Psychedelic drugs like psilocybin and ketamine offer promise for treating some mental health conditions
A new collection of lectures from the UC Davis Health 2023 Psychedelic Summit explores the possibilities and limitations of psychedelics to treat anxiety, depression, substance use and post-traumatic stress disorders, among others.
The videos feature some of the top psychedelic researchers in the country. Topics include the history of psychedelic research, microdosing, psilocybin (“magic mushroom”) therapy, neuroplasticity, the neuroscience of psychedelics and more.
“Psychedelics have a unique ability to produce long-lasting changes in the brain that are relevant to treating numerous conditions,” said David E. Olson, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine. Olson is the director of the UC Davis Institute of Psychedelics and Neurotherapeutics. “If we can harness those beneficial properties while engineering molecules that are safer and more scalable, we can help a lot of people.”
Psychedelics have a unique ability to produce long-lasting changes in the brain that are relevant to treating numerous conditions.”
Helen Kales, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, says it is essential to separate the hope from the hype. “Much of what we hear about psychedelics in the popular press is an alarmingly wide range of claims stemming from personal anecdotes rather than rigorous clinical trials. And even in many of the current drug trials, subjects bring a very large amount of treatment expectations into the studies,” Kales said.
She points out that evidence is critical to people who need treatment. “We need to know which treatments produce clinically significant improvements and have acceptable side effects,” Kales said. “Simply put, we need to know which treatment should be used when, in what settings, and with which guardrails.”
Later this year, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Institute for Psychedelics and Neurotherapeutics will launch a new Advanced Psychiatric Therapeutics Clinic in Sacramento. The partnership will allow patients to take part in controlled clinical trials of new therapies, including psychedelics and related compounds. The results of the clinical trials will be used to evaluate whether the new treatments work.
The UC Davis Department for Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Institute for Psychedelics and Neurotherapeutics and Behavioral Health Center of Excellence hosted the Psychedelic Summit. The organizers hope to make it an annual event.
See below for links to individual videos from the summit, or view the entire collection here.
- The Promise of Psychedelics in Medicine
David Lubarsky, UC Davis Health
- Psychedelics and Plasticity-Promoting Neurotherapeutics
David E. Olson, UC Davis
- Neuropsychedelia: From Psychotomimetic to Psychotherapeutics
Mark Geyer, UC San Diego
- Psilocybin Therapy: Current Challenges & Future Prospects
Joshua Wooley, UC San Francisco
- Microdosing: Fact or Fiction?
Harriet De Wit, University of Chicago
- The Cognitive Neuroscience of Psychedelic Drugs
Frederick Streeter Barrett, Johns Hopkins University
- Beyond Psychedelics: Augmenting Mood Enhancing Effects
Dhakshin Ramanathan, UC San Diego
- Probing and Rescuing Dysfunctional Brain Circuits in Depression
Conor Liston, Weill Cornell Medicine