Psilocybin Molecule    Photo credit: 
Psilocybin Molecule  Photo credit: 


Psychedelics not linked to mental health problems or suicidal behavior: A population study 

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Authors: Pål-Ørjan Johansen and Teri Suzanne Krebs

Published in: Journal of Psychopharmacology 2015, Vol. 29(3) 270–279

Abstract: “We failed to find evidence that psychedelic use is an independent risk factor for mental health problems. Psychedelics are not known to harm the brain or other body organs or to cause addiction or compulsive use; serious adverse events involving psychedelics are extremely rare” 

Conclusion: “Overall, it is difficult to see how prohibition of psychedelics can be justi- fied from a public health or human rights perspective.”

Psilocybin with psychological support for treatment-resistant depression: an open-label feasibility study

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Authors: Robin L Carhart-Harris, Mark Bolstridge, James Rucker*, Camilla M J Day*, David Erritzoe, Mendel Kaelen, Michael Bloomfield, James A Rickard, Ben Forbes, Amanda Feilding, David Taylor, Steve Pilling, Valerie H Curran, David J Nutt 

Published in:  Lancet Psychiatry 2016; 3: 619–27 – Published Online May 17, 2016 S2215-0366(16)30065-7 

Abstract: “Psilocybin is a serotonin receptor agonist that occurs naturally in some mushroom species. Recent studies have assessed the therapeutic potential of psilocybin for various conditions, including end-of-life anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and smoking and alcohol dependence, with promising preliminary results. Here, we aimed to investigate the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of psilocybin in patients with unipolar treatment-resistant depression. ” 

Conclusion: “All patients showed some reduction in depression severity at 1 week that was sustained in the majority for 3 months (appendix). According to standard criteria for determining remission (eg, a score of ≤9 on the BDI), eight (67%) of the 12 patients achieved complete remission at 1 week and seven patients (58%) continued to meet criteria for response (50% reduction in BDI score relative to baseline) at 3 months, with five of these (42%) still in complete remission.”


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Authors: Rick Doblin 

Published in:  The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 1991, Vol. 23, No. J 

Abstract: A follow up to Walter Pahnke’s Good Friday Experiment in 1962, Rick Doblin Founder of MAPS states, 

“‘Half the capsules contained psilocybin (30mg), an extract of psychoactive mushrooms, and the other half contained a placebo. According to Pahnke, the experiment determined that “the persons who received psilocybin experienced to a greater extent than did the controls the phenom- ena described by our typology of mysticism’ (Pahnke, 1963, p. 220). “

Conclusion: “Future experiments should be approached cautiously and carefully, with a multidisciplinary team of scien- tists involved in planning and implementation. Such a team should include psychiatrists, psychologists, religious profession- als from a variety of traditions, as well as drug abuse prevention, education and treatment officials. “

Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance 

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Authors: R. R. Griffiths & W. A. Richards & U. McCann & R. Jesse  

Published in:  Psychopharmacology (2006) 187:268–283 

Abstract: “The participants were hallucinogen- naïve adults reporting regular participation in religious or spiritual activities. Two or three sessions were conducted at 2-month intervals. Thirty volunteers received orally admin- istered psilocybin (30 mg/70 kg) and methylphenidate hydrochloride (40 mg/70 kg) in counterbalanced order. “

Conclusion: “At 2 months, the volunteers rated the psilocybin experience as having substantial personal meaning and spiritual significance and attributed to the experience sus- tained positive changes in attitudes and behavior consistent with changes rated by community observers. “

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

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Authors:  Stephen Ross, Anthony Bossis, Jeffrey Guss, Gabrielle Agin-Liebes, Tara Malone, Barry Cohen, Sarah E Mennenga, Alexander Belser, Krystallia Kalliontzi, James Babb, Zhe Su, Patricia Corby and Brian L Schmidt

Published in:  The Journal of Psychopharmacology 2016, Vol. 30(12) 1165–1180 

Abstract: “In the present RCT, the primary hypothesis was that psilocy- bin, in conjunction with targeted psychotherapy, would signifi- cantly decrease anxiety and depression symptoms (compared to an active control, niacin, and the same dose of psychotherapy as the experimental group) in patients with life-threatening cancer diagnoses.”

Conclusion: “It produced rapid and sustained anxiolytic and anti-depressant effects (for at least 7 weeks but potentially as long as 8 months), decreased cancer-related existential distress, increased spiritual wellbeing and quality of life, and was associated with improved attitudes towards death.”

Authors: Thomas Pokorny, MSc,1 Katrin H Preller, PhD,1 Michael Kometer, PhD,1 Isabel Dziobek, PhD,1 and Franz X Vollenweider, MD1 

Published in:  International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology (2017) 20(9): 747–757 

Abstract: “We investigated the acute effect of psilocybin (0.215 mg/kg p.o.) in healthy human subjects on different facets of empathy and hypothetical moral decision-making using the multifaceted empathy test (n=32) and the moral dilemma task (n=24).”

Conclusion: “These findings provide first evidence that psilocybin has distinct effects on social cognition by enhancing emotional empathy but not moral behavior. Furthermore, together with previous findings, psilocybin appears to promote emotional empathy presumably via activation of serotonin 2A/1A receptors, suggesting that targeting serotonin 2A/1A receptors has implications for potential treatment of dysfunctional social cognition.”

Effect of Psilocybin on Empathy and Moral Decision-Making


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