Research - Psilocybin
Sub-Acute Effects of Psilocybin on Empathy, Creative Thinking, and Subjective Well-Being
Natasha L. Mason , M.Sc., Ph.D. ,Elisabeth Mischler , Ph.D.,Malin V. Uthaug , M.Sc., Ph.D. &Kim P. C. Kuypers , Ph.D
Creative thinking and empathy are crucial for everyday interactions and subjective well-being. This is emphasized by studies showing a reduction in these skills in populations where social interaction and subjective well-being are significantly compromised (e.g., depression). Anecdotal reports and recent studies suggest that a single administration of psilocybin can enhance such processes and could therefore be a potential treatment. However, it has yet to be assessed whether effects outlast acute intoxication. The present study aimed to assess the sub-acute effects of psilocybin on creative thinking, empathy, and well-being. Participants attending a psilocybin retreat completed tests of creative (convergent and divergent) thinking and empathy, and the satisfaction with life scale on three occasions: before ingesting psilocybin (N = 55), the morning after (N = 50), and seven days after (N = 22). Results indicated that psilocybin enhanced divergent thinking and emotional empathy the morning after use. Enhancements in convergent thinking, valence-specific emotional empathy, and well-being persisted seven days after use. Sub-acute changes in empathy correlated with changes in well-being. The study demonstrates that a single administration of psilocybin in a social setting may be associated with sub-acute enhancement of creative thinking, empathy, and subjective well-being. Future research should test whether these effects contribute to the therapeutic effects in clinical populations.
Source : Journal of Psychoactive Drugs
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Pilot Study of Psilocybin Treatment for Anxiety in Patients With Advanced-Stage Cancer
Charles S. Grob, MD; Alicia L. Danforth, MA; Gurpreet S. Chopra, MD; Marycie Hagerty, RN, BSN, MA; Charles R. McKay, MD; Adam L. Halberstadt, PhD; George R. Greer, MD
Context Researchers conducted extensive investigationsof hallucinogens in the 1950s and 1960s. By the early 1970s,however, political and cultural pressures forced the cessationof all projects. This investigation reexamines a potentiallypromising clinical application of hallucinogens in the treatmentof anxiety reactive to advanced-stage cancer. Objective To explore the safety and efficacy of psilocybinin patients with advanced-stage cancer and reactive anxiety.
Design A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of patientswith advanced-stage cancer and anxiety, with subjects actingas their own control, using a moderate dose (0.2 mg/kg) of psilocybin.
Setting A clinical research unit within a large publicsector academic medical center.
Participants Twelve adults with advanced-stage cancerand anxiety.
Main Outcome Measures In addition to monitoring safetyand subjective experience before and during experimental treatmentsessions, follow-up data including results from the Beck DepressionInventory, Profile of Mood States, and State-Trait Anxiety Inventorywere collected unblinded for 6 months after treatment.
Results Safe physiological and psychological responseswere documented during treatment sessions. There were no clinicallysignificant adverse events with psilocybin. The State-TraitAnxiety Inventory trait anxiety subscale demonstrated a significantreduction in anxiety at 1 and 3 months after treatment. TheBeck Depression Inventory revealed an improvement of mood thatreached significance at 6 months; the Profile of Mood Statesidentified mood improvement after treatment with psilocybinthat approached but did not reach significance.
Conclusions This study established the feasibility andsafety of administering moderate doses of psilocybin to patientswith advanced-stage cancer and anxiety. Some of the data revealeda positive trend toward improved mood and anxiety. These resultssupport the need for more research in this long-neglected field.
Source : Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2011;68(1):71-78. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2010.116
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