Tripping up addiction: the use of psychedelic drugs in the treatment of problematic drug and alcohol use

This review (2017) looks at the (preliminary) evidence that we have of psychedelics in the treatment of addictions (AUD, SUD). Trials with psilocybin, ibogaine, ayahuasca, ketamine (etc) are showing positive results, but randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are badly needed.

Abstract

Psychedelic drugs have been used as treatments in indigenous cultures for thousands of years. Yet, due to their legal status, there has been limited scientific research into the therapeutic potential of these compounds for psychiatric disorders. In the absence of other effective treatments however, researchers have begun again to systematically investigate such compounds and there is now evidence pointing to the use of psychedelic drugs in the treatment of addiction. In this review we focus on human evidence for the effectiveness of preparations used by indigenous cultures in the Amazon (ayahausca) and Africa (ibogaine) and worldwide (psilocybin), and more recently synthetised drugs such as the serotonergic hallucinogen LSD and the dissociative anaesthetic ketamine. Potential mechanisms explored are anti-depressant effects, changes in neuroplasticity and existential psychological effects of these drugs.

Authors: Celia J. A. Morgan, Amy McAndrew, Tobias Stevens, David J. Nutt & Will Lawn

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Find this paper

Tripping up addiction: the use of psychedelic drugs in the treatment of problematic drug and alcohol use

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cobeha.2016.10.009

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Published in
Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
February 1, 2017
18 citations

Study details

Topics studied
Addiction

Study characteristics
Literature Review

Authors

Authors associated with this publication with profiles on Blossom

David Nutt
David John Nutt is a great advocate for looking at drugs and their harm objectively and scientifically. This got him dismissed as ACMD (Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs) chairman.

Celia Morgan
Celia Morgan is a Professor of Psychopharmacology at the University of Exeter.

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