Pilot laboratory results suggest psilocybin may be an efficacious adjunct to smoking cessation treatment. However, no study has examined smoking cessation after psychedelic use in naturalistic settings.
We are conducting an online survey collecting demographics, smoking history, and other data from people who self-report quitting/reducing smoking after taking a psychedelic.
Among current completers (N=164), LSD (49%) and psilocybin (32%) were the drugs most commonly associated with quitting/reducing, with a mode of 2-5 lifetime uses each. Participants reported smoking a mean of 12 cigs/day for a mean of 8 yrs before the experience. 62(38%) reported total and continuing abstinence after their experience, with 29 of the 62 (47%) reporting >1yr abstinence, and 7 (11%) reporting >10 yrs abstinence. Another 67 of the 164 (41%) reported persisting smoking reduction, from a mode of 10-20 cigs/day before, to a mode of <1 cig/month after the experience. The remaining 35 (21%) reported temporary reduction, with 6 of the 35 (17%) reporting >1 yr reduction. Although the majority of withdrawal symptoms were rated as equal in severity to previous quit attempts, depression, irritability, anxiety, and craving were rated as “much less severe.” 141 of the 164 (86%) reported no premeditated intention to quit/reduce smoking, and 159 (97%) described their experience as highly meaningful, with
97 (59%) considering it among the 10 most meaningful experiences of their lives. Participants cited changed life priorities/values (26%), strengthened belief in their ability to quit (26%), and changed future orientation (17%) as the most important effects leading to quitting/reducing. Other changes reported after psychedelic use included reduced alcohol (38%) and other drug use (23%).
Psychedelics may prompt temporary or prolonged smoking cessation, suggesting that careful administration in a treatment context may enhance motivation in changing addictive behaviors. Psychological and neurobiological mechanisms underlying such behavioral changes require further investigation.
Garcia-Romeu, A. P., Griffiths, R. R., & Johnson, M. W. (2015). Psychedelic-facilitated smoking cessation: An online survey. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, (146), e120. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.09.245
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