Study Finds Way to Explain LSD’s Potency

September 20, 2021 13:05:05

LSD is among the most potent and longest-lasting psychedelic substances. Until recently, scientists hadn’t fully understood why LSD’s effects lingered for more than 12 hours. However, a study has found that how the drug fits into brain receptors can help explain the drug’s longevity. The study was published in “Cell.”

The study’s senior co-author Bryan Roth stated that many individuals who ingested LSD weren’t aware of how long its effects would last.

For their study, researchers from Roth’s laboratory captured crystallography images of an LSD molecule that was bound to the serotonin receptors in the brain. Crystallography images are images that show how a molecule’s atoms have been arranged. They discovered that a portion of the receptor protein had encapsulated the LSD molecule, sealing it in. This was in addition to observing that the drug’s molecule had been wedged into the binding pocket of the receptor at an angle. Roth, who has specialized in pharmacology, stated that once LSD got into the receptor, the drug became trapped and couldn’t get out.

This discovery explains why acid trips may last a whole day even though LSD molecules clear from the bloodstream in a few hours and its doses are usually small. On average, an LSD dose is about 100 micrograms.

The researchers note that understanding the mechanism of LSD’s long-lasting and potent actions may assist drug developers in designing more efficacious psychiatric drugs with fewer side effects.

Estimates show that roughly one in every ten Americans have consumed LSD at some point in their lives. Data also shows that most individuals are consuming LSD in small doses, which don’t cause hallucinations, with the objective being to counter depression and boost creativity.

The team of researchers also found that tiny LSD doses affected receptor signaling after exposing live cells to microdoses of the substance. This means that the study’s results could be helpful to scientists and enable them to find ways in which microdosing on LSD could work.

The scientists insist that they are not advocating for the use of LSD, as it is a potentially dangerous and illegal substance. However, its impact on pop culture and its potential medical applications justify an understanding of the drug’s mode of action and how they can be altered.

The study was supported by the Michael Hooker Distinguished Chair of Pharmacology, a Terman Faculty Fellowship, the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institutes of Health.

LSD isn’t the only psychedelic attracting the attention of the scientific community. Other psychedelics such as DMT, psilocybin and MDMA are being studied by companies such as Cybin Inc. (NYSE American: CYBN) (NEO: CYBN) with a view to developing therapeutic formulations that can be approved by the FDA and other regulators.

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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