Unconventional Neuropharmacology

Psychological instability is a prevalent concern in present-day society; however the currently available treatments for a wide array of psychiatric disorders are only minimally effective. Due to the increasing pervasiveness of serious illnesses including depression, anxiety, chronic forms of pain, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, the exploration of other avenues of treatment is necessary [1]. This very problem has solicited renewed interest in the critical examination of unconventional illicit drugs as a potential therapeutic tool to provide individuals with novel treatment options that translate into optimal patient health. Specifically, cannabis, lysergic acid dithylamide (LSD), psilocybin mushrooms, and ketamine play key roles in the neural circuitry responsible for the regulation of psychological well-being thus presenting as a viable potential therapeutic option for individuals who have lacked success with conventional treatments such as antidepressant medications [2].

1. Vollenweirder, F. X. & Kometer, M. The neurobiology of psychedelic drugs: Implications for the treatment of mood disorders. Nature Neurosci. 11, 642-651 (2010).
2. Carhart-Harris, R. L. et al. Implications for psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy: A functional magnetic resonance imaging study with psilocybin. Brit J Psychiat. 200, 238-244 (2012).

Unconventional Neuropharmacology:Cannabis and Lysergic acid dithylamide

main article: Unconventional Neuropharmacology:Cannabis and Lysergic acid dithylamide
author: Hannah Durrwachter

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Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at UCLA and Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at MGH [4]

Psychiatric and physical health is of huge societal concern. This concern should include the best treatment options for the patients that highlight drug treatments of diseases with effective, non-addictive and low side effect causing drugs. Current substances such as oxycontin have become a major street drug problems in many places due to their highly addictive nature whereas other less addictive drugs may be overlooked due to their legality not their effectiveness[1]. With rising numbers of individuals being diagnosed with mental disorders and low treatment affectivity options, it is important to examine other drugs which may increase onset of effect and help patients suffering better their quality of life. Current neuropharmacological options may already exist such as cannabis[3]. This drug has been shown to be a very promising for many illnesses including chronic pain; excitingly it is not addictive and has minimal side effects. Furthermore, Lysergic acid dithylamide (LSD) has also been shown to help with many mental illnesses such as alcoholism [2] . These two drugs have many more potential target treatment options and meta-analyses from the beginning of research into these drugs are readily available and show promising numbers.

1. Hays, Lon R. “A Profile of OxyContin Addiction. (2004). ” Journal of Addictive Diseases 23, no. 4: 1–9.
2. Krebs, Teri S., and Pål Ørjan Johansen. (2012) “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) for Alcoholism: Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Journal of Psychopharmacology
3. Martín-Sánchez, Eva, Toshiaki A. Furukawa, Julian Taylor, and Jose Luis R. Martin. (2009). “Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Cannabis Treatment for Chronic Pain.” Pain Medicine 10, no. 8: 1353–1368

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