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"Psilocybin and quantum change in attitude and behavior" with Roland Griffiths

"Psilocybin and quantum change in attitude and behavior" with Roland Griffiths

Visionary: Roland Griffiths

 Quantum change refers to sudden, distinctive, benevolent, and enduring experiences resulting in personal transformations that affect a broad range of personal emotions, cognitions and behaviors.  Although the phenomenon of quantum change has been well described for over 100 years, it has rarely been addressed within modern psychology and there are few meaningful prospective experimental studies because such experiences usually occur at low rates and often unpredictably.  Two recent double-blind studies have shown that under carefully controlled conditions psilocybin can cause profound personally and spiritually meaningful experiences (i.e., mystical-type experiences) in the majority of healthy participants.  The experiences mediate sustained positive changes in behavior and attitudes.  As assessed with questionnaires, most volunteers had a “complete” mystical-type experience after a high dose of psilocybin, although more than a third of volunteers also indicated they had experiences characterized by fear, anxiety, or unpleasant psychological struggle sometime during the session.

The overall finding that psilocybin can occasion, in most people studied, mystical-type experiences having sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance, indicates that such experiences and the changes they produce are now amenable to rigorous prospective scientific study.  Several ongoing studies are discussed, including a study of psilocybin on meditation and spiritual practice in healthy volunteers, a study of psilocybin in psychologically distressed cancer patients, and a study of psilocybin-facilitated treatment of drug cigarette smoking cessation.

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