Unlike many other subjective effects such as euphoria or anxiety, this effect does not actively induce specific emotions regardless of a person's current state of mind and mental stability. Instead, it works by passively amplifying and enhancing the genuine emotions that a person is already feeling prior to ingesting the drug or prior to the onset of this effect. This causes emotion enhancement to be equally capable of manifesting in both a positive and negative direction. This effect highlights the importance of set and setting when using psychedelics in a therapeutic context, especially if the goal is to produce a catharsis.
For example, an individual who is currently feeling somewhat anxious or emotionally unstable may become overwhelmed with intensified negative emotions, paranoia, and confusion. In contrast, an individual who is generally feeling positive and emotionally stable is more likely to find themselves overwhelmed with states of emotional euphoria, happiness, and feelings of general contentment. The intensity of emotional states felt under emotion enhancement can shape the tone of a trip and predispose the user to other effects, such as mania or unity in positive states and thought loops or feelings of impending doom in negative states. Intense negative or difficult emotions may still arise in therapeutic contexts, however (with adequate support) people nevertheless view the experience positively due to the perceived value of integrating the emotional states' additional insight.
Emotion enhancement is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline. However, it can also occur under the influence of cannabinoids, GABAergic depressants, and stimulants.
Compounds within our psychoactive substance index which may cause this effect include:
Anecdotal reports which describe this effect within our experience index include:
- Experience: 1 tab 1P-LSD (oral) - Finding myself within the forest
- Experience: 15mg 2C-B (oral) - A pleasant low-dose evening with Nexus
- Experience: 22mg 2C-B (oral) / 100ug 1P-LSD (sublingual) - My first time tripping alone (2 days in a row)
- Experience: 5-EAPB (60mg) + 2-FMA (20mg) + 4-AcO-DMT (10mg) - Emotional catharsis
- Experience: 6mg:DOC - Carpet shop hell
- Experience: LSD (Unknown dosage) - My experiences with LSD and anorexia/bulemia
- Experience:1 hit LSD (unknown dosage) - Choose Asia
- Experience:120mg - Garden of The Gods
- Experience:120µg LSD - First Bad Acid Trip, Psychosis
- Experience:150mg MDMA + 20mg 2C-B - I designed it this way myself
- Experience:1g of stars and love
- Experience:1mg 25c-NBOMe - Experiment in my room
- Experience:2 grams Psilocybe Cubensis + 2.7 grams Syrian Rue - The Psilohuasca Albino Fox
- Experience:2 x 150 LSD tabs
- Experience:2.5g - Swim's first mushroom trip
- Experience:2.5g Peganum Harmala + 250µg LSD - Ecstasy of Love and Misanthropy
- Experience:2.5g Syrian rue + 6g Mimosa Hostilis - Becoming God (my second experience with unity)
- Experience:20mg (insufflated) - I was overcome with feelings about my family
- Experience:20mg - I looked up and saw an angry god-like figure made of clouds glaring down at me
- Experience:20mg - Relationship problems
- Experience:225ug - Sheer Awe and Joy
- Experience:230ug of LSD- An amazing adventure by vikilikepsych
- Experience:250 seeds - Harsh body load
- Experience:25mg DMT - Your wall can't save you
- Experience:2mg 25C-NBOMe - Experimental trip to test personal limits of NBOMes
- Experience:3 Grams of Mushrooms - Reset on my Life, Experiencing Satori and the Cosmic Perspective
- Experience:3.5g psilocybe cubensis - Relinquishing of Material Chains/Fear and Desolation
- Experience:300µg AL-LAD - Don't worry, because you're everyone!
- Experience:300µg LSD - Togetherness and the Silent Dusk
- Experience:337mg DMT fumarate - A Day With DMT
- Experience:5.3g psilocybe cubensis - Dimensional Circumstance and the Fabric of Understanding
- Experience:5g Mushrooms - Failed attempt at a Terence Mckenna style trip.
- Experience:60mg 4-AcO-DMT Nonstop Quasi-Orgasmic Objectless Euphoria
- Experience:70 mg - Overcoming personal problems
- Experience:800ug LSD - 3D Vision
- Experience:Into the Multiverse
- Experience:Mushrooms and Snuff Films -- Trip Report (3.5 grams)
- Experience:Unknown dose - Supermarket dislocation and biking
- Experience:~150mg MDA(oral) - a case of mistaken identity
- Gasser, Peter; Kirchner, Katharina; Passie, Torsten (2014). "LSD-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with a life-threatening disease: A qualitative study of acute and sustained subjective effects". Journal of Psychopharmacology. 29 (1): 57–68. doi:10.1177/0269881114555249. ISSN 0269-8811.
- Kaelen, M.; Barrett, F. S.; Roseman, L.; Lorenz, R.; Family, N.; Bolstridge, M.; Curran, H. V.; Feilding, A.; Nutt, D. J.; Carhart-Harris, R. L. (2015). "LSD enhances the emotional response to music". Psychopharmacology. 232 (19): 3607–3614. doi:10.1007/s00213-015-4014-y. ISSN 0033-3158.
- Hartogsohn, Ido (2018). "The Meaning-Enhancing Properties of Psychedelics and Their Mediator Role in Psychedelic Therapy, Spirituality, and Creativity". Frontiers in Neuroscience. 12. doi:10.3389/fnins.2018.00129. ISSN 1662-453X.
- Swanson, Link R. (2018). "Unifying Theories of Psychedelic Drug Effects". Frontiers in Pharmacology. 9. doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.00172. ISSN 1663-9812.
- Miller, Melissa A.; Bershad, Anya K.; de Wit, Harriet (2015). "Drug effects on responses to emotional facial expressions". Behavioural Pharmacology. 26 (6): 571–579. doi:10.1097/FBP.0000000000000164. ISSN 0955-8810.
- Belser, Alexander B.; Agin-Liebes, Gabrielle; Swift, T. Cody; Terrana, Sara; Devenot, Neşe; Friedman, Harris L.; Guss, Jeffrey; Bossis, Anthony; Ross, Stephen (2017). "Patient Experiences of Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis". Journal of Humanistic Psychology. 57 (4): 354–388. doi:10.1177/0022167817706884. ISSN 0022-1678.
- Kamboj, Sunjeev K.; Joye, Alyssa; Bisby, James A.; Das, Ravi K.; Platt, Bradley; Curran, H. Valerie (2012). "Processing of facial affect in social drinkers: a dose–response study of alcohol using dynamic emotion expressions". Psychopharmacology. 227 (1): 31–39. doi:10.1007/s00213-012-2940-5. ISSN 0033-3158.
- Philippot, Pierre; Kornreich, Charles; Blairy, Sylvie; Baert, Iseult; Dulk, Anne Den; Bon, Olivier Le; Streel, Emmanuel; Hess, Ursula; Pelc, Isy; Verbanck, Paul (1999). "Alcoholics'Deficits in the Decoding of Emotional Facial Expression". Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 23 (6): 1031–1038. doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.1999.tb04221.x. ISSN 0145-6008.
- Wardle, Margaret C.; Garner, Matthew J.; Munafò, Marcus R.; de Wit, Harriet (2012). "Amphetamine as a social drug: effects of d-amphetamine on social processing and behavior". Psychopharmacology. 223 (2): 199–210. doi:10.1007/s00213-012-2708-y. ISSN 0033-3158.