Sauna use, depression and addiction — the dynorphin thermoregulatory connection | Roland Griffiths

Parent Episode: Roland Griffiths, Ph.D. on Psilocybin, Psychedelic Therapies & Mystical Experiences

The body produces an opioid called dynorphin, which is generally responsible for dysphoria, a profound sense of unease or dissatisfaction. The binding of dynorphin to kappa-opioid receptors triggers cellular events that promote pain and distress. Sauna use promotes dynorphin release, which may be responsible for the general sense of discomfort experienced during heat exposure. Interestingly, in a biological feedback response that occurs after dynorphin binds to the kappa-opioid receptor, the brain produces more mu-opioid receptors, sensitizing them to endorphin and future endorphin exposure, a process known as the Salvinorin A pathway. As such, sauna use has potential as a means to treat depression and opioid addiction. In this clip, Dr. Rhonda Patrick describes how sauna use activates the Salvinorin A pathway, potentially ameliorating symptoms of depression and opioid addiction.

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