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…


Combining mindfulness practice and psychedelic therapy

Written by Selina Heuser for the MIND Blog.

The mind is the friend
Of those who have control over it,
And the mind acts like an enemy
For those who do not control it.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter VI, The Yoga of Meditation

After being deprived of the scientific community’s attention for decades, psychedelic research is now experiencing a revival. Specifically, there has been an increase in studies on the therapeutic potential of psychedelic substances for treating mental disorders such as depression, addiction, cancer-related psychiatric distress, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. But with the usefulness of psychedelics revealed, this research field is now…


Written by Professor Gerhard Gründer for the MIND Blog and the Mind and Brain Institute.

In my recent blog post, I reported on the optimistic view that “digital phenotyping” with smartphone technology would improve psychiatric diagnosis and possibly even treatment. Building on this, I discussed general advancements towards including big data in psychiatry. Another important aspect of the digitization of psychiatry is the development of machine therapists in mental health care, working with artificial intelligence. …


Biohack or Placebo?

Written by Milena Marinković for the MIND Blog.

Here’s a thought-provoking question: Would you rather take a high dose of LSD or psilocybin sporadically to dissolve the boundaries between yourself and the universe, or just a tiny amount regularly to become more creative and excel at intellectually demanding tasks? The latter option has recently garnered the attention of biohacking communities, where it is popularized as microdosing. At the recent Interdisciplinary Conference of Psychedelic Research (ICPR2020), researchers investigating microdosing practices and effects shared their findings and suggested that microdosing might not actually be the right tool for performance enhancement.

What’s Behind the Microdosing Trend?

The stimulant…

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