Scientists at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the University of California Davis are planning to screen compounds in an effort to find new non-hallucinogenic treatments for substance-use disorders. This research will be funded by a $2.7 million grant that was awarded to the institutions by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The studies are based on evidence from animal and human tests which suggest that psychedelics possess brain-altering effects that could be beneficial in the treatment of addiction. Prior research has also found that psychedelics rewire some regions in the brain that are involved in post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and depression.
UC Davis associate professor David Olson, from the departments of biochemistry, chemistry and molecular medicine, hopes to find similar effects among compounds that don’t possess the hallucinogenic effects of substances, such as LSD. Olson refers to these compounds as psychoplastogens because they can alter the brain.
The associate professor’s team was the first to show that psychedelic compounds such as ibogaine, MDMA and LSD were especially effective psychoplastogens, which offered a potential explanation as to why these compounds produced sustained therapeutic effects after the administration of one dose.
In an interview, Olson stated that he was excited that the National Institute on Drug Abuse had recognized the potential that psychoplastogens may have for substance-use disorder patients. He noted that the funds awarded would help the researchers understand the mechanisms by which these substances impacted addiction as well as aid in the development of better tolerated and more effective treatments.
Olson’s laboratory has synthesized numerous molecules associated with psychedelics in the search for new drug treatments. One of these molecules, TBG or tabernanthalog, is known to produce both sustained and rapid anti-addictive effects in mice models of alcohol and heroin self-administration.
The researchers plan to use high-throughput screening to test the safety, effectiveness and treatment potential of these compounds, with Olson noting that their studies would include mechanistic research to understand how tabernanthalog impacted addiction as well as how to develop new compounds with psychoplastogenic effects.
Compounds that show promise will be used in additional animal tests, which will be carried out in CU Anschutz.
Olson also founded a startup known as Delix Therapeutics, which is also focused on conducting research on non-hallucinogenic psychoplastogens for the treatment of anxiety, depression and associated disorders. It should be noted that the startup is not involved in the CU Anscutz and UC Davis project.
The government-funded research will be a welcome addition to the privately funded studies undertaken by entities such as Silo Pharma Inc. (OTCQB: SILO) in a bid to advance psychedelic medicine.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Silo Pharma Inc. (OTCQB: SILO) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/SILO
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