2:45pm - 3:15pm
Track 4: Rudolf-Virchow Room
Predicting Short and Long Term Effects of Psilocybin Containing Truffles on Selected Psychological Variables
Background: Synthesis Retreats offer a supportive environment for healthy individuals seeking personal growth and transformation through the ceremonial use of psilocybin-containing truffles, in a group setting. The aims of this study were to report short- and long-term effects of undergoing a Synthesis retreat on selected psychological variables; and investigate interrelationships and predictive ability of measures of set, setting, integration activities, and inter- and intrasubjective drug experience, on selected outcomes.
Methods: Participants (N = 298, mean age: 44 [range 22-76], 44% women) were measured at 2 weeks before, at the day after the ceremony, and also 2, 4 weeks after, and 6 months after the ceremony. Using correlational, multiple regression, and mixed model analyses, main effects and predictive relationships between psychosocial, acute experience variables, and other setting and integration activities were explored. Psychological and trait variables included well-being, depression and anxiety symptoms, personality traits, connectedness, emotional insight, trait absorption, experiential avoidance and dose. Acute psychedelic experience measures included mystical-type, challenging and visual experience, emotional breakthrough and communitas.
Results: Increases in wellbeing and connectedness, and decreases in anxiety and depressive symptoms were observed from baseline to 6 months (significant quadratic trend, p<0.001). At 4 weeks, significant increases in the personality traits agreeableness and emotional stability (p<0.001) and extraversion (p<0.05) were observed.
Of all the baseline personality traits, only emotional stability was a significant negative predictor of wellbeing change (p<0.001). Moreover, of all the personality changes, changes in emotional stability from baseline to 4 weeks showed the highest significant correlation with the changes in wellbeing, depression and anxiety.
Concerning the effect of the acute experience on long-term changes, emotional breakthrough was the only (positive) predictor of both wellbeing increases and anxiety decrease after 4 weeks (p<0.001). None of the acute experience variables was a significant predictor of change in depression after 4 weeks.
Importantly, of the many integration activities, having psychotherapy/counselling after the experience (p<.005), engaging in conversations with people with similar experiences (p<.01), and spending time in nature (p<.05) predicted increases in wellbeing changes from baseline to 4 weeks.
Regarding predicting the acute experience, trait absorption was the only predictor of emotional breakthrough (p=0.001) and emotional synchrony (p<0.001), while trait absorption and dose were the only predictors of mystical experience (p<0.01).
Conclusions: Using a considerable sample, this study represents a step forward towards our understanding of the changes in acute and long-term variables -and predictions of those changes- after the ingestion of psilocybin-containing truffles in a guided group setting.