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Summer Speaker Series: Sub-hallucinogenic Doses of Psychedelics May Offer New Treatments for Depression, Related Disorders

June 1, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

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Psychedelic drugs could treat mental illness by rapidly rebuilding connections between nerve cells. New findings (published Feb. 17, 2023 in Science) from researchers at the UC Davis Institute for Psychedelics and Neurotherapeutics will help guide efforts to discover new drugs for depression, PTSD and other disorders. Drugs such as LSD, MDMA and psilocybin show great promise for treating a wide range of mental disorders that are characterized by a loss of neural connections. In laboratory studies, a single dose of these drugs can cause rapid growth of new dendrites — branches — from nerve cells, and formation of new spines on those dendrites. David Olson, director of the newly formed UC Davis Institute for Psychedelics and Neurotherapeutics, calls this group of drugs “psychoplastogens” because of their ability to regrow and remodel connections in the brain.

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