Ahnjili’s current research interests include the effects of psychoactive drugs on cognitive function and single-subject design experiments (i.e. self-tracking). Ahnjili recently earned her MSc in cognitive neuroscience from the Donders Institute. Her thesis explored the effects of LSD, Ritalin and mindfulness on cognitive flexibility. Ahnjili is also an avid member of the Quantified Self movement (she currently has a QS video online that discusses the effects of her hormonal cycle on her internet use). Her goal is to further explore how self-quantification can serve as an empowering and liberating tool for both the individual and for academics.

Personalized Psychedelics: The Importance of One-Person Trials

Despite the gaining popularity of consuming psychoactive drugs to promote productivity, creativity, and well-being, there is a lack of adequate, accurate and applicable research that accounts for individual variability. Currently, classical clinical trials and data mining techniques harvest and aggregate a handful of measurements from tens to thousands of people. For there to be a tailored psychedelic therapy, researchers require data that focuses on the individual’s, and not the average, responses to the drug. Precision psychedelic experiences require different ways of testing interventions. Researchers need to probe the myriad factors — life history and environmental, among others — that shape a person’s response to a particular psychedelic drug. The proposed approach is aimed at tailoring psychedelic experiences and psychedelic assisted therapy at a dosage and drug that is most appropriate for an individual patient, with the potential benefits of increasing the efficacy and safety of psychedelic experience. Ahnjili will propose the benefits of quantifying the individual’s psychedelic experience. Quantified self (QS), or life-logging, is the process of systematically collecting and analyzing data sourced from one individual. In doing so, we can achieve a new promising basis for unraveling new insights into the important latent variables that shape psychedelic experiences.