Long-term follow-up of psilocybin-facilitated smoking cessation

This follow-up study (n=15) found that at 12-months 67% of participants didn’t return to smoking (biologically confirmed). This was 60% at an average of 30-months follow-up. This study is a first (very positive) step in seeing of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy may be a viable way for people to quit smoking.

Abstract

Background: A recent open-label pilot study (N = 15) found that two to three moderate to high doses (20 and 30 mg/70 kg) of the serotonin 2A receptor agonist, psilocybin, in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for smoking cessation, resulted in substantially higher 6-month smoking abstinence rates than are typically observed with other medications or CBT alone.

Objectives: To assess long-term effects of a psilocybin-facilitated smoking cessation program at ≥12 months after psilocybin administration.

Methods: The present report describes biologically verified smoking abstinence outcomes of the previous pilot study at ≥12 months, and related data on subjective effects of psilocybin.

Results: All 15 participants completed a 12-month follow-up, and 12 (80%) returned for a long-term (≥16 months) follow-up, with a mean interval of 30 months (range = 16-57 months) between target-quit date (i.e., first psilocybin session) and long-term follow-up. At 12-month follow-up, 10 participants (67%) were confirmed as smoking abstinent. At long-term follow-up, nine participants (60%) were confirmed as smoking abstinent. At 12-month follow-up 13 participants (86.7%) rated their psilocybin experiences among the five most personally meaningful and spiritually significant experiences of their lives.

Conclusion: These results suggest that in the context of a structured treatment program, psilocybin holds considerable promise in promoting long-term smoking abstinence. The present study adds to recent and historical evidence suggesting high success rates when using classic psychedelics in the treatment of addiction. Further research investigating psilocybin-facilitated treatment of substance use disorders is warranted.”

Authors: Matthew W. Johnson, Albert Garcia-Romeu & Roland R. Griffiths

Notes

This is a follow-up to Johnson et al. (2014) which provided the first evidence (although still open-label) for smoking cessation via psychedelic-assisted therapy.

You can also find a qualitative analysis (and follow-up) in Noorani et al (2018).

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