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Research on Psychedelics for Optimal Outcomes

Of all the major psychedelics, psilocybin - the active ingredient in psilocybin truffles, served at Synthesis - has the most research to back its efficacy in facilitating a number of optimal outcomes.

The Third Wave of psychedelics began with the publication of Roland Griffiths groundbreaking research paper: “Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance” which showed a clear relationship between responsible psilocybin use and deep meaningful experiences.

Since 2006, there has been extensive research done on the efficacy of psilocybin, much of which we outline below.

Our vision

Synthesis will lead the way in facilitating research about the efficacy of psychedelic medicine on facilitating optimal body, mind, and spiritual wellness. By combining psychedelics with other modalities (float tanks, yoga, and breathwork, etc.) and measuring outcomes with personalized medicine, we will build a database of optimal mind-body approaches to healing. Although psychedelics are powerful tools of healing on their own, they have even greater efficacy when combined with other approaches. We plan to develop this research framework as emerging technology in blockchain, personalized medicine, and big data become more available.

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Jim Fadiman

Jim’s Fadiman study from 1966 was designed to evaluate whether the use of a psychedelic substance with supportive setting can lead to improvement of performance in solving professional problems. The altered performance was measured by subjective reports, questionnaires, the obtained solutions for the professional problems and psychometric data using the Purdue Creativity, the Miller Object Visualization, and the Witkins Embedded Figures tests.

The Experiment:
The participants of the study consisted of 27 male subjects engaged in a variety of professions: sixteen engineers, one engineer-physicist, two mathematicians, two architects, one psychologist, one furniture designer, one commercial artist, one sales manager, and one personnel manager. Nineteen of the subjects had had no previous experience with psychedelics. Each participant was required to bring a professional problem they had been working on for at least 3 months, and to have a desire to solve it.

Each group of four subjects met for an evening session several days before the experiment. They received instructions and introduced themselves and their unsolved problems to the group. Approximately one hour of pencil-and-paper tests were also administered.

At the beginning of the day of the experiment session, subjects were given 200 milligrams of mescaline sulphate. After the initial tests, subjects had four hours to work on their chosen problems. After the working phase, the group would discuss their experiences and review the solutions they had come up with.

The Results:
Solutions obtained in the experiment include:

  • a new approach to the design of a vibratory microtome

  • a commercial building design, accepted by the client

  • space probe experiments devised to measure solar properties

  • design of a linear electron accelerator beam-steering device

  • engineering improvement to a magnetic tape recorder

  • a chair design, modeled and accepted by the manufacturer

  • a letterhead design, approved by the customer

  • a mathematical theorem regarding NOR gate circuits

  • completion of a furniture-line design

  • a new conceptual model of a photon, which was found useful

  • design of a private dwelling, approved by the client

  • insights regarding how to use interferometry in medical diagnosis application sensing heat distribution in the human body

The participants also reported following experiences of enhanced functioning: low inhibition and anxiety, capacity to restructure problem in larger context, enhanced fluency and flexibility of ideation, heightened capacity for visual imagery and fantasy, increased ability to concentrate, heightened empathy with external processes and objects, heightened empathy with people, subconscious data more accessible, association of dissimilar ideas, heightened motivation to obtain closure, visualizing the completed solution.

Further Reading:


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Roland Griffiths

Roland Griffiths provided a breakthrough study proving the relationship between psilocybin use and mystical experiences. This double-blind study evaluated the acute and longer-term psychological effects of a high dose of psilocybin relative to a comparison compound administered under comfortable, supportive conditions.

The Experiment:
The participants were hallucinogen-naïve adults reporting regular participation in religious or spiritual activities. Two or three sessions were conducted at 2-month intervals.

Thirty volunteers received orally administered psilocybin (30 mg/70 kg) and methylphenidate hydrochloride (40 mg/70 kg) in counterbalanced order. To obscure the study design, six additional volunteers received methylphenidate in the first two sessions and unblinded psilocybin in a third session. The 8-h sessions were conducted individually.

Volunteers were encouraged to close their eyes and direct their attention inward. Study monitors rated volunteers’ behavior during sessions. Volunteers completed questionnaires assessing drug effects and mystical experience immediately after and 2 months after sessions. Community observers rated changes in the volunteer’s attitudes and behavior.

The Results:
Psilocybin produced a range of acute perceptual changes, subjective experiences, and labile moods including anxiety. Psilocybin also increased measures of mystical experience.

At 2 months, the volunteers rated the psilocybin experience as having substantial personal meaning and spiritual significance and attributed to the experience sustained positive changes in attitudes and behavior consistent with changes rated by community observers. When administered under supportive conditions, psilocybin occasioned experiences similar to spontaneously occurring mystical experiences. The ability to occasion such experiences prospectively will allow rigorous scientific investigations of their causes and consequences.

Further Reading:



Default Mode Network

One of the most famous recent studies into psychedelics examined the effects LSD had on the brains of volunteers, using high-resolution brain imaging. One of the findings of this study was that LSD (and by extension, other classic psychedelics like psilocybin mushrooms) have a dramatic effect on the default mode network, or DMN. This is a system in the brain that is responsible for self-reflection, holding an important role in our everyday consciousness.

The Experiment:
A study of 12 patients with severe depression showed that psilocybin-assisted therapy dramatically reduced their depression scores, and this reduction lasted for at least three months. The participants had gone through two therapy sessions, lasting several hours each, the first with a 10mg dose of psilocybin and the second with a 25mg dose. A follow-up study proposed that psilocybin was ‘resetting’ depressed patient’s brains by turning the DMN off and on again, directly contributing to improvements in symptoms of depression.

To back up these findings, a recent study gave a single dose of the psychedelic ayahuasca to 14 patients with severe depression, and gave a placebo to 15 other depressed patients. Ayahuasca significantly reduced depression scores compared to placebo, and this positive change lasted at least a week after the treatment. This is one of very few studies with a placebo control group, making its conclusions particularly strong.

The Results:
Releasing the control of the DMN allows our brain to have more entropy. In other words, more unusual connections can be made between areas of the brain that are normally kept separate.

According to the ‘entropic brain’ theory, this means that psychedelics allow us to reach states of consciousness more similar to dreaming and creative thinking. From what we know, the DMN is partly responsible for restraining creativity during your normal life, enabling you to focus on important ‘follow-the-rules’ tasks. But if you want to really unleash your creative side, psychedelics will help to release the control of the DMN over your brain.

Further Reading:



General Research

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