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Psychedelics Research Network

Psychedelics Research Network

Psychedelics Research Network (PRN) is a network of researchers who have a mutual interest in psychedelic research. The researchers are based at different universities  in Finland and abroad. We focus especially on multidisciplinary research. The network includes researchers from various fields, such as psychology, medicine, pharmacy, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, history, and theology.

The aim of the network is to facilitate multidisciplinary psychedelic research and to create synergy among researchers, especially those who work in Finland. We organize monthly research seminars.

For more information, or to get involved, please contact the PRN ordinator, Dr. Jussi Jylkkä (jjylkka@abo.fi) or coordinator Andreas Krabbe (andreas.krabbe@abo.fi).

Ongoing projects

Psychedelics such as psilocybin or lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) show breakthrough potential in the treatment of severe psychiatric conditions such as depression. However, the research in Finland is lagging behind other countries. The Steps22 project will make the necessary preliminary steps to enable the first human trial with psychedelics in Finland. The project leaders are Dr. Jussi Jylkkä (Åbo Akademi) and Dr. Samuli Kangaslampi (University of Tampere), and the project researcher is Dr. Sakari Leino (Åbo Akademi). The project is funded by Academy of Finland through the Solutions for Health profiling area at Åbo Akademi.

There is evidence that the long-term outcomes of psychedelic-assisted therapy are mediated by the mystical-type experiences that psychedelics produce, as measured by questionnaires like the Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ30). A central aspect of such experiences are insights, sudden realizations that are felt as true. However, their exact contents are unknown. The Insight project combines qualitative and quantitative research methods to examine reports of psychedelic insights, their associations with psychological wellbeing, and how they should be understood philosophically. The project is led by Dr. Jussi Jylkkä and funded by the Kone foundation.

Medical cannabis
Medical cannabis (Cannabis sativa) has pain-relieving effects, but it is not well known how the effects are produced. Previous qualitative research indicates that cannabis not only affects the experienced pain intensity, but may alter consciousness in a holistic way. For example, cannabis may affect functionality, mood, social relations, and mindfulness-related factors. This project examines the effects of cannabis on pain experience in chronic pain patients, using quantitative psychometric methods in a naturalistic, cross-sectional design.

Psychological flexibility
Studies into the possible psychological mechanisms underlying the post-acute transforming effects have suggested that increased psychological flexibility (PF) might be central to experiencing therapeutic benefits. Previous research has mainly treated PF as a unitary construct, however PF is a multifaceted construct that consists of six interrelated psychological core processes (present moment awareness, acceptance, cognitive defusion, self-as-context, values, committed action) and their counterparts that constitute psychological inflexibility (PI). The project aims to elucidate the role of PF as a possible psychological mechanism underlying the post-acutely transforming effects of psychedelics on psychological well-being. We examine whether the use of psychedelics is associated with different aspects of PF, and whether PF mediates the previously observed link between the use of psychedelics and increased wellbeing.

Metaphysical beliefs
Metaphysical beliefs are beliefs about the fundamental nature of reality and form a part of one’s worldview, and they may change as a result of psychedelic experiences. To assess these changes, a previous studies have utilized differernt questionnaires tapping into a few select factors. However, metaphysical beliefs cover a wide range of topics, including materialism, dualism, idealism, scientism, moral realism, monism, process vs. substance ontology, teleology, etc. We are developing the MMBQ as a multidimensional alternative to the earlier single factor measures of metaphysical belief. Additionally, we examine whether endorsement of specific metaphysical theses is associated with a) features of a single psychedelic experience, evaluated in retrospect with the PIQ and MEQ, and b) overall lifetime exposure to psychedelics. We will also apply the MMBQ to examine the relationship between metaphysical beliefs and psychological wellbeing and psychological flexibility.

In this research, the aim is to study associations between psychological well-being and different aspects of mind-wandering. Prior research has shown a negative relationship between meditation and the frequency of mind-wandering, where people who meditate more have less frequent mind-wandering episodes compared to people who do not meditate. Similar frequency-decreasing effects on mind-wandering have been found in psychedelic use. Therefore, this study will also examine the association between meditation, psychedelics, and mind-wandering.


Updated 29.3.2023