November 23, 2020

How does it feel to be on psilocybin?

Psilocybin is the active component of magic mushrooms and is well known for its psychoactive properties. Different questionnaires have been developed to systematically quantify altered states of consciousness induced by psychoactive drugs. The aim of this study was to obtain the dose-response relationships of the subjective experiences induced by psilocybin in healthy study participants.

For this purpose, we applied a linear meta-regression approach on questionnaire ratings after oral administration of psilocybin in a controlled setting. Data was obtained from The Altered States Database, which contains psychometric data extracted from peer-reviewed articles published in MEDLINE-listed journals that used standardized and validated questionnaires. Our meta-analysis included data of the Altered States of Consciousness Rating Scale, the Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ30), and the Hallucinogen Rating Scale (HRS). We used the Robust Variance Estimation Framework to obtain linear dose-response relationship estimates for each dimension of the given questionnaires.

Ratings on most dimensions and subscales of the included questionnaires correlated positively with dose. Since subjective experiences are not only determined by dose, but also by individual differences and environmental factors, our results do not necessarily generalize to recreational use, as our analyses are based on data from controlled laboratory experiments. The paper at hand could serve as a general literature citation for the use of psilocybin in experimental and clinical research, especially for the comparison of expected and observed subjective drug experiences.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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