This psychedelic drug may treat some mental disorders

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In a new study, researchers found, for the first time, why psychedelic drug lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) can increase social interaction.

The findings could help unlock potential therapeutic applications in treating certain psychiatric diseases, including anxiety and alcohol use disorders.

The research was conducted by a team at McGill University.

Psychedelic drugs, including LSD, were popular in the 1970s and have been gaining popularity over the past decade.

Some young professionals claimed to regularly take small non-hallucinogenic micro-doses of LSD to boost their productivity and creativity and to increase their empathy.

The mechanism of action of LSD on the brain, however, has remained a mystery.

In the study, the team administered a low dose of LSD to mice over a period of seven days, resulting in a big increase in sociability.

They found this increased sociability occurs because the LSD activates the serotonin 5-HT2A receptors and the AMPA receptors—which is a glutamate receptor, the main brain excitatory neurotransmitters—in the prefrontal cortex and also activates a cellular protein called mTORC 1.

The team says LSD may increase the feelings of empathy, including a greater connection to the world and sense of being part of a large community.

They hope to eventually explore whether micro-doses of LSD or some novel derivates may have a similar effect in humans and whether it could also be a viable and safe treatment option.

One author of the study is Danilo De Gregorio, PharmD, Ph.D.

The study is published in PNAS.

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