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The Impact of Psilocybin Retreats on Anxiety

Article Title: “Persisting Decreases in State and Trait Anxiety Post-Psilocybin: A Naturalistic, Observational Study Among Retreat Attendees”

Authors: Kiraga, M.K., Kuypers, K.P.C., Uthaug, M.V., Ramaekers, J.G., Mason, N.L.

Publication Date: 2 March, 2022

DOI: 10.1101/2022.03.02.22271743


Anxiety disorders are the most common type of psychiatric disorders in Western countries, with traditional treatments showing only partial success. Psilocybin, which is a compound found in certain mushrooms, has been gaining attention for its potential to alleviate anxiety. Both historical and recent research suggests that psilocybin may offer significant improvements in anxiety symptoms, especially when used in supportive settings.

Study Overview

This study aimed to investigate the effects of psilocybin-containing truffles on state and trait anxiety among healthy volunteers attending psilocybin retreats. Participants completed assessments before, the morning after, and one week after the retreat. The study also examined changes in mindfulness and personality, particularly neuroticism, to understand the underlying mechanisms influencing anxiety reduction.

Key Findings

Reduction in Anxiety: Participants reported significant reductions in both state and trait anxiety one week after the psilocybin retreat.

Mindfulness and Personality: There were increases in mindfulness capacities and decreases in neuroticism compared to their baseline measures. These were correlated with higher reductions in anxiety.

Ego Dissolution: Higher experiences of ego dissolution during the retreat were strong predictors of reduced state anxiety.


The findings suggest that psilocybin can induce rapid and lasting reductions in anxiety, which may be mediated by changes in mindfulness and personality traits. The supportive group setting of the retreats likely plays a crucial role in these positive outcomes, highlighting the importance of the environment in psychedelic therapy.



These results are promising for the potential use of psilocybin in treating anxiety disorders. They indicate that psilocybin not only reduces anxiety but also fosters positive changes in mindfulness. This could lead to more holistic approaches to mental health treatment that incorporate psychedelic substances in controlled, supportive environments.

Potential Application

Psilocybin retreats could be considered as a therapeutic option for individuals with anxiety disorders, especially those who have not responded well to traditional treatments. Further research is needed to understand the long-term effects and to optimise the retreat settings for maximum benefit.


This study provides evidence that psilocybin retreats can lead to significant and lasting reductions in anxiety. The role of mindfulness, along with the experience of ego dissolution, are key factors in this process. These findings open new avenues for the use of psychedelics in mental health treatment.


Kiraga, M.K., Kuypers, K.P.C., Uthaug, M.V., Ramaekers, J.G., & Mason, N.L. (2022). Persisting decreases in state and trait anxiety post-psilocybin: A naturalistic, observational study among retreat attendees. medRxiv.

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