Psilocybin Enhances Mindfulness-Related Capabilities in a Meditation Retreat Setting: A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled fMRI Study

Breaking Convention 2017, London, UK.
Neuroscience Track | Saturday July 1st, 9:00 AM

Under supportive conditions, psychedelics induce transformational experiences that resemble states reached in deep meditation. Likewise, improvements in mindfulness-related capabilities may not only be enhanced by meditation but also through distinctive features of the psychedelic experience.

Here we present findings from an fMRI study with psilocybin in experienced meditators in a meditation retreat setting. We found that psilocybin-assisted meditation increased both self-reported meditation depth and post-retreat levels of mindfulness. Notably, psilocybin also changed functional brain connectivity in self-referential information processing networks that subserve the process of meditation.

We conclude that psilocybin has the potential to facilitate transformational experiences within a meditation retreat framework, which underscores the importance of set and setting to facilitate beneficial outcomes of psychedelic experiences. Through enhancing neuroplasticity, mindfulness-related capabilities and well-being, psilocybin may have promising therapeutic impact for transformational healthcare.