Psychedelic Research Papers

Real world effectiveness of repeated ketamine infusions for treatment-resistant depression with comorbid borderline personality disorder
This retrospective analysis (n=100) of the effectiveness of ketamine (35mg/70kg) for borderline personality disorder (BPD) in those with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) finds that intravenous ketamine significantly reduces symptoms of depression, borderline personality, suicidality, and anxiety in patients with comorbid BPD and TRD. Both BPD-positive and BPD-negative groups showed significant improvements in the primary outcome measures, with no significant difference between groups.
Psychiatry Research
March 2023
Cited by 0
MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for Borderline Personality Disorder
This review (2022) makes the cases for using MDMA-assisted therapy (MDMA-AT) in the treatment of borderline personality disorder (BPD). The authors draw parallels between using MDMA-AT to treat disorders similar to BPD, such as PTSD, and provide considerations for designing future clinical trials.
Academic Psychiatry
October 2022
Cited by 0
Ayahuasca improves emotion dysregulation in a community sample and in individuals with borderline-like traits
This observational study (n=45) suggests that ayahuasca may have a beneficial effect on psychological functioning by improving mindfulness-related capacities. The authors suggest that ayahuasca-assisted therapy could play a role in treating those with borderline personality disorder (BPD) traits.
Psychopharmacology
November 2018
Cited by 27
A pilot randomized controlled trial of ketamine in Borderline Personality Disorder
This randomized controlled trial (n=22) is the first to study ketamine (35mg/70kg) in Borderline (BPD) in a placebo-controlled study. The study didn't report statistically significant differences between the ketamine and midazolam (active placebo) groups, though it did show a positive trend.
Neuropsychopharmacology
February 2023
Cited by 0
Ayahuasca in the treatment of bipolar disorder with psychotic features–A retrospective case study
This case study (n=1) examines the therapeutic use of ayahuasca in a woman in her late thirties suffering from complex trauma, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and suicidality. Participation in multiple ayahuasca ceremonies led to significant alleviation of distress, resolution of suicidality, and recognition of her bipolar disorder diagnosis, though core trauma remained partially unresolved. A subsequent follow-up showed continued reduction in dissociative symptoms and noted positive effects of ayahuasca on other instances of psychosis and bipolar disorder. The study contributes to a better understanding of ayahuasca's potential in treating bipolar disorder and severe traumatization.
Psyarxiv
May 2023
Cited by 1
Ayahuasca: pharmacology, neuroscience and therapeutic potential
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.
Brain Research Bulletin
March 2016
Cited by 131
Using a MDMA- and LSD-Group Therapy Model in Clinical Practice in Switzerland and Highlighting the Treatment of Trauma-Related Disorders
This study (2022) examines the group therapy model used in MDMA and LSD therapy in private practice in Switzerland. The majority of patients suffered from PTSD with psychedelic therapy addressing symptoms like regulation of emotions and impulses, negative self-perception, alterations in relationships with others, as well as meaning, recall, and processing of traumatic memories. MDMA was most often used in the first phase to enhance motivation to change while LSD was introduced to intensify and deepen the therapeutic process.
Frontiers in Psychiatry
April 2022
Cited by 0
Esketamine Nasal Spray for Rapid Reduction of Major Depressive Disorder Symptoms in Patients Who Have Active Suicidal Ideation With Intent: Double-Blind, Randomized Study (ASPIRE I)
This placebo-controlled, double-blind study, phase 3 study (n=226) compared esketamine (84mg, nasal, 2xp/w for 4w) with a placebo spray and found esketamine to be effective in lowering depression scores (MADRS) for those suffering from depression (MDD) and suicidal ideation (SI). Scores on a measure of SI was, however, not significantly different between the two groups.
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
May 2020
Cited by 27
Psilocybin-assisted group therapy for demoralized older long-term AIDS survivor men: An open-label safety and feasibility pilot study
This open-label feasibility study (n=17) showed that psilocybin-assisted group therapy (21-25mg/70kg) was safe and effective for the treatment of demoralization in older long-term AIDS survivors.
EClinicalMedicine
September 2020
Cited by 10
Psychiatry & the psychedelic drugs. Past, present & future
This review article (2018) looks at the pre- and post-prohibition clinical studies on psychedelics and offers strategic advice on the legal and regulatory hurdles.
Neuropharmacology
December 2017
Cited by 124
Psychedelics in the treatment of unipolar mood disorders: a systematic review
This meta-analysis (n=423) of studies before prohibition (1949-73) of treating unipolar mood disorders (depression) showed that, besides the many flaws of the studies, the results were positive (79% of participants showed improvements, few side-effects).
Journal of Psychopharmacology
November 2016
Cited by 112
Psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for treatment resistant depression: A randomized clinical trial evaluating repeated doses of psilocybin
This open-label waitlist trial (n=30) assessed the feasibility of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy (PAP/PAT) in a complex population with treatment-resistant depression (TRD), including major depressive and bipolar II disorders, baseline suicidality, and significant comorbidity. Participants received one, two, or three sessions of PAP with psilocybin (25mg), accompanied by preparation and integration psychotherapy sessions. Immediate treatment showed greater reductions in depression severity (MADRS) compared to the waitlist period, with a large effect size (g = 1.07, p < 0.01). Repeated doses were associated with further reductions in depression severity. Adverse events were transient, and the study demonstrated feasibility, preliminary antidepressant efficacy, safety, and tolerability in this population.
Medicine
February 2024
Cited by 1
Effects of psilocybin therapy on personality structure
This open-label study (n=20) found that dosages of psilocybin (10, 25mg) in a supportive setting, for those with treatment-resistant depression (TRD), changed their personality. At 3-month follow-up, Neuroticism was decreased, Extraversion and Openness were increased. The changes were similar (but more pronounced) to changes after conventional antidepressant treatment.
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica
June 2018
Cited by 167
Psychiatric risks for worsened mental health after psychedelic use
This prospective observational study (n=807) analysed negative psychological responses to psychedelics, defining it as a clinically meaningful decline in mental health four weeks post-use. They found that 16% of participants experienced negative responses, with a notably higher prevalence (31%) among those with a prior diagnosis of personality disorder. The study implies that individuals with a history of personality disorder might face elevated risks with psychedelic use, emphasizing the need for enhanced psychological support and therapeutic alliance in this population.
Journal of Psychopharmacology
March 2024
Cited by 0
The Impact of Ayahuasca on Suicidality: Results From a Randomized Controlled Trial
This analysis of a double-blind, parallel-arm, randomized placebo-controlled trial (n=29) investigates the impact of ayahuasca on suicidality (SI) in individuals with treatment-resistant depression (TRD). It found that ayahuasca may show potential as a fast-acting and innovative intervention for SI but didn't find significant results (only a trend with a large effect size). This is the first study to investigate ayahuasca for SI.
Frontiers in Pharmacology
November 2019
Cited by 15
The ego in psychedelic drug action – ego defenses, ego boundaries, and the therapeutic role of regression
This review (2023) focuses on the role of the ego in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy (PAT), particularly through a psychodynamic lens. It argues that psychedelics induce regressed states of the ego, allowing for emotional integration of early life events that have shaped a person's character and defence mechanisms. The paper posits that for lasting change, PAT must target the characterological core of the ego's habitual patterns, and it suggests that this psycholytic approach is compatible with other forms of PAT like third-wave cognitive behavioural approaches (CBT/ACT).
Frontiers in Neuroscience
October 2023
Cited by 0
Sex differences and serotonergic mechanisms in the behavioural effects of psilocin
This rodent study examines the behavioral pharmacology of psilocybin (0.25, 1, 4 mg/kg) with respect to sex differences and the underlying receptor mechanisms. Psilocin produced dose-dependent inhibition of locomotor activity, social behaviors, and startle reflex, which was mediated by the 5-HT2A, 5-HT1A, and 5-HT2C/B receptors, and more pronounced in male compared to female rats.
Behavioural Pharmacology
June 2016
Cited by 25
Long term structural and functional neural changes following a single infusion of Ketamine in PTSD
This pilot RCT study (n=27) investigated the potential of a single ketamine infusion (35mg/70kg), followed by brief exposure therapy, to enhance the extinction of trauma memories in individuals diagnosed with PTSD. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either ketamine or midazolam after retrieval of the traumatic memory, and underwent trauma-focused psychotherapy 24 hours later for four days. While PTSD symptoms improved equally in both groups, post-treatment ketamine recipients showed lower amygdala and hippocampus reactivation to trauma memories than midazolam recipients, suggesting that ketamine may enhance the post-retrieval extinction of trauma memories.
Neuropsychopharmacology
June 2023
Personality change in a trial of psilocybin therapy v. escitalopram treatment for depression
This analysis of an RCT (n=59) investigates the impact of psilocybin-assisted therapy (PAT) and escitalopram on personality traits in patients with moderate-to-severe major depressive disorder over a 6-week trial period. Significant decreases in neuroticism, introversion, disagreeableness, and impulsivity, and increases in absorption, conscientiousness, and openness were observed in the PAT group, while similar changes were seen in the escitalopram group.
Psychological Medicine
June 2023
Cited by 0
The prosocial effects of 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA): controlled studies in humans and laboratory animals
This review (2015) discusses data from controlled laboratory studies that highlight MDMA altering social feelings, information processing, and behavior in humans, and social behavior in rodents. The findings are consistent with earlier studies that show that laboratory administration of MDMA strongly alters social processing in humans and increases social approach in humans as well as animals and that neurobiologically complex prosocial effects contribute towards its recreational use.
Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
October 2015
Cited by 80
A Phase I trial to inform clinical protocols for the safe administration of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy
This pre-print open-label trial (n=14) organised by ATMA Journey Centers finds psilocybin to be safe, with peak systolic (146) and diastolic (94) blood pressures to be within acceptable ranges. Secondary analyses find a significant decrease in depression (QIDS-SR16) and high mysticism scores (MEQ-30).
MedRvix
April 2023
Cited by 0
Compassionate use of psychedelics
This paper (2020) reviews the safety and efficacy of psilocybin- and MDMA-assisted therapies and argues that it can be rational for some patients to try compassionate psychedelic therapy, notwithstanding the uncertainty of outcomes, as the expected value of psychotherapy can outweigh the expected value of routine care, palliative care, or no care at all. They also address the epistemic risk carried by the notion that psychedelics are philosophically deceptive given that the subjective effects may often feel more real than normal consciousness, but the authors argue that it is not known how classical psychedelics influence one’s beliefs or whether they make one metaphysically irrational, and assert that metaphysics should be ignored in medicine as much as possible. While acknowledging that there are suboptimal uses of psychedelics, the authors see no ethical barriers for their compassionate use in palliative care.
Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy
May 2020
Cited by 1
Can psychedelics enhance group psychotherapy? A discussion on the therapeutic factors
This article discusses the therapeutic potential of psychedelic-assisted group psychotherapy (PAGP), which has received less attention than individual psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy models. The authors analyse current literature and use Irvin Yalom's 11 therapeutic factors of group therapy as a framework to discuss the benefits of PAGP, including increased group connectedness and interpersonal learning.
Journal of Psychopharmacology
February 2023
Cited by 0
Psychotherapeutic and neurobiological processes associated with ayahuasca: A proposed model and implications for therapeutic use
This theory-building article (2023) proposes a model of psychotherapeutic processes associated with ayahuasca consumption. It identifies five key effects: somatic effects, introspection and emotional processing, increased self-connection, increased spiritual connection, and gaining of insights and new perspectives.
Frontiers in Neuroscience
January 2023
Cited by 0
Microdosing with psychedelics to self-medicate for ADHD symptoms in adults: A prospective naturalistic study
This prospective survey study (n=247) finds that those who microdose psychedelics to manage ADHD symptoms experience benefits from it. Participants scored higher on well-being after two and four weeks. The study design, a prospective survey, makes it possible to draw causal inferences (microdosing causing the improvement), but the study had a large drop-out rate (n=46 at 4 weeks).
Neuroscience Applied
October 2022
Cited by 0
Participation in an indigenous Amazonian led ayahuasca retreat associated with increases in nature relatedness – a pilot study
This preprint (n=58) assessed the association between participation in an ayahuasca retreat in a traditional indigenous Amazonian context and how it is related to nature-relatedness. Retreat participation was associated with increases in nature-relatedness, mindfulness and improvements in depression and anxiety.
Psyarxiv
June 2022
Cited by 0
Therapeutic Alliance and Rapport Modulate Responses to Psilocybin Assisted Therapy for Depression
This trial (n=59) assessed the relationships between therapeutic alliance and rapport, the quality of the acute psychedelic experience and treatment outcomes. Following psilocybin administration at a second session, the therapeutic alliance had a direct impact on final depression scores, not mediated by the acute experience, with a weaker alliance ahead of the second psilocybin session predicting higher absolute depression scores at the endpoint.
Frontiers in Pharmacology
March 2022
Cited by 0
Kratom Abuse Potential 2021: An Updated Eight Factor Analysis
This review used the 8 factors of the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) to assess recently published literature involving kratom. It was found that public health would be better served by assuring continued access to kratom and that placing kratom in the CSA would criminalize consumers, impede research and have dangerous public health consequences. Regulation to minimize risks of contaminated, adulterated, and inappropriately marketed products is recommended.
Frontiers in Pharmacology
February 2022
Cited by 0
Flashback phenomena after administration of LSD and psilocybin in controlled studies with healthy participants
This study analysed data from participants (n=142) in clinical trials who had received LSD and psilocybin to assess the prevalence of recurring drug-like experiences after administration of these substances. 13 participants (9%) reported recurring drug-like experiences (LSD: 7, psilocybin: 2, both: 4) which were considered mild and perceived as neutral to pleasant. No reports met the criteria for hallucinogen-persisting perception disorder (HPPD).
Psychopharmacology
Cited by 0
A Spectrum of Selves Reinforced in Multilevel Coherence: A Contextual Behavioural Response to the Challenges of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Development
This hypothesis paper (2021) puts forth several solutions to the challenges of psychedelic-assisted therapy. Whitfield builds further on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Contextual Behavioural Science (CBS). The various constructs of 'Self' or self-models and ways of integrating new perspectives on this concept are discussed.
Frontiers in Psychiatry
Cited by 0

Find Psychedelic Papers

Find all relevant psychedelic research papers in our ever-growing database. Here we cover and connect the latest research and seminal papers. From early open-label psychedelic studies with healthy volunteers to large-scale double-blind, placebo-controlled trials.

We have not only indexed over 2000 papers but have added additional contexts such as type of study, a compound studied, which paper it’s related to, the trial associated with a study, and over 30 more variables.

More coverage of psychedelic research can be found on our Research page.