11 November 2021

What role does music play in future psychedelic treatment?

New grant

Thanks to a grant from Independent Research Fund Denmark, psychologist Dea Siggaard Stenbæk will examine how listening to music affects healthy trial subjects whilst receiving treatment with the psychedelic drug psilocybin.

Woman lying down listening to music with closed eyes
Photo: Pexels/Karolina Grabowska

The use of psychedelic drugs to relieve mental disorders is an area of research in rapid progress. An important element in interventions, in which the trial subjects take the drug psilocybin, is the environment in which the drug is taken. Here music plays an important role, but exactly which, scientists still do not know.

Alongside colleagues from the Centre for Psychedelic Research, psychologist Dea Siggaard Stenbæk will take on the research of this thanks to a grant of just over DKK 2 million from the Independent Research Fund Denmark’s Inge Lehmann programme.

The aim of the project is to test the effect of music on the experience of trial subjects while taking psilocybin as well as three months after.

Previous studies suggest that music can be used to support, structure, and release emotions in the altered state of consciousness that occurs when taking psilocybin – thus helping to create a sense of a safe and meaningful experience with the drug. The direct link between the experience of the drug and music has not been researched before, and Dea Siggaard Stenbæk hopes that the project can contribute to the development of new treatment options and give future psychedelic therapy patients the most positive experience possible.

“There is still a lot we do not know about how to best manage psychedelic drugs. For example, we do not know how the perception of psilocybin varies depending on the use of music. Supervised studies of this kind are crucial for the future of treatment if psilocybin gets approved for the treatment of, for example, depression,” says Dea Siggaard Stenbæk.




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