Giving Zebrafish Microdoses of LSD Reveals Therapeutic Potential

March 15, 2022 12:57:42

Zebrafish share about 70% of the same genes with humans and roughly 85% of human genes known to be linked to human diseases. This makes them a unique model animal for biomedical research, in addition to being social, which makes them suitable for behavioral research into drug discovery and psychiatric disorders.

Researchers conducting studies on LSD are microdosing zebrafish in an effort to explore potential new treatments for alcohol use disorder and mental illness. Microdosing refers to ingesting small amounts of a psychedelic. It is believed that microdosing improves open-mindedness, sparks creativity and increases productivity.

For their study, the researchers microdosed the zebrafish with LSD then used behavioral neuroscience tests to quantify boldness, locomotion and anxiety-like behavior. They observed no impact on behavior after days of repeated dosing, which may suggest a lack of addictive potential or symptoms of withdrawal, which encourages its clinically viable use in humans.

To ensure that they could test new compounds on this model, the researchers dosed groups of fish by placing them in a dosing tank for an exact period of time to mimic the way an individual may consume alcohol or drugs. This helped refrain from chronic administration of drugs, which doesn’t reflect the accurate consumption patterns of humans.

To do this, they began by testing the fish using a weekly binge-level and moderate daily dose of ethanol, noting a significant difference in preference in location during the withdrawal period in the daily group, in comparison to the controls, which implied neurological changes. They followed this up with a study using smaller doses for shorter periods, where they saw an increase in anxious behavior and reduction in boldness during withdrawal from larger doses.

In humans, having an alcoholic drink can reduce anxiety. The researchers’ zebrafish model was consistent with this. The researchers also looked into the effects of LSD microdosing on alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol harm is a major cause of injury and death, yet rehabilitation and treatment can be time consuming and costly, among other things.

In addition, the researchers plan to study other psychedelics, including psilocin, which is a psychoactive compound found in hallucinogenic mushrooms. This will offer scientific evidence to help determine whether these substances should be used in bigger clinical trials that have human participants.

Currently, however, psilocin and LSD are still restricted substances despite being low risk and nonaddictive. However, as more research is conducted and public perception continues to shift, we may see LSD being used as a treatment for addiction and various mental health conditions.

Many companies, including Cybin Inc. (NYSE American: CYBN) (NEO: CYBN), are also studying other psychedelic compounds such as psilocybin in order to develop treatments for various indications, including mental disorders.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Cybin Inc. (NEO: CYBN) (NYSE American: CYBN) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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