Psychedelic research has seen a significant surge in the past few years amid increased interest in psychedelics among the scientific community and the general public. Companies like Mind Medicine (NASDAQ: MNMD) (NEO: MMED) (DE: MMQ) are developing psychedelic-inspired medicines and therapies to address addiction and mental health disorders. Studies have found that psychedelics have potential as alternative treatments for mental health conditions such as major depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”).
Researchers have stepped up their efforts to study the potential benefits of psychedelics. New research has uncovered a possible link between lysergic acid diethylamide, or “LSD” and increased memory performance.
The research findings reported in the Experimental Neurology journal indicate that LSD, possesses nootropic properties, meaning it has the potential to enhance cognitive performance by increasing mental functions such as attention, creativity, motivation, and memory.
Although initial research has found that psychedelics can be effective treatments for various mental health disorders, we still do not understand the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms that make psychedelics effective.
Building on studies that indicate neuroplasticity and neurogenesis might be the mechanisms behind the therapeutic effectiveness of psychedelics, researchers from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte are working to determine if they could harness this neuroplasticity to develop LSD treatments capable of enhancing learning and memory.
The author of the study, a professor at Rio Grande do Nortes Brain Institute, Professor Sidarta Ribeiro, has spent the majority of his career studying the neural plasticity mechanisms that are associated with the cognitive benefits of dreaming and sleeping. Over the past ten years, he has become increasingly interested in how psychedelics can induce dream-like states that have significant cognitive impacts.
Riberio and his colleagues investigated the effects of LSD at the cellular level via artificially created brain-like structures that are from pluripotent stem cells, and discovered that the psychedelic substance has the ability to affect biological processes such as mTOR signaling, DNA replication and neural pathfinding.
All of these processes play a role in neural plasticity. In simple terms, neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to change, modify and adapt its structure and functions throughout its life due to experience.
The study authors wrote that participants who received an LSD dose performed better on memory tests the day after than compared to those who took a placebo. They acknowledged that while this was the first research to provide evidence of LSD’s memory-enhancing abilities, the effects of the LSD weren’t as potent and could be caused by “the single, relatively low dose applied.”
The researchers also said that we would need more research to determine how age, gender and context differences could affect the memory-enhancing effects of LSD.
LSD isn’t the only psychedelic compound attracting attention from the research community. Entities such as Cybin Inc. (NYSE American: CYBN) (NEO: CYBN) are also heavily invested in progressing their psilocybin and N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, or “DMT” drug-development programs to the level of obtaining FDA approval for those formulations so that mental health care evolves.
Cybin’s lead investigational molecule, CYB003, is a deuterated psilocybin analog derived from psilocybin, which is part of a family of molecules called indolamines that includes more common neurotransmitters, such as serotonin. CYB003 has the potential to effectively treat major depressive disorder (“MDD”) and alcohol use disorder (“AUD”) and is currently being evaluated in a phase 1/2a clinical trial.
The resurgence of research into these molecules has the potential to offer new treatment options for a variety of mental health disorders. Over the next few years, the findings from these studies could shape a new way of treating mental healthcare.
This latest discovery is one of many significant breakthroughs in psychedelics. Investors will be watching the sector closely.
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 https://ibn.fm/CYBN
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