Psychedelic drugs like LSD powerfully alter consciousness and promote neural plasticity, but drug tolerance occurs rapidly following the first dose. Although the mechanisms that underlie psychedelic tolerance may overlap with those that confer a therapeutic effect, until recently these mechanisms were unknown.
Psychedelic trips often unfold without issues, but what if a trip needs to be stopped? Drugs such as benzodiazepines and antipsychotics are recommended as rescue medications and have been around for decades. Can ketanserin be used as a more targeted trip stopper?
Lab grown brains help to shed insight on 5-MeO-DMT mechanisms.
The serotonin receptor subtype 5-HT2A is key for the effects of many psychedelic substances in humans, but it is also a major drug target for new antidepressants. However, large challenges have prevented this therapeutic promise from being realised. Overcoming the early bottlenecks, innovative drug discovery methods have produced two new compounds with potential for therapeutic development.
A recent study found that Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in the 5-HT2AR gene may impact the effects of clinically relevant psychedelics. This research implies that patients carrying certain polymorphisms may respond differentially to psychedelic-assisted interventions, an important consideration for the design and interpretation of future clinical trials.
Psychedelic drugs like psilocybin and LSD have been investigated for their anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) potential in people with end-of-life anxiety associated with severe illness, but the anxiolytic effects of LSD-assisted therapy had not yet been assessed in patients with anxiety disorders without life-threatening illness.
Despite excessive fear surrounding anecdotal reports of psychedelics inducing suicidal behaviors dating back to the 1950s, the current scientific landscape suggests potential therapeutic utility.
What is known about the divergent roles of the microscopic targets within the cardiovascular system and the cardiac risks versus benefits of psychedelics?
Psilocybin demonstrated preliminary efficacy for alcohol use disorder in a recent randomized clinical trial. The mechanism may lie in its interaction with glutamate receptors in the reward pathway of the brain.
Dr. Alex Kwan shares his insight on the field of preclinical psychedelic research and where he thinks things are headed in the future - in his lab, in drug discovery, and beyond.