Characterization and prediction of acute and sustained response to psychedelic psilocybin in a mindfulness group retreat

By: Lukasz Smigielski, Michael Kometer, Milan Scheidegger, Rainer Krähenmann, Theo Huber & Franz X. Vollenweider

In: Nature, Scientific Reports, 9

Date: 24 October 2019

Key Concepts:

  • Meditation and psilocybin can promote a spectrum of altered states of consciousness
  • Psilocybin:
    • Can trigger alterations of self-consciousness.
    • Associated with feelings of bliss, unity, and insightfulness.
    • Self/ego dissolution.
    • Depends on dosage and set and setting.
      • Set: the subject’s expectation, personality traits, and current mood state.
      • Setting: the physical and social environment in which the drug is taken.
    • Resembles the state of self-transcendence reported by various traditions of Eastern descent.
    • Peak experiences occur at relatively high rates.
  • Meditation:
    • Aim to reduce self-referential processing.
      • Maintaining attention on the present moment.
      • Non-judgmental, accepting stance toward enfolding experiences.
    • Achieve an increased cognitive and emotional flexibility.
    • May lead to an enduring reduction of self-focus or ego-centricity.
    • Peak experiences unpredictably and at a very low rate.
  • Combining them.
    • Increased the incidence and intensity of alterations of consciousness.
    • Meditation depth is acutely increased by psilocybin administration.
    • Psychedelics may enhance mindfulness capacity.
    • In turn, meditation may positively shape the psychedelic experience.
      • Fostering the experiential quality of self-dissolution.
      • Reducing potential anxiety.

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