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Coyle JR, Presti DE, Baggott MJ. 
“Quantitative Analysis of Narrative Reports of Psychedelic Drugs”. : Quantitative Methods (q-bio.QM). 2012 june 1;.

BACKGROUND: Psychedelic drugs facilitate profound changes in consciousness and have potential to provide insights into the nature of human mental processes and their relation to brain physiology. Yet published scientific literature reflects a very limited understanding of the effects of these drugs, especially for newer synthetic compounds. The number of clinical trials and range of drugs formally studied is dwarfed by the number of written descriptions of the many drugs taken by people. Analysis of these descriptions using machine-learning techniques can provide a framework for learning about these drug use experiences.

METHODS: We collected 1000 reports of 10 drugs from the drug information website and formed a term-document frequency matrix. Using variable selection and a random-forest classifier, we identified a subset of words that differentiated between drugs.

RESULTS: A random forest using a subset of 110 predictor variables classified with accuracy comparable to a random forest using the full set of 3934 predictors. Our estimated accuracy was 51.1%, which compares favorably to the 10% expected from chance. Reports of MDMA had the highest accuracy at 86.9%; those describing DPT had the lowest at 20.1%. Hierarchical clustering suggested similarities between certain drugs, such as DMT and Salvia divinorum. Conclusion: Machine-learning techniques can reveal consistencies in descriptions of drug use experiences that vary by drug class. This may be useful for developing hypotheses about the pharmacology and toxicity of new and poorly characterized drugs.
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Mar 6, 2013 15:47
Review / Discussion of Paper #

Psychedelic Drug Research and the Data-Mining Revolution

The Web is filled with users’ descriptions of the effects of psychedelic drugs. Now neuroscientists are using data-mining techniques to quantify the effects of these drugs on human consciousness. [...]

The obvious place to start such an endeavour is a website called, which is a well known and popular source of user generated information about the effects of all kinds of psychoactive substances.

Coyle and co confine their investigations to ten drugs ranging from 3,4‐methylenedioxymethamphetamine, better known as ecstacy, and lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, to less well known drugs such as N,N‐dipropyltryptamine, sometimes called The Light, and 2,5‐dimethoxy‐4‐ethylphenethylamine which has the street name Europa.

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