OPEN Foundation

S. Gandy

From Egoism to Ecoism: Psychedelics Increase Nature Relatedness in a State-Mediated and Context-Dependent Manner.

Abstract

(1) Background: There appears to be a growing disconnection between humans and their natural environments which has been linked to poor mental health and ecological destruction. Previous research suggests that individual levels of nature relatedness can be increased through the use of classical psychedelic compounds, although a causal link between psychedelic use and nature relatedness has not yet been established. (2) Methods: Using correlations and generalized linear mixed regression modelling, we investigated the association between psychedelic use and nature relatedness in a prospective online study. Individuals planning to use a psychedelic received questionnaires 1 week before (N = 654), plus one day, 2 weeks, 4 weeks, and 2 years after a psychedelic experience. (3) Results: The frequency of lifetime psychedelic use was positively correlated with nature relatedness at baseline. Nature relatedness was significantly increased 2 weeks, 4 weeks and 2 years after the psychedelic experience. This increase was positively correlated with concomitant increases in psychological well-being and was dependent on the extent of ego-dissolution and the perceived influence of natural surroundings during the acute psychedelic state. (4) Conclusions: The here presented evidence for a context- and state-dependent causal effect of psychedelic use on nature relatedness bears relevance for psychedelic treatment models in mental health and, in the face of the current ecological crisis, planetary health.
Kettner, H., Gandy, S., Haijen, E. C., & Carhart-Harris, R. L. (2019). From Egoism to Ecoism: Psychedelics Increase Nature Relatedness in a State-Mediated and Context-Dependent Manner. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health16(24), 5147., https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16245147
Link to full text
 

Psychological variables implied in the therapeutic effect of ayahuasca: A contextual approach

Abstract

Ayahuasca is a psychedelic decoction originating from Amazonia. The ayahuasca-induced introspective experience has been shown to have potential benefits in the treatment of several pathologies, to protect mental health and to improve neuropsychological functions and creativity, and boost mindfulness. The underlying psychological processes related to the use of ayahuasca in a psychotherapeutic context are not yet well described in the scientific literature, but there is some evidence to suggest that psychological variables described in psychotherapies could be useful in explaining the therapeutic effects of the brew. In this study we explore the link between ayahuasca use and Decentering, Values and Self, comparing subjects without experience of ayahuasca (n = 41) with subjects with experience (n = 81). Results confirm that ayahuasca users scored higher than non-users in Decentering and Positive self, but not in Valued living, Life fulfillment, Self in social relations, Self in close relations and General self. Scores in Decentering were higher in the more experienced subjects (more than 15 occasions) than in those with less experience (less than 15 occasions). Our results show that psychological process variables may explain the outcomes in ayahuasca psychotherapy. The introduction of these variables is warranted in future ayahuasca therapeutic studies.
Franquesa, A., Sainz-Cort, A., Gandy, S., Soler, J., Alcázar-Córcoles, M. Á., & Bouso, J. C. (2018). Psychological variables implied in the therapeutic effect of ayahuasca: A contextual approach. Psychiatry research264, 334-339. 10.1016/j.psychres.2018.04.012
Link to full text

Dying to live: The power of transcendence in the treatment of existential anxiety

Abstract

There is a notable lack of effective treatments and therapies available for the treatment of existential anxiety. There are, however, a number of avenues worthy of more attention, all experiential or using insights gained from experiences. Such experiences include near-death experiences (NDEs), out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and those yielded by classical psychedelics such as psilocybin. Of these, the psychedelics may have a particular utility when it comes to the treatment of existential anxiety. Psychedelics are currently undergoing a long-overdue scientific research renaissance, and there has been some highly promising research utilizing psilocybin in the treatment of existential anxiety and depression in terminally ill cancer patients, yielding compelling and robust findings. A single dose of psilocybin produced immediate and sustained decreases in anxiety and depression and improvements in outlook and life meaning in an overwhelming majority of study participants. At sufficient doses, psychedelics can occasion mystical-type experiences, and it appears this is intimately tied to their long-term psychotherapeutic efficacy. There is some intriguing overlap in aftereffects reported by those who have undergone mystical experiences via psychedelics, NDEs, and OBEs. An interesting property of the NDE is that the psychological changes appear to be mentally contagious, so that one may reap the benefits of the experience without incurring the risk of experiencing one. A common thread and apparently psychotherapeutic element linking these experiences is the experience of being disembodied and of transcending the limits of the body.
Gandy, S. (2017). Dying to live: The power of transcendence in the treatment of existential anxiety. Threshold: Journal of Interdisciplinary Consciousness Studies1(2), 25-36.
Link to full text

The factor structure of the Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ): Reply to Barrett & Griffiths (2016)

Bouso, J. C., Pedrero‐Pérez, E. J., Gandy, S., & Alcázar‐Córcoles, M. Á. (2017). The factor structure of the Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ): Reply to Barrett & Griffiths (2016). Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 32(1). 10.1002/hup.2570
Link to full text

The factor structure of the Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ): Reply to Barrett & Griffiths (2016)

Bouso, J. C., Pedrero‐Pérez, E. J., Gandy, S., & Alcázar‐Córcoles, M. Á. (2017). The factor structure of the Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ): Reply to Barrett & Griffiths (2016). Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 32(1). 10.1002/hup.2570
Link to full text

Measuring the subjective: revisiting the psychometric properties of three rating scales that assess the acute effects of hallucinogens

Abstract

Objective: In the present study we explored the psychometric properties of three widely used questionnaires to assess the subjective effects of hallucinogens: the Hallucinogen Rating Scale (HRS), the Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ), and the Addiction Research Center Inventory (ARCI).

Methods: These three questionnaires were administered to a sample of 158 subjects (100 men) after taking ayahuasca, a hallucinogen whose main active component is N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT). A confirmatory factorial study was conducted to check the adjustment of previous data obtained via theoretical proposals. When this was not possible, we used an exploratory factor analysis without restrictions, based on tetrachoric and polychoric matrices and correlations.

Results: Our results sparsely match the theoretical proposals of the authors, perhaps because previous studies have not always employed psychometric methods appropriate to the data obtained. However, these data should be considered preliminary, pending larger samples to confirm or reject the proposed structures obtained.

Conclusions: It is crucial that instruments of sufficiently precise measurement are utilized to make sense of the information obtained in the study of the subjective effects of psychedelic drugs.

Bouso, J. C., Pedrero‐Pérez, E. J., Gandy, S., & Alcázar‐Córcoles, M. Á. (2016). Measuring the subjective: revisiting the psychometric properties of three rating scales that assess the acute effects of hallucinogens. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 31(5), 356-372. 10.1002/hup.2545
Link to full text