Psilocybin-occasioned mystical experiences in the treatment of tobacco addiction

This follow-up study (n=15) to an open-label pilot-study of psilocybin-facilitated smoking addiction treatment found that the mystical experience (MEQ) but not the intensity of the experience was predictive of smoking abstinence (80% at 6-month follow-up).

Abstract

“Psilocybin-occasioned mystical experiences have been linked to persisting effects in healthy volunteers including positive changes in behavior, attitudes, and values, and increases in the personality domain of openness. In an open-label pilot-study of psilocybin-facilitated smoking addiction treatment, 15 smokers received 2 or 3 doses of psilocybin in the context of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for smoking cessation. Twelve of 15 participants (80%) demonstrated biologically verified smoking abstinence at 6-month follow-up. Participants who were abstinent at 6 months (n=12) were compared to participants still smoking at 6 months (n=3) on measures of subjective effects of psilocybin. Abstainers scored significantly higher on a measure of psilocybin-occasioned mystical experience. No significant differences in general intensity of drug effects were found between groups, suggesting that mystical-type subjective effects, rather than overall intensity of drug effects, were responsible for smoking cessation. Nine of 15 participants (60%) met criteria for “complete” mystical experience. Smoking cessation outcomes were significantly correlated with measures of mystical experience on session days, as well as retrospective ratings of personal meaning and spiritual significance of psilocybin sessions. These results suggest a mediating role of mystical experience in psychedelic-facilitated addiction treatment.”

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

Notes

This is a follow-up to the open-label study with psilocybin-assisted therapy for smoking cessation by Johnson and colleagues (2014).

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Psilocybin-occasioned mystical experiences in the treatment of tobacco addiction

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Published in
Current Drug Abuse Reviews
December 1, 2014
214 citations

Study details

Compounds studied
Psilocybin

Topics studied
Addiction

Study characteristics
Open-Label Longitudinal

Participants
15

Authors

Authors associated with this publication with profiles on Blossom

Albert Garcia-Romeu
Albert Garcia-Romeu is one of the principal researchers in the renaissance of psychedelics studies. He is doing his research at Johns Hopkins and focuses on psilocybin and how it can help with treating addiction.

Roland Griffiths
Roland R. Griffiths is one of the strongest voices in psychedelics research. With over 400 journal articles under his belt and as one of the first researchers in the psychedelics renaissance, he has been a vital part of the research community.

Matthew Johnson
Matthew Johnson is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. His research is concerned with addiction medicine, drug abuse, and drug dependence.

Institutes

Institutes associated with this publication

Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University (Medicine) is host to the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, which is one of the leading research institutes into psychedelics. The center is led by Roland Griffiths and Matthew Johnson.

Linked Research Papers

Notable research papers that build on or are influenced by this paper

Pilot study of the 5-HT2AR agonist psilocybin in the treatment of tobacco addiction
This is the first study (and still one of the few) to use psilocybin and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in concert for smoking cessation. 80% of participants, in the open-label study, were smoking-free after 6 months.

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