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The Synergy of Psychedelics and Meditation: A Closer Look

Article Title: “Longitudinal Associations Between Psychedelic Use and Meditation Practices in the United States and the United Kingdom”

Authors: Otto Simonsson, Walter Osika, Cecilia U. D. Stenfors, Simon B. Goldberg, Ludwig Honk, Peter S. Hendricks.

Publication Date: 20 October, 2023

DOI: 10.1017/S0033291723003082


In recent years, there has been growing interest in the intersection between psychedelic use and meditation practices. Both interventions have individually shown promise for enhancing mental health and well-being. However, how these two practices influence each other has remained under-explored.

Study Overview

This recent longitudinal study investigated the associations between psychedelic use and meditation practices among adults in the United States and the United Kingdom. The study included a large, representative sample of 9,732 participants, and examined how psychedelic use influenced the frequency of mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation practices over a two-month period.

Key Findings

Increased Mindfulness Meditation: Participants who used psychedelics reported a significant increase in the number of days they practiced mindfulness meditation.

Insightful Experiences: Those who experienced greater psychological insight during their most intense psychedelic experiences also reported more days of both mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation.

Buffering Challenging Experiences: Individuals with more days of loving-kindness meditation at the study’s start reported less severe feelings of death or dying during their most intense psychedelic experiences.


These findings suggest that psychedelics may encourage greater engagement in meditation practices. Specifically, the subjective experiences of insight and awareness gained from psychedelics might enhance motivation and reduce perceived barriers to regular meditation. Moreover, loving-kindness meditation appears to provide psychological resilience for challenging psychedelic experiences, potentially making such experiences less distressing.


The study indicates that incorporating psychedelics in therapeutic settings could support and deepen meditation practices, particularly mindfulness meditation. This approach could be beneficial for individuals seeking to enhance their mental health through meditation but who struggle with maintaining a regular practice. Additionally, the protective effects of loving-kindness meditation on difficult psychedelic experiences could inform the preparation and integration phases of psychedelic therapy.

Potential Application

Psychedelic-assisted meditation retreats could leverage these insights to offer more effective and supportive environments for participants. By combining psychedelics with structured meditation practices, retreats can potentially enhance participants’ overall experience, promoting lasting mental health benefits and greater personal insights.


The interplay between psychedelics and meditation presents a promising frontier for mental health and well-being. This study highlights the potential benefits of integrating these practices, suggesting that psychedelics can boost engagement in meditation, while meditation can mitigate some of the challenges associated with psychedelic experiences.


Simonsson, O., Osika, W., Stenfors, C. U. D., Goldberg, S. B., Honk, L., & Hendricks, P. S. (2023). Longitudinal associations between psychedelic use and meditation practices in the United States and the United Kingdom. Psychological Medicine, 54, 1228–1234.

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