Scientists Find Psychedelic-Like Drug For Depression And PTSD Treatment Without The “Trip”

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The news has been ablaze recently about how certain drugs normally used for recreation, mostly hallucinogenic ones, are being used to treat a number of mental issues like PTSD, as well as depression and anxiety in cancer patients.

Meanwhile, there’s a new type of “wonder drug,” a type of psychedelic-like drug – except it doesn’t have the usual hallucinogenic properties that cause a “trip.” The hope is to use this novel drug to also treat post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Psychedelics have been used in a number of studies and have shown incredible promise when it comes to treating a variety of mental illnesses. And recently, scientists have managed to discover which compound of these mild-altering drugs is the one that actually imparts the positive effects.

The US research team share that the compound is called AAZ-A-154, which has the possibility to mend the chemical pathways within the brain.

A chemist at the University of California and co-author of the study, Dr. David Olsen, shared, “One of the problems with psychedelic therapies is they require close guidance and supervision from a medical team… A drug that doesn’t cause hallucinations could be taken at home.”

In an experiment, researchers used a psychLight, which is a fluorescent sensor. It managed to show how the new drug triggered a gene that creates serotonin, which is simply explained as the hormone that makes the body feel good.  As reference, medications such as Prozac, which is the most common of antidepressants, works by activating the serotonin 2A receptor.

Published in the Cell journal, what the study discovered that ‘there is no hallucinogenic impact of AAZ-A-154, which also means that individuals don’t need to undergo an unpleasant comedown, or otherwise withdrawal from the drug.

According to the experts, they feel that these psychedelic drugs encourage neural plasticity, which actually permits the brain to rewire itself. There is also a chance that through this study, it could be found that the medication could work in just one dose or possibly, a small number of doses instead of patients needing to take medication continuously or even, indefinitely.

An estimated one billion people from all around the world reportedly suffer from a mental illness. In fact, depression is considered the most common of all mental illnesses, affecting at least 250 million individuals. However, many worry about the use of psychedelics and the type of “trip” they could experience, explaining that there are so many health and ethical concerns over the use of such drugs for treatment.

Some scientists explain that past research has demonstrated how psilocybin, better known as “magic mushrooms,” managed to reduce many symptoms quickly, but the side effects that occur from their use could also be detrimental.

Although the research shows that the AAZ-A-154 lacks the usual “trip” that comes with this type of drug, there are still further studies and research that need to be done in order to fully support its use.