Sometimes you just have to take a moment to realize what an awesome world we live in. Imagine being one of ten people asked to take LSD and listen to various kinds of music. The only way this could get any better is if a bed manufacturer asked you to test out fluffiness in combination with MDMA.
But we digress...
Emotional response to music
At the Imperial College in London, neuroscientist Mendel Kaelen conducted a study aiming to explore the significance of music in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. Using a placebo-controlled setup, the study sought to test the hypothesis that the emotional response to music is enhanced on LSD.
Ten participants attended two study days. One day they received a placebo, while on the other day they were given between 40 and 80 μg of LSD, with roughly a week in between.
Participants listened to a playlist of five different instrumental tracks on each of the two study days, with the order of the playlist counterbalanced across participants. In order to assess the emotional response to the music, participants were asked how emotionally affected they were by the music.
Drugs and music combine nicely
The results showed that the mean scores for the emotional response to music were significantly higher for the LSD condition than for the placebo.
Additionally, all nine factors on the Geneva Emotional Music Scale (GEMS-9) scored higher in the LSD condition than in the placebo, with significant increases for the items “wonder”, “transcendence”, “power” and “tenderness”. Correlational analyses showed a significant positive relationship between ratings of intensity of drug effects and emotional arousal to music.
This confirms what most of us already assumed to be true: drugs and music actually combine quite nicely!
Just a pilot
The study was just a preliminary one, which Mr. Kaelen hopes are just humble first steps in helping build an evidence-based approach to psychedelic therapy: "It’s important to start a discussion on the role of music and the importance of the setting in general within psychedelic therapy."
So the next time you're taking a psychedelic, try a varied playlist and see what it does to your emotional state. If anyone asks what you're doing, just say you're performing an important scientific study.
Joking aside, we applaud the studies that underline the usefulness of psychedelics for clinical therapy. Perhaps one day the gap between medicine and drug won't be as large as it today.