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Psychedelic Medicines in Major Depression: Progress and Future Challenges

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The volume of research on the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs has been increasing during the last decades. Partly because of the need of innovative treatments in psychiatry, several studies have assessed the safety and efficacy of drugs like psilocybin or ayahuasca for a wide range of mental disorders, including major depression. The first section of this chapter will offer an introduction to psychedelic research, including a brief historical overview and discussions about appropriate terminology. In the second section, the recently published clinical trials in which psychedelic drugs were administered to patients will be analysed in detail. Then, in the third section, the main neurobiological mechanisms of these drugs will be described, noting that while some of these mechanisms could be potentially associated with their therapeutic properties, they are commonly used as adjuvants in psychotherapeutic processes. The last section suggests future challenges for this groundbreaking field of research and therapy.

Bouso, J. C., Ona, G., Dos Santos, R. G., & Hallak, J. (2021). Psychedelic Medicines in Major Depression: Progress and Future Challenges. Advances in experimental medicine and biology, 1305, 515–533.

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