Advances In Understanding How Psychedelics Work In The Brain
This talk presented a brief overview of what psychedelics are, and several signiﬁcant events in this ﬁeld in the past four decades. A comparison will be made between molecular structures, and how they were related to the structure of the neurotransmitter serotonin. The receptors that have been identiﬁed as targets for psychedelics were discussed, and their brain localization noted, followed by a brief description of where the receptors are located, and what happens inside the cell after the receptor is activated by a psychedelic. Particular note is made of the difficulty in identifying psychedelic molecules in the absence of human experimentation, which is illegal.
Comments include the different intracellular signaling pathways that can be activated, and which one(s) may be important for altering consciousness. A diagram of connectivity between key brain regions was discussed, which will show how some of the effects of psychedelics may be induced. Particular note will be made of the difﬁculty in identifying psychedelic molecules in the absence of human experimentation, which is illegal. There will then be a discussion of the use of drug discrimination to identify “LSD-like” molecules, and an example from the author’s laboratory of the use of rigid analogues to identify important structural features of molecules such as LSD. Finally, a discussion was presented of the unique psychopharmacology of LSD, which occurs in two time-dependent phases, and the hypothesis that LSD may be converted in the body into an active metabolite that may be responsible for this time-dependent activity.
This video is from Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century, a conference taking in place in San Jose, California on April 15-18, 2010. The conference was organized by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in collaboration with the Heffter Research Institute, the Council on Spiritual Practices, and the Beckley Foundation.
Medical doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and other health professionals can earn Continuing Medical Education/Continuing Education (CME/CE) credits by viewing these videos through the Spiritual Competency Resource Center (SCRC) at spiritualcompetency.com.
This video was produced by Teal Sievers of Living Dream Films (livingdreamfilms.com).
To learn more about MAPS or to support our work, visit maps.org.