Venue: Number 177 Bar & Kitchen
Doors at 7pm Talk at 7.30pm
Psilocybin is the active compound of magic mushroom. Our clinical trial with psilocybin-assisted therapy for treatment resistant depression showed very promising results. The patients experienced the psilocybin with the support of two therapists and music, with the intention of having a transformative experience. Our study revealed that strong peak-experience (mystical experience) and low anxiety during the psilocybin session, predicted a positive clinical outcome, while the strength of the visual imagery did not. This result strengthen the theoretical framework that peak/mystical/transcendental experience mediates positive changes. Moreover, this result emphasis the importance of the set and setting, and the importance of the preparation. This result will be discussed in relation to Maslow’s peak experience theory and possible neural mechanism that relate to the acute experience and the long term changes.
Furthermore, fMRI was measured before and after psilocybin-assisted therapy for treatment resistant depression (n=20) and increases in the amygdala were observed in response to emotional stimuli after the psilocybin session. This is opposite to amygdala changes induced by chronic administration of anti-depressants (reduced reactivity to negative faces). This discrepancy may be related to fundamental differences in these two approaches: with anti-depressants working to mitigate negative emotions and psychedelic-assisted therapy working to confront and work through them.
Leor Roseman holds a BSc in Neuroscience from Tel Aviv University. Since June 2013, he is a PhD student in neuroscience in the Beckley-Imperial Research Program under the supervision of Prof. David Nutt and Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris. Leor specializes in fMRI analysis techniques and his main research focus is neural correlates of psychedelic visual imagery and psilocybin-assisted therapy for treatment resistant depression.
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