Music & Psychedelic Therapy - A Match Made in Heaven

From traditional shamanic ceremonies to modern psychedelic clinics, music has always been an integral part of the psychedelic experience. There’s a uniquely symbiotic relationship between psychedelics and music, where music serves as an accompaniment as well as a guide. It can help prevent participants from ‘prematurely returning to normal conscious awareness’ and acts as a ‘nonverbal support system’.¹ Psychedelic compounds are also known to promote synaesthetic responses, making the experience of music more enjoyable for multiple senses, such as the experience of ‘colored, geometric’ music.²

Music can help harmonize and guide psychedelic experiences, but the wrong music raises the possibility of mental distractions or deviating from the therapeutic process.

Music can help harmonize and guide psychedelic experiences, but the wrong music raises the possibility of mental distractions or deviating from the therapeutic process. Personalization is another key aspect - if a song doesn’t align with the participants’ personal preferences, or if it’s associated with certain memories, it could be overwhelming or even painful to experience during a session. Using familiar music or self-chosen music is not always the most effective for the patient, as it’s less catered to the therapist’s planned therapeutic trajectory.


These risks highlight the significance of choosing the right music in such a sensitive context.


Using familiar music or self-chosen music is not always the most effective for the patient, as it’s less catered to the therapist’s planned therapeutic trajectory.


A 2018 study³ discovered that patients undergoing psilocybin therapy found music to have powerful influences on their experience - both of harmony and of dissonance. Music can evoke “personally meaningful and therapeutically useful emotion and mental imagery” and create feelings of guidance, openness, calmness, and safety. However, music’s power to release unpleasant emotions is also “welcomed by the therapist as indicative of problem areas that need working through”. Participants often reported an intensification of mental and emotional imagery - which isn’t always ‘pleasant’ but can be extremely powerful in driving the therapeutic process for certain participants.


As noted by one such participant: “under psilocybin I felt almost that I had no choice but to go with the music. […] I did feel I was being held. And it did feel like the music opened [me] up to grief, and I just was very happy for that to happen. It wasn’t particularly pleasant in any way, but extraordinarily powerful. It took my thinking and my experience to uncomfortable places, but I was kind of reassured in the experience.”


"It did feel like the music opened [me] up to grief, and I just was very happy for that to happen. It wasn’t particularly pleasant in any way, but extraordinarily powerful. It took my thinking and my experience to uncomfortable places, but I was kind of reassured in the experience."


By enlisting the help of LUCID, clinics gain access to our library of original music that is composed and curated specifically for different psychedelic compounds. Designed with experts in neuroscience & music cognition, our AI-optimized therapeutic music platform takes the pressure off of providers to make the perfect music selections, and allows clinics to focus on providing the optimal psychedelic experience for their clients.


Our AI system, trained on thousands of brains, optimizes the music for the desired emotional trajectory. Customizable based on each treatment model and desired journey, rest assured that your playlist will be evidence-based yet tailored to your clients’ needs. Following their session, their playlist can be accessed for playback at any time to facilitate the integration process.


If you’re interested in learning more about LUCID’s music design services for psychedelic-assisted therapy, we are offering psychedelic therapy clinics a free playlist to demo our services. Contact us here to request a free psychedelic therapy playlist.