A review published last week by two Swiss neuroscientists in Nature Neuroscience argues that psychedelic drugs, like psilocybin (“mushrooms”) and LSD, have serious therapeutic applications:
“Recent behavioural and neuroimaging data show that psychedelics modulate neural circuits that have been implicated in mood and affective disorders, and can reduce the clinical symptoms of these disorders (Vollenweider & Kometer, 2010).”
Psychedelics have strong effects on the brain’s glutamatergic and serotonergic pathways, which malfunction in patients with clinical depression and anxiety. Many lines of evidence show that psychedelics can alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety using relatively small doses. There are obvious political hurdles to be mounted for any of these drugs to make there way into more research labs, and potentially into pharmacies, but the recent relative success of medical marijuana campaigns may have laid important tracks for thorough research on the positive effects of “taboo” drugs.