Expectancies for Cannabis-Induced Emotional Breakthrough, Mystical Experiences and Changes in Dysfunctional Attitudes: Perceptions of the Potential for Cannabis-Assisted Psychotherapy for Depression
Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy has established antidepressant effects. Cannabis users appear to expect high doses administered in a session much like psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy to create comparable subjective effects. The current studies explored expectations of antidepressant effects of such cannabis-assisted sessions to replicate and extend previous work. Users not only expected a cannabis-assisted psychotherapy session to decrease depression, but also to alter some of the same mediators of psychedelic or psychological treatments. Over 500 participants in Study I envisioned a cannabis-assisted therapy session akin to those used in psychedelic therapies and reported the effects that they expected on depression as well as relevant subjective reactions. A second sample of over 500 participants responded to identical measures and an index of dysfunctional attitudes that appears to mediate antidepressant effects of psychotherapy. Expectancies of cannabis-induced antidepressant effects covaried with expected psychedelic effects. Participants also envisioned that cannabis-assisted therapy would alter dysfunctional attitudes, which served as a separate, unique path to expected antidepressant effects unrelated to the subjective effects of psychedelics. These results add support to arguments for relevant clinical trials of cannabis-assisted psychotherapy and suggest that cannabis users would expect it to work in ways similar to psychedelics as well as cognitive therapy.
Copyright (c) 2022 Mitch Earleywine, Maha Noor Mian, Brianna Altman, Joseph De Leo
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