Psychedelics as Medicines: An Emerging New Paradigm

D. E. Nichols, M. W. Johnson, C. D. Nichols

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Scientific interest in serotonergic psychedelics (e.g., psilocybin and LSD; 5-HT2A receptor agonists) has dramatically increased within the last decade. Clinical studies administering psychedelics with psychotherapy have shown preliminary evidence of robust efficacy in treating anxiety and depression, as well as addiction to tobacco and alcohol. Moreover, recent research has suggested that these compounds have potential efficacy against inflammatory diseases through novel mechanisms, with potential advantages over existing antiinflammatory agents. We propose that psychedelics exert therapeutic effects for psychiatric disorders by acutely destabilizing local brain network hubs and global network connectivity via amplification of neuronal avalanches, providing the occasion for brain network “resetting” after the acute effects have resolved. Antiinflammatory effects may hold promise for efficacy in treatment of inflammation-related nonpsychiatric as well as potentially for psychiatric disorders. Serotonergic psychedelics operate through unique mechanisms that show promising effects for a variety of intractable, debilitating, and lethal disorders, and should be rigorously researched.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-219
Number of pages11
JournalClinical pharmacology and therapeutics
Volume101
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Psychedelics as Medicines: An Emerging New Paradigm'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this