Psychedelic drugs, psilocybin, and transcendent experiences as antidepressants | Charles Raison

Parent Episode: Dr. Charles Raison on Depression, the Immune-Brain Interface & Whole-Body Hyperthermia

The mammalian brain seems drawn to substances that induce altered states of consciousness. For example, cats crave catnip, elks seek out a hallucinogenic moss, and humans around the world have used psychedelic substances. Researchers studying the psychedelic compound psilocybin and its potential effects on depression observed that a single exposure in humans induced a powerful anti-depressive response that persisted for six months or longer. Investigators speculate that the anti-depressive effect may result from the subjects having a mystical experience rather than the psychedelic agent itself. Dampening of the default mode network in the brain may also play a role in the anti-depressive effect. The default mode network is involved in rumination, a significant component of depression that some studies have linked to inflammation. In this clip, Dr. Charles Raison discusses how psychedelic substances like psilocybin, which induce transcendent trance-like states, may be useful in the treatment of depression.

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