There has been growing research on psychedelic drugs such as LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin on their potential to treat psychiatric conditions like depression and major depressive disorder. A new study has revealed that N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), an active ingredient of psychedelic teal ayahuasca, could potentially treat neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
Psychedelics important in the treatment of depression
Psychedelics such as psilocybin, LSD, and mescaline usually bind to the 5-HT2A serotonin receptors on the surface of brain cells According to studies, psychedelics can reduce hallucinations and also offer therapeutic effects. University of North Carolina School of Medicine’s professor Bryan Roth indicated that millions of people have been using psychedelics for recreational purposes, but there is currently emerging therapeutic use. He said that understanding how psychedelics work at the molecular level could help understand their mechanism of action. Psilocybin is effective in treating depression, which will be vital in discovering other fast-acting antidepressants.
For instance, Ecstasy, 2,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), recently received US FDA breakthrough approval for posttraumatic stress disorder. Currently, FDA-approved registration trials are in progress despite MDMA differing from psychedelics in pharmacology and risk profile. Also, psilocybin is currently under study in the US after showing effectiveness in smoking cessation. Other studies are also recruiting to study psilocybin for anorexia nervosa, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease. Compass Pathways and Usona Institute have already received FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designation for psilocybin in treatment-resistant depression and major depressive disorder.
Psychedelic tea can stimulate neurogenesis in Alzheimer’s disease patients
Interestingly, preliminary studies indicate that psychedelics can reverse Alzheimer’s progression by triggering the creation of new nerve cells and enhancing spatial learning and memory task performance. Psychedelic tea, ayahuasca commonly used for ritual and healing purposes, has shown the potential of stimulating neurogenesis.
The tea has antidepressant properties, but studies show that it can promote nerve growth in the brain. A recent study in mice demonstrated that beta-carbolines found in ayahuasca could stimulate neurogenesis. The study also found that DMT can stimulate neurogenesis and enhance performance in spatial learning and memory tasks.