This book chapter (2022) reviews the use of psilocybin in the treatment of addiction with a specific focus on tobacco use disorder (TUD). After exploring the historical use of psychedelics to treat addiction, modern research on the topic is reviewed. The anti-addiction properties of psychedelics differ but are consistent with the notion that the persisting positive behaviour change prompted by psychedelic therapy is due to the amplification of psychotherapeutic processes. Further research with understudied and novel psychedelic compounds could yield positive results.
This review (2022) explores the role of endogenously produced DMT in mammalian physiology by exploring 60 years of research. The biosynthesis of DMT, its receptor activity, and regulation are discussed while key experiments are used to prove what role DMT plays in the body such as a neurotransmitter and/or a hormone.
This preprint (2022) assessed the effects of LSD on metabolic pathways associated with neural plasticity, to gain insight into the relationship between neural plasticity, ageing and LSD-induced cognitive gains in both humans (n=25) and rodents. LSD treatment in humans (50μg) enhanced performance in a visuospatial memory task and in a novel object recognition task in rodents indicating that LSD has nootropic effects.
This meta-analysis (2022) assessed the effectiveness of ketamine for treatment-resistant depression (TRD) using real-world data. While the mean antidepressant effect of ketamine was found to be significant, there are high levels of variability between patients. Treatment effects were found to be similar following repeated treatments.
This review (2022) explored the use of structured associated psychotherapeutic interventions in psychedelic clinical research to construct a picture of what models of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy are currently adopted in such research. Common principles, points of divergence and future directions for such interventions are also discussed.
This paper (2022) reviews the motives for serotonergic psychedelic (SP) use that have been assessed in medical, psychological, sociological and ethnological research. The most common motive for SP use was the desire to expand awareness (78% of included studies), followed by coping (67%) and enhancement (57%) motives. In terms of harm reduction, these findings suggest harm-reduction services could focus on providing non-pharmacological ways of fulfilling an expansion motive.
This cross-sectional study assessed the relationship between microdosing and trait anxiety through an online survey with current microdosers (n = 186), former microdosers (n = 77) and microdosing-naïve controls (n = 234). Current and former microdosers reported lower STAI-T scores compared to microdosing-naïve controls while associations of current and former microdosing with trait anxiety were mediated by trait mindfulness. All associations between microdosing and STAI-T scores became non-significant when participants with previous macrodose experience (n = 386) were excluded.
This paper (2022) reviews the neurocognitive effects of subanesthetic doses of intravenous ketamine in pharmacological studies among healthy subjects and patients with PTSD or depression. No significant impairment in cognitive function was found in patients with depression and possible in those with PTSD. In contrast, immediate cognitive dysfunction was found in healthy subjects.
This systematic review (2022) explores the potential mechanisms by which combined psilocybin and mindfulness treatment could adjust anomalous neural activity underlying social anxiety disorder (SAD) and exert therapeutic effects. Proposed mechanisms include changes in cognitive processes like biased attention to threats linked to SAD by modulating connectivity of the salience network and more.
This preprint (2022) assessed 11,821 publicly available natural language testimonials from Erowid using three machine learning models to help quantify changes in conscious awareness optimal for treatment by psychedelics. Together, the models elucidate a neurobiologically-informed, temporally-sensitive portrait of drug-induced subjective experiences. MDMA was singularly linked to mid-experience swelling of "Love", potent psychedelics like DMT, and 5-MeO-DMT were associated with "Mystical Experiences", while other tryptamines were associated with an emotional constellation of "Surprise", "Curiosity" and "Realization."
This survey study (n=750) draws upon the eudaimonic perspective of well-being to investigate the relationship between the extent of post-psychedelic integration and optimal well-being. Results indicated that perceived benefits to narrative self-functioning is one pathway through which integration of psychedelic experience may promote optimal well-being for both clinical and non-clinical populations. Integration techniques that are more self-referential in nature indirectly relate to optimal well-being via perceived benefits.
This open-label study assessed the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of intravenous DMT (70mg/70kg followed by 210mg/70kg) in healthy participants (n=3) and participants with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder (n=7). DMT was well-tolerated in both groups while depression scores decreased significantly the day after receiving the high dose. Adverse events were mostly mild and were resolved within 20-30 minutes of injection.
This preprint (2022) used an EEG dataset from a study involving ayahuasca to investigate the ability of machine learning and complex network measurements to automatically detect changes in brain activity. After applying machine learning at three different levels of data abstraction, machine learning proved to be consistent with the current literature and showed the highest accuracy in detecting the correlation of the EEG time series.
This preprint (2022) explores the neural mechanism underlying the effects psychoactive drugs such as MDMA have on processing emotional episodic memories. One process discussed is the increased retrieval of false memories under the influence of MDMA. Considerations for future work and how these effects may contribute to drug use and abuse are discussed.
This paper (2022) introduced the EMBARK model for the provision of supportive psychotherapy in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy (PAP) clinical trials. EMBARK was designed to overcome challenges that prior models have had in conceptualizing therapeutic change in psychedelic treatment. The model incorporates elements of non-psychedelic evidence-based therapies, therapists’ prior skills and clinical orientations, among other things, to determine specific factors that contribute to treatment outcomes.
This review (2022) makes the case for using psychedelics in the treatment of postpartum depression (PDD). The effects we see in other clinical trials with psychedelics may translate to PPD such as 'reconnection.' This effect in PPD, by fostering a sense of ‘reconnection’ for the mother, may allow for improved mood and maternal sensitivity towards the infant, which can positively impact maternal role gratification and the mother-infant relationship.
This rodent study (2022) shows that the activation of serotonin receptors (5-HT) by mescaline derivatives via 5-HT2CR, alone or in concert with 5-HT2AR, produces comparable hallucinogenic effects to activation via divergent 5-HT2CR- and/or 5-HT2AR signalling pathways. Given that many believe 5-HT2AR activation is the route through which psychedelics exert their effects, these findings show that 5-HT2CR is as important as 5-HT2AR in inducing these effects.
This paper (2022) introduces "Isness-distributed" (Isness-D), a VR framework which harnesses the unique affordances of distributed multi-person VR to blur conventional self-other boundaries. To evaluate Isness-D, the results of 4 different self-report scales previously applied to analyze subjective psychedelic drug phenomenology were analysed. Across all four scales, the Isness-D scores were statistically indistinguishable from recently published studies with psychedelic drugs highlighting the power of VR to develop self-transcendent experiences.
In this preprint (2022), eighteen experts reformulated the Dutch MDMA policy using multi-decision multi-criterion decision analysis (MD-MCDA) with a science-based approach. The optimal policy model was defined by a set of 22 policy instrument options. Implementation of the optimal policy model, includes regulated MDMA sales, decreases health harms, MDMA-related organised crime, and environmental damage, as well as, increases state revenues, and quality of MDMA products and user information.
This survey study (n=377) assessed the association regular ayahuasca ceremony participation has with a person's health. Compared to normative Dutch data, regular participants in ayahuasca ceremonies showed better general well-being, fewer lifestyle-related diseases, more physical activity, and a more balanced diet. Ceremony attendees also used less alcohol over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic but they did use more illegal drugs than the general population.
This paper (2022) makes the case for using psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy (PAP) for the treatment of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). Preliminary evidence suggests the safety, feasibility, and potential efficacy of psychedelic treatments in disorders that share similar psychopathological mechanisms with BDD. A Phase II study is suggested with thoughts on how to proceed with this research.
This preprint (2022) uses computational modelling to show that the combination of weak blinding and positive treatment expectancy can lead to activated expectancy bias (AEB), which is an uneven distribution of expectancy effects between the treatment arms due to patients recognizing their treatment allocation in psychedelic microdosing randomized controlled trials. The results demonstrate that a placebo control group is in itself not sufficient to control for expectancy effect and that placebo-controlled studies are more fallible than conventionally assumed.
This preprint (2022) assessed the effects of different psychoactive drugs on episodic memory and cognition by reanalysing episodic memory confidence data from 10 previously published datasets. Sedatives, dissociatives, psychedelics, stimulants, and cannabinoids had unique patterns of effects on these mnemonic processes dependent on which phase of memory while all drugs at encoding, except stimulants impaired recollection, and sedatives, dissociatives, and cannabinoids at encoding impaired familiarity. Psychedelics at encoding tended to enhance familiarity and did not impact metamemory.
This paper (2022) explores historical and sociological influences on current psychedelic administration in mainstream European and American clinical research settings. It considers these dynamics in relation to cognitive-behavioural therapies (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). The paper advocates for CBTs for several reasons, such as the large base of empirical evidence they have. Several types of CBTs are discussed and how they can be used to inform the preparation, session, and integration phases of psychedelic psychotherapy.
This review (2022) explores the potential of psychedelics in treating mental health disorders, their short- and long-term effects on recreational users, and the neurological and cognitive processes responsible for their effects using the most up to date research. The positive findings of psilocybin for depression (MDD) and anxiety are highlighted. The mystical experience (MEQ) also plays a large role, but individual differences (for whom does it work) are still not well examined.
This rodent study (2022) assessed the impact repeated high-dose exposure to MDMA has on markers of serotonin neurotransmission and if this is related to the sensitizing effects of MDMA. The results suggest that the sensitizing effects of MDMA are not due to changes in MDMA-produced synaptic overflow of serotonin but are more likely related to alterations in serotonin receptor mechanisms and/or dopamine neurotransmission.
This preprint (2022) describes the synthesis of 5-MeO-DMT from a cell line from tissue obtained from the parotoid gland (saliva) of the Sonoran Desert toad (Incilius alvarius). The samples were successfully tested for 5-MeO-DMT but may also contain other 'entourage' compounds. Such methods help to relieve ecological pressures due to the increasing demand for 5-MeO-DMT.
This theory-building paper (2022) describes the development and initial validation of the Integration Engagement Scale (IES) to capture positive behavioural engagement with integration and the Experienced Integration Scale (EIS) to capture internal aspects of feeling integrated following a psychedelic experience. The scales were designed to inform the creation of enhanced integration support and the initial data indicates the scales are valid and reliable.
This study (n=86) assessed the effects of six infusions of ketamine (35mg/70kg) over 2 weeks on suicidality in patients with depression. Next to the Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation (SSI) and the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), the Measurement and Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (MATRICS) Consensus Cognitive Battery was also used. MADRS total score and processing speed (but not other cognitive domains) were significant partial mediators of the association between ketamine treatment and improvements in suicidal ideation.
Frontiers in Psychiatry
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