How psychedelic drugs develop new connections between neurons

According to a new study, using psychedelic drugs like LSD is developing new connections between neurons in the brain. While it is clear that psychotropic drugs can not be used as such in psychiatric care, studying their components can advance research.

Apple boss Steve Jobs* would he have been as visionary if he had not used LSD? Probably not, according to a new study published in the journal Cell Reports. The use of psychedelic drugs* would develop new connections of neurons in the brain.

The researchers found that DOI (amphetamine), DMT (dimethyltryptamine), and LSD (diethylamide) could alter the brain cells of rats and flies, making neurons more likely to branch out and connect to each other. other. Their work supports the theory that these products may help combat depression, anxiety, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder.
"One of the hallmarks of depression is that neurites in the prefrontal cortex - a key area of ​​the brain that regulates emotions, mood, and anxiety - tend to shrivel up," says David E. Olson, author of the research. These brain changes also occur in cases of anxiety, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress. Neuritis is a nerve fiber that is an extension of the neuron being formed.

"Psychotropic drugs can not be used as is"

The team has not tested the substances on humans, but believes that the biological mechanisms that respond to psychedelics are almost the same from one species to another. "It is obvious that psychotropic drugs can not be used as such in psychiatric care, especially because of their hallucinogenic power," said David E. Olson. "Nevertheless, studying their components more closely would surely advance research in this area."
A team from Imperial College London (UK) had already studied the brains of humans who had ingested LSD. 20 volunteers who have already used these substances were selected for this research, published in the journal PNAS. Dr. Carhart-Harris's team asked a group to swallow either a placebo or 75 mg of LSD. The brain of the participants was then studied by MRI and magnetoencephalography, which make it possible to analyze the magnetic fields emitted by the neurons. "Normally, our brain works through independent networks responsible for a specific function such as sight, movement or hearing, but under LSD, this separation crumbles and is replaced by a more unified network," concludes Dr. Carhart-Harris.

* In his official biography, Steve Jobs says: "taking LSD was a magical time of my life."

* This article is informative and does not in any way to recommend the use of drugs to our readers. Their consumption is a crime and is strongly discouraged for health.