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Research

This research page contains studies that pertain to Entheogenic Plant & Fungi. It is organized by General entheogens, Psilocybin Mushrooms, Ayahuasca, Cacti Containing Mescaline, and Ibogaine

 
General Entheogenic Plant & Fungi

Psychedelics Promote Structural and Functional Neural Plasticity

Atrophy of neurons in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays a key role in the pathophysiology of depression and related disorders. The ability to promote both structural and functional plasticity in the PFC has been hypothesized to underlie the fast-acting antidepressant properties of the dissociative anesthetic ketamine. Here, we report that, like ketamine, serotonergic psychedelics are capable of robustly increasing neuritogenesis and/or spinogenesis both. . .

Plant-based psychedelics, such as psilocybin, have an ancient history of medicinal use. After the first English language report on LSD in 1950, psychedelics enjoyed a short-lived relationship with psychology and psychiatry. Used most notably as aids to psychotherapy for the treatment of mood disorders and alcohol dependence...

Psychedelics not linked to mental health problems or suicidal behavior: A population study

A recent large population study of 130,000 adults in the United States failed to find evidence for a link between psychedelic use (lysergic acid diethylamide, psilocybin or mescaline) and mental health problems. Using a new data set consisting of 135,095 randomly selected United States adults, including 19,299 psychedelic users, we examine the associations between psychedelic use and mental health. After adjusting for sociodemographics, other drug use and childhood depression, we found no significant associations between lifetime use of psychedelics and increased likelihood of past year serious psychological distress...

Over 30 million psychedelic users in the United States

We estimated lifetime prevalence of psychedelic use (lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), mescaline, and peyote) by age category using data from a 2010 US population survey of 57,873 individuals aged 12 years and older. There were approximately 32 million lifetime psychedelic users in the US in 2010; including 17% of people aged 21 to 64 years (22% of males and 12% of females). Rate of lifetime psychedelic use was greatest among people aged 30 to 34 (total 20%, including 26% of males and 15% of females)...

Psychedelics

Two small pilot studies of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy also have shown positive benefit in treating both alcohol and nicotine addiction...

The Meaning-Enhancing Properties of Psychedelics and Their Mediator Role in Psychedelic Therapy, Spirituality, and Creativity

The Use of Amazonian Shamanism to Rehabilitate Drug Addicts

Anthropological, psychological, and phytochemical studies demonstrate that it can be effectively used in the treatment of chemical dependencies and psychopathology...

Antidepressive, anxiolytic, and antiaddictive effects of ayahuasca, psilocybin and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD): a systematic review of clinical trials published in the last 25 years

To date, pharmacological treatments for mood and anxiety disorders and for drug dependence show limited efficacy, leaving a large number of patients suffering severe and persistent symptoms. Preliminary studies in animals and humans suggest that ayahuasca, psilocybin and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) may have antidepressive, anxiolytic, and antiaddictive properties

Hallucinogen use and intimate partner violence: Prospective evidence consistent with protective effects among men with histories of problematic substance use

To date, pharmacological treatments for mood and anxiety disorders and for drug dependence show limited efficacy, leaving a large number of patients suffering severe and persistent symptoms. Preliminary studies in animals and humans suggest that ayahuasca, psilocybin and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) may have antidepressive, anxiolytic, and antiaddictive properties

Psychedelics as Medicines:

An Emerging New Paradigm

Scientific interest in serotonergic psychedelics (e.g., psilocybin and LSD; 5-HT2A receptor agonists) has dramatically increased within the last decade. Clinical studies administering psychedelics with psychotherapy have shown preliminary evidence of robust efficacy in treating anxiety and depression, as well as addiction to tobacco and alcohol. Moreover, recent research has suggested that these compounds have potential efficacy against inflammatory diseases...

Psychedelics as Medicines for Substance Abuse Rehabilitation: Evaluating Treatments with LSD, Peyote, Ibogaine and Ayahuasca

Substances known as psychedelics, hallucinogens and entheogens have been employed in ethnomedical traditions for thousands of years, but after promising uses in the 1950’s and 1960’s they were largely prohibited in medical treatment and human research starting in the 1970’s as part of the fallout from the war on drugs...

People of color in North America report improvements in racial trauma and mental health symptoms following psychedelic experiences

This study examined how psychedelics reduced symptoms of racial trauma among black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) subsequent to an experience of racism. 

Reviewing the Potential of Psychedelics for the Treatment of PTSD

There are few medications with demonstrated efficacy for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Treatment guidelines have unequivocally designated psychotherapy as a first line treatment for PTSD. Yet, even after psychotherapy, PTSD often remains a chronic illness, with high rates of psychiatric and medical comorbidity. Meanwhile, the search for and development of drugs with new mechanisms of action has stalled. Therefore, there is an urgent need to explore not just novel compounds but novel approaches for the treatment of PTSD. A promising new approach involves the use of psychedelic drugs...

Therapeutic effects of classic serotonergic psychedelics: A systematic review of modern-era clinical studies

We estimated lifetime prevalence of psychedelic use (lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), mescaline, and peyote) by age category using data from a 2010 US population survey of 57,873 individuals aged 12 years and older. There were approximately 32 million lifetime psychedelic users in the US in 2010; including 17% of people aged 21 to 64 years (22% of males and 12% of females). Rate of lifetime psychedelic use was greatest among people aged 30 to 34 (total 20%, including 26% of males and 15% of females).

In Brazil, some Inmates get Therapy with Hallucinogenic Tea

“I’m finally realizing I was on the wrong path in this life,” said Celmiro de Almeida, 36, who is serving a sentence for homicide at a prison four hours away on a road that winds through the jungle. “Each experience helps me communicate with my victim to beg for forgiveness,” said Mr. de Almeida, who has taken ayahuasca nearly 20 times at the sanctuary here.

Chemical evidence for the use of multiple psychotropic plants in a 1,000-year-old ritual bundle from South America

Substances known as psychedelics, hallucinogens and entheogens have been employed in ethnomedical traditions for thousands of years, but after promising uses in the 1950’s and 1960’s they were largely prohibited in medical treatment and human research starting in the 1970’s as part of the fallout from the war on drugs. Nonetheless, there are a number of studies which suggest that these substances have potential applications in the treatment of addictions.

Psycho-existential distress in cancer patients: A return to “entheogens”

The palliation of clinically significant psychological and existen- tial distress in cancer patients remains a challenging problem. Cancer patients have a higher prevalence of anxiety and depression...

Given that many individuals in the criminal justice system engage in problematic patterns of substance use, hallucinogen treatments also may benefit criminal justice populations...

The Therapeutic Potential of Psychedelic Drugs: Past, Present, and Future

 This paper examines the existing evidence for the meaning-enhancing properties of psychedelics, and argues that the tendency of these agents to enhance the perception of significance offers valuable clues to explaining their reported ability to stimulate a variety of therapeutic processes, enhance creativity, and instigate mystical-type experiences.

Hallucinogen use predicts reduced recidivism among substance-involved offenders under community corrections supervision

 
Psilocybin Mushrooms
(entheogenic mushrooms)

Psilocybin produces substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer: A randomized double-blind trial

Cancer patients often develop chronic, clinically significant symptoms of depression and anxiety. Previous studies suggest that psilocybin may decrease depression and anxiety in cancer patients. The effects of psilocybin were studied in 51 cancer patients with life-threatening diagnoses and symptoms of depression and/or anxiety...

Pilot Study of Psilocybin Treatment for Anxiety in Patients With Advanced-Stage Cancer

In one recent study, 36 healthy volunteers received a high dose (30 mg/70 kg) of psilocybin with no sustained deleterious physiological or psychological effects. The investigators corroborated previous findings that psilocybin could reliably catalyze mystical experiences leading to significant and lasting improvements in quality of life...

Mystical-type experiences occasioned by psilocybin mediate the attribution of personal meaning and spiritual significance 14 months later

Psilocybin has been used for centuries for religious purposes; however little is known scientifically about its long-term effects...At the 14-month follow-up, 58% and 67%, respectively, of volunteers rated the psilocybin-occasioned experience as being among the five most personally meaningful and among the five most spiritually significant experiences of their lives...

Conclusion: These results suggest that in the context of a structured treatment program, psilocybin holds considerable promise in promoting long-term smoking abstinence. The present study adds to recent and historical evidence suggesting high success rates when using classic psychedelics in the treatment of addiction.

Psilocybin and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Long-term follow-up of psilocybin-facilitated smoking cessation

 

Psilocybin-assisted treatment for alcohol dependence: A proof-of-concept study

Several lines of evidence suggest that classic (5HT2A agonist) hallucinogens have clinically relevant effects in alcohol and drug addiction...

...we feel that the successful use of this agent highlights the role of serotonergic factors in OCD and the need for further, legitimate research into the value of psilocybin in the treatment of anxiety disorders...

 
Ayahuasca

Antidepressant effects of a single dose of ayahuasca in patients with recurrent depression: a preliminary report

Statistically significant reductions of up to 82% in depressive scores were observed between baseline and 1, 7, and 21 days after AYA administration, as measured on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression...

Ayahuasca as a Candidate Therapy for PTSD

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a syndrome that affects a substantial portion of both the civilian and military populations, and is often underdiagnosed due to complications with delayed onset and co-occurring psychiatric disorders. The prevalence of this devastating disorder is growing as more people come forward with traumatic events in their past. It is crucial that we develop a more comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic framework for PTSD...

The Therapeutic Potentials of Ayahuasca in the Treatment of Depression

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is generally classified as a mood disorder with a profound effect on the individual’s behavior and quality of life. According to the World Health Organization, in about 20 years, depression will be the disorder with the most significant repercussions, both socially and economically. Despite the substantial progress in the development of new antidepressants, their effectiveness remains low, with remission of about 50 % after a single regime of treatment...

Ayahuasca’s entwined efficacy: An ethnographic study of ritual healing from ‘addiction’

A range of studies has demonstrated the efficacy of the psychoactive Amazonian brew ayahuasca in addressing substance addiction...

Ayahuasca as Antidepressant? Psychedelics and Styles of Reasoning in Psychiatry

There is a growing interest among scientists and the lay public alike in using the South American psychedelic brew, ayahuasca, to treat psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety...The article concludes by suggesting ways in which conventional psychiatry's dominant style of reasoning about psychedelic modified states of consciousness could be reconsidered...

Ayahuasca-Assisted Therapy for Addiction: Results from a Preliminary Observational Study in Canada

This form of ayahuasca-assisted therapy appears to be associated with statistically significant improvements in several factors related to problematic substance use...

Ayahuasca enhances creative divergent thinking while decreasing conventional convergent thinking

The present data indicate that ayahuasca enhances creative divergent thinking. They suggest that ayahuasca increases psychological flexibility, which may facilitate psychotherapeutic interventions and support clinical trial initiatives...

The therapeutic effects of the Amazonian plant tea ayahuasca may relate to its 
ability to enhance mindfulness capacities...

A Study of Ayahuasca Use in North America

...data revealed that ayahuasca users reduced their alcohol intake, ate healthier diets, enjoyed improved mood and greater self-acceptance and felt more loving and compassionate in their relationships...

Hypotheses regarding the mechanisms of ayahuasca in the treatment of addictions

...data revealed that ayahuasca users reduced their alcohol intake, ate healthier diets, enjoyed improved mood and greater self-acceptance and felt more loving and compassionate in their relationships...

Therapeutic effects of ritual ayahuasca use in the treatment of substance dependence--qualitative results

Findings indicate that ayahuasca can serve as a valuable therapeutic tool that, in carefully structured settings, can catalyze neurobiological and psychological processes that support recovery from substance dependencies and the prevention of relapse...

Therapeutic effects of ritual ayahuasca use in the treatment of substance dependence--qualitative results

Findings indicate that ayahuasca can serve as a valuable therapeutic tool that, in carefully structured settings, can catalyze neurobiological and psychological processes that support recovery from substance dependencies and the prevention of relapse...

Cacti​ Containing Mescaline 
 

Shamanism and San Pedro through Time: Some Notes on the Archaeology, History, and Continued Use of an Entheogen in Northern Peru

(This paper) closes by suggesting that the more than 2000 year time-depth of using this plant as a means for accessing the realms of Spirit and as a tool for healing should serve to challenge the unfortunate tendency in the contemporary United States to consider this plant as a “recreational drug.”

Prehistoric peyote use: Alkaloid analysis and radiocarbon dating of archaeological specimens of Lophophora from Texas

The two peyote samples appear to be the oldest plant drug ever to yield a major bioactive compound upon chemical analysis. The identification of mescaline strengthens the evidence that native North Americans recognized the psychotropic properties of peyote as long as 5700 years ago.

Navajo Peyote Use: Its Apparent Safety

An American Indian religion uses significant quantities of peyote, a hallucinogenic plant containing mescaline...

The Legal Bases for Religious Peyote Use

religious peyote use dates back several millennia (Schultes & Hofmann, 1992)...

 
Ibogaine

Treatment of Acute Opioid Withdrawal with Ibogaine

Ibogaine is an alkaloid with putative effect in acute opioid withdrawal...

Treatment of opioid use disorder with ibogaine: detoxification and drug use outcomes

...ibogaine appeared to have a substantive treatment effect in opioid detoxification...

Considering the necessity of new drugs that may produce fast-acting and sustained effects in opiate/opioid and cocaine dependence, the potential beneficial effects of ibogaine/noribogaine should be further investigated in controlled trials.

Ibogaine is a naturally occurring hallucinogenic alkaloid with a therapeutic potential for reducing drug craving and withdrawal. To the best of our knowledge, no systematic review was previously performed assessing these effects. Thus, we conducted a systematic literature review of human studies assessing the antiaddictive effects of ibogaine...

Conclusion: Ibogaine was associated with substantive effects on opioid withdrawal symptoms and drug use in subjects for whom other treatments had been unsuccessful, and may provide a useful prototype for discovery and development of innovative pharmacotherapy of addiction...

Ibogaine in the Treatment of Substance Dependence

This article reviews the history of ibogaine’s use in the treatment of drug addiction...

The iboga enigma: the chemistry and neuropharmacology of iboga alkaloids and related analogs

Few classes of natural products have inspired as many chemists and biologists as have the iboga alkaloids...

Treatment of opioid use disorder with ibogaine: detoxification and drug use outcomes

Considering the necessity of new drugs that may produce fast-acting and sustained effects in opiate/opioid and cocaine dependence, the potential beneficial effects of ibogaine/noribogaine should be further investigated in controlled trials.

Ibogaine in the Treatment of Substance Dependence

Ibogaine is a psychoactive alkaloid derived from Tabernanthe iboga, a plant used in initiatory rituals in West Central Africa. Largely because of ibogaine’s status as a Schedule I substance in the U.S., the development of ibogaine’s use in the treatment of drug addiction took place outside conventional clinical and medical settings...

18-Methoxycoronaridine (18-MC), a novel iboga alkaloid congener that decreases drug self-administration in several animal models, may be a potential treatment for multiple forms of drug abuse...and 18-MC might be the first of a new class of synthetic agents acting via this novel mechanism and having a broad spectrum of activity.