Rael Cahn, MD, PhD

Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry & the Behavioral Sciences (Clinician Educator)

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Dr. Rael Cahn completed his PhD in Neurosciences in 2007 and received his medical degree in 2008 from UC San Diego in La Jolla, CA. He completed his residency with the UC Irvine Medical Center Psychiatry Residency Program in 2014 and joined the USC faculty. Dr. Cahn has been researching and publishing on the clinical and brain effects of mindfulness and meditative practices throughout his medical and scientific career as well as teaching mindfulness meditation in group settings for medical professionals as well as patients. He is currently affiliated with the USC Brain and Creativity Institute where he is conducting psychological and brain research in the domains of behavioral and psychological interventions including mindfulness and meditative practices in healthy populations dealing with everyday stressors as well as those with psychiatric illness including substance use disorders, depression, and anxiety.


  • Alliant University : Early Career Award for Contributions in Integrative Psychology, 2010
  • Council on Spiritual Practices: William James Award, 2004


  • Pilot study suggests DNA methylation of the glucocorticoid receptor gene (NR3C1) is associated with MDMA-assisted therapy treatment response for severe PTSD Front Psychiatry. 2023; 14:959590. . View in PubMed
  • Corrigendum: Yoga, Meditation and Mind-Body Health: Increased BDNF, Cortisol Awakening Response, and Altered Inflammatory Marker Expression After a 3-Month Yoga and Meditation Retreat Front Hum Neurosci. 2022; 16:868021. . View in PubMed
  • Future directions in meditation research: Recommendations for expanding the field of contemplative science PLoS One. 2018; 13(11):e0205740. . View in PubMed
  • Yoga, Meditation and Mind-Body Health: Increased BDNF, Cortisol Awakening Response, and Altered Inflammatory Marker Expression after a 3-Month Yoga and Meditation Retreat Front Hum Neurosci. 2017; 11:315. . View in PubMed
  • Increased Gamma Brainwave Amplitude Compared to Control in Three Different Meditation Traditions PLoS One. 2017; 12(1):e0170647. . View in PubMed
  • Neural correlates of accelerated auditory processing in children engaged in music training Dev Cogn Neurosci. 2016 10; 21:1-14. . View in PubMed
  • Awakening is not a metaphor: the effects of Buddhist meditation practices on basic wakefulness Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2014 Jan; 1307:64-81. . View in PubMed
  • Plasticity of visual attention in Isha yoga meditation practitioners before and after a 3-month retreat Front Psychol. 2013; 4:914. . View in PubMed
  • Event-related delta, theta, alpha and gamma correlates to auditory oddball processing during Vipassana meditation Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2013 Jan; 8(1):100-11. . View in PubMed
  • The 5-HT2A/1A agonist psilocybin disrupts modal object completion associated with visual hallucinations Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Mar 01; 69(5):399-406. . View in PubMed
  • Occipital gamma activation during Vipassana meditation Cogn Process. 2010 Feb; 11(1):39-56. . View in PubMed
  • Meditation (Vipassana) and the P3a event-related brain potential Int J Psychophysiol. 2009 Apr; 72(1):51-60. . View in PubMed
  • Effects of psilocybin on time perception and temporal control of behaviour in humans J Psychopharmacol. 2007 Jan; 21(1):50-64. . View in PubMed
  • Meditation states and traits: EEG, ERP, and neuroimaging studies Psychol Bull. 2006 Mar; 132(2):180-211. . View in PubMed
  • Cannabis and endocannabinoid modulators: Therapeutic promises and challenges Clin Neurosci Res. 2005; 5(2-4):185-199. . View in PubMed
  • Bid regulation of neuronal apoptosis Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 2001 Jun 29; 128(2):187-90. . View in PubMed