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Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2017 Nov;38(11):992-1005. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2017 Sep 22.

Psychedelic Drugs in Biomedicine.

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College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA. Electronic address:
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.
Institute of Translational Biomedicine (ITBM), St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg 199034, Russia; Skolkovo Institute of Technology (Skoltech), Skolkovo, Russia.
Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.
School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Southwest University, Chongqing, 40071, China; Research Institute for Marine Drugs and Nutrition, Guangdong Ocean University, Zhanjiang, 524025, China; ZENEREI Institute, 309 Palmer Court, Slidell, LA 70458, USA; Laboratory of Biological Psychiatry, ITBM, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg 199034, Russia; Ural Federal University, Ekaterinburg, 620002, Russia. Electronic address:


Psychedelic drugs, such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), mescaline, and psilocybin, exert profound effects on brain and behavior. After decades of difficulties in studying these compounds, psychedelics are again being tested as potential treatments for intractable biomedical disorders. Preclinical research of psychedelics complements human neuroimaging studies and pilot clinical trials, suggesting these compounds as promising treatments for addiction, depression, anxiety, and other conditions. However, many questions regarding the mechanisms of action, safety, and efficacy of psychedelics remain. Here, we summarize recent preclinical and clinical data in this field, discuss their pharmacological mechanisms of action, and outline critical areas for future studies of psychedelic drugs, with the goal of maximizing the potential benefits of translational psychedelic biomedicine to patients.


hallucinogens; medicine; preclinical models; psychedelics; psychiatry; serotonin

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