How is Music Being Used in Psychedelic Therapy?

Music for psychedelic therapy - GCI Content Hub - Global Cannabis Intelligence - Psychedelics

Rapid growth in the psychedelic therapy sector is creating a new genre of music

Jon Hopkins’ upcoming album, Music For Psychedelic Therapy, is timed exactly to match the duration of a ketamine high, he explains in conversation with The Guardian.

Hopkins reckons that we are entering the era where psychedelic-assisted therapies will be legal and widespread. This begs the question: who will make the soundtrack for this wellness revolution? The acclaimed musician and producer is the latest arrival at the frontier of this new world in music. He joins a growing pool of artists, academics and entrepreneurs shaping the future of music’s role in psychedelic therapy.

Music has always played a pivotal role in psychedelic therapy. Indigenous healers believe it acts as a sacred vehicle to subconscious worlds, and have developed music tailored to their plant medicines. South American shamans sing sacred songs during ayahuasca ceremonies called Icaros to protect and guide their patients on their journey, while Ibogaine rituals of the Bwiti religion in west-central Africa use rapid tempos of 170 beats per minute.

Scientific study shows that music plays a crucial role in the facilitation of positive outcomes in psychedelic therapy. Founder of the psychedelic music app Wavepaths tells The Guardian that music is a brilliant therapeutic tool because it provides a loose foundation from which the patient can process the contents of their mind.

Wavepaths is one of a myriad of digital apps that is harnessing artificial intelligence to create individualised tracks which are being used in ketamine-assisted psychotherapy sessions provided by clinical networks like Field Trip. These sounds are designed to produce very specific emotional outcomes by utilising the ability of music to compound the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics.

Music is an essential component of psychedelic experience not only in clinical contexts, but universally. The protocol for devising playlists effective for healing is that the soundtrack’s emotional arc should match the stages of a psychedelic experience: onset, ascent, peak, return to normal consciousness. From classical to ambient compositions and underground DJ mixes, there are many branches of music which synergize very effectively with psychedelics and allow patients to be submerged in deeply healing and emotional realms.

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