Article by Sam Riches, Growth Op
Study participants at the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research have heard some familiar tunes over the years. The institution has a seven-hour, and 40-minute long playlist that dates back more than 50 years.
Intended to help study participants “unlock elevated states of consciousness” and mimic the “sweeping arc of the typical medium- or high-dose psilocybin session” the playlist features predominantly Western classical music.
A new study, however, is throwing into question whether the music of Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and others actually provides a unique benefit to patients.
Published in the journal Pharmacology and Translational Science,the study was comprised of participants who were undergoing psilocybin therapy as a means to quit smoking.The study sought to answer whether Western classical music, versus overtone-heavy instruments, had any meaningful impact on session experience and smoking cessation outcomes. Ten participants were broken into two groups, with one group completing their therapeutic psilocybin sessions with the assistance of a playlist rooted in Western classical music, while the other group listened to an “overtone-based playlist,” featuring instruments with a strong overtone signature, like gongs, didgeridoo, chimes, bells, sitar and Tibetan singing bowls.
While both groups were successful in quitting smoking, the group that listened to the overtone-based playlist fared slightly better.
After completing the therapy, 83 per cent of participants who listed to overtone-based music successfully stubbed out their smoking habit, while half of the participants who listened to Western classical music quit smoking by the end of treatment.
Thirty months later, all of the Western classical music listeners were still smoke-free and nearly 70 per cent of participants who listed to overtone-based music had maintained their smoking cessation.
The study also notes that some of the music featured on the overtone-playlist “lacked traditionally identifiable melody and/or rhythm.”
“This suggests that the sounds capable of supporting psychedelic therapy sessions may go beyond the bounds of traditionally defined musical genres,” researchers wrote.