OPEN Foundation

E. James

Psilocybin occasioned mystical-type experiences


Objective: Research into psychedelic therapy models has shown promise for the treatment of specific psychiatric conditions. Mystical-type experiences occasioned by psilocybin have been correlated with therapeutic benefits and long-term improvements in positive mental outlook and attitudes. This article aims to provide an overview of the topic, highlight strengths and weaknesses in current research, generate novel perspectives and discussion, and consider future avenues for research.

Design: This narrative review was designed to summarise and assess the state of research on psilocybin occasioned mystical-type experiences and applications for the treatment of specific psychiatric conditions.

Results: Contemporary methods on the quantification of mystical-type experiences and their acute subjective effects are discussed. Recent studies provide some understanding of the pharmacological actions of psychedelics although the neurological similarities and differences between spontaneous and psychedelic mystical-type experiences are not well described. Applicability to modern clinical settings is assessed. Potential novel therapeutic applications include use in positive psychology interventions in healthy individuals.

Conclusions: Since 2006 significant advancements in understanding the therapeutic potential of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy have been made; however, more work is required to understand the neuromechanistic processes and applicability in modern clinical settings. Despite promising results in recent studies, funding issues for clinical trials, legal concerns and socio-cultural resistance provide a counterpoint to experimental evidence.

James, E., Robertshaw, T. L., Hoskins, M., & Sessa, B. (2020). Psilocybin occasioned mystical‐type experiences. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental35(5), e2742; 10.1002/hup.2742
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21 March - Ketamine Discussion with Celia Morgan, Filip Tylš & Will Barone