Finding My Psychedelic Sweet Spot Using R
mood & emotion
Ahnjili ZhuParris quantified her psychedelic experiences through documenting a wide range of both extrinsic (i.e., environment, human interaction, music) and intrinsic (i.e., mood, intention, and thought loops) factors. In this talk she shares her interesting findings.
How I Found My Psychedelic Sweet Spot Using RI’m Ahnjili and I’m currently a cognitive neuroscientist master student here in the Netherlands. And for my current thesis I’m studying the effects of LSD, Ritalin and Mindfulness on Cognitive flexibility and I’m using R Studio to implement linear regression models and reinforcement learning computational models to understand how these behavioral and pharmacological interventions effect the cognitive domain. So I thought why not expand this to myself.
So I decided to track the use of seven different drugs over the last year on cognitive and mood domain and I’m using once again linear regression models in R Studio to see how different effectors and different drugs can effect the outcome of my mind and cognition and life.
For the things that you are all here I love data, and data is the engine that drive curiosity and research. And by using regression models I can actually identify the strength of the effects of psychedelic on mood and cognition and vise versa; how does my insight affect the outcome of my trips. And by doing this I can actually predict which factors are going to lead to what outcomes of my psychedelic trips and I can actually avoid certain factors during these times.
So I’m looking at mood, and I set my factors up into three different categories. The first set which was what was my mental state. Was I mindful, was I in a good mood and did I have any intentions.
The second was settings, what was my environment like, was I outdoors or indoors, was I with somebody else or was I alone. And then I looked at my resetting, which was the day after my trips, does my cognition improve, does my mood improve or do I just feel lethargic and depressed.
So I used seven validate questionnaires to record my baseline mood and intentions prior to my trip. I also recorded the drugs I was taking, the dose and my environment. Finally, I just enjoyed my trip and the hour after my trip, the day after and the week after I used the same seven validated questionnaires. And I just put the data in manually in Excel and ran my scripts through R.
So first of all I just wanted to see the overall outcome of my trip, one reflects my more positive trips and the negative one is the negative trips so I was just waiting for the trip to be over and I didn’t enjoy it at all. Zero was just a mediocre trip, I didn’t enjoy myself and there was nothing else I could be doing at that time. Luckily, I’ve only had two bad trips so far, one with ketamine and one with a high dose of LSD, and I notice that when I smoke cannabis it is always a very mediocre trip.
Next off, I looked at how mindful I was during my trip and it seemed that for any drug that I was taking, especially for MDMA, I was definitely less mindful of my trip. So I was less aware of what I was feeling or I was left excepting of what my environment was like with the exception of Ritalin. For Ritalin, that always improved my mindfulness for during my trips.
For the light blue dots, they refer to a higher dose, so when I was micro dosing with LSD I was more mindful than when I was taking larger doses I was less mindful. For anxiety, 2CB, Cannabis and ketamine, they consistently made me more anxious on my trips. However, for LDS, Ritalin and Shrooms it was a large variety of what the outcome could be. So I looked at the effective dose on anxiety, and once again we can see that for 2CB, cannabis and ketamine, I was more likely to be anxious.
But for LSD and shrooms, if I took a micro dose my anxiety levels actually went down, and this was the case for Ritalin as well. For the higher the dose the more likely I was o be anxious throughout my trips with the exception of ketamine.
So for self-esteem I compared my self-esteem prior to my trip and the self-esteem during my trip. And if I had a low self-esteem prior to the trip I was more likely to maintain that low self-esteem during the trip. However, if I had a high self-esteem prior to the trip I was not likely to lower my self-esteem during the trip. But for cannabis it had no effect on my self-esteem what so ever. I felt the same consistently throughout.
Next was that whether or not my intentions effected my anxiety levels. So by intentions I mean if I just had a plan to walk through a park or write a long diary entry that day. If I didn’t have any intentions I was more likely to be anxious, probably because I didn’t know what to do with myself. But if I did have the intent this was variable, but I didn’t record what the specific intents were for that day.
I next looked at whether or not the interactions affected me during mindfulness and having somebody else with me during my trip. And I found that if I had somebody else I was less likely to be mindful.
Next I looked at whether or not a familiar environment, a new environment affected my attention level. So the higher the scale the more likely I was to be distracted. And if I was in a new environment I was actually to be more inattentive and just distracted by my surroundings. But I also noticed I only take Ritalin only in familiar environments; never at a party or at a park.
So now I looked at my life orientation day after. Was I more optimistic or more pessimistic, and with all the drugs with the exception of MDMA I was more likely to be positive about the future and have like a more positive outlook. But for MDMA, I just felt lethargic and down for most of the day. And this was consistent with my well-being data, which refer to whether or not I felt relaxed, content and at ease with myself. And for all the drugs I had a more positive well-being the next day, with once again the exception of MDMA.
I just wanted to mention a really quick point actually, the self-esteem data earlier there were two outliers and those reflected the trips where I had ego disillusion. So anyway, I found out through recording my trips on R were the most important factors for me are self-esteem and intentions prior to the trip, not so much responsibilities. Both my social and physical environments were very important. And for the next day, regardless of the drugs and with the exception of MDMA I was more likely to be positive.
So I have the scripts and they’re not in GitHub not yet, but if anyone is interested in checking them out, just shoot me an email and I’ll send you the code.