OPEN Foundation

Day: 1 January 2017

The Iboga Alkaloids

Abstract

Iboga alkaloids are a particular class of indolomonoterpenes most often characterized by an isoquinuclidine nucleus. Their first occurrence was detected in the roots of Tabernanthe iboga, a sacred plant to the people of Gabon, which made it cult object. Ibogaine is the main representative of this class of alkaloids and its psychoactive properties are well documented. It has been proposed as a drug cessation treatment and has a wide range of activities in targeting opioids, cocaine, and alcohol. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a background on this molecule and related compounds and to update knowledge on the most recent advances made. Difficulties linked to the status of ibogaine as a drug in several countries have hampered its development, but 18-methoxycoronaridine is currently under evaluation for the same purposes and for the treatment of leishmaniasis. The chapter is divided into six parts: an introduction aiming at defining what is called an iboga alkaloid, and this is followed by current knowledge on their biosynthesis, which unfortunately remains a “black box” as far as the key construction step is concerned. Many of these alkaloids are still being discovered and the third and fourth parts of the chapter discuss the analytical tools in use for this purpose and give lists of new monomeric and dimeric alkaloids belonging to this class. When necessary, the structures are discussed especially with regard to absolute configuration determinations, which remain a point of weakness in their assignments. Part V gives an account of progress made in the synthesis, partial and total, which the authors believe is key to providing solid solutions to the industrial development of the most promising molecules. The last part of the chapter is devoted to the biological properties of iboga alkaloids, with particular emphasis on ibogaine and 18-methoxycoronaridine.

Lavaud, C., & Massiot, G. (2017). The Iboga Alkaloids. In Progress in the Chemistry of Organic Natural Products 105 (pp. 89-136). Springer International Publishing. 10.1007/978-3-319-49712-9_2
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Ketamine for the treatment of major depressive disorder and bipolar depression: A review of the literature

Abstract

Introduction: Over the past decade, ketamine has been studied for major depressive disorder and bipolar depression. Ketamine is believed to exert its antidepressant properties through N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonism.

Methods: Study authors completed a literature review of seven randomized controlled trials of ketamine usage in major depressive disorder and bipolar depression.

Results: Ketamine demonstrated a statistically significant improvement over placebo or midazolam in major depressive disorder. Ketamine also exhibited a statistically significant improvement over placebo in bipolar depression.

Discussion: Ketamine has shown promise in quickly reducing symptoms in patients with treatment resistant depression and bipolar depression. Using ketamine may be helpful for patients that have exhausted other therapeutic options.

Grady, S. E., Marsh, T. A., Tenhouse, A., & Klein, K. (2017). Ketamine for the treatment of major depressive disorder and bipolar depression: A review of the literature. Mental Health Clinician, 7(1), 16-23. 10.9740/mhc.2017.01.016

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Ayahuasca: An ancient sacrament for treatment of contemporary psychiatric illness?

Abstract

Ayahuasca is a traditional psychoactive sacrament that’s been used in Amazonian shamanic rituals for hundreds of years. Ayahuasca is notorious for its psychedelic properties produced from the combination of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) found in the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and N-N-dimethyltryptamine from Psychotria viridis or Diplopterys cabrerana. Recently, ritual use of ayahuasca has increased and garnered attention for its potential in treating mental illnesses, such as substance use and depressive disorders. Due to its MAOI properties, there are serious drug interactions that may be of concern among patients who participate in ayahuasca use. The objectives of this paper are to describe ayahuasca’s pharmacology, potential drug interactions, and clinical data for its treatment potential in psychiatric illness.

Malcolm, B. J., & Lee, K. C. (2017). Ayahuasca: An ancient sacrament for treatment of contemporary psychiatric illness?. Mental Health Clinician, 7(1), 39-45. 10.9740/mhc.2017.01.039

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Clinical potential of psilocybin as a treatment for mental health conditions

Abstract

Psilocybin, a classic hallucinogen, is a chemical produced by more than 100 species of mushrooms worldwide. It has high affinity for several serotonin receptors, including 5-HT1A, 5-HT2A, and 5-HT2C, located in numerous areas of the brain, including the cerebral cortex and thalamus. With legislation introduced in 1992, more work is being done to further understand the implications of psilocybin use in a number of disease states. Certain mental health disease states and symptoms have been studied, including depressed mood, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, alcohol use disorder, and tobacco use disorder. This article provides an in-depth review of the study design and results of psilocybin in each of these conditions and discusses the clinical potential for use.

Daniel, J., & Haberman, M. (2017). Clinical potential of psilocybin as a treatment for mental health conditions. Mental Health Clinician, 7(1), 24-28. 10.9740/mhc.2017.01.024

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Treating drug dependence with the aid of ibogaine: A qualitative study

Abstract

Background: Substance use disorders are important contributors to the global burden of disease, but current treatments are not associated with high rates of recovery. The lack of approved and effective treatments is acutely problematic for psychostimulants like cocaine and crack cocaine. One promising alternative in the treatment of drug dependence in general and psychostimulants in particular is the use of the psychedelic alkaloid ibogaine combined with psychotherapy. This was recently shown to induce prolonged periods of abstinence in polydrug users, including psychostimulants. However, drug dependence treatments cannot be comprehensively evaluated with reductions in consumption alone, with current recommendations including secondary outcome measures like craving, family and social relationship, quality of life, and self-efficacy.

Methods: We therefore employed a directed approach to qualitative content analysis to evaluate the outcomes of a treatment combining ibogaine with cognitive-behavioral therapy based on data gathered from patient’s reports obtained in semi-structured interviews.

Main findings: The results revealed that patients benefited from the treatment in all the secondary outcomes, reporting decreases in craving and improvements in personal relationships, quality of life, and self-efficacy, thus supporting existing notions that treatments combining ibogaine and psychotherapy do have a therapeutic potential in the treatment of substance use disorders.

Schenberg, E. E., de Castro Comis, M. A., Alexandre, J. F. M., Chaves, B. D. R., Tófoli, L. F., & da Silveira, D. X. (2016). Treating drug dependence with the aid of ibogaine: A qualitative study. Journal of Psychedelic Studies, (0), 1-10. 10.1556/2054.01.2016.002

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Ketamine Mechanism of Action: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

Abstract

(R,S)-ketamine (ketamine) exerts rapid (within hours) and robust (>60% response) antidepressant effects in severely ill-depressed patients who have failed conventional treatments (Zarate et al, 2006). This clinical finding has been paradigm-shifting as there is now tremendous hope that very ill-depressed patients can be treated in a matter of hours, rather than many weeks or months required for standard therapies to take effect (if they do at all).

Gould, T. D., Zanos, P., & Zarate, C. A. (2017). Ketamine Mechanism of Action: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff. Neuropsychopharmacology, 42(1), 368-369. 10.1038/npp.2016.210
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Constructing drug effects: A history of set and setting

Set and setting is a term which refers to the psychological, social, and cultural parameters which shape the response to psychedelic drugs. The concept is considered fundamental to psychedelic research and has also been used to describe nonpharmacological factors which shape the effects of other agents such as alcohol, heroin, amphetamines, or cocaine. This paper reviews the history and evolution of the concept of set and setting from the 19th-century Parisian Club des Hashischins, through to 1950s psychotomimetic research on nondrug determinants of psychopharmacology, the use of extra-drug techniques by psychedelic therapists of the 1950s, and the invention of the concept of set and setting by Leary. Later developments and expansions on the concept of set and setting are discussed, and the term of collective set and setting is suggested as a theoretical tool to describe the social forces which shape individual set and setting situations. The concept of set and setting, it is argued, is crucial not only for psychedelic research but also for advancing drug research and developing more effective drug policy.
Hartogsohn, I. (2017). Constructing drug effects: A history of set and setting. Drug Science, Policy and Law3, 2050324516683325.
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Acute Effects of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide on Circulating Steroid Levels in Healthy Subjects

Abstract

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a serotonin 5-hydroxytryptamine-2A (5-HT2A ) receptor agonist that is used recreationally worldwide. Interest in LSD research in humans waned after the 1970s, although the use of LSD in psychiatric research and practice has recently gained increasing attention. LSD produces pronounced acute psychedelic effects, although its influence on plasma steroid levels over time has not yet been characterised in humans. The effects of LSD (200 μg) or placebo on plasma steroid levels were investigated in 16 healthy subjects using a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study design. Plasma concentration-time profiles were determined for 15 steroids using liquid-chromatography tandem mass-spectrometry. LSD increased plasma concentrations of the glucocorticoids cortisol, cortisone, corticosterone and 11-dehydrocorticosterone compared to placebo. The mean maximum concentration of LSD was reached at 1.7 h. Mean peak psychedelic effects were reached at 2.4 h, with significant alterations in mental state from 0.5 h to > 10 h. Mean maximal concentrations of cortisol and corticosterone were reached at 2.5 h and 1.9 h, and significant elevations were observed 1.5-6 h and 1-3 h after drug administration, respectively. LSD also significantly increased plasma concentrations of the androgen dehydroepiandrosterone but not other androgens, progestogens or mineralocorticoids compared to placebo. A close relationship was found between plasma LSD concentrations and changes in plasma cortisol and corticosterone and the psychotropic response to LSD, and no clockwise hysteresis was observed. In conclusion, LSD produces significant acute effects on circulating steroids, especially glucocorticoids. LSD-induced changes in circulating glucocorticoids were associated with plasma LSD concentrations over time and showed no acute pharmacological tolerance.

Strajhar, P., Schmid, Y., Liakoni, E., Dolder, P. C., Rentsch, K. M., Kratschmar, D. V., … & Liechti, M. E. (2016). Acute Effects of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide on Circulating Steroid Levels in Healthy Subjects. Journal of neuroendocrinology, 28(3). 10.1111/jne.12374
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Possible role of biochemiluminescent photons for lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)-induced phosphenes and visual hallucinations

Abstract

Today, there is an increased interest in research on lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) because it may offer new opportunities in psychotherapy under controlled settings. The more we know about how a drug works in the brain, the more opportunities there will be to exploit it in medicine. Here, based on our previously published papers and investigations, we suggest that LSD-induced visual hallucinations/phosphenes may be due to the transient enhancement of bioluminescent photons in the early retinotopic visual system in blind as well as healthy people.
Kapócs, G., Scholkmann, F., Salari, V., Császár, N., Szőke, H., & Bókkon, I. (2017). Possible role of biochemiluminescent photons for lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)-induced phosphenes and visual hallucinations. Reviews in the Neurosciences28(1), 77-86. 10.1515/revneuro-2016-0047
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