Predicting Who Benefits (or Not) in Psychedelic Therapy

Howdy, psychonauts! 

Here at Wholecelium, we make it our mission to keep you abreast of the growing evidence that psychedelics, such as magic mushrooms and truffles, can treat a host of serious conditions. Only this year we’ve covered DMT as stroke treatment, LSD as a cure for shyness, and psilocybin — the active compound in shrooms — as treatment for PTSD and addiction. The science is solid. No question! But perhaps for some, a tiny slice of doubt still lingers, which could stop them from joining clinical trials in the near future.

“What if these things don’t work on me? What if I get a bad experience from psychedelic-based meds, instead of the miracle I was promised?”

Let me cast your fears aside, amigo, coz we’re telling you right now. You (yes, you!) can decide how far you’ll benefit from psychedelics as therapy. The key is to have an open mind!

A new study has linked personality traits — and your emotional state before taking psychedelics — to how good or bad your experience will be. 

Surrender to the Unknown

The researchers say that people who have an open mind and a desire to “surrender to the unknown” are more likely to have a positive experience on shrooms (and other psychedelics). Those who are distracted and worried, on the other hand, are more likely to have a negative or tough time. Like a ‘bad’ trip. 

Could predictions be used to help nervous clinical trial patients feel more at ease — and thus enjoy more benefits? Lower doses at first, maybe? 

In an interview with Ohio State News, Alan Davis, assistant professor of social work at Ohio State University and senior author of the study, says why not?

“The findings point to interesting testable things we can look at in future research.

“It might be plausible to use threshold doses that are smaller than those used in a trial as a first exposure. So people have less anxiety, experience the benefit and, from that, go into a higher dose later.”

Empire State of Mind

So how did the researchers get to the “predictions”? Simple! First, they gathered 14 published clinical trials in recent years. Then they checked to see if the participants’ personality or state of mind before taking psychedelics swayed the results… For better or for worse

Study first author Jacob Aday, a PhD candidate in psychology at Central Michigan University, said that it was high time to answer this question.

“It’s been an open question so far in psychedelic science. How can we predict how people will react [to psychedelic therapy]? 

“We thought this review would be a good opportunity to develop a narrative of what the consensus is so far.”

The Best Traits for a Trip!

Most psychedelic trips belong to one of 3 categories. (1) Mystical, where you feel connected to the Divine; (2) Insightful, where you discover new truths about the Self; or (3) Challenging, where you may have physical reactions, such as sexual arousal.

The best traits to have for a positive trip? Based on the review, they are:

  • Being open to new experiences
  • Accepting “whatever happens next” (aka surrender)
  • Having a strong imagination
Photo courtesy: ACS Publications

The researchers saw that those who are willing to surrender were able achieve ‘ego death’. Spiritual walls are broken down. As a result, these people were more likely to have a mystical experience. A cosmic dialogue with God, Nature, and the Universe as a whole.

On the other hand, those who lacked these traits — or were distracted, fearful, or confused — were more likely to have a bad trip

Shrooms Work!

These past few years of research have brought new evidence to light. Without a doubt, psychedelics are the next big thing for the healthcare industry. It’s a simple truth you’ve known all along. As a natural antidepressant, shrooms work! Psychedelics can help treat severe anxiety, PTSD, and addiction — paired with excellent talk therapy, of course. But here’s the thing…

It’s not just about the trip to Wonderland, or the carnival of swirly sounds and colors. A trip can also be philosophical in nature. Taking psychedelics can reveal what’s causing trouble, dissolve your ego, and help you rip off the emotional Band-Aid deep inside. 

“Psychedelics might broadly apply to a whole range of different psychiatric problems…because they’re directly affecting neurotransmission and the brain’s ability to communicate in new ways that involve different parts of the brain,” said Davis.

“But there is still a lot to unpack about exactly how this all works and why it may be effective.”

In the studies compiled, the most widely used psychedelic as a therapy (10 tests) was psilocybin — found in magic mushrooms and truffles. Two tests focused on LSD, one on the DMT-rich ayahuasca, and one studied psychedelics as a whole.  

Does Age Matter?

In the same interview with Ohio State News, Aday says that there may be a link between old age, frequent use of psychedelics, and how “intense” the trip will be.

“There was also tentative evidence that increased experience with psychedelics and increased age were associated with slightly less intense effects with the drugs.

“And there weren’t any differences according to sex. Men and women responded similarly.”

Future Plans

As for future plans, Davis wants to dive deeper into psilocybin for veterans with PTSD. The dosage will also be tweaked, of course — based on the prediction study.

“People who have experienced trauma are not very high in surrender, because they are anxious all the time about their past traumatic experiences.

“A possibility to explore is starting with a low or moderate dose prior to giving the full therapeutic dose, which might help them increase in surrender.

“We’ve designed the study this way, thinking that might be helpful.”

What About Tripping at Home?

What about tripping at home, you ask? 

Good question!

For those of us who microdose (or full-on trip) at home, it’s quite possible to “predict” if we get a good or a bad trip. Sort of. Sure, there’s a scientific way to go about it, such as checking the glutamate levels in the brain. But such a task requires high-tech equipment! So we just have to make do with the second option…

…Making sure you know the right state of mind to take on. Also called “Set and Setting”. This is a way to ensure you have a positive experience. Here’s a few points to consider for a truly enjoyable trip:

  • With whom are you tripping? Are you tripping alone, or with a bunch of friends? Is there a reliable trip sitter to make sure things are doing OK? It’s important to know that there’s a “safety net” for the duration. This eases worry, making a negative experience less likely.
  • Where are you tripping? Are you tripping in a safe, familiar place? Think twice before you lay upon the dewy grass in a public park. If you’re experienced sure — but for newbies perhaps choose a private location instead. Where someone you trust is in the vicinity… A friend’s backyard, maybe?
  • Why are you tripping? Are you tripping to escape? Rebellion against your parents? Or because it looks cool? (Well it is cool, but that’s not the point.)  All of these reasons stem from a negative state of mind — such as anger, envy, or a refusal to take responsibility. These negative “states” get amplified when you trip. Why not think of psychedelics as “spiritual salt” that heighten your state of being? 

Choose Your Psychedelic Form

Did you grow your own shrooms, or order some trippy truffles? Depending on the variety (and dosage), you can expect anything from a buzz of creativity, a deep dive into life’s mysteries, or an all-out flight into the cosmos 🙂 

Check out our incredible deals for magic truffles right here!

What sort of trips have you had lately — good’uns? Or a bit more challenging?

We’re interested in all sorts! Share your experiences down below!

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