Ayahuasca, mescaline, psilocybin, ibogaine - numerous psychedelic substances can be found in nature, all of which have been used for medicinal and spiritual purposes for thousands of years. None of these, however, were of great interest to clinical researchers of the mid-twentieth century. What spurred modern psychedelic research was not found within a mushroom or cactus, but instead in a glass beaker. The synthesis of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) by Albert Hoffman in 1938 - and the subsequent discovery of its psychoactive effects in 1943 - brought psychedelics to the forefront of psychiatric research and, later, to modern society.
Over 40,000 psychiatric patients received LSD treatment before its illegalization in 1970. LSD was most commonly administered, with success, for the treatment of alcoholism. In fact, Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill Wilson vouched for the distinct usefulness of LSD, noting its ability to enhance a sense of meaning in one’s life. Clinical efficacy aside, LSD is a powerful compound, and was abused by the public, academics, and the government alike. It’s well-known now that the CIA dosed large populations of people with LSD to observe the effects. Amidst the chaos of early psychedelic research, all such substances were made Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Psychedelic research, for all practical purposes, came to standstill.
Only recently has the field gained notoriety. With a growing number of people calling for legitimate psychedelic therapy, and the FDA approval of clinical trials for MDMA and psilocybin, psychedelics are once again catching the public eye. And for good reason - such compounds prove effective in treating of some of the most difficult-to-treat disorders. In regards to such conditions - depression, PTSD, OCD, addiction and eating disorders, to name a few - the effectiveness of current psychiatric treatment is disgracefully low. Indeed, psychiatrists have been left flailing in lifelong battles of symptom management, hardly ever to enter the realm of true healing.
In this vault you’ll find hundreds of peer-reviewed publications straight from the growing field of psychedelic science. Topics range from basic pharmacology to clinical treatment, recreational abuse to policy reform. Much of this collection focuses on the broad effects of serotonergic psychedelics (those that affect serotonin) as a group. For articles focused on particular substances, check that drug’s corresponding literature vault.
Unifying theories of psychedelic drug effects (2018)
Neuroendocrine associations underlying the persistent therapeutic effects of classic serotonergic psychedelics (2018)
Serotonin and brain function: a tale of two receptor (2017)
Psychedelics and immunomodulation: novel approaches and therapeutic opportunities (2015)
Safety & Toxicity
Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder: etiology, clinical features, and therapeutic perspectives (2018)
The link between use of psychedelic drugs and mental health problems (2016)
Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder and risk of suicide (2016)
Misuse & Abuse
Hallucinogen use disorders (2016)
Psychedelics promote structural and functional neural plasticity (2018)
Psychedelics recruit multiple cellular types and produce complex transcriptional responses within the brain (2016)
Psychedelic use and intimate partner violence: The role of emotion regulation (2018)
Psychedelics, meditation, and self-consciousness (2018)
Out of the box: A psychedelic model to study the creative mind (2018)
The mechanisms of psychedelic visionary experiences: hypotheses from evolutionary psychology (2017)
The fibrinolytic system: A new target for treatment of depression with psychedelics (2017)
Does psychedelic drug use reduce risk of suicidality? Evidence from a longitudinal community-based cohort of marginalised women in a Canadian setting (2017)
Psychedelic and nonpsychedelic LSD and psilocybin for cluster headache (2016)
Inclusion of people of color in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy: A review of the literature (2018)
The association of psychedelic use and opioid use disorders among illicit users in the United States (2017)
Psychedelic drug use in healthy individuals: A review of benefits, costs, and implications for drug policy (2017)