Do LSD and ecstasy help with mental illness?
Depression and addictive behavior are serious illnesses that occur more and more frequently in today's society. Researchers have now found that psychedelic drugs such as LSD and ecstasy stimulate the growth of new branches and connections between brain cells, which could contribute to the effective treatment of mental disorders.
The University of California scientists found in their current investigation that psychedelic drugs can be used to successfully treat mental illness. The doctors published the results of their current study in the English-language journal "Cell Reports".
DMT appears to help with post-traumatic stress disorder
Will psychedelic drugs be the next generation of treatments for mental disorders in the future? Can such a new treatment work more effectively and safely than previous treatments? The experts investigated these questions in their current investigation. The research team had previously found in a previous study that a single dose of DMT helps rats overcome their fear of an electric shock designed to mimic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). DMT is the main active ingredient in Ayahuasca, a brew that is used primarily by Native Americans in South America for cult purposes.
Consuming DMT increases the number of dendrites
In their current study, the scientists found that such a single dose increases the number of branched dendrites that sprout from nerve cells in the rat brain. Such dendrites end at synapses, where their electrical impulses are passed on to other nerve cells to support all brain activity. However, these dendrites can atrophy and regress in people with mental illnesses, the doctors say.
With depression, the neurites shrink
One of the hallmarks of depression is that the neurites in the prefrontal cortex (a key region of the brain that regulates emotions, moods, and anxiety) tend to shrink, explains study author Dr. David Olson from the University of California. These changes in the brain also occur in cases of anxiety, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder, and stimulating the connection could help resolve this problem.
Psychedelic drugs strengthened important connections in the brain
Various substances were examined, such as DMT, psychedelic mushrooms, MDMA and LSD. Tests on human brain cells in the laboratory, in flies and rats showed that these substances strengthen the brain connections, the scientists explain.
What does ketamine do?
Dr. Olson compared the effects to ketamine, one of the most important new treatments for depression. The expert found that many psychedelics have the same or greater effects. The quick effects of ketamine on mood and plasticity are really amazing, explains Dr. In the current study, the scientists wanted to find out whether other compounds are able to achieve the same effects as ketamine.
Will there be a ketamine nasal spray soon?
Doctors have long believed that so-called psychedelics are able to change the neuronal structure, but this is the first study that clearly supports this hypothesis, the researchers say. The development of a ketamine nasal spray is currently accelerating after it has been shown that ketamine relieves severe depression and suicidal thoughts in people who cannot be helped by other treatments. However, the use must be weighed against the potential for abuse and the risk of causing some form of drug-induced psychosis, the authors further explain.
More research is needed
Ketamine is no longer the only option for treating mental disorders, says Dr. Olsen. Various psychedelic drugs could also be used to treat depression, anxiety, and other psychedelic disorders in the future. Of course, much more research is needed until then. (as)