AMONG THE POTENTIAL TARGETS FOR PSYCHEDELICS IN NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES, NEUROINFLAMMATION MIGHT BE THE MOST PROMISING. PSYCHEDELIC RESEARCHERS ARE GATHERING MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HOW THESE COMPOUNDS MODULATE DIFFERENT INFLAMMATORY PROCESSES.

Written by Milena Marinković for the MIND Blog.

Evidence is mounting that psychedelic drugs like LSD, psilocybin, and DMT can be successfully used as treatments for mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Beyond psychological benefits, insight into their physiological mechanisms of action, including positive effects on neuroinflammation and neuroplasticity, has inspired a new wave of research. Researchers are now investigating whether psychedelic therapies can be administered more broadly, treating not only…


Interview by Lukas Basedow for the MIND Blog.

Antidepressants are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the world, with a number of proposed antidepressive mechanisms. A new paper takes a closer look at classical antidepressants like SSRIs & SNRIs, and newer antidepressants like ketamine, to answer the question: is there one underlying mechanism whereby all these different drugs exert their antidepressive effects? (To learn more about ketamine check out MIND’s online lecture series on ketamine) In this paper, published in Cell, the authors argue that across all these substances there is one common mechanism that is essential for…


RETHINKING THE ROLE OF THE DEFAULT MODE NETWORK IN PSYCHEDELICS

THE PUBLIC OFTEN RUNS OFF WITH A COMPELLING STORY BEFORE THE SCIENTIFIC RESULTS ARE IN. THIS IS EQUALLY TRUE FOR THE EGO NARRATIVE AS IT IS FOR THE DMN NARRATIVE.

Written by Saga Briggs, for the MIND Blog.

It has been three years since Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind launched psychedelic science back into mainstream awareness. The book popularized the notion that the Default Mode Network (DMN), the brain network that becomes active when people are not engaged in a task and let their mind wanderis the seat of the ego or self, and that psychedelics work primarily…


PREDICTING THE TEMPORAL DYNAMICS OF THE PSYCHEDELIC EXPERIENCE USING PET SCANS

An Interview with Dr. Dea Siggaard Stenbæk, by Lukas Basedow, M.Sc. for the MIND Blog.

Lukas Basedow: For the study that we are discussing, you performed PET brain scans before administering psilocybin to healthy participants. I would like to know what your primary goal was for this study — what was your driving question?

Dea Siggaard Stenbæk: In a previous study, we saw a strong correlation between occupancy at the serotonin 2a [5-HT2a] receptor [a measure of how many of the receptors are currently bound with a molecule, such as psilocin or serotonin] and the intensity of the experience induced…


Altered States of Consciousness in Sports

Written by Barbara Braun, M.Sc., for the MIND Blog.

“AN ALTERED STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS IS A TEMPORARY CHANGE IN THE OVERALL PATTERN OF SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE SO THAT THE INDIVIDUAL BELIEVES THAT HIS PSYCHOLOGICAL FUNCTIONS ARE MARKEDLY DIFFERENT FROM CERTAIN GENERAL NORMS OF HIS NORMAL WAKING CONSCIOUSNESS.”

– G.W. FARTHING

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “altered state of consciousness”? While they are commonly associated with substance use or the stereotypical Buddhist monk in meditation, altered states of consciousness (ASCs) can arise in a surprisingly wide variety of circumstances.

One of these circumstances is that of exhausting…


Written by Anna Ciaunica for the MIND Blog.

While not all humans will have the experience of being pregnant or carrying a baby, the experience of being carried and growing within another person’s body is universal.

The “Me” Relating to the World

Imagine you are walking on warm sand, on a sunny summer’s day, holding hands with your partner. …


What does DMT do in the brain?

Written by Milena Marinković for the MIND Blog.

Is there DMT in the brain? What could it be doing there? These questions have been on the minds of psychedelic researchers for decades, and answering them was never going to be simple. New research goes beyond attempts to prove romantic ideas about DMT release from the pineal gland during near-death experiences. Through looking at individual neurons, this research indicates that DMT might have a role as a non-canonical neurotransmitter involved in protecting the brain from physical and psychological stress. …


How MDMA and Classic Psychedelics Modify Social Learning

Interview with Gül Dölen, written by Saga Briggs for the MIND Blog.

“Rather than having the MDMA-assisted psychotherapy and then sending them home with a journal and some happy thoughts, what we really ought to be saying is that the therapeutic window is actually for weeks, if not months after the acute psychedelic effects have worn off.”

At the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, neurobiologist and MIND’s scientific advisory board member Gül Dölen, MD-PhD, studies the mechanisms by which psychedelic drugs work to treat diseases of the social brain like PTSD, addiction, and severe forms of…


An interview with Nick Milne, PhD, CSO of Octarine

Written by Jagoda Mackowiak for the MIND Blog.

Jagoda: Welcome, Nick. Thank you so much for coming! In your lab at The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, you have mainly worked on projects related to sustainability. What made you interested in psilocybin?

Nick: The research center where I worked is the Center for Biosustainability — A core focus of the center is to develop bio-based processes to replace non-renewable synthetic chemistry. I have always been interested in mental health, and particularly how we treat mental health, or rather how badly we treat mental health today. …


A Romp Through the Use of Psychoactive Mushrooms in Ancient Culture, Contemporary Research, and Future Therapy

Written by Camelia Manaila for the MIND Blog.

According to mycologist Paul Stamets, the presence of mushrooms is actually a direct index of a healthy and biodynamic ecosystem. Nevertheless, it is also well known that specifically some psilocybin species tend to grow in ‘disturbed’ habitats.

Have humans consumed neurotropic mushrooms since ancient pre-historic times, or is it a relatively newly developed practice? If the former is true, what role did these altered states of consciousness play in ancient human times? These questions are continuously debated amongst anthropologists, scientists, and ethnomycologists.

Fungi — Mushrooms — Magic Mushrooms?

Before delving into the discussion, it is important to understand…

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