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Papers of the Week

Papers: 27 May 2023 - 2 Jun 2023


2023 May 27



Psychedelics: Threshold of a Therapeutic Revolution.


Heal DJ, Smith SL, Belouin SJ, Henningfield JE


This Special Issue of Neuropharmacology on psychedelics provides a timely and comprehensive update on progress following the previous Neuropharmacology Special Issue “Psychedelics: New Doors, Altered Perceptions”. Remarkable advances have been made in basic and clinical research on psychedelics in the five years since 2018. It is partly based on the seminar series focused on psilocybin organized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA from April to June 2021, the “NIH Psilocybin Research Speaker Series”. Participants were world leading experts, including scientists, medical practitioners, clinical psychologists and oncologists, and attendees from additional disciplines of patient advocacy, law, government science policy and regulatory policy. To provide a global perspective, their contributions are complemented with reviews by some of the world’s most eminent scientists in the field. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted two breakthrough therapy designations for psilocybin in treatment resistant depression (TRD) in 2018 and major depressive disorder (MDD) in 2019, as well as for MDMA for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in 2017. Clinical trials are in progress to assess the therapeutic value of psilocybin in MDD and TRD, and in other indications such as cancer-related anxiety and depression, anorexia, PTSD, substance use disorders and various types of chronic pain. The contributors’ insights should assist basic and applied science for transition of psychedelics from bench to potential mainstream therapies. The implications are global, because FDA approval of these new medicines will increase international interest and efforts.