Psychedelics As Anti-Inflammatory Agents: A New Hope

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Welcome to my blog post ‘Psychedelics As Anti-Inflammatory Agents: A New Hope’. Feel free to check out the dedicated section of my blog to pscyehdelics, click here.

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Overall, psychedelics regulate inflammatory pathways via novel mechanisms, and may represent a new and exciting treatment strategy for several inflammatory disorders (1).

Inflammation And Disease

It is now recognised that inflammation plays a significant role in the pathophysiology underlying psychiatric disorders like depression and addiction (1, 2)

Researchers have hypothesised (1) that:

  • Psychedelics acutely reset resting state functional connectivity to healthy networks to rapidly alleviate depression.
  • Then produce long-lasting effects by reducing neuroinflammation and preventing the brain from returning to a persistent inflamed pathological state and accompanying depression.

Although serotonin has long been known to be an immune modulator, only relatively recently has activation of 5-HT2A receptors with psychedelics been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory effects.

Serotonin And Inflammation

Serotonin is heavily involved in inflammation and the inflammatory response  and is seen as primarily pro-inflammatory. For example, it plays a key role in the generation of inflammation in the gut, and fluctuations in serotonin levels are associated with damage to the liver  and pancreas. Accordingly, depletion of serotonin reduces inflammation in a number of different animal disease models (1).

Psychedelics As Anti-Inflammatory Agents

Although the use of sub-behavioural levels of psychedelics remains to be validated as an effective therapeutic strategy for inflammation in humans, the data from cellular and animal models is promising, and these agents represent small molecule, highly bioavailable, inexpensive, and steroid sparing treatments for inflammatoryrelated diseases like asthma, atherosclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and rheumatoid arthritis (1).

Not only has peyote been consumed by Native North Americans for millennia for religious ceremonies, it has also been shown to activate several immune parameters (nitric oxide and cytokine production in macrophages and lymphocyte proliferation) and directly kill tumour cells

Anti-inflammatory effects may hold promise for efficacy in treatment of inflammation-related non-psychiatric as well as potentially for psychiatric disorders (1).

Conclusion

  • Psychedelics produce a potent blockade of the inflammation produced by TNF-a in cell and animal models of inflammation.
  • Although the use of sub-behavioural levels of psychedelics remains to be validated as an effective therapeutic strategy for inflammation in humans, the data from cellular and animal models is promising, and these agents represent small molecule, highly bioavailable, inexpensive, and steroid sparing treatments for inflammatoryrelated diseases like asthma, atherosclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and rheumatoid arthritis
  • More research is needed to fully unlock therapeutic potentials and to discover molecular mechanisms underlying their effects.

Recommended Books On Psychedelics

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References:

  1. Psychedelics as anti-inflammatory agents: click here.
  2. Psychedelics as Medicines: An Emerging New Paradigm: click here.
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