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

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.

Abstract

“Despite preclinical evidence for psychedelic-induced neuroplasticity, confirmation in humans is grossly lacking. Given the increased interest in using low doses of psychedelics for psychiatric indications and the importance of neuroplasticity in the therapeutic response, this placebo-controlled within-subject study investigated the effect of single low doses of LSD (5, 10, and 20 μg) on circulating BDNF levels in healthy volunteers. Blood samples were collected every 2 h over 6 h, and BDNF levels were determined afterward in blood plasma using ELISA. The findings demonstrated an increase in BDNF blood plasma levels at 4 h (5 μg) and 6 h (5 and 20 μg) compared to that for the placebo. The finding that LSD acutely increases BDNF levels warrants studies in patient populations.”

Authors: Nadia R. P. W. Hutten, Natasha L. Mason, Patrick C. Dolder, Eef L. Theunissen, Friederike Holze, Matthias E. Liechti, Nimmy Varghese, Anne Eckert, Amanda Feilding, Johannes G. Ramaekers & Kim P. C. Kuypers

Notes

This study used the same participants as Ramaekers et al. (2020), Holze et al. (2020), and Hutten et al. (2020).

The study and is supported in part by the Beckley Foundation.

Do also see these notes/critique on Twitter by Matthew Baggott.

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