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.
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.
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.
Entactogenic drugs like MDMA and psychedelics like psilocybin may be beneficial for a range of psychiatric disorders. Though the pharmacology and subjective effects of entactogens and psychedelics differ, drugs that display qualities of both have received little attention to date.
A slew of contemporary research suggests MDMA’s efficacy as an adjunct in the treatment of PTSD, while little is known concerning the mechanisms at work. Recent investigation into the behavioral neurobiology of MDMA’s ability to facilitate the cessation of fear responses may offer a mechanistic explanation regarding its psychiatric utility.
The potential use of serotonergic psychedelic drugs has yet to be explored for treatment of multimodal health issues such as obesity. A new preclinical study aims to explore the effects of psilocybin in rodent food consumption and weight gain.
Psychedelics have demonstrated the potential for rapid, dramatic, and enduring therapeutic effects in people with psychiatric disorders as well as in animal models of these conditions. However, the molecular adaptations in the brain that underlie these profound psychedelic-induced behavioral changes have yet to be defined.
Previous research in people with substance use disorders and animal models of drug addiction indicate that classical psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin may reduce drug use and drug-seeking behavior. However, the mechanism of action underlying the anti-addictive effects of psychedelics remains unknown.
Understanding how psychedelics interact with sleep may be important for their use in clinical settings and can provide insight to their underlying mechanisms of action, including those of neuroplasticity.