Psychedelics and Immunity

Psychedelics and immunity is one of the 'psychedelics and ...' topics that we're currently making a page for. At this moment you can find all papers (in our database) on this topic below.

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Immunity Research

Here will be a narrative, readable, summary of the research.


In our literature study we came across the following studies of note. Browse the meta, review, commentary articles for an overview. Check out the individual studies for specific experiments and observations.

Anti-inflammatory activity of ayahuasca and its implications for the treatment of neurological and psychiatric diseases

2021 | Daros, G. C., da Silva, M. G., de Bitencourt, R. M.

This review (2021) examines the antioxidant, anxiolytic (anxiety), and antidepressant effects of ayahuasca, with a particular emphasis on its anti-inflammatory action yielding therapeutic benefits for disorders related to neuroinflammatory factors.

Dimethyltryptamine (DMT): a biochemical Swiss Army knife in neuroinflammation and neuroprotection?

2016 | Frecska, E., Szabo, A.

This commentary reviews the role of DMT as an endogenous ligand of the Sigma-1 receptor, and although the exact physiological role of endogenous DMT is yet to be identified, there is evidence that suggests that it can modulate immune responses through the suppression of inflammatory cytokines. These neuroprotective and neuroregenerative effects may render DMT a potentially useful therapeutic tool in a broad range of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

A possibly sigma-1 receptor mediated role of dimethyltryptamine in tissue protection, regeneration, and immunity

2013 | Frecska, E., Luna, L. E., McKenna, D., Szabo, A., Winkelman, M. J.

This review (2012) postulates that DMT may play a role in cell protection, regeneration, and immunity through activation of a cell-endogenous sigma-1 receptor pathway which regulates oxidative stress-induced changes at the endoplasmic reticulum–mitochondria interface. Supportive experimental data are still necessary for advancing the outlined concepts, such as the endogenous role of DMT or the immunoprotective benefits of exogenous DMT ingested in larger quantities.

Psychedelics and Immunomodulation: Novel Approaches and Therapeutic Opportunities

2015 | Szabo, A.

This review (2015) describes the immunomodulatory potential of classical serotonergic psychedelics (DMT, LSD, MDMA, etc) from a perspective of molecular immunology and pharmacology. With a particular focus on functional interaction of serotonin and sigma-1 receptors and cross-talk with toll-like and RIG-I-like pattern-recognition receptor-mediated signalling.

Psychedelics as a Novel Approach to Treating Autoimmune Conditions

2020 | Szabo, A., Thompson, C.

This literature review (2020) argues that psychedelics may be used to treat autoimmune conditions. This may be done via inflammatory pathways, immune modulation or other methods.

Serotonin 5-HT₂ receptor activation prevents allergic asthma in a mouse model

2015| Ahlert, T., Cormier, S. A., Happel, K. I., Miller, J., Nau Jr, F., Nichols, C. D., Saravia, J., Yu, B.

This animal study investigated the effects of the highly selective 5-HT₂ receptor agonist (R)-DOI (0.01-1mg/kg) in a mouse model of allergic asthma. They demonstrate that inhaled (R)-DOI has potent anti-inflammatory effects and blocks the development of allergic asthma through the activation of the serotonin 5-HT2A receptor subtype.

Structure–Activity Relationship Analysis of Psychedelics in a Rat Model of Asthma Reveals the Anti-Inflammatory Pharmacophore

2020| Billac, G. B., Cormier, S. A., Flanagan, T. W., Landry, A. N., Sebastian, M. N.

This animal study (n=52) investigated structure−activity relationships between 5-HT2A receptor agonists within a novel rat model of allergic asthma and identified that phenylalkylamine structure 2,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine (2C-H) mediated anti-inflammatory activity. There was no apparent correlation between behavioral and anti-inflammatory effects, which indicates distinct structural features of 5-HT2A receptor activity that can be utilized for the development of asthma treatments independent of subjective psychedelic effects.

The therapeutic potentials of ayahuasca: possible effects against various diseases of civilization

2016| Bokor, P., Frecska, E., Winkelman, M. J.

This review (2016) examines the therapeutic potential of ayahuasca based on a summary of its neurobiological, neuroregenerative, and psychophysiological mechanisms and effects on vegetative states and the central nervous system. It emphasizes highlights the therapeutic utility of ayahuasca on a biological level as an anti-inflammatory agonist of the Sigma-1 receptor while incorporating its effects on higher-order psychotherapeutic effects within a bio-psycho-socio-spiritual model.

Acute effects of lysergic acid diethylamide on circulating steroid levels in healthy subjects

2016| Dolder, P. C., Kratschmar, D. V., Liechti, M. E., Odermatt, A., Rentsch, K. M., Schmid, Y., Strajhar, P.

This randomized, double‐blind, placebo‐controlled, cross‐over study (n=16) investigated the effects of LSD (200μg) on the plasma concentration-time profiles of steroid levels. LSD induced significant effects on plasma glucocorticoids, including cortisol and particularly corticosterone, which was also closely related to the subjective effects of LSD. The glucocorticoid response to LSD showed no acute pharmacological tolerance, in contrast to the glucocorticoid response to MDMA.

The DMT and Psilocin Treatment Changes CD11b+ Activated Microglia Immunological Phenotype

2021| Figiel, M., Klimczak, A., Kozłowska, U., Wiatr, K.

This study on neuronal-glial cells (CD11b+ microglia, from mice) found that the direct application of psilocin (a metabolite of psilocybin) and DMT, led to increased capacity for the cells to fulfill their immune responses. Specifically, it reduced levels of TLR4, p65, CD80 proteins (markers of the immune response), and upregulated TREM2 (neuroprotective receptor).

Low Doses of LSD Acutely Increase BDNF Blood Plasma Levels in Healthy Volunteers

2020| Dolder, P. C., Eckert, A., Feilding, A., Holze, F., Hutten, N. P. W., Kuypers, K. P. C., Liechti, M. E., Mason, N. L., Ramaekers, J. G., Theunissen, E. L., Varghese, N.

A low/micro (20µg) dose of LSD increased neuroplasticity as measured by brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels at 6 hours (n=24). The results are however ambiguous and not present at all values/times.


This section compares the research with psychedelics to other therapies, medicines, or treatments.


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Who are the top researches in this area, the ones who have done the groundbreaking research.


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Outside Academia

This section highlights everything done outside of academia, from popular press to books and non academic research.