Psychedelic Drugs Are Better Antidepressants Than Ketamine, New Study Findsadmin
According to a new study in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience, some psychedelic drugs are better than others when it comes to alleviating depression in people who have failed to respond to more conventional therapies, IFLScience.com reports.
Classic psychedelic drugs include psilocybin (the active ingredients in magic mushrooms), LSD and DMT (commonly found in ayahuasca), and others. Ketamine, on the other hand, instead of interacting with the serotonin receptor 5-HT2A, binds with NMDA receptors and has been approved for use as an antidepressant by the FDA.
In this new study, rats were given either psilocybin, LSD or ketamine, before being subjected to a range of tests that measure their levels of depression and anxiety over a five-week period. Rats given psilocybin or LSD showed levels of decreased depression, “suggesting that a one-off treatment with these drugs generates a lasting decrease in depression. Rats that received ketamine initially showed an improvement, but after week three all of the prior improvements disappeared, “indicating that the antidepressant effect was of a more transient nature.”
On the anxiety side of things, rats given psilocybin became less anxious when they were placed within a structure designed to induce anxiety once a week throughout the study period versus those who were only exposed to what was designed to be an anxiety-inducing chamber at the end of the fifth week. “The study authors, therefore, note that, rather than simply eliminating anxiety automatically, psilocybin may somehow increase the plasticity of rats’ brains so that they can learn to overcome their anxiety if given the opportunity to confront it repeatedly.” Mice given ketamine didn’t show any improvement.
The study authors concluded that classic psychedelics produce more “robust” antidepressant and anti-anxiolytic effects than ketamine-based treatments, however, additional studies will need to be conducted on humans in order to draw a stronger conclusion.