It has long been known that psilocybin, found in ‘magic mushrooms’, can create feelings of a connection to the collective consciousness, and a dissolution of the self – often in experiences which prove positively life-changing for the participants . Now new research has for the first time examined the effect of adding mindfulness meditation to the psilocybin experience, and the results may offer hope for eventual therapeutic treatment of depression and anxiety.
Researchers at the University of Zurich worked with 40 meditation experts who were on a five-day meditation retreat. On day four, in a double-blind study, participants were given either a single dose of psilocybin or a placebo. Then, through various psychometric and neurocognitive measures, the participant experiences were assessed.
The study found that the addition of mindfulness meditation significantly increased the positive effects of psilocybin and also, crucially, mitigated against any potential dysphoric effects an individual may have otherwise experienced through use of the psychedelic . It is thought that potential anxiety reactions, for example, were avoided because of how mindfulness teaches the regulation of attention and the examination of emotions.