Psychedelics during MRIs: a “magical” experience

Australian researchers find that giving patients psychedelics turn MRIs from claustrophobic and anxiety-inducing to pleasurable.

In a clinical trial called PsiConnect, researchers are using brain imaging to see how psychedelics like psilocybin affect neural activity. Like much of the current research into psychedelics, the goal is to explore how psychedelics can be used to treat mental illnesses. Participants in the trial receive a very small dose of psilocybin (19mg, which is a fraction of the typical therapeutic dose) before undergoing a brain scan.

MRIs are typically described as claustrophobic and anxiety-inducing due to their restrictive nature and loud mechanics, and it isn’t uncommon for patients to require sedation in order to complete them. But participants in the PsiConnect trial are having a very atypical experience. One participant described the loud MRI noises as “the most magical music” he’s ever heard.

While the study is intended to look at psychedelics for mental illnesses, it appears that psilocybin may also be a useful alternative for the sedatives some patients receive before MRIs.

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