Psychedelic Drug Treatments have Little or No Adverse Side Effects

Psychedelic Drug Treatments have Little or No Adverse Side Effects

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Flashbacks and psychosis can happen to anyone, but research has shown that they are more often observed in patients with a history of psychological problems.” – Buddy T

 

Psychedelic substances such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, Bufotoxin, ayahuasca and psilocybin 

have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. More recently hallucinogenic drugs such as MDMA (Ecstasy) and Ketamine have been similarly used. People find the experiences produced by these substances extremely pleasant. eye opening, and even transformative. They often report that the experiences changed them forever. Psychedelics and hallucinogens have also been found to be clinically useful as they markedly improve mood, increase energy and enthusiasm and greatly improve clinical depression.

 

Even though the effects of psychedelic substances have been experienced and reported on for centuries, only very recently have these effects come under rigorous scientific scrutiny. There are anecdotes of dangerous side effects produced by psychedelic drugs. There has been a number of research studies of adverse events associated with psychedelic drugs. It makes sense to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Adverse effects of psychedelics: From anecdotes and misinformation to systematic science.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8905125/ ) Schlag and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies regarding adverse events associated with psychedelic drugs including LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, DMT, and ayahuasca.

 

They report that there are few, if any, psychological risks associated with the use of psychedelic drugs mainly emanating from the challenging nature of the experiences. There is little evidence of psychosis of persistent hallucinations. They also report that the physiological safety of psychedelic drugs is well established and in fact they have been described as ‘one of the safest known classes of CNS drugs.’

 

There has accumulated considerable evidence that carefully controlled experiences with psychedelic drugs have considerable psychological benefits and there is evidence that they are safe and effective.

 

One significant, but rare, consequence of chronic use of psychedelic drugs is the development of a disorder known as hallucinogen-induced persistent perception disorder. This disorder occurs when individuals who no longer use these drugs experience flashbacks weeks, months, or even years after their last use.” –  American Addiction Centers

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Schlag, A. K., Aday, J., Salam, I., Neill, J. C., & Nutt, D. J. (2022). Adverse effects of psychedelics: From anecdotes and misinformation to systematic science. Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England), 36(3), 258–272. https://doi.org/10.1177/02698811211069100

 

Abstract

Background:

Despite an increasing body of research highlighting their efficacy to treat a broad range of medical conditions, psychedelic drugs remain a controversial issue among the public and politicians, tainted by previous stigmatisation and perceptions of risk and danger.

Objective:

This narrative review examines the evidence for potential harms of the classic psychedelics by separating anecdotes and misinformation from systematic research.

Methods:

Taking a high-level perspective, we address both psychological and psychiatric risks, such as abuse liability and potential for dependence, as well as medical harms, including toxicity and overdose. We explore the evidence base for these adverse effects to elucidate which of these harms are based largely on anecdotes versus those that stand up to current scientific scrutiny.

Results:

Our review shows that medical risks are often minimal, and that many – albeit not all – of the persistent negative perceptions of psychological risks are unsupported by the currently available scientific evidence, with the majority of reported adverse effects not being observed in a regulated and/or medical context.

Conclusions:

This highlights the importance for clinicians and therapists to keep to the highest safety and ethical standards. It is imperative not to be overzealous and to ensure balanced media reporting to avoid future controversies, so that much needed research can continue.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8905125/

 

Improved Psychological Well-Being and Cognition is Reported by Adult who Engage in Microdosing of Psychedelic Substances

Improved Psychological Well-Being and Cognition is Reported by Adult who Engage in Microdosing of Psychedelic Substances

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“After a 40-year moratorium, the psychedelic renaissance has begun: rigorous scientific methods can now be used to investigate psychedelics as potential medicines and for “the betterment of well people”. – Thomas Anderson

 

Psychedelic substances such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, Bufotoxin, ayahuasca and psilocybin 

have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. More recently hallucinogenic drugs such as MDMA (Ecstasy) and Ketamine have been similarly used. People find the experiences produced by these substances extremely pleasant. eye opening, and even transformative. They often report that the experiences changed them forever. Psychedelics and hallucinogens have also been found to be clinically useful as they markedly improve mood, increase energy and enthusiasm and greatly improve clinical depression.

 

Recently doses of psychedelic substances that are small enough that they do not produce psychedelic effects (microdoses) have been employed repeatedly in real world settings. They have been reported to produce reductions in the symptoms of depression and anxiety, improve cognitive function, and promote social interaction. But there is little systematic research on the effects of repeated psychedelic microdosing.

 

In today’s Research News article “Psychedelic Microdosing: Prevalence and Subjective Effects.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7282936/ ) Cameron and colleagues recruited adult volunteers to complete an anonymous online survey of “Recreational Drug and Alcohol Use”. The survey requested information regarding familiarity with psychedelic microdosing. personal practices, drugs used, and any changes observed in depression, anxiety, memory, sociability, focus/attention, and physical health.

 

They found that of the 2347 respondents the majority (59%) were familiar with psychedelic microdosing but only 13 % ever practiced it and only 4% were currently practicing. LSD and Psilocybin were the most common drugs used in microdosing. Males, veterans, and less educated participants were significantly more likely to practice psychedelic microdosing.

 

In comparison to participants who did not microdose, those that did reported significantly greater reductions in depression anxiety and greater improvements in memory, attention, and sociability. Males again reported the greatest improvements. The majority of the participants who stopped microdosing attributed it to difficulty in obtaining the drugs and their legal riskiness.

 

These results were produced by an anonymous survey and there was no way to ascertain the veracity of the responses. In addition, there were no comparison to other spontaneously used drugs to determine demand characteristics or placebo effects. Hence, the results are from a self-selected sample, have strong expectancy effect, and with no objective verification of the responses. So, these results must be viewed as preliminary. Nevertheless, the findings suggest that psychedelic microdosing is viewed by those engaging in it as beneficial for their psychological well-being and cognitive ability. These are interesting results that suggest that further investigation in warranted to determine if this practicemay be useful in improving well-being.

 

So, improved psychological well-being and cognition is reported by adult who engage in microdosing of psychedelic substances.

 

We have an epidemic of mental health problems, with existing treatments that don’t work for everyone. We need to follow the lead of patients who are taking these initiatives to improve their wellbeing and reduce suffering.” – Zach Walsh

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Cameron, L. P., Nazarian, A., & Olson, D. E. (2020). Psychedelic Microdosing: Prevalence and Subjective Effects. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 52(2), 113–122. https://doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2020.1718250

 

Abstract

Anecdotal reports suggest that the administration of sub-hallucinogenic doses of psychedelic compounds on a chronic, intermittent schedule—a practice known as psychedelic microdosing—is becoming increasingly popular among young adults due to its purported ability to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety while improving cognitive function and promoting social interaction. Using an anonymous online survey, we collected data from 2347 people to 1) assess the prevalence of psychedelic microdosing and characterize the demographics of microdosers, 2) determine whether microdosers associate the practice with changes in mood, cognitive function, social interaction, or physiology, and 3) investigate frequent motives for discontinuing the practice. Fifty-nine percent of respondents (NT = 2183) reported familiarity with the concept of psychedelic microdosing, with 17% (383 respondents, NT=2200) having engaged in this practice. Microdosers attributed psychedelic microdosing with improving their mood, decreasing their anxiety, and enhancing their memory, attention, and sociability. The most frequently cited reasons for quitting microdosing (NT = 243) were the risks associated with taking an illegal substance (24.28%) and the difficulty of obtaining psychedelic compounds (22.63%). Overall, our findings suggest that psychedelic microdosing is relatively common and is subjectively associated with a broad spectrum of socio-affective, cognitive, and physical outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7282936/

Psychedelic Drug Experiences Strengthen the Interpersonal Components of Personality.

Psychedelic Drug Experiences Strengthen the Interpersonal Components of Personality.

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“experience with psychedelic drugs was linked to increased positive affect and to personality traits that favor resilience and stability in the light of the ongoing crisis.” – Federico Cavanna

 

Psychedelic substances such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, Bufotoxin, ayahuasca and psilocybin 

have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. More recently hallucinogenic drugs such as MDMA (Ecstasy) and Ketamine have been similarly used. People find the experiences produced by these substances extremely pleasant. eye opening, and even transformative. They often report that the experiences changed them forever. Psychedelics and hallucinogens have also been found to be clinically useful as they markedly improve mood, increase energy and enthusiasm and greatly improve clinical depression. If these drugs actually change the individuals permanently then they should alter their personalities.

 

In today’s Research News article “.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.749788/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1784429_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211202_arts_A ) and colleagues recruited online healthy adults who intended to use psychedelic drugs in the near future. Before, 2-weeks and 4-weeks after the psychedelic experience the participants completed online measures of personality, empathetic concern, perspective taking, compassion, social connectedness, relatedness, and absorption. They were also measured for suggestibility, expectancy, motivation, setting of use, anxiety, depression, challenging experiences, mystical experiences, and emotional breakthrough.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline after the psychedelic experience there were significant decreases in the personality characteristics of anxious and critical while there were significantly higher levels of calm, extraverted, social connectedness, and relatedness. These correspond to the Big Five personality characteristics of neuroticism and agreeableness. They also found that the higher the levels of social connectedness the lower the levels of the personality characteristics of anxious, critical, and disorganized and higher levels of extraverted.

 

The absence of a control (comparison) condition should be noted, leaving the interpretation of the results open to a variety of confounding factors including participant expectancy (placebo) effects. The fact that only people who were intending to use psychedelics participated greatly limits the generalizability of the results. These considerations notwithstanding the results suggest that psychedelic experiences change personality traits for the better, decreased neuroticism and increased agreeableness. The psychedelic experiences appear to improve social functioning, prosociality and feelings of belonging in one’s social environment. These findings suggest that psychedelics may be useful in improving social function and potentially treating patients with negative personality characteristics.

 

So, psychedelic drug experiences strengthen the interpersonal components of personality.

 

patients who rate highly for openness, acceptance and absorption, and were more likely to be in a psychological state of surrendering to what transpires, were more likely to have positive psychedelic experiences.” – Psych Congress

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Weiss B, Nygart V, Pommerencke LM, Carhart-Harris RL and Erritzoe D (2021) Examining Psychedelic-Induced Changes in Social Functioning and Connectedness in a Naturalistic Online Sample Using the Five-Factor Model of Personality. Front. Psychol. 12:749788. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.749788

 

The present study examines prospective changes in personality traits relevant to social functioning as well as perceived social connectedness in relation to the naturalistic use of psychedelic compounds in an online volunteer sample. The study also examined the degree to which demographic characteristics, social setting, baseline personality, and acute subjective factors (e.g., emotional breakthrough experiences) influenced trajectories of personality and perceived social connectedness. Participants recruited online completed self-report measures of personality and social connectedness at three timepoints (baseline, 2weeks post-experience, 4weeks post-experience). Linear mixed models were used to examine changes in outcomes and the moderation of these outcomes by covariates. The most substantive changes were reductions in the personality domains Neuroticism, and increases in Agreeableness and social connectedness. Notably, reductions in Neuroticism and increases in Agreeableness covaried over time, which may be suggestive of common processes involving emotion regulation. Preliminary evidence was found for a specific effect on a component of Agreeableness involving a critical and quarrelsome interpersonal style. Although moderation by demographic characteristics, social setting, baseline personality, and acute factors generally found limited support, baseline standing on Neuroticism, perspective taking, and social connectedness showed tentative signs of amplifying adaptive effects on each trait, respectively. Our findings hold implications for the potential use of psychedelics for treating interpersonal elements of personality pathology as well as loneliness.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.749788/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1784429_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211202_arts_A

 

Placebo Effects are Strong in Research on the Effects of Psychedelic Drugs

Placebo Effects are Strong in Research on the Effects of Psychedelic Drugs

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“in the right context, some people may experience psychedelic-like effects from placebos alone.” – Science News

 

Psychedelic substances such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, Bufotoxin, ayahuasca and psilocybin 

have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. More recently hallucinogenic drugs such as MDMA (Ecstasy) and Ketamine have been similarly used. People find the experiences produced by these substances extremely pleasant. eye opening, and even transformative. They often report that the experiences changed them forever. Psychedelics and hallucinogens have also been found to be clinically useful as they markedly improve mood, increase energy and enthusiasm and greatly improve clinical depression.

 

Even though the effects of psychedelic substances have been experienced and reported on for centuries, only very recently have these effects come under rigorous scientific scrutiny. The setting in which psychedelic drugs are taken in the real world varies widely and there is little research on the effects of these settings on the experiences and their effects. The settings can set up strong participant expectancy (placebo) effects and there has been little research on the extent to which placebo effects can account for the reported benefits of psychedelic drug administration.

 

In today’s Research News article “A placebo-controlled study of the effects of ayahuasca, set and setting on mental health of participants in ayahuasca group retreats.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8233273/ ) Uthaug and colleagues recruited adults attending a ayahuasca retreat where they repeatedly ingested ayahuasca. At one point in the retreat the participants were randomly administered either ayahuasca or a placebo in a capsule form. They were measured before and the morning after the test session for empathy, ego dissolution, altered states of consciousness, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, somatization, and mindfulness.

 

They found that following both ayahuasca  or the placebo there were significant reductions in anxiety, depression, and perceived stress. The groups did not differ in ego dissolution. For the altered states of consciousness measures the ayahuasca group had higher levels of oceanic boundlessness, visual restructuralization, and insightfulness. But only insightfulness was significantly greater for the ayahuasca group compared to the placebo group.

 

These findings suggest that the psychological and altered states of consciousness effects of ayahuasca may be due to placebo effects. The study, however, was small with only 14 and 16 participants in the ayahuasca and placebo groups respectively. This provided only modest statistical power. There were a number of marginal effects which may have been significant had larger groups been used. In addition, the participants had repeated exposure to ayahuasca in the retreat environment prior to the placebo controlled test. This provided considerable conditioning that may explain the responses to the placebo.

 

The study, though, raises the question as to how much are the reported significant responses to psychedelic drugs due to participant expectancy (placebo) effects. Placebo effects can be quite powerful. Obviously, much more research is needed, particularly with larger numbers of participants and with the first administration of the psychedelic.

 

So, placebo effects may be strong in research on the effects of psychedelic drugs.

 

Microdosing is the practice of regularly using low doses of psychedelic drugs. Anecdotal reports suggest that microdosing enhances well-being and cognition; however . . . benefits of microdosing can be explained by the placebo effect.” – Balázs Szigeti

 

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Uthaug, M. V., Mason, N. L., Toennes, S. W., Reckweg, J. T., de Sousa Fernandes Perna, E. B., Kuypers, K., van Oorsouw, K., Riba, J., & Ramaekers, J. G. (2021). A placebo-controlled study of the effects of ayahuasca, set and setting on mental health of participants in ayahuasca group retreats. Psychopharmacology, 238(7), 1899–1910. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-021-05817-8

 

Abstract

Ayahuasca is a plant concoction containing N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and certain β-carboline alkaloids from South America. Previous research in naturalistic settings has suggested that ingestion of ayahuasca can improve mental health and well-being; however, these studies were not placebo controlled and did not control for the possibility of expectation bias. This naturalistic observational study was designed to assess whether mental health changes were produced by ayahuasca or by set and setting. Assessments were made pre- and post-ayahuasca sessions in 30 experienced participants of ayahuasca retreats hosted in the Netherlands, Spain, and Germany. Participants consumed ayahuasca (N = 14) or placebo (N = 16). Analysis revealed a main effect of time on symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. Compared to baseline, symptoms reduced in both groups after the ceremony, independent of treatment. There was a main treatment × time interaction on implicit emotional empathy, indicating that ayahuasca increased emotional empathy to negative stimuli. The current findings suggest that improvements in mental health of participants of ayahuasca ceremonies can be driven by non-pharmacological factors that constitute a placebo response but also by pharmacological factors that are related to the use of ayahuasca. These findings stress the importance of placebo-controlled designs in psychedelic research and the need to further explore the contribution of non-pharmacological factors to the psychedelic experience.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8233273/

 

Psychedelic Drug Experiences Produce Long-Term Improvements in Psychological Well-Being

Psychedelic Drug Experiences Produce Long-Term Improvements in Psychological Well-Being

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Awe may be a critically important emotional experience during psychedelic treatment in generating compassion, empathy, and overall well-being” – Eve Ekman

 

Psychedelic substances such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, Bufotoxin, ayahuasca and psilocybin have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. People find these experiences extremely pleasant. eye opening, and even transformative. They often report that the experiences changed them forever. Psychedelics have also been found to be clinically useful as they markedly improve mood, increase energy and enthusiasm and greatly improve clinical depression. Even though the effects of psychedelic substances have been experienced and reported on for centuries, only very recently have these effects come under rigorous scientific scrutiny.

 

In today’s Research News article “Sustained, Multifaceted Improvements in Mental Well-Being Following Psychedelic Experiences in a Prospective Opportunity Sample.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8277190/ ) Mans and colleagues recruited adults who were planning on having a psychedelic experience and had them complete a questionnaire before and after the experience and 2 weeks, 4 weeks, and 2 years after measuring well-being, depression, self-esteem, life orientation, emotional stability, meaning in life, acceptance, resilience, mindfulness, social connectedness, gratitude, spiritual transcendence, Spiritual and Religious Attitudes in Dealing with Illness, trust, and compassion and after the experience only Challenging Experience Questionnaire (CEQ), the Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ), and the Emotional Breakthrough.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline after the psychedelic experiences there were significant improvements in all measures except spirituality that were maintained over follow-up. Factor analysis revealed three clusters of measures labelled as being well, staying well, and spirituality. They found that after the psychedelic experiences there were large significant improvements in being and staying well that were still present 2 years later.

 

It should be noted that there wasn’t a comparison, control, condition present and that the participants self-selected to engage in psychedelic experiences. Hence, a myriad of confounding alternative explanations for the findings abound, particularly participant expectancy effects (placebo effects). So, great caution must be exercised in drawing conclusions regarding the effects of psychedelic drugs. But placebo effects are generally transitory and don’t last over substantial periods of time and the present improvements lasted for at least 2 years, making it unlikely that confounding variable explanations are viable.

 

It is interesting that spirituality was not affected as psychedelic drugs have been employed throughout history as a part of spiritual development. It is possible that the context of spiritual ceremony is essential for the effects of psychedelic drugs being interpreted as spiritual effects.

 

The results of the present study suggest that people who engage in psychedelic experiences have profound improvements in their well-being that are sustained for at least 2 years. The magnitude and duration of the effects may explain why psychedelics have such profound effects on people with mental illnesses producing relief of symptoms and appear to be safe and effective treatments for mental illnesses.

 

So, psychedelic drug experiences produce long-term improvements in psychological well-being.

 

use of psychedelic substances in a naturalistic setting is associated with experiences of personal transformation, a sense of altered moral values, increased feelings of social connectedness, and a more positive mood.” – Matthias Forstmann

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Mans, K., Kettner, H., Erritzoe, D., Haijen, E., Kaelen, M., & Carhart-Harris, R. L. (2021). Sustained, Multifaceted Improvements in Mental Well-Being Following Psychedelic Experiences in a Prospective Opportunity Sample. Frontiers in psychiatry, 12, 647909. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.647909

 

Abstract

In the last 15 years, psychedelic substances, such as LSD and psilocybin, have regained legitimacy in clinical research. In the general population as well as across various psychiatric populations, mental well-being has been found to significantly improve after a psychedelic experience. Mental well-being has large socioeconomic relevance, but it is a complex, multifaceted construct. In this naturalistic observational study, a comprehensive approach was taken to assessing well-being before and after a taking a psychedelic compound to induce a “psychedelic experience.” Fourteen measures of well-being related constructs were included in order to examine the breadth and specificity of change in well-being. This change was then analysed to examine clusters of measures changing together. Survey data was collected from volunteers that intended to take a psychedelic. Four key time points were analysed: 1 week before and 2 weeks, 4 weeks, and 2 years after the experience (N = 654, N = 315, N = 212, and N = 64, respectively). Change on the included measures was found to cluster into three factors which we labelled: 1) “Being well”, 2) “Staying well,” and 3) “Spirituality.” Repeated Measures Multivariate Analysis of Variance revealed all but the spirituality factor to be improved in the weeks following the psychedelic experience. Additional Mixed model analyses revealed selective increases in Being Well and Staying Well (but not Spirituality) that remained statistically significant up to 2 years post-experience, albeit with high attrition rates. Post-hoc examination suggested that attrition was not due to differential acute experiences or mental-health changes in those who dropped out vs. those who did not. These findings suggest that psychedelics can have a broad, robust and sustained positive impact on mental well-being in those that have a prior intention to use a psychedelic compound. Public policy implications are discussed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8277190/

 

Psychedelic Drugs are Theorized to have Aided in Human Social Evolution

Psychedelic Drugs are Theorized to have Aided in Human Social Evolution

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“psychedelics have profound cognitive, emotional, and social effects that inspired the development of cultures and religions worldwide.” – Michael J. Winkelman

 

Psychedelic substances such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, Bufotoxin, ayahuasca and psilocybin have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. Psychedelics produce effects that are similar to those that are reported in spiritual awakenings, a positive mood, with renewed energy and enthusiasm. It is easy to see why people find these experiences so pleasant and eye opening. They often report that the experiences changed them forever.

 

It is not known why the use of psychedelic substances have been so widely used throughout human evolution. Natural selection suggests that the use of these substances must confer some adaptive advantage, or their use would have ceased. What exactly are those advantages is a source of active debate in the scientific community. In today’s Research News article “Psychedelics, Sociality, and Human Evolution.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.729425/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1750137_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211012_arts_A ) Arce and colleagues provide an evidence backed theoretical argument regarding the role of psychedelic substances in the evolution of humankind.

 

There is substantial evidence that early hominids routinely ingested fungi including mushroom that contained psychedelic substances. Early recorded history includes description of psychedelic uses in Mesoamerican societies. Indeed, psychedelic use has been recorded in early societies in Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, South America, Artic and Subarctic, and Central America. This suggests that there must be some instrumental effect of these substances that enhances the survival of humans.

 

Psilocybin and related psychedelics do not have physically toxic side effects. So, they can be ingested safely. The only evident problem is a change in cognition that could open “the possibility for errors in judgment, false perceptions, distortions, and illusions that could undermine an individual’s capacity for alertness, strategic thinking, and decision-making”. But early humans learned to use these substances in particular circumstances, such as rituals,  where the consequences of altered cognition could be minimized.

 

In their favor, psychedelic substances have been shown to improve coping with stress which was likely high in early hominid development. In addition, psychedelic substances have been used throughout history for the treatment of diseases and in recent years have been found to be effective in promoting recovery from a cancer diagnosis, relieving depression, and even in smoking cessation.

 

Psychedelic substances have traditionally been used in groups particularly around rituals and religious ceremonies which would improve social bonds, group cohesion, and pro-social behavior. This would facilitate social cooperation that was essential for early hominid group survival. Psychedelic substances have also been shown to enhance creative thinking and problem solving which would be of great use in adapting to changing environments.

 

These findings and arguments suggest that ingesting psychedelic substances may have been adaptive for humans increasing their chances of survival and procreation. It seems counterintuitive that ingesting substances that for the short term may make the individual less responsive and capable in the environment could actually improve survival. But that is what psychedelic substances appear to do. In this way ingesting psychedelic substances may be adaptive and thus be promoted in evolution.

 

So, psychedelic drugs are theorized to have aided in human social evolution

 

psychedelic drugs. By simulating the effects of religious transcendence, they mimic states of mind that played an evolutionarily valuable role in making human cooperation possible – and with it, greater numbers of surviving descendants.” – James Carney

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Rodríguez Arce JM and Winkelman MJ (2021) Psychedelics, Sociality, and Human Evolution. Front. Psychol. 12:729425. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.729425

 

Our hominin ancestors inevitably encountered and likely ingested psychedelic mushrooms throughout their evolutionary history. This assertion is supported by current understanding of: early hominins’ paleodiet and paleoecology; primate phylogeny of mycophagical and self-medicative behaviors; and the biogeography of psilocybin-containing fungi. These lines of evidence indicate mushrooms (including bioactive species) have been a relevant resource since the Pliocene, when hominins intensified exploitation of forest floor foods. Psilocybin and similar psychedelics that primarily target the serotonin 2A receptor subtype stimulate an active coping strategy response that may provide an enhanced capacity for adaptive changes through a flexible and associative mode of cognition. Such psychedelics also alter emotional processing, self-regulation, and social behavior, often having enduring effects on individual and group well-being and sociality. A homeostatic and drug instrumentalization perspective suggests that incidental inclusion of psychedelics in the diet of hominins, and their eventual addition to rituals and institutions of early humans could have conferred selective advantages. Hominin evolution occurred in an ever-changing, and at times quickly changing, environmental landscape and entailed advancement into a socio-cognitive niche, i.e., the development of a socially interdependent lifeway based on reasoning, cooperative communication, and social learning. In this context, psychedelics’ effects in enhancing sociality, imagination, eloquence, and suggestibility may have increased adaptability and fitness. We present interdisciplinary evidence for a model of psychedelic instrumentalization focused on four interrelated instrumentalization goals: management of psychological distress and treatment of health problems; enhanced social interaction and interpersonal relations; facilitation of collective ritual and religious activities; and enhanced group decision-making. The socio-cognitive niche was simultaneously a selection pressure and an adaptive response, and was partially constructed by hominins through their activities and their choices. Therefore, the evolutionary scenario put forward suggests that integration of psilocybin into ancient diet, communal practice, and proto-religious activity may have enhanced hominin response to the socio-cognitive niche, while also aiding in its creation. In particular, the interpersonal and prosocial effects of psilocybin may have mediated the expansion of social bonding mechanisms such as laughter, music, storytelling, and religion, imposing a systematic bias on the selective environment that favored selection for prosociality in our lineage.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.729425/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1750137_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211012_arts_A

 

Hallucinogenic Drugs may Effectively Treat Mental Illness

Hallucinogenic Drugs may Effectively Treat Mental Illness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Combined with psychotherapy, some psychedelic drugs like MDMA, psilocybin and ayahuasca may improve symptoms of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder,” – Cristina L. Magalhaes

 

Psychedelic substances such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, Bufotoxin, ayahuasca and psilocybin 

have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. More recently hallucinogenic drugs such as MDMA (Ecstasy) and Ketamine have been similarly used. People find the experiences produced by these substances extremely pleasant. eye opening, and even transformative. They often report that the experiences changed them forever. Psychedelics and hallucinogens have also been found to be clinically useful as they markedly improve mood, increase energy and enthusiasm and greatly improve clinical depression. The research on the effectiveness of these drugs on mood and mental illness is accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7880300/ ) De Gregorio and colleagues review and summarize the published research on the brain mechanisms of hallucinogenic drug actions and their effectiveness as treatments for mental illness.

 

They report that the different drugs have very different effects on the nervous system although most interact with serotonin receptors. The nervous systems effects appear to alter sensory integration and associations with these sensations resulting in altered experiences.

 

They also report that the published research suggests that psilocybin may be useful in treating anxiety, depression, alcohol abuse, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), LSD may relieve anxiety and depression, that Ketamine may improve major depressive disorder, and MDMA (Ecstasy) may help in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Hence, psychedelic and hallucinogenic drugs may be effective in treating mental illness. It needs to be kept in mind that these drugs have powerful effects so they must be administered in controlled environments by trained practitioners.

 

So, hallucinogenic drugs may effectively treat mental illness.

 

Most powerful substances that we know of, that have powerful effects on the central nervous system, are like any powerful tool, They can have dangerous effects, or beneficial effects, if judiciously used in a context where the dangers are known and mechanisms are in place to address them.” – Matthew Johnson

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

De Gregorio, D., Aguilar-Valles, A., Preller, K. H., Heifets, B. D., Hibicke, M., Mitchell, J., & Gobbi, G. (2021). Hallucinogens in Mental Health: Preclinical and Clinical Studies on LSD, Psilocybin, MDMA, and Ketamine. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 41(5), 891–900. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1659-20.2020

 

Abstract

A revamped interest in the study of hallucinogens has recently emerged, especially with regard to their potential application in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. In the last decade, a plethora of preclinical and clinical studies have confirmed the efficacy of ketamine in the treatment of depression. More recently, emerging evidence has pointed out the potential therapeutic properties of psilocybin and LSD, as well as their ability to modulate functional brain connectivity. Moreover, MDMA, a compound belonging to the family of entactogens, has been demonstrated to be useful to treat post-traumatic stress disorders. In this review, the pharmacology of hallucinogenic compounds is summarized by underscoring the differences between psychedelic and nonpsychedelic hallucinogens as well as entactogens, and their behavioral effects in both animals and humans are described. Together, these data substantiate the potentials of these compounds in treating mental diseases.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7880300/

 

The Setting of Psychedelic Administration Affects the Obtained Psychological Benefits

The Setting of Psychedelic Administration Affects the Obtained Psychological Benefits

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

If you choose to take psychedelics, it is strongly recommended to have a sitter,” Gael said. “Ideally, this person is familiar with the psychedelic state and is someone you can trust to be a responsible, calm grounded presence.” – Sara Gael

 

Psychedelic substances such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, Bufotoxin, ayahuasca and psilocybin have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. Psychedelics produce effects that are similar to those that are reported in spiritual awakenings, a positive mood, with renewed energy and enthusiasm. It is easy to see why people find these experiences so pleasant and eye opening. They often report that the experiences changed them forever. Even though the effects of psychedelic substances have been experienced and reported on for centuries, only very recently have these effects come under rigorous scientific scrutiny. The setting in which psychedelic drugs are taken in the real world varies widely and there is little research on the effects of these settings on the experiences and their effects.

 

In today’s Research News article “Psychedelic Communitas: Intersubjective Experience During Psychedelic Group Sessions Predicts Enduring Changes in Psychological Wellbeing and Social Connectedness.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8114773/ Kettner and colleagues recruited online adults who intended to attend a retreat where psychedelic drugs were used. They had them complete questionnaires at 5 time points; 2 weeks before and 3 hours before the retreat, the day after the psychedelic experience, after the retreat, and 4 weeks later. They were measured for experience details, preparedness, mental well-being, social connectedness, depression, anxiety, openness toward people, trait absorption, subjective psychedelic experiences, and retreat experiences. They used factor analysis to identify a combination of 8 questionnaire items that comprised a measure of communitas (experience of intense togetherness and shared humanity),

 

Psilocybin (80%) and ayahuasca (16%) were the drugs most frequently used at the retreats. They found that 4-weeks after the retreat social connectedness, well-being, and interpersonal tolerance, were significantly higher and anxiety and depression were significantly lower than at baseline. They also found that the higher the level of communitas the higher the levels of social connectedness and well-being. Using path analysis they found that overall communitas was associated with psychological well-being and social connectedness at follow-up and the overall communitas was associated with the communitas during the experience, trait absorption, rapport with the therapist, social support during the experience, and the level of self-disclosure.

 

This study was naturalistic in that it measured individuals who were engaged in naturally occurring psychedelic retreats. This provided varied retreat conditions in real world settings. This is distinct from laboratory research with psychedelics which provide for highly controlled circumstances. The results demonstrate very positive effects of psychedelic experiences even in varied environments like they have been shown to do in the laboratory.

 

The results suggest that the social conditions and setting surrounding psychedelic experiences affect the effects of the experiences on the mental and social well-being of the participants. In other words, the ability of psychedelics to produce positive effects on the participants does not happen in a vacuum. For optimum effectiveness there needs to be optimum social support conditions. Regardless, psychedelic experiences appear to promote social and psychological health.

 

So, the setting of psychedelic administration affects the obtained psychological benefits.

 

The science of how to use drug responsibly and effectively should be made accessible by educating the public on the principles of set and setting, a shared body of knowledge on the do’s and don’ts of responsible and effective drug use in a world where drug harms cannot be nullified but can doubtlessly be minimized.” – Ido Hartogsohn

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Kettner, H., Rosas, F. E., Timmermann, C., Kärtner, L., Carhart-Harris, R. L., & Roseman, L. (2021). Psychedelic Communitas: Intersubjective Experience During Psychedelic Group Sessions Predicts Enduring Changes in Psychological Wellbeing and Social Connectedness. Frontiers in pharmacology, 12, 623985. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2021.623985

 

Abstract

Background: Recent years have seen a resurgence of research on the potential of psychedelic substances to treat addictive and mood disorders. Historically and contemporarily, psychedelic studies have emphasized the importance of contextual elements (‘set and setting’) in modulating acute drug effects, and ultimately, influencing long-term outcomes. Nevertheless, current small-scale clinical and laboratory studies have tended to bypass a ubiquitous contextual feature of naturalistic psychedelic use: its social dimension. This study introduces and psychometrically validates an adapted Communitas Scale, assessing acute relational experiences of perceived togetherness and shared humanity, in order to investigate psychosocial mechanisms pertinent to psychedelic ceremonies and retreats.

Methods: In this observational, web-based survey study, participants (N = 886) were measured across five successive time-points: 2 weeks before, hours before, and the day after a psychedelic ceremony; as well as the day after, and 4 weeks after leaving the ceremony location. Demographics, psychological traits and state variables were assessed pre-ceremony, in addition to changes in psychological wellbeing and social connectedness from before to after the retreat, as primary outcomes. Using correlational and multiple regression (path) analyses, predictive relationships between psychosocial ‘set and setting’ variables, communitas, and long-term outcomes were explored.

Results: The adapted Communitas Scale demonstrated substantial internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.92) and construct validity in comparison with validated measures of intra-subjective (visual, mystical, challenging experiences questionnaires) and inter-subjective (perceived emotional synchrony, identity fusion) experiences. Furthermore, communitas during ceremony was significantly correlated with increases in psychological wellbeing (r = 0.22), social connectedness (r = 0.25), and other salient mental health outcomes. Path analyses revealed that the effect of ceremony-communitas on long-term outcomes was fully mediated by communitas experienced in reference to the retreat overall, and that the extent of personal sharing or ‘self-disclosure’ contributed to this process. A positive relationship between participants and facilitators, and the perceived impact of emotional support, facilitated the emergence of communitas.

Conclusion: Highlighting the importance of intersubjective experience, rapport, and emotional support for long-term outcomes of psychedelic use, this first quantitative examination of psychosocial factors in guided psychedelic settings is a significant step toward evidence-based benefit-maximization guidelines for collective psychedelic use.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8114773/

Psychedelic Drugs Produce Experiences Like Spontaneous “God experiences”.

Psychedelic Drugs Produce Experiences Like Spontaneous “God experiences”.

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“I had the craziest experiences during meditation on psychedelics that have been the most convincing in my path to God,” – Gemma

 

Psychedelic substances such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, Bufotoxin, ayahuasca and psilocybin have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. Psychedelics produce effects that are similar to those that are reported in spiritual awakenings and “God experiences”. They report a loss of the personal self, a decentering. They experience what they used to refer to as the self as just a part of an integrated whole. They report feeling interconnected with everything else in a sense of oneness with all things. They experience a feeling of timelessness where time seems to stop and everything is taking place in a single present moment. They experience ineffability, being unable to express in words what they are experiencing and as a result sometimes producing paradoxical statements. And they experience a positive mood, with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

 

It is easy to see why people find these experiences so pleasant and eye opening. They often report that the experiences changed them forever. Even though the effects of psychedelic substances have been experienced and reported on for centuries, only very recently have these effects come under rigorous scientific scrutiny. It is important to investigate whether these experiences are the same or different from spontaneous awakening or “God experiences”.

 

In today’s Research News article “Survey of subjective “God encounter experiences”: Comparisons among naturally occurring experiences and those occasioned by the classic psychedelics psilocybin, LSD, ayahuasca, or DMT.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0214377 ) Griffiths and colleagues recruited online a group of participants who reported having “encounters with something that someone might call: God (e.g., the God of your understanding), Higher Power, Ultimate Reality, or an Aspect or Emissary of God (e.g., an angel)” and participants who reported “encountering something that occurred after taking a classic hallucinogen (e.g., psilocybin, LSD, ayahuasca, DMT, etc.). The participants complete an online survey measuring demographics, types of drugs used, their encounter experience, interpretation of their experience, persisting changes resulting from the experience, and mystical experiences. The drug group was further subdivided into psilocybin, LSD, ayahuasca, and DMT groups.

 

They found that all four drug groups in comparison to the non-drug group reported having significantly more sensory experiences, were more likely to be alone, were more likely to engage in a communication, had greater mystical experiences, but lower vividness. Despite these quantitative differences the groups endorsed remarkably similar characteristics of their experiences. All groups found the experiences to be emotional and having a message, mission, or insight, were similar in mystical experiences, appeared very real, and endorsed the experiences as having the qualities of benevolent, intelligent, sacred, conscious, eternal and all knowing, and existing in some other reality. All groups endorsed that they were changed and these were desirable changes in life satisfaction, purpose, meaning, spiritual awareness in everyday life, attitudes about life and self. In all groups those who described themselves as atheist before the experience no longer identified themselves as atheist after the experience.

 

Although there were some quantitative differences between drug and non-drug groups, the experiences were in general very similar. Psychedelic drugs have their effects by altering the brain. Similarly, contemplative practices that often produce mystical experiences also alter the brain. It remains to be seen if the changes in the nervous systems produced by these experiences are also similar. Nevertheless, the results suggest that spontaneous “God experiences” and experiences as a result of psychedelic drugs are quite similar and maybe representative of similar physiological changes.

 

So, psychedelic drugs produce experiences like spontaneous “God experiences”.

 

Majority of survey respondents attributed lasting positive changes in their psychological health—including life satisfaction, purpose, and meaning—even decades after initially experiencing ‘God’ or ‘ultimate reality,’ whether that experience was spontaneous or associated with the consumption of psychedelic substances. – Vanessa McMains

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Griffiths RR, Hurwitz ES, Davis AK, Johnson MW, Jesse R (2019) Survey of subjective “God encounter experiences”: Comparisons among naturally occurring experiences and those occasioned by the classic psychedelics psilocybin, LSD, ayahuasca, or DMT. PLoS ONE 14(4): e0214377. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0214377

 

Abstract

Naturally occurring and psychedelic drug–occasioned experiences interpreted as personal encounters with God are well described but have not been systematically compared. In this study, five groups of individuals participated in an online survey with detailed questions characterizing the subjective phenomena, interpretation, and persisting changes attributed to their single most memorable God encounter experience (n = 809 Non-Drug, 1184 psilocybin, 1251 lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), 435 ayahuasca, and 606 N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT)). Analyses of differences in experiences were adjusted statistically for demographic differences between groups. The Non-Drug Group was most likely to choose “God” as the best descriptor of that which was encountered while the psychedelic groups were most likely to choose “Ultimate Reality.” Although there were some other differences between non-drug and the combined psychedelic group, as well as between the four psychedelic groups, the similarities among these groups were most striking. Most participants reported vivid memories of the encounter experience, which frequently involved communication with something having the attributes of being conscious, benevolent, intelligent, sacred, eternal, and all-knowing. The encounter experience fulfilled a priori criteria for being a complete mystical experience in approximately half of the participants. More than two-thirds of those who identified as atheist before the experience no longer identified as atheist afterwards. These experiences were rated as among the most personally meaningful and spiritually significant lifetime experiences, with moderate to strong persisting positive changes in life satisfaction, purpose, and meaning attributed to these experiences. Among the four groups of psychedelic users, the psilocybin and LSD groups were most similar and the ayahuasca group tended to have the highest rates of endorsing positive features and enduring consequences of the experience. Future exploration of predisposing factors and phenomenological and neural correlates of such experiences may provide new insights into religious and spiritual beliefs that have been integral to shaping human culture since time immemorial.

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0214377

 

Reduce Negative Moods and Depression in Healthy Individuals and Patients with Mood Disorders with Psychedelic Drugs

Reduce Negative Moods and Depression in Healthy Individuals and Patients with Mood Disorders with Psychedelic Drugs

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs in psychotherapeutic settings represents a promising and integrative treatment with enduring effects for mental health patients.” – Genis Oña

 

Psychedelic substances such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, Bufotoxin, ayahuasca and psilocybin have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. People find these experiences extremely pleasant. eye opening, and even transformative. They often report that the experiences changed them forever. Psychedelics have also been found to be clinically useful as they markedly improve mood, increase energy and enthusiasm and greatly improve clinical depression.

 

The research on the effectiveness of psychedelic drugs on mood and clinical depression is accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned. In today’s Research News article “Classic serotonergic psychedelics for mood and depressive symptoms: a meta-analysis of mood disorder patients and healthy participants.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7826317/ )  Galvão-Coelho and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies of the effectiveness of psychedelic drugs in improving mood and reducing depression with healthy individuals and patients with mood disorders.

 

They identified 12 published randomized controlled trials; 8 used psilocybin, 3 LSD, and 1 ayahuasca. They report that the research found that psychedelic treatment produced significant reductions in negative moods and depression in both healthy participants and in patients with mood disorders. In mood disorder patients the improvements were still significant 2 months after treatment. It should be recognized that the application of the psychedelics in these studies occur in highly structured controlled environments. This produces few if any troubling side effects with the exception of occasional slight anxiety. The safety of these drugs in uncontrolled non-clinical settings are not known.

 

The published research is clear that psychedelic drugs are effective in improving mood and reducing depression in both healthy individuals and those with mood disorders. Mood disorders including depression are by far the most common psychological problems in humans. The research is suggesting that controlled administration of psychedelic drugs is a safe and effective treatment relieving the suffering.

 

So, reduce negative moods and depression in healthy individuals and patients with mood disorders with psychedelic drugs.

 

People who had recently used psychedelics such as psilocybin report a sustained improvement in mood and feeling closer to others after the high has worn off.” – Bill Hathaway

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Galvão-Coelho, N. L., Marx, W., Gonzalez, M., Sinclair, J., de Manincor, M., Perkins, D., & Sarris, J. (2021). Classic serotonergic psychedelics for mood and depressive symptoms: a meta-analysis of mood disorder patients and healthy participants. Psychopharmacology, 238(2), 341–354. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-020-05719-1

 

Abstract

Rationale

Major depressive disorder is one of the leading global causes of disability, for which the classic serotonergic psychedelics have recently reemerged as a potential therapeutic treatment option.

Objective

We present the first meta-analytic review evaluating the clinical effects of classic serotonergic psychedelics vs placebo for mood state and symptoms of depression in both healthy and clinical populations (separately).

Results

Our search revealed 12 eligible studies (n = 257; 124 healthy participants, and 133 patients with mood disorders), with data from randomized controlled trials involving psilocybin (n = 8), lysergic acid diethylamide ([LSD]; n = 3), and ayahuasca (n = 1). The meta-analyses of acute mood outcomes (3 h to 1 day after treatment) for healthy volunteers and patients revealed improvements with moderate significant effect sizes in favor of psychedelics, as well as for the longer-term (16 to 60 days after treatments) mood state of patients. For patients with mood disorder, significant effect sizes were detected on the acute, medium (2–7 days after treatment), and longer-term outcomes favoring psychedelics on the reduction of depressive symptoms.

Conclusion

Despite the concerns over unblinding and expectancy, the strength of the effect sizes, fast onset, and enduring therapeutic effects of these psychotherapeutic agents encourage further double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials assessing them for management of negative mood and depressive symptoms.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7826317/