Hello, Psychedelic Wellness community! What an exciting month it's been for the psychedelic research community. June was bursting at the seams with new studies, averaging one new paper every day, expanding our database by a whopping 30 papers.
The journey begins with two fascinating studies in mice that offered fresh perspectives on how psychedelics operate. The first, from the esteemed Gul Dölen’s lab, demonstrated how psychedelics - encompassing everything from ketamine to mescaline - create a ‘social reward learning period.’ This seminal work, which had been under review for over a year, suggests a common link between these diverse substances. The neurological mechanics involve restoring the oxytocin-mediated long-term depression in the nucleus accumbens, a component of the brain’s 'reward' system.
Next, we step into the spotlight of another study of equally monumental significance. It argues that the BNDF (brain-derived neurotropic factor) receptor TrkB is the main target for antidepressants. In simpler terms, this pathway might be independently responsible for antidepressant effects, separate from the serotonin (5-HT2a) receptor activation. Other labs are now investigating to validate these groundbreaking findings.
Switching gears, let's delve into how self-compassion is argued to trigger positive outcomes in psilocybin-assisted therapy for alcoholism (AUD). Interviews with trial participants revealed they were more capable of processing emotions tied to past events, fostering self-compassion, self-awareness, and feelings of interconnectedness. This, in turn, paved the way for improved regulation of negative emotions and enhanced relationship quality.
Another interesting theory is the reduction of learned helplessness through psychedelic-assisted therapies. In a review of the literature, the authors promote the utility of the learned helplessness model in psychedelic research due to its reliability across species, well-defined neurobiology, and significant overlap with neural circuits implicated in psychedelic actions.
When psychedelics are combined with other drugs, do they lose their magic? The question has been under the lens for some time, but direct comparison studies are few and far between. A systematic review aimed to bridge this gap by investigating all known combinations, drawing upon research spanning back to the 60s. The results showed diverse outcomes when psychedelics were combined with other drugs, including antidepressants, antipsychotics, anxiolytics, mood stabilizers, and recreational drugs. Further contributing to this field is a clinical trial examining the interaction between CBD and ayahuasca, which found no interaction effects.
Finally, let's take a look at the ongoing psilocybin vs. escitalopram (SSRI) trial. The latter group showed a decrease in responsiveness to emotional faces. Meanwhile, a different analysis of the same trial found significant personality changes in both groups, but no major differences between them. Interestingly, an online survey concluded that individuals who use antidepressants (SSRIs/SNRIs) often experience weaker effects than expected when taking psilocybin.
As we continue to make strides in this exciting field, we hope to uncover even more insights about the incredible power and potential of psychedelics. So, stay tuned for more exciting updates from the psychedelic research frontier in July!
On February 16th, 2024, Colorado's Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) introduced draft regulations to the Natural Medicine Advisory Board,
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