Predicting the Intensity of Psychedelic-Induced Mystical and Challenging Experience in a Healthy Population: An Exploratory Post-Hoc Analysis

Kwonmok Ko*, Ben Carter, Anthony J. Cleare, James J. Rucker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Introduction: In psychedelic therapy, mystical as well as challenging experience may influence therapeutic outcome. However, predictors of such experience have not been sufficiently established. Determining predictors of their intensity is, therefore, potentially beneficial in targeting psilocybin therapy for depression. 

Methods: In a post hoc data analysis of a Phase 1, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, between-groups clinical trial, dosage, personality traits, affect, and individual data were analysed as possible clinical predictors. Eighty-nine healthy volunteers were randomised to receive a single dose of placebo, 10 mg of psilocybin, or 25 mg of psilocybin. ANOVA was used to analyse the relationship between dosage and mystical and/or challenging experience, and correlation analysis for all other variables. 

Results: The intensity of both mystical and challenging experience was strongly associated with higher dosage. Age was negatively correlated with intensity of challenging experience. Correlation between identified personality traits and either mystical or challenging experience was minimal, with the exception of positive correlation between neuroticism and challenging experience at higher dose. Neither positive nor negative affect indicated correlation with the intensity of either type of experience. 

Discussion: A limitation of this study is its post hoc, exploratory design; recommendations for further research are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2105-2113
Number of pages9
JournalNeuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
Volume19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2023

Keywords

  • challenging experience
  • mystical experience
  • psilocybin
  • psychedelic therapy

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