Scientists have made a psychedelic effect from placebo

Canadian scientists were able to achieve a light psychedelic effect in participants who took placebo. This had to closely monitor all possible side variables: the General atmosphere of the experimental room and the expectations of participants from the study. Any effect was reported by 20 out of 33 participants, and their subjective feelings were comparable to the sensation when you receive a real psychedelic in small and medium doses. Article published in the journal Psychopharmacology.

Studies using various substances rarely do without a placebo: the introduction of “dummy” allows you to limit the pharmacological effect of the test drug from external factors (e.g., psychological or external). The same applies to experiments using psychedelics, and participants in the control placebo group, they in fact rarely have reported any effect.

At the same time to achieve a light psychedelic effect and not taking the substance — for example, being in the same room with those who the drug is accepted: in this case the effect is solely due to outside factors. Essentially, this means that the same can be achieved with placebo — in the case that an experiment will be delivered methodologically correct.

The first factor in the new study took into account J. Olson (Jay Olson) from McGill University and his colleagues, the openness of the use placebo. Study participants (in total, the experiment involved 33 students), they falsely announced that they will make iprocon (a little-known synthetic analogue of the psychoactive alkaloid of psilocin) so that scientists could assess the impact of psychedelics on creativity. All the participants explained in detail how iprocon: the effect is first manifested within the first 15 minutes, reaching a peak within one to two hours and lasts longer than four hours — so he took the experiment.

Participants were divided into two groups (17 and 16), and to each was attached a couple of people — experimenters playing the role of additional participants. Before the experiment they are, for example, told the participants that are supposedly their friends already participated in this experiment last week, and briefly gave their impressions.

After receiving placebo, participants were taken to a specially equipped room with an atmosphere reminiscent of “psychedelic party”: the rooms were hung with vivid posters, scattered rugs and cushions, on the projector showed movies and played ambient. Within four hours, the participants were let free to move about the room and interact with each other. At the same time, experimenters who played the role of additional parties tried to pretend that in fact experience a psychedelic effect. In addition, they were the real participants that they had dilated pupils (known effect when taking psychedelics) — but the participants had no opportunity to check it out, as the room had no mirrors. All this time the participant was observed by scientists, noting behavior changes.

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