijuana

A woman rolls a marijuana cigarette as photographed

Marijuana may be largely outlawed, but it’s also pretty safe. | Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Marijuana is legal in some states but is still banned within festivals in those states. It is also far safer than any drug on this entire list because doctors cannot attribute one death as a direct cause of the drug. Nearly 40% of festival attendees use this drug. Ironically, the safest drug is dwarfed by the worlds most dangerous drug.

Next: This is the most destructive drug on the planet and it overshadows every drug on the black market.

1. Alchohol

Bottles of Budweiser Beer

Alcohol is the most commonly used drug in the world. | lenscap67/istock/Getty Images

Alcohol is so widely accepted that most people don’t even consider it a drug. It intoxicates you, effects your judgment, impairs your motor skills, it’s addictive, and it can harm you. These are all benchmarks of any drug out there. Alcohol is also the worst drug overall on the planet as far as its cost to society. This drug is more harmful than crack or heroin.

The rates of use in this article came from a survey of 1,000 festival attendees over the course of 2017 conducted by Tick-Pick.

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