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    psychedelic medicines major depression ICEERS study ayahuasca depresión mayor psicodélicos

    Study: Psychedelics in Major Depression


    Psychedelic medicines in major depression: Progress and future challenges

    José Carlos Bouso, Genís Oña, Rafael G. dos Santos, & Jaime E. C. Hallak.

    Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology


    About the study

    The general assumption in scientific research is that psychedelics enhance the psychotherapeutic process instead of having intrinsic therapeutic properties, although there are some biological mechanisms of action that can explain their therapeutic properties on major depression. 

    Both ayahuasca and psilocybin showed antidepressive effects in controlled trials. In that sense, it is possible that we will see these medicines being used for the treatment of major depression in the following years.

    The psychedelic drugs of interest in the case of the treatment of major depression are serotonergic psychedelics, particularly the substances classifed as indolamines. A significant effect of most psychedelic drugs that could be related to their antidepressant effects is the enhancement of both neurogenesis and neural plasticity.



    Background: The volume of research on the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs has been increasing during the last decades. Partly because of the need of innovative treatments in psychiatry, several studies have assessed the safety and efficacy of drugs like psilocybin or ayahuasca for a wide range of mental disorders, including major depression.

    Methods and results: The first section of this chapter offers an introduction to psychedelic research, including a brief historical overview and discussions about appropriate terminology. In the second section, the recently published clinical trials in which psychedelic drugs were administered to patients are analysed in detail. Then, in the third section, the main neurobiological mechanisms of these drugs is described, noting that while some of these mechanisms could be potentially associated with their therapeutic properties, they are commonly used as adjuvants in psychotherapeutic processes. The last section suggests future challenges for this groundbreaking field of research and therapy.


    Link to the article

    Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash.

    Categories: Studies & papers , Ayahuasca
    Tags: ayahuasca , scientific research , study , psychedelics , depression , hallucinogens , antidepressant