Skip to content Skip to footer
NUMINOUS adj. /ˈnuːmɪnəs/ A term derived from the Latin numen, meaning "arousing spiritual emotion; mysterious or awe-inspiring."

Psychedelics for Treating OCD: A Promising Connection

Article Title: “Improvement in OCD Symptoms Associated with Serotoninergic Psychedelics: A Retrospective Online Survey”

Authors: Anne Buot, Cecile Pallares, Alina Oganesyan, Charles Dauré, Valérie Bonnelle, Eric Burguière, Joao Flores Alves Dos Santos, Karim N’Diaye, Michael Ljuslin, Pauline Smith, Vincent Verroust, Benjamin Wyplosz, Margot Morgiève, Luc Mallet

Publication Date: 2023

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-39812-0


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a chronic psychiatric condition characterised by intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviours. Traditional treatments include cognitive-behavioural therapy and medications such as SSRIs. However, these options often have limitations, including delayed effectiveness and significant side effects. Recent interest has emerged in the potential of psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin to provide alternative treatment avenues for OCD.


Study Overview

The study aimed to explore the impact of various psychoactive substances on OCD symptoms through a retrospective online survey. The survey included 174 participants who reported their experiences with substances such as LSD, psilocybin and MDMA. The focus was on the effectiveness of these substances in reducing OCD symptoms and understanding factors that influence the magnitude and persistence of these effects.

Key Findings

Effectiveness of Classic Psychedelics: Among various substances, classic psychedelics (LSD, psilocybin) were the only ones reported to significantly reduce OCD symptoms. The reduction in symptoms was correlated with the intensity of the acute psychedelic experience.

Dose-Response Relationship: The therapeutic effects were associated with the dose, indicating that higher doses led to more intense experiences and greater symptom reduction.

Persistence of Effects: The duration of the therapeutic effect varied widely, with some participants reporting benefits lasting from weeks to several months.

Subsequent Use: Participants were likely to take the substance again if they experienced significant symptom improvement, with subsequent intake frequency being related to the persistence of the initial therapeutic effect.


The findings support the hypothesis that classic psychedelics can effectively reduce OCD symptoms, offering potential advantages over traditional treatments. The intensity and pleasantness of the acute experience played a crucial role in the therapeutic outcomes. However, the study highlighted the need for further research to better understand the long-term effects and potential risks associated with psychedelic use.


This study suggests that psychedelics could be a valuable addition to the therapeutic toolkit for OCD, particularly for patients who do not respond well to conventional treatments. The ability of psychedelics to produce rapid and lasting symptom relief is especially promising. However, the variability in response and the legal status of these substances necessitate careful consideration and further investigation.

Potential Application

Psychedelic-assisted therapy could one day be integrated into clinical practice for OCD under controlled conditions, with professional guidance to ensure safety and maximise therapeutic benefits. This approach could be particularly beneficial in retreat settings where the environment and support can enhance the therapeutic experience.


The study provides evidence that classic psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin can significantly reduce OCD symptoms. While more research is needed to understand and optimise these effects fully, the potential for psychedelics to offer a new, effective treatment option for OCD is clear.



Buot, A., Pallares, C., Oganesyan, A., Dauré, C., Bonnelle, V., Burguière, E., Flores Alves Dos Santos, J., N’Diaye, K., Ljuslin, M., Smith, P., Verroust, V., Wyplosz, B., Morgiève, M., & Mallet, L. (2023). Improvement in OCD symptoms associated with serotoninergic psychedelics: a retrospective online survey. Scientific Reports, 13, 13378.

You may also like

Find Us

3 Hill Street, New Town
Edinburgh, EH2 3JP

Tel. +44 1312100500

Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Be the first to hear about our next retreats and save money with our early bird discounts.

Numinous Ways © 2024. All Rights Reserved.