Psychedelic Research Papers

Facing death, returning to life: A qualitative analysis of MDMA-assisted therapy for anxiety associated with life-threatening illness
This qualitative interview study (n=6 out of 13) on MDMA-assisted therapy for end-of-life anxiety, conducted three months after dosing (3x 125mg), highlights the psychological processes participants went through. Treatment outcomes included better management of medical symptoms and relationship to illness, reduction in psychological symptoms, improved quality of life, being more present, and feeling more resourced.
Frontiers in Psychiatry
September 2022
Cited by 0
A Novel, Brief, Fully Automated Intervention to Extend the Antidepressant Effect of a Single Ketamine Infusion: A Randomized Clinical Trial
This double-blind, placebo-controlled study (n=154) of ketamine (35mg/70kg) (or placebo) with (and without) positive self-regard training (automated self-association training) finds that the combination can extend the positive antidepressant (MADRS) effects of ketamine, whilst the effects of ketamine alone was not distinguishable from placebo 30 days later.
American Journal of Psychiatry
September 2022
Cited by 0
Association between Lifetime Classic Psychedelic Use and Sick Leave in a Population-Based Sample
This re-analysis of a national drug survey (n=407.000) finds that those who use classical psychedelics (~14%) reported fewer sick leave than the general public (79% vs 76% reported no sick leave). Though a relatively small change (3%), the cost savings could theoretically be $2-$3 billion for the United States economy (this is a thought experiment, many other factors not in the model could also explain this correlation).
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
September 2022
Cited by 0
Cost-effectiveness of esketamine nasal spray compared to intravenous ketamine for patients with treatment-resistant depression in the US utilizing clinical trial efficacy and real-world effectiveness estimates
This economic analysis (2022) finds that esketamine nasal spray (Spravato) is not cost-effective as compared to intravenous (racemic) ketamine for patients with treatment-resistant depression. The analysis uses quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), a common measure of added good years, and finds that esketamine and ketamine both add about two QALYs, but that the costs of the former are disproportionally higher.
Journal of Affective Disorders
September 2022
Cited by 0
Scoping Review of Experiential Measures from Psychedelic Research and Clinical Trials
This review (2022) investigates the subjective (experiential) measures that are being used in psychedelic trials and finds good correlations between mystical experiences (MEQ) and oceanic boundlessness and therapeutic/mood outcomes. Similar results (with fewer participants studied) are also found for challenging experiences, psychological insight, and emotional breakthroughs. Alas, not much comment is made about the construct validity of the measures.
Journal of Psychoactive Drugs
September 2022
Cited by 0
Evidence for altered neural activity patterns after MDMA-assisted therapy in adults with chronic and severe post-traumatic stress disorder: a pilot study
This pre-print follow-up analysis (n=9) of fMRI data from veterans and first-responders who underwent MDMA-assisted therapy (3x 100-125mg) for PTSD. The results show a correlation between reductions in PTSD and 1) increased amygdala-hippocampal connectivity, and 2) reduced amygdala-precuneus connectivity during memory recall.
MedRvix
May 2022
Cited by 0
Self-Entropic Broadening Theory: Toward a New Understanding of Self and Behavior Change Informed by Psychedelics and Psychosis
This review (2022) provides a theory of how changes due to (classical) psychedelics and psychosis have such different (positive vs negative) outcomes. This is done through the lens of self-entropic broadening theory (broader attentional scope, hyperassociative thinking), where psychedelics lead to low self-focus (awe, ego dissolution, mystical experiences), whilst psychosis leads to high self-focus (hyperreflexivity, self-referential processing).
Pharmacological Reviews
September 2022
Cited by 0
Clinical Effectiveness of Intravenous Racemic Ketamine Infusions in a Large Community Sample of Patients With Treatment-Resistant Depression, Suicidal Ideation, and Generalized Anxiety Symptoms: A Retrospective Chart Review
This analysis of open-label real-world data (n=424) of patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) find that ketamine (10x 35mg/70kg) infusions led to a clinical response (>50% reduction in symptoms, PHQ-9) for 72% of patients and remission (>80%) in 38%. Similar positive effects were found on scores of suicidal ideation (50% reduction), and anxiety (GAD-7, 30%).
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
September 2022
Cited by 0
Psychedelics and mindfulness: A systematic review and meta-analysis
This review (s=13) & meta-analysis (s=6) finds that classical psychedelics use is associated with an increase in mindfulness, specifically acceptance, non-judgement of inner experience, and non-reactivity.
Journal of Psychedelic Studies
September 2022
Cited by 0
Being no one, being One: The role of ego-dissolution and connectedness in the therapeutic effects of psychedelic experience
This analysis (s=15, n=2182) finds that ego-dissolution and connectedness (during psychedelic-assisted therapy) lead to a higher chance of improvements in mental health and well-being. The mechanism of ego-dissolution doesn't seem to continue after the acute session, whilst connectedness is more sustained. Interestingly, the scores on both measures weren't correlated, indicating two distinct processes.
Journal of Psychedelic Studies
September 2022
Cited by 0
Towards an understanding of psychedelic-induced neuroplasticity
This review (2022) investigates how classical psychedelics (LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca) elicit neuroplasticity. Animal and human studies show evidence for neuroplasticity, but evidence for BDNF (protein, encoded by a gene, indicated in neuronal growth) is mixed in humans. Neuroplasticity mostly happens through the 5-HT2a receptor (but other serotonin receptors could also be involved). Most of this happens 5-HT2a rich areas in the brain (neocortex). The evidence for micro/mini-dosing on neuroplasticity is currently inconclusive. Neuroplasticity happens as fast as in a few hours, lasting up to a month.
Neuropsychopharmacology
September 2022
Cited by 0
Psychedelics and schizophrenia: Distinct alterations to Bayesian inference
This analysis of neuroimaging (M/EEG) compares data from patients with schizophrenia (n=29) and healthy volunteers under the influence of LSD (75μg, n=17) or ketamine (n=19). It finds that although both show increased neural signal diversity, only for those with schizophrenia did it increase the precision (weighting) of sensory information. Both groups increase 'bottom-up' signalling, but of a different kind.
NeuroImage
September 2022
Cited by 0
LSD response in Eysenckian trait types identified by polypredictive CFA
This classical paper (1996) analysed data from 65 participants who ingested LSD (70μg/70kg) and showed how different personality types responded to the psychedelic.
Personality and Individual Differences
May 1996
Cited by 11
A long trip into the universe: Psychedelics and space travel
This hypothesis article (2022) argues that psychedelics may be helpful in long-duration space travel. This is argued from several lines of thought, including 1) neuroplasticity, 2) wellness, and 3) support cognition, empathy, and transcendence.
Frontiers in Space Travel
September 2022
Cited by 0
Neural mechanisms of imagery under psilocybin
This pre-print follow-up analysis (n=24) of an RCT with psilocybin (up to 22mg/70kg) finds that self-inhibition of visual areas of the brain (EVA, FG) leads to complex imagery, as seen by participants. The results align with the REBUS model and highlight (again) how the bottoms-up processes of the brain are amplified under the influence of psychedelics.
MedRvix
September 2022
Cited by 0
Population pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic modelling of the psychedelic experience induced by N,N-dimethyltryptamine – implications for dose considerations
This follow-up analysis (n=13) of data from a DMT study (7-20mg iv) describes in detail how it's metabolised in the brain (clearance of 26 L/min). A simulation (100 people at doses from 1-10mg) was then employed to delineate further DMT's effects (both the chemistry and the subjective effects). This is the first study to explore DMT's pharmacokinetics and -dynamics.
Clinical and Translational Science
September 2022
Cited by 0
Effective connectivity of emotion and cognition under psilocybin
This pre-print follow-up fMRI analysis of an RCT of healthy subjects (n=24) finds that psilocybin (15mg/70kg) led to a pattern of decreased top-down effectivity between the default mode network (DMN), salience network (SN), and central executive network (CEN) to the amygdala.
MedRvix
September 2022
Cited by 0
International pooled patient-level meta-analysis of ketamine infusion for depression: In search of clinical moderators
This meta-analysis (n=809, s=17) finds robust effects of ketamine for relieving depression (at 24 hours and seven days). Moderators of this effect were the level of treatment resistance (i.e. more failed SSRIs) and studies that used a cross-over design (smaller placebo effect). Other moderators were found, but all were modest and clinically irrelevant (i.e. age or sex doesn't moderate treatment effect).
Molecular Psychiatry
September 2022
Cited by 0
Signaling snapshots of a serotonin receptor activated by the prototypical psychedelic LSD
This study inspects how LSD binds to the 5-HT2B (serotonin 2B) receptor (not the 2A receptor most commonly studied) to understand what signalling cascades it triggers. The researchers "determined the cryo-EM structures of LSD-bound HTR2B in the transducer-free, Gq-protein-coupled, and β-arrestin-1-coupled states." The information from this study can help with the design of novel psychedelics.
Neuron
September 2022
Cited by 0
Effects of psilocybin versus escitalopram on rumination and thought suppression in depression
This analysis (n=59) of the psilocybin vs escitalopram for depression study finds that those in the psilocybin arm of the study significantly decreased rumination. Only those who were in the psilocybin arm and responded (>50% symptom reduction) had reduced thought suppression (rumination was lower in both responder groups). Ego dissolution and psychological insight, for the psilocybin group, correlated with decreases in rumination and thought suppression.
BJPsych Open
September 2022
Cited by 0
Microdosing psilocybin for chronic pain: a case series
This case series (n=3) highlights how low doses of psilocybin have been able to help those suffering from chronic pain conditions. All individuals were not helped by conventional treatments and achieved robust relief through psilocybin (with minimal cognitive and somatic adverse effects).
PAIN
September 2022
Cited by 0
Efficacy and Safety of Subcutaneous Esketamine in the Treatment of Suicidality in Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Depression
This open-label study (n=70) on suicidal ideation (SI) in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar depression (BD) finds that esketamine (1x p/w 6ws) led to significant reductions in SI at the end of the study (24h after last administration). There was no statistically significant difference between the two subpopulations.
Clinical Drug Investigation
August 2022
Cited by 0
A Multidisciplinary Hypothesis about Serotonergic Psychedelics. Is it Possible that a Portion of Brain Serotonin Comes From the Gut?
This theory-building article (2022) argues that psychedelics can enable (increased production of) serotonin from the gut (where 95% is made) to more easily move into the brain (by making the blood-brain barrier (BBB) more permeable).
Journal of Integrative Neuroscience
August 2022
Cited by 0
Classic psychedelics and alcohol use disorders: A systematic review of human and animal studies
This review (2022) queries human (s=20) and animal (s=7) studies on psychedelics for treating alcoholism (AUD). The human data is promising (but still with small sample sizes) and psilocybin is the most well-studied psychedelic here. Animal studies are scarce and show conflicting results, the authors argue for more studies to understand both biological and psychological factors.
Addiction Biology
August 2022
Cited by 0
Predictors of attitudes toward psychedelics among psychologists in the USA
This survey (n=358) of psychologists finds that several factors make it more likely for psychologists to have a positive attitude towards psychedelics. These include younger age, male, more knowledge about psychedelics, not religious, (in)direct experience.
Drugs Education, Prevention and Policy
September 2022
Cited by 0
Self-treatment of psychosis and complex post-traumatic stress disorder with LSD and DMT—A retrospective case study
This case study (n=1) describes how a teenager self-treated their psychosis (accompanied by complex PTSD and suicidal ideations) through high-dose LSD and low-dose DMT sessions. The hypothesis argues that psychedelics were able to break down the defensive system and allow for the integration of traumatic memories.
Psychiatry Research
September 2022
Cited by 0
Lysergic acid diethylamide-assisted therapy in patients with anxiety with and without a life-threatening illness A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase II study
This double-blind cross-over trial (n=42) finds that LSD (200 μg) significantly reduced anxiety (STAI-G) scores up to three months after treatment. The patients, both with and without a life-threatening illness, also improved on measures of depression (HAM-D, BDI). Those with more subjective drug effects and mystical-type experiences had better outcomes.
Biological Psychiatry
September 2022
Cited by 0
Ketogenic diet and ketamine infusion treatment to target chronic persistent eating disorder psychopathology in anorexia nervosa: a pilot study
This open-label pilot study (n=5) assessed the effects of six ketamine infusions on participants who had recovered from anorexia nervosa (AN) but had persisting eating disorders thoughts and behaviours. Prior to receiving six ketamine infusions over a 6 month period, participants adopted a therapeutic ketogenic diet. Though the length of the diet varied among participants, the group showed significant improvements on a number of commonly used scales to assess eating disorders.
Academic Psychiatry
August 2022
Cited by 0
Effects of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Use on 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine–Assisted Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
This review (2022) assessed the literature on the basic and clinical neuroscience of the interactions between the class of antidepressants known as SSRIs and MDMA. SSRIs could dampen the therapeutic effects of MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD. Further research is needed to elucidate the biological mechanisms underlying these interactions.
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
August 2022
Cited by 0
Macrodosing to microdosing with psychedelics: Clinical, social, and cultural perspectives
This paper (2022) explores the influence of macrodosing and microdosing on various clinical, social and cultural perspectives. The influence of microdosing is relatively unexplored in a formal context, but informal accounts propose that microdosing plays an important role as both therapeutic intervention and a cognitive enhancement tool.
Transcultural Psychiatry
August 2022
Cited by 0

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Find all relevant psychedelic research papers in our ever-growing database. Here we cover and connect the latest research and seminal papers. From early open-label psychedelic studies with healthy volunteers to large-scale double-blind placebo-controlled trials.

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