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Mystical Experiences among Cannabis Consumers before and after Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy: Results from a Pilot Study Comparing Psycholytic and Psychedelic Approaches

Nikka Staron
University of Miami

Co-Authors: Daniella Batievsky1, Shari Kaplan1, Michelle Weiner1, Denise C. Vidot2
1Spine and Wellness Centers of America 2University of Miami

Ketamine has been identified as a substance that produces consciousness altering effects, known as mystical experiences. This study begins to fill gaps in the literature by conducting a sub-analysis of mystical experiences among medical cannabis consumers who participated in a pilot Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) intervention study.

The current analysis is on a same of 10 cannabis consumers from a pilot intervention study comparing psychedelic (n=5) and psycholytic (n=5) KAP approaches. Mystical experiences were measured via the Mystical Experiences Questionnaire (MEQ) administered to all participants after participant’s first, third, and sixth treatment sessions. Data was analyzed via SAS to compare the results of the MEQ at 3 time points (after the first, third, and sixth sessions of six total sessions). The scale was not given to participants at baseline because responses to its questions are dependent upon having received treatment.

The mean differences in MEQ scores between the psychedelic and the psycholytic group were not statistically significant after participants’ first (T-1: p= .46), third (T-2: p=.46) or sixth sessions (T-3: p =.19). Despite limited statistical significance, results do have clinical significance. Results indicate that the participants in the psychedelic treatment group had greater mean scores on the MEQ than the participants in the psycholytic treatment group. Individuals in psychedelic group consistently scored higher on the MEQ than participants who underwent psycholytic ketamine treatment across all timepoints. After their first treatment session, participants in the psychedelic group scored higher than the psycholytic group by 22.8 points. After their third treatment session, participants in the psychedelic group scored higher by 25.6 points. Finally, after their sixth treatment session, those in the psychedelic group scored higher by 33.4 points.

Results of this pilot study suggest that cannabis consumers in the psychedelic group of KAP reported greater mystical experiences than the psycholytic group of cannabis consumers.

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