Clinical Research Bibliography: Psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy

Updated March 5, 2021

Section A: Original research papers directly supporting psilocybin in treatment of end-of-life distress.

Malone T, Mennenga S, … Bossis A, et al. (April 2018) Individual Experiences in Four Cancer Patients Following Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy. Frontiers in Pharmacology 9:256.

Swift T, Belser A, … Bossis A, et al. (June 2017) Cancer at the Dinner Table: Experiences of Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy for the Treatment of Cancer-Related Distress. Journal of Humanistic Psychology 57(1):002216781771596

Belser A, Agin-Liebes G, Bossis A, et al. (April 2017) Patient Experiences of Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Journal of Humanistic Psychology 57(4): 354-388.

Ross S, Bossis A, Guss J, et al. (2016) Rapid and sustained symptom reduction following psilocybin treatment for anxiety and depression in patients with life-threatening cancer: a randomized controlled trial. Psychopharmacology 30: 1165-1180.

Griffiths R, Johnson M, Carducci M, Umbricht A, Richards W, et al. (2016) Psilocybin produces substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer: A randomized double-blind trial. J Psychopharmacology 30: 1181-1197.

These two articles are supplemented by important professional commentary that accompanies them:

Grob C, Danforth A, Chopra G, et al. (2011) Pilot study of psilocybin treatment for anxiety in patients with advanced-stage cancer. Arch Gen Psychiatry 68: 71-78.

Grob, C. (2007) The use of psilocybin in patients with advanced cancer and existential anxiety. In Psychedelic medicine: new evidence for hallucinogenic substances as treatments, Vol. 1. Ed. M. Winkelman and T.B. Roberts, 205-216. Westport: Praeger

Section B: Articles summarizing and supporting recent research into use of psilocybin in treatment of end-of-life anxiety & depression.

Reiche S, Hermle L, Gutwinski S. (2017) Serotonergic hallucinogens in the treatment of anxiety and depression in patients suffering from a life-threatening disease: A systematic review. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry doi:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2017.09.012

Nutt D. (2016) Psilocybin for anxiety and depression in cancer care? Lessons from the past and prospects for the future. Journal of Psychopharmacology Vol. 30(12) 1163–1164.

Mithoefer M, Grob C, Brewerton T. (2016) Novel psychopharmacological therapies for psychiatric disorders: psilocybin and MDMA. Lancet Psychiatry.

Tupper K, Wood E, Yensen R, et al. (2015) Psychedelic medicine: a re-emerging therapeutic paradigm. Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Grob C, Bossis A, Griffiths R. (2013) Use of the classic hallucinogen psilocybin for treatment of existential distress associated with cancer. In Psychological Aspects of Cancer, B.I. Carr and J. Steel (eds.): 291-308

Griffiths R, Grob C. (2010) Hallucinogens as medicine. Sci. Am. 303, 76–79.

Rosenbaum, D., Boyle, A. B., Rosenblum, A. M., Ziai, S., Chasen, M. R., & Med, M. P. (2019). Psychedelics for psychological and existential distress in palliative and cancer care. Current oncology (Toronto, Ont.), 26(4), 225–226.

Dos Santos, R. G., Bouso, J. C., & Hallak, J. (2019). Serotonergic hallucinogens/psychedelics could be promising treatments for depressive and anxiety disorders in end-stage cancer. BMC psychiatry, 19(1), 321.

Vargas, A. S., Luís, ., Barroso, M., Gallardo, E., & Pereira, L. (2020). Psilocybin as a New Approach to Treat Depression and Anxiety in the Context of Life-Threatening Diseases-A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials. Biomedicines, 8(9), 331.

Section C: Original research papers indirectly supporting psilocybin treatment for end-of-life distress.

Carhart-Harris R, Leech R, Williams T, et al. (2012) Implications for psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy: functional magnetic resonance imaging study with psilocybin. The British Journal of Psychiatry 200, 238–244.

Griffiths R, Johnson M, Richards W, et al. (2011) Psilocybin occasioned mystical-type experiences: immediate and persisting dose-related effects. Psychopharmacology 218(4): 649-665

MacLean L, Johnson M, Griffiths R. (2011) Mystical experiences occasioned by the hallucinogen psilocybin lead to increases in the personality domain of openness. Journal of Psychopharmacology 0(0) 1-9

Griffiths R, Richards W, Johnson M, et al. (2008) Mystical-type experiences occasioned by psilocybin mediate the attribution of personal meaning and spiritual significance 14 months later. Journal of Psychopharmacology 22(6): 621-632.

Griffiths R, Richards W, McCann U, et al. (2006) Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance. Psychopharmacology 187: 268-83.

Section D: original research papers: LSD in treatment of end-of-life anxiety & depression. These papers are included as relevant because LSD has subjective effects similar to psilocybin.

Gasser P, Holstein D, Michel Y, et al. March (2014) Safety and efficacy of lysergic acid diethylamide-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with life-threatening diseases. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 202: 513-520

Gasser P, Kirchner K, Passie T. (2014) LSD-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with a life-threatening disease: A qualitative study of sustained subjective effects. Journal of Psychopharmacology: 1-12

Grof S, Goodman L, Richards W, et al. (1973) LSD-assisted psychotherapy in patients with terminal cancer. Int. Pharmacopsychiatry 8: 129-144.

Section E: Original research papers: psilocybin in treatment of other psychiatric disorders: depression, alcohol dependence, tobacco addiction, & obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Argento, E., Braschel, M., Walsh, Z., Socias, M. E., & Shannon, K. (2018). The moderating effect of psychedelics on the prospective relationship between prescription opioid use and suicide risk among marginalized women. Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England), 32(12), 1385–1391.

Anderson BT, Danforth A, Daroff PR, et al. Psilocybin-assisted group therapy for demoralized older long-term AIDS survivor men: An open-label safety and feasibility pilot study. EClinicalMedicine. 2020;27:100538. Published 2020 Sep 24.

Bogenschutz M, Forcehimes A, Pommy J, et al. (2015) Psilocybin-assisted treatment for alcohol dependence: A proof-of-concept study. Journal of Psychopharmacology 1-11

Carhart-Harris R, Bolstridge M, Rucker J, et al. (May 2016) Psilocybin with psychological support for treatment-resistant depression: an open label feasibility study. Lancet Psychiatry.

Carhart-Harris, R. L., Bolstridge, M., Day, C., Rucker, J., Watts, R., Erritzoe, D. E., Kaelen, M., Giribaldi, B., Bloomfield, M., Pilling, S., Rickard, J. A., Forbes, B., Feilding, A., Taylor, D., Curran, H. V., & Nutt, D. J. (2018). Psilocybin with psychological support for treatment-resistant depression: six-month follow-up. Psychopharmacology, 235(2), 399–408.

Johnson M, Garcia-Romeu A, Cosimano M, et al. (2014) Pilot study of the 5-HT2AR agonist psilocybin in the treatment of tobacco addiction. J Psychopharmacology published online September 2014.

Moreno F, Wiegand C, Taitano E, et al. (2006) Safety, Tolerability, and Efficacy of Psilocybin in 9 Patients With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. J Clinical Psychiatry 67:1735–1740.

Garcia-Romeu, A., Davis, A. K., Erowid, E., Erowid, F., Griffiths, R. R., & Johnson, M. W. (2020). Persisting Reductions in Cannabis, Opioid, and Stimulant Misuse After Naturalistic Psychedelic Use: An Online Survey. Frontiers in psychiatry, 10, 955.

Breeksema, J. J., Niemeijer, A. R., Krediet, E., Vermetten, E., & Schoevers, R. A. (2020). Psychedelic Treatments for Psychiatric Disorders: A Systematic Review and Thematic Synthesis of Patient Experiences in Qualitative Studies. CNS drugs, 34(9), 925–946.

Vann Jones, S. A., & O'Kelly, A. (2020). Psychedelics as a Treatment for Alzheimer's Disease Dementia. Frontiers in synaptic neuroscience, 12, 34.

Section F: Subjective effects of psilocybin in healthy humans.

Studerus E, Kometer M, Hasler F, Vollenweider F. (2011) Acute, sub-acute and long-term subjective effects of psilocybin in healthy humans: a pooled analysis of experimental studies. Journal of Psychopharmacology 25(11) 1434–1452

Pokorny, T., Preller, K. H., Kometer, M., Dziobek, I., & Vollenweider, F. X. (2017). Effect of Psilocybin on Empathy and Moral Decision-Making. The international journal of neuropsychopharmacology, 20(9), 747–757.

Section G: Clinical safety aspects

Carbonaro T, Bradstreet M, Barrett F, et al. (2016) Survey study of challenging experiences after ingesting psilocybin mushrooms: Acute and enduring positive and negative consequences. Journal of Psychopharmacology December 30: 1268-1278, first published on August 30, 2016

Dos Santos, R. G., Bouso, J. C., Alcázar-Córcoles, M. Á., & Hallak, J. (2018). Efficacy, tolerability, and safety of serotonergic psychedelics for the management of mood, anxiety, and substance-use disorders: a systematic review of systematic reviews. Expert review of clinical pharmacology, 11(9), 889–902.

Hendricks P, Johnson M, Griffiths R. (2015) Psilocybin, psychological distress, and suicidality. Journal of Psychopharmacology, Vol. 29(9) 1041–1043

Leonard, J. B., Anderson, B., & Klein-Schwartz, W. (2018). Does getting high hurt? Characterization of cases of LSD and psilocybin-containing mushroom exposures to national poison centers between 2000 and 2016. Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England), 32(12), 1286–1294.

Johnson M, Griffiths R, et al. (2018) The abuse potential of medical psilocybin according to the 8 factors of the Controlled Substances Act. Journal of Neuropharmacology,

Johnson M, Richards W, Griffiths R. (2008) Human hallucinogen research: guidelines for safety. Journal of Psychopharmacology 22(6): 603-620.

Richards W. (2004) Navigation within consciousness: insights from four decades of psychotherapy research with imagery, music, and entheogens. Journal of the Association for Music and Imagery (2003-2004), Vol. 9

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