Psychedelics as anti-inflammatory agents

This review (2018) examines the cellular pathways through which psychedelics act as anti-inflammatory agents by means of selectively blocking the expression of pro-inflammatory mediators and thereby modulating histone modifications and epigenetic signaling. It is thus hypothesized that psychedelics may be of therapeutic value to a wide range of inflammatory disorders in humans.


Review: Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT)2A receptor agonists have recently emerged as promising new treatment options for a variety of disorders. The recent success of these agonists, also known as psychedelics, like psilocybin for the treatment of anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and addiction, has ushered in a renaissance in the way these compounds are perceived in the medical community and populace at large. One emerging therapeutic area that holds significant promise is their use as anti-inflammatory agents. Activation of 5-HT2A receptors produces potent anti-inflammatory effects in animal models of human inflammatory disorders at sub-behavioural levels. This review discusses the role of the 5-HT2A receptor in the inflammatory response, as well as highlight studies using the 5-HT2A agonist (R)-2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine [(R)-DOI] to treat inflammation in cellular and animal models. It also examines potential mechanisms by which 5-HT2A agonists produce their therapeutic effects. Overall, psychedelics regulate inflammatory pathways via novel mechanisms, and may represent a new and exciting treatment strategy for several inflammatory disorders.

Authors: Thomas W. Flanagan & Charles D. Nichols

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Psychedelics as anti-inflammatory agents

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Published in
International Review of Psychiatry
August 13, 2018
52 citations

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Charles D. Nichols
Charles D. Nichols is a professor of Pharmacology at LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and sponsored researcher at Eleusis.

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