High dose psilocybin is associated with positive subjective effects in healthy volunteers

J Psychopharmacol. 2018 Jul;32(7):770-778. doi: 10.1177/0269881118780713. Epub 2018 Jun 27.


Aim: The aim of the current study was to investigate the relationship between escalating higher doses of psilocybin and the potential psilocybin occasioned positive subjective effects.

Methods: Healthy participants ( n=12) were given three escalating doses of oral psilocybin (0.3 mg/kg; 0.45 mg/kg; 0.6 mg/kg) or (18.8-36.6 mg; 27.1-54.0 mg; 36.3-59.2 mg) a minimum of four weeks apart in a supervised setting. Blood and urine samples, vital signs, and electrocardiograms were obtained. Subjective effects were assessed using the Mystical Experience Questionnaire and Persisting Effects Questionnaire.

Results: There was a significant linear dose-related response in Mystical Experience Questionnaire total score and the transcendence of time and space subscale, but not in the rate of a complete mystical experience. There was also a significant difference between dose 3 compared to dose 1 on the transcendence of time and space subscale, while no dose-related differences were found for Mystical Experience Questionnaire total scores or rate of a mystical experience. Persisting Effects Questionnaire positive composite scores 30 days after completion of the last dose were significantly higher than negative composite scores. Persisting Effects Questionnaire results revealed a moderate increase in sense of well-being or life satisfaction on average that was associated with the maximum Mystical Experience Questionnaire total score. Pharmacokinetic measures were associated with dose but not with Mystical Experience Questionnaire total scores or rate of a mystical experience.

Conclusions: High doses of psilocybin elicited subjective effects at least as strong as the lower doses and resulted in positive persisting subjective effects 30 days after, indicating that a complete mystical experience was not a prerequisite for positive outcomes.

Keywords: Psilocybe; altered states of consciousness; entheogen; hallucinogen; mystical experience; psilocin; psilocybin; psychedelic.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hallucinogens / administration & dosage*
  • Hallucinogens / pharmacokinetics
  • Hallucinogens / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mysticism / psychology*
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Psilocybin / administration & dosage*
  • Psilocybin / pharmacokinetics
  • Psilocybin / pharmacology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Hallucinogens
  • Psilocybin