Psychedelics and Anxiety

Psychedelics and anxiety is one of the 'psychedelics and ...' topics that we're currently making a page for. At this moment you can find all papers (in our database) on this topic below.

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Anxiety Research

Here will be a narrative, readable, summary of the research.


In our literature study we came across the following studies of note. Browse the meta, review, commentary articles for an overview. Check out the individual studies for specific experiments and observations.

How could MDMA (ecstasy) help anxiety disorders? A neurobiological rationale

2009 | Johansen, P. Ø., Krebs, T. S.

This paper (2009) suggests three potential mechanisms for the efficacy of MDMA as a treatment for anxiety disorders. These mechanisms are linked to oxytocin levels, amygdala and vmPFC activity, and norepinephrine and cortisol release.

The psychedelic mystical experience in the human encounter with death

1971 | Pahnke, W. N.

This early review (1969) investigates the mystical experience and its relationship to death, with a focus on terminal cancer patients who had received psychedelics at that time. The correlation between the profoundness of the experience and therapeutic (long-term/non-acute) outcomes is also discussed.

Psilocybin in end of life care: Implications for further research

2021 | Summergrad, P.

This commentary (2016) examines the study design and the outcome measures of two randomized controlled studies that used psilocybin to treat mood and anxiety in patients undergoing palliative care. It can be concluded that the experiences of salience, meaningfulness, and healing that accompany the powerful spiritual experiences elicited by psilocybin, mediate the antidepressant and anxiolytic outcomes measures. Future investigations may investigate these phenomena in their own right, as well as replicate these findings in diverse clinical populations that aim to implement more robust blinding measures.

Clinical and biological predictors of psychedelic response in the treatment of psychiatric and addictive disorders: a systematic review

2021 | Benyamina, A., Hermand, M., Karila, L., Pétillion, A., Romeo, B.

This systematic review (2021) of studies from 1990 to 2020 aimed to determine factors that can predict successful response to psychedelic treatment. In a variety of disorders, the authors found that the intensity of the experience was the best such predictor.

Lysergic acid diethylamide: a drug of ‘use’?

2016 | Barnwal, P., Das, S., Mondal, S., Ramasamy, A., Sen, S.

This review (2016) provides a chronologic history of LSD and examines its safety profile, the potential for abuse, its therapeutic potential to treat alcoholism or terminally ill patients. It also summarizes insights about its receptor pharmacology, mechanism of action, and (adverse) effects, while highlighting some of its potential clinical applications such as an antianxiety agent, a creativity enhancer, a suggestibility enhancer, or a performance enhancer.

Historic psychedelic drug trials and the treatment of anxiety disorders

2020 | Bird, C. I. V., Daniel, A., Gibbs, D., Goldsmith, D., Jelen, L. A., Knight, G., Rucker, J., Weston, N. M., Young, A. H.

This meta-review (2019) examined the efficacy of psychedelics combined with therapy for the treatment of anxiety disorders, across twenty studies conducted between 1940 to 2000. The review outlines individual aspects of their design, assessment methodology, and notable shortcomings, such as the lack of randomized control designs and overreliance on the therapists' opinion. The large majority of patients of these studies exhibited improved symptoms over the course of treatment with psychedelic-assisted therapy.

Integrating psychotherapy and psychopharmacology: psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and other combined treatments

2020 | Feduccia, A. A., Garel, N., Greenway, K. T., Jerome, L.

This meta-review (2020) examines the therapeutic frameworks surrounding contemporary practices of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, with regard to the historic development of therapeutic models and contemporary insights into extra-pharmacological factors and underlying mechanisms. They highlight that these therapies entail greater environmental sensitivity from the patient's perspective, which requires more meticulous attention for the preparation of the set and setting, a considerably resource-intensive endeavor.

From Hofmann to the Haight Ashbury, and into the Future: The Past and Potential of Lysergic Acid Diethlyamide

2014 | Dickerson Davidson, L., Raswyck, G. E., Smith, D. E.

This review (2014) summarises the history of LSD research and outlines the potential applications in the future.

Potential Therapeutic Effects of Psilocybin

2017 | Griffiths, R. R., Johnson, M. W.

This review (2017) evaluates the therapeutic research into psilocybin as a treatment for addiction, treatment-resistant depression, and mood and anxiety disorders. The authors also analyse the safety data from these clinical trials.

Psychedelics and Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy

2020 | Carpenter, L. L., Kalin, N. H., McDonald, W., Nemeroff, C. B., Reiff, C. M., Richman, E. E., Rodriguez, C. I., Widge, A. S.

This review (2020) finds that randomized clinical trials (RCTs) support the efficacy of various psychedelic-assisted therapies for mental health disorders.

Psychedelics and dying care: A historical look at the relationship between psychedelics and palliative care

2019 | Dyck, E.

This review article (2019) retraces the history of psychedelics (specifically LSD) for palliative care and the possibility of reducing (end-of-life) anxiety.

The Emerging Role of Psilocybin and MDMA in the Treatment of Mental Illness

2020 | Cha, D. S., Chen-Li, D., El-Halabi, S., Gill, B., Gill, H., Ho, R., Lee, Y., Lipsitz, O., Majeed, A., Mansur, R. B., McIntyre, R. S., Nasri, F., Rodrigues, N. B., Rosenblat, J. D.

This narrative review (2020) evaluates the therapeutic potential of psilocybin and MDMA for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety. The review explains the need for effective mental health treatments and highlights the lack of dose-response studies in placebo-controlled settings with a real-world clinical population.

Modern clinical research on LSD

2017 | Liechti, M. E.

This review (2017) presents the findings from all six clinical studies using LSD in the previous 25 years, detailing the effects and suggested mechanism of action in both healthy participants, and those with end-of-life anxiety.

Serotonergic hallucinogens in the treatment of anxiety and depression in patients suffering from a life-threatening disease: A systematic review

2018 | Gasser, P., Gutwinski, S., Hermle, L., Jungaberle, H., Majic, T., Reiche, S.

This systematic review (2018) of 11 clinical trials (n=445) found that psychedelics (LSD, psilocybin) reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening diseases (end-of-life).

Therapeutic effects of classic serotonergic psychedelics: A systematic review of modern-era clinical studies

2020 | Andersen, K. A. A., Carhart-Harris, R. L., Erritzoe, D., Nutt, D. J.

This systematic review (2020) looked at 10 modern studies (n=188) on psychedelics (psilocybin, ayahuasca, LSD) for the treatment of a variety of mental health disorders. The review found the studies to provide evidence for efficacy (up to months later) and safety.

MDMA-assisted therapy: A new treatment model for social anxiety in autistic adults

2016 | Danforth, A. L., Grob, C. S., Struble, C., Yazar-Klosinski, B.

This overview/review paper lays the groundwork for offering MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of social anxiety in autistic adults.

Classical hallucinogens and neuroimaging: A systematic review of human studies: hallucinogens and neuroimaging

2016 | Crippa, J. A., Dos Santos, R. G., Hallak, J. E., Osório, F. L.

A systematic review (2016) found that psychedelics (serotonergic 'hallucinogens') have a distinct influence on brain structures that have anxiolytic (anxiety-relieving), antidepressant, and antiaddictive properties.

The experimental effects of psilocybin on symptoms of anxiety and depression: A meta-analysis

2020 | Goldberg, S. B., Hutson, P. R., Nicholas, C. R., Pace, B. T., Raison, C. L.

This meta-analysis (2020) reported favorably on four trials (n=117) that studied the effect of psilocybin-assisted therapy for anxiety and depression.

A Meta-Analysis of Placebo-Controlled Trials of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy

2020 | Bathje, G. J., Chwyl, C., Davis, A. K., Lancelotta, R., Luoma, J. B.

This meta-analysis of nine placebo-controlled trials (n=211) showed a very large effect size (g=1.21) of treatment on four mental health conditions (PTSD, end-of-life anxiety, depression, social anxiety among autistic adults).

Psychedelic drug assisted psychotherapy in patients with terminal cancer

1972| Goodman, L. E., Grof, S., Kurland, A. A., Pahnke, W. N.

This early study (1972) describes the use of LSD-assisted psychotherapy for patients with terminal cancer. Results suggest significant improvements on various clinical assessments.

Clonazepam treatment of lysergic acid diethylamide-induced hallucinogen persisting perception disorder with anxiety features

2003| Bleich, A., Gelkopf, M., Nachshon, H., Rudinski, D., Skladman, I.

This open-label study (n=16) suggests that high-potency benzodiazepines like clonazepam (2mg/day for 60 days) may be helpful in alleviating Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD). The patients reported relief up to four months after treatment. Do note that there was no control group in this study.

Effects of Long-Term Ayahuasca Administration on Memory and Anxiety in Rats

2015| Favaro, V. M., Oliveira, M. G. M., Soares, J. C. K., Yonamine, M.

This rodent study (2015) found that long-term administration of ayahuasca can interfere with the contextual association of emotional events in rats.

Lifetime use of psychedelics is associated with better mental health indicators during the COVID-19 pandemic

2021| Cavanna, F., Cuiule, J., Di Tella, R., González, P., Milano, V., Pallavicini, C., Tagliazucchi, E.

This survey (n=5618) found that those who used psychedelics (32% of the sample) had increased positive affect and more resilient personality traits (e.g. plasticity) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Influence of Context and Setting on the Mental Health and Wellbeing Outcomes of Ayahuasca Drinkers: Results of a Large International Survey

2021| Bouso, J. C., Galvão-Coelho, N. L., Horák, M., Perkins, D., Sarris, J., Schubert, V., Simonová, H., Tófoli, L.F.

This survey (n=6877) of ayahuasca drinkers investigated the influence of context and setting on mental health and wellbeing outcomes. A combination of motivation, ceremony, and support variables predict these outcomes in a new model proposed in this paper.

A Qualitative Study of Intention and Impact of Ayahuasca Use by Westerners

2021| Bathje, G. J., Fenton, J., Hill, L. C., Pillersdorf, D.

This qualitative interview study (n=41) found that ayahuasca use by Westerners (in group settings), led to many sustained positive outcomes. These related to mental health, substance use, interpersonal relationships, and also creativity, physical health, connection to nature. Two participants indicated problematic experiences (sexual assault, enduring psychotic symptoms).

Clinical Studies of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide

1986| Anderson, E. W., Rawnsley, K.

This early clinical study (1954) investigated the dose-range effects of LSD (10-600μg) administered to patients and clinical staff (n=23) across 54 different research sessions and found that its effects entail highly potent perceptual alterations that are sensitive to the environment and variable across different individuals. They also note the emergence of phenomena such as enhanced sexual arousal and ego-dissolution and highlight its utility at illuminating basic personality structures but remain inconclusive as to whether it has therapeutic benefit in response to continued administration.

Antidepressant, anxiolytic and procognitive effects of subacute and chronic ketamine in the chronic mild stress model of depression

2017| Gruca, P., Lason-Tyburkiewicz, M., Papp, M., Willner, P.

This vehicle-controlled rodent study (n=16) compared the antidepressant and anxiolytic effects of ketamine (5, 10, 15 or 30 mg/kg) to the antidepressant imipramine (10 mg/kg), using chronic exposure to mild stress as a depression model and assessing their cognitive capacity of novel object recognition and their natural aversion to open spaces. Results indicated a sustained antidepressant-like effect of ketamine at an optimum dose of 10 mg/kg, which reversed the anxiogenic and dyscognitive effects of chronic mild stress exposure much faster than the classical antidepressant imipramine.

LSD-assisted psychotherapy and the human encounter with death

1972| Goodman, L. E., Grof, S., Kurland, A. A., Richards, W. A.

This early study (1972; n=31) on LSD-assisted psychotherapy (200-500µg) showed the promise of using psychedelics in combination with therapy. The participants of the study were diagnosed with cancer and received therapy/preparation before (10 hours) and after (1-2 hours). Of these patients, 9 (29%) significantly improved on scores of emotional/mental health.

A quantitative exploration of the relationships between regular yoga practice, microdosing psychedelics, wellbeing and personality variables

2021| Bettinson, S., Blatchford, E., Bright, S. J., Gringart, E.

This exploratory cross-sectional survey study (n=339) investigated differences in mood and wellbeing between samples of people who either microdose, practice yoga, or engage in neither, in light of personality trait differences in openness, neuroticism, and absorption. Microdosing and yoga practices exhibited complementary effects, as participants who practiced both had the highest absorption score, exhibited higher levels of wellbeing, and had less depression and anxiety, compared to people who either practiced yoga or microdosing, and participants recruited as controls. However, participants were recruited from different population samples, which may bias self-report, and lead to significant differences in age, gender, employment, and education between the conditions.

Effects of serotonin 2A/1A receptor stimulation on social exclusion processing

2016| Hock, A., Kraehenmann, R., Pokorny, D., Preller, K. H., Scheidegger, M., Seifritz, E., Stämpfli, P., Vollenweider, F. X.

This double-blind, randomized, counterbalanced, cross-over study (n=19) examined the effects of psilocybin (15.05mg/70kg) on the neural response to social exclusion via multimodal brain imaging. Psilocybin reduced activity in key brain regions involved in social exclusion processing, specifically the anterior midcingulate cortex (aMCC) and the middle frontal gyrus (MFG), related to decreases in the experience of social pain and reduced affective distress following social rejection. Reduced response to social exclusion also related to psilocybin changes in the experience of self.

A rapid positive influence of S-ketamine on the anxiety of patients in palliative care: a retrospective pilot study

2020| Cordes, J., Falk, E., Grau, I., Kienbaum, P., Lutterbeck, M. J., Neukirchen, M., Schlieper, D., Schwartz, J., van Caster, P.

This retrospective pilot study (n=8) investigated whether the purified enantiomer S-ketamine (17.5mg/70kg) has a positive impact during the treatment of pain for patients within palliative care, and found that it alleviated psychological distress, depression, and anxiety.

Naturalistic Use of Mescaline Is Associated with Self-Reported Psychiatric Improvements and Enduring Positive Life Changes

2021| Agin-Liebes, G. I., Davis, A. K., Lancelotta, R., Ramaekers, J. G., Uthaug, M. V.

This survey study (n=452) found that the use of mescaline led to improvements in scores on clinical conditions for those suffering from clinical conditions (anxiety 80%, depression 86%, PTSD & AUD 76%). Those who scored higher on acute mystical experience (MEQ30), ego dissolution, and psychological insight had larger improvement than those who scored lower.

A placebo-controlled study of the effects of ayahuasca, set and setting on mental health of participants in ayahuasca group retreats

2021| de Sousa Fernandes Perna, E. B., Fábregas, J. M., Kuypers, K. P. C., Mason, N. L., Ramaekers, J. G., Reckweg, J., Riba, J., Toennes, S. W., Uthaug, M. V., van Oorsouw, K.

This double-blind placebo-controlled study (n=30) controlled for expectation bias in a naturalistic ayahuasca ceremony. The use of ayahuasca led to more emotional empathy, but both groups improved as much on symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.

Ayahuasca: pharmacology, neuroscience and therapeutic potential

2016| Álvarez, E., de la Fuente Revenga, M., Domínguez-Clavé, E., Elices, M., Feilding, A., Friedlander, P., Pascual, J. C., Riba, J., Soler, J.

This review (2016) examines the pharmacology and neuroscience of ayahuasca, and preliminary findings which indicate the psychological mechanisms associated with its therapeutic benefits are similar to those of mindfulness-based therapy. Ayahuasca appears to enhance self-acceptance and decentering, which converges on evidence from neuroimaging studies that show activation in areas associated with emotional processing and memory formation, thereby enabling individuals to review emotional events with increased vividness and a heightened sense of “reality”. This suggests potential to treat trauma-related conditions and other disorders like borderline personality disorder.

The Heffter Research Institute: Past and Hopeful Future

2014| Nichols, D. E.

This essay describes the history and the development of the Heffter Research Institute, in their ongoing efforts to supply psilocybin for the purposes of fundamental and applied clinical research, with a prospective outlook that psilocybin will one day be recognized to have legitimate medical value and integrated within a specialized therapeutic practice.

Antidepressive and anxiolytic effects of ayahuasca: a systematic literature review of animal and human studies

2016| Crippa, J. A., Dos Santos, R. G., Hallak, J. E., Osório, F. L.

This meta-analysis (2016) examines studies on the mental health effects of ayahuasca, harmine, and harmaline within humans and animals, and shows consistent evidence for its antidepressant and anxiolytic (anxiety) effects.

Self-blinding citizen science to explore psychedelic microdosing

2021| Blemings, A., Carhart-Harris, R. L., Erritzoe, D., Feilding, A., Kartner, L., Nutt, D. J., Rosas, F. E., Szigeti, B.

This self-blinding experiment (n=191) finds that the placebo and microdosing groups both experienced similar improvements in self-rated psychological well-being and cognitive function (e.g. mood, energy, creativity) after four weeks. This study provides more evidence that microdosing benefits can be attributed to expectancy (placebo) effects.

A single inhalation of vapor from dried toad secretion containing 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) in a naturalistic setting is related to sustained enhancement of satisfaction with life, mindfulness-related capacities, and a decrement of psychopathological symptoms

2019| Jurok, R., Kuchar, M., Kuypers, K. P. C., Lancelotta, R., Maryska, M., Mason, N. L., Páleníček, T., Rak, J., Ramaekers, J. G., Riba, J., Sulakova, A., Uthaug, M. V., van Oorsouw, K.

This open-label (naturalistic) study (n=42) with 5-MeO-DMT (smoked) found that it significantly reduced ratings of depression, anxiety, and stress. It also increased scores on mindfulness and life satisfaction. These effects correlated with higher ego dissolution and oceanic boundlessness during the acute experience.

LSD-assisted psychotherapy in patients with terminal cancer

1973| Goodman, L. E., Grof, S., Richards, W. A.

This open-label study (n=60, 1973) with LSD and DPT for end-of-life anxiety related to terminal cancer found that patients significantly improved on mood/psychological scores (29% 'dramatic', 42% 'moderate', 23% 'unchanged', 6% 'decrement'). The study also found a non-significant trend towards lower narcotic medication use.

People of color in North America report improvements in racial trauma and mental health symptoms following psychedelic experiences

2020| Davis, A. K., Grigas, P. C., Haeny, A. M., Sepeda, N. D., Sinnott, S., Williams, T. M., Xin, Y.

This survey study (n=313) suggests that psychedelic experiences (MDMA, LSD, psilocybin) could reduce symptoms of racial trauma. The participant, 30 days later, slowed moderate reductions in traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and stress.

Effects of ayahuasca on psychometric measures of anxiety, panic-like and hopelessness in Santo Daime members

2007| Cruz, A. P. M., Dos Santos, R. G., Landeira-Fernandez, J., Motta, V., Strassman, R. J.

This double-blind placebo-controlled study (2007; n=9) investigated state and trait anxiety, hopelessness, and panic under the acute influence of ayahuasca in long-term users. Results show decreases in hopelessness and panic, but no change in anxiety.

Cancer at the dinner table: experiences of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of cancer-related distress

2017| Agin-Liebes, G. I., Belser, A. B., Bossis, A. P., Devenot, N., Friedman, H. L., Guss, J., Ross, S., Swift, T. C., Terrana, S.

This interview study (n=13) analyzed the phenomenological themes associated with psilocybin therapy for anxiety and depression associated with cancer. Participants reported a felt reconnection to life, reconciliation with death, and other powerful subjective effects.

User perceptions of the benefits and harms of hallucinogenic drug use: A web-based questionnaire study

2010| Carhart-Harris, R. L., Nutt, D. J.

This survey study (n=626) investigated user perceptions of the benefits and harms of using LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, cannabis, ketamine, and alcohol. Overall, LSD and psilocybin were regarded as having the most positive impact on wellbeing, and the least harms in terms of physical and mental health.

Positive expectations predict improved mental-health outcomes linked to psychedelic microdosing

2021| Balaet, M., Buchborn, T., Carhart-Harris, R. L., Erritzoe, D., Kaertner, L. S., Kettner, H., Roseman, L., Spriggs, M. J., Steinborn, M. B., Timmermann, C.

This prospective survey study (n=81) found that expectancy effects were mostly predictive of microdosing outcomes on reductions in state anxiety, depressive symptoms (at 4-week endpoint), and positive outcomes (e.g. psychological resilience, -connectedness, -flexibility).

LSD in the supportive care of the terminally ill cancer patient

1985| Kurland, A. A.

This open-label case study (1985, n=4) describes the experience of administrating LSD (100-400μg, multiple sessions) in supportive circumstances but without much knowledge of set & setting and effective therapeutic interventions.

Replication of Ketamine’s Antidepressant Efficacy in Bipolar Depression: A Randomized Controlled Add-On Trial

2012| Brutsche, N. E., Cravchik, A., Diazgranados, N., Franco-Chaves, J., Ibrahim, L., Liberty, V., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Marquardt, C. A., Selter, J., Zarate, C. A.

This double-blind, randomized, crossover, placebo-controlled replication study (n=15) investigated the effects of ketamine (35mg) on patients with treatment-resistant bipolar depression, and found rapid improvements of depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, and subjective well-being within 40 minutes after infusion and up to 3 days after.

The peak experience variable in DPT-assisted psychotherapy with cancer patients

2012| Dileo, F. B., Rhead, J. C., Richards, W. A., Yensen, R.

This study (1977; n = 34) found that peak experiences may be an important factor in determining the efficacy of DPT-assisted psychotherapy for cancer patients.

Antidepressant effects of a single dose of ayahuasca in patients with recurrent depression: a preliminary report

2015| Crippa, J. A., de Araujo, D. B., Dos Santos, R. G., Hallak, J. E., Macedo, L., Maia-de-Oliveira, J. P., Osório, F. L., Riba, J., Sanches, R. F., Wichert-Ana, L.

This open-label study (n=6) found that a single dose of ayahuasca has fast-acting anxiolytic and antidepressant effects (up to 21 days later, MADRS) in patients with a current depressive episode.

Attenuation and anticipation: A therapeutic use of lysergic acid diethylamide

1972| Kast, E.

This open-label clinical study (n=128) investigated whether LSD (100μg) can alleviate death-anxiety in terminally ill patients by decreasing the anticipation of their illness, and found that the administration of LSD was universally well tolerated. Specific effects included a general lift of mood that lasted for 11-12 hours, acute pain relief that lasted 12 hours, decreased the total pain intensity for 3 weeks, and diminished concern over the anticipation of death for up to 3 days after administration.

Ayahuasca in adolescence: a preliminary psychiatric assessment

2011| Alonso, J. N., da Silveira, D. X., de Rios, M. D., Doering-Silveira, E., Grob, C. S., Lopez, E., Tacla, C.

This study (n=80) evaluated the psychiatric health of adolescents who used ayahuasca in a religious context, compared to a matched control group of adolescents who did not use ayahuasca. The authors found that, compared to controls, considerable lower frequencies of positive scoring for anxiety, body dysmorphism, and attentional problems were detected among ayahuasca-using adolescents despite overall similar psychopathological profiles.

Individual Experiences in Four Cancer Patients Following Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy

2018| Agin-Liebes, G. I., Belser, A. B., Bogenschutz, M. P., Bossis, A. P., Guss, J., Malone, T., Mennenga, S. E., Owens, L. T., Podrebarac, S. K., Ross, S.

This case study describes patients (n=4) from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial investigating single-dose psilocybin (21mg/70kg) psychotherapy to treat cancer-related anxiety and depression. These four participants’ personal narratives extended beyond the cancer diagnosis itself, frequently revolving around themes of self-compassion and love, acceptance of death, and memories of past trauma.

Acute effects of LSD on amygdala activity during processing of fearful stimuli in healthy subjects

2017| Borgwardt, S., Dolder, P. C., Harder, S., Lang, U. E., Lenz, C., Liechti, M. E., Mueller, F., Schmid, Y.

This double-blind, randomized, crossover study (n=20) investigated the effects of LSD (100 μg) on brain activity while participants were shown fearful facial stimuli, and found that LSD decreased amygdala-reactivity, a brain region that mediates emotional processing.

Altered insula connectivity under MDMA

2017| Carhart-Harris, R. L., Erritzoe, D., Feilding, A., Nest, T., Nutt, D. J., Roseman, L., Walpola, I. C.

This within-subjects, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study (n=25) investigated the effects of MDMA (100mg) on brain connectivity, and found that it decreased functional connectivity insula/salience network, which was also correlated with baseline trait anxiety and acute experiences of altered bodily sensations under MDMA.

Therapeutic Use of LSD in Psychiatry: A Systematic Review of Randomized-Controlled Clinical Trials

2020| Elices, M., Farré, M., Fonseca, F., Fuentes, J. J., Torrens, M.

This review (2020) presents the results of 11 randomized-controlled clinical trials (n=567) involving the therapeutic administration of LSD (20-800 μg). Multiple variables regarding LSD treatment, therapeutic approach, and quality of experience were revealed and related to therapeutic outcomes. The authors find the strongest evidence to be for the use of LSD in the treatment of alcoholism, but highlight the lack of double-blind studies.

Psilocybin-Assisted Group Therapy and Attachment: Observed Reduction in Attachment Anxiety and Influences of Attachment Insecurity on the Psilocybin Experience

2020| Anderson, B. T., Ortigo, K. M., Stauffer, C., Woolley, J. D.

This follow-up study (n=18) to Anderson and colleagues (2020) finds that attachment anxiety, but not attachment avoidance, decreased significantly 3 months after psilocybin-assisted group therapy.

MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treatment of anxiety and other psychological distress related to life-threatening illnesses: a randomized pilot study

2020| Andries, J., Carlin, S. C., Doblin, R., Emerson, A., Feduccia, A. A., Hamilton, S., Jerome, L., Mithoefer, M. C., Sola, E., Wang, J. B., Williams, E., Wolfson, P. E., Yazar-Klosinski, B.

This double-blind, placebo-controlled study (n=18) with MDMA (125mg, 2 sessions) in combination with psychotherapy found no significant difference in anxiety in a population with life-threatening illnesses.

LSD-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with a life-threatening disease: a qualitative study of acute and sustained subjective effects

2014| Kirchner, K.

This follow-up study (n=10) found long-term (12-month) positive outcomes from a single high-dose of LSD (200 μg) in combination with psychotherapy. The positive effects included reduced anxiety and a higher quality of life.

Safety and efficacy of lysergic acid diethylamide-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with life-threatening diseases

2014| Brenneisen, R., Doblin, R., Gasser, P., Holstein, D., Michel, Y., Passie, T., Yazar-Klosinski, B.

This double-blind, placebo-controlled study (n=12) showed that LSD (200 μg, 2 sessions) in combination with psychotherapy was safe to use and trended towards a positive effect on end-of-life anxiety.

Psychological flexibility mediates the relations between acute psychedelic effects and subjective decreases in depression and anxiety

2020| Barrett, F. S., Davis, A. K., Griffiths, R. R.

This survey study (n=985) finds that psychological flexibility fully mediated the effects of mystical/peak experiences on depression/anxiety.

Pilot study of psilocybin treatment for anxiety in patients with advanced-stage cancer

2010| Chopra, G. S., Danforth, A. L., Greer, G. R., Grob, C. S., Hagerty, M., Halberstadt, A. L., McKay, C. R.

This is the first (modern) double-blind placebo-controlled study (n=12) of psilocybin (14mg/70kg) for the treatment of (end-of-life) anxiety (and depression) related to cancer.

Perceived outcomes of psychedelic microdosing as self-managed therapies for mental and substance use disorders

2020| Amanda, N., Jungaberle, H., Lea, T., Schecke, H., Scherbaum, N.

This survey (n=1102) study found positive effects after microdosing psychedelics (44% reported 'much better' mental health), but was limited to self-reports.

Psychedelic Treatment for Trauma-Related Psychological and Cognitive Impairment Among US Special Operations Forces Veterans

2020| Amoroso, T., Averill, L. A., Barsuglia, J. P., Davis, A. K., Sepeda, N. D.

This survey study (n=51) found very large effects on mental health for special forces veterans after ibogaine and 5-MeO-DMT treatment.

Patient Experiences of Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

2017| Agin-Liebes, G. I., Belser, A. B., Bossis, A. P., Devenot, N., Friedman, H. L., Guss, J., Ross, S., Swift, T. C.

This qualitative analysis of experiences may help form new hypotheses on why a psychedelic experience works. Found is that participants experienced strong emotions, partly conveyed by music.

Psilocybin produces substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer: A randomized double-blind trial

2016| Griffiths, R. R., Johnson, M. W.

This study investigated the effects of a high dose of psilocybin on depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer. It found significant improvements, even without psychotherapy (as many other studies do provide).

Rapid and sustained symptom reduction following psilocybin treatment for anxiety and depression in patients with life-threatening cancer: A randomized controlled trial

2016| Agin-Liebes, G. I., Babb, J., Belser, A. B., Bossis, A. P., Cohen, B., Corby, P., Guss, J., Kalliontzi, K., Malone, T., Mennenga, S. E., Ross, S., Schmidt, B. L., Su, Z.

This double-blind placebo-controlled study (n=29) for those suffering from anxiety and depression, related to cancer, improved significantly (60-80% of participants) after a single dose of psilocybin (21mg/70kg) in combination with psychotherapy.

Long-term follow-up of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for psychiatric and existential distress in patients with life-threatening cancer

2020| Agin-Liebes, G. I., Bossis, A. P., Fischer, S., Grigsby, J., Guss, J., Malone, T., Mennenga, S. E., Ponté, K. L., Ross, S., Yalch, M. M.

This is a follow-up study (n=16) at an average of 3.8 years after a single dose of psilocybin, in combination with psychotherapy, for patients suffering from existential distress related to cancer. Approximately 60-80% of participants still experienced reduced anxiety or depressive symptoms. This adds to the body of research that indicates that the positive of a guided psychedelic experience can be long-lasting.


This section compares the research with psychedelics to other therapies, medicines, or treatments.


This section highlights the various measures used and their use in research.


Who are the top researches in this area, the ones who have done the groundbreaking research.


What do we not know at this time? Where are the gaps in our knowledge and are we closing it?


The companies that are actively engaged in researching this topic or (planning to) provide therapy focussed on this topic.

Outside Academia

This section highlights everything done outside of academia, from popular press to books and non academic research.