The neurobiology of psychedelic substances
Affiliation: Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich
Due to their unique effects on consciousness, psychedelics offer the
opportunity to investigate the neuropharmacological mechanisms underlying
alterations in perception and cognition. Furthermore, renewed interest in
the potentially beneficial clinical effects of psychedelics warrants a
better understanding of their underlying neuropharmacological mechanisms.
However, major knowledge gaps remain regarding the neurobiology of
psychedelics in humans. This talk will elucidate how LSD and Psilocybin
modulate brain connectivity and subjective effects via agonistic activity
on the serotonin 2A receptor in humans. In particular, psychedelic-induced
alteration in brain connectivity are characterized by a synchronization of
sensory functional networks and dis-integration of associative networks.
Furthermore, our studies have shown that LSD changes thalamic gating to
the cortex. Additionally, psychedelics have been shown to be powerful
modulators of social processing and behavior. These results provide
insight into the mechanisms potentially underlying clinical efficacy of
these substances and inform novel treatment approaches.