OPEN Foundation

G. Ona

Polypharmacology or “Pharmacological Promiscuity” In Psychedelic Research: What Are We Missing?

Abstract

Research with psychedelic drugs has mainly focused on isolated compounds. However, this approach is challenged by the “polypharmacology” paradigm. In this Viewpoint, we suggest that we may be missing something if we do not use the whole product in the case of ayahuasca or Psilocybe mushrooms. After describing how research on psychedelic drugs can be effectively combined with the polypharmacology paradigm, ethical issues are also briefly discussed.

Ona, G. S., Dos Santos, R. G., Hallak, J., & Bouso, J. C. (2020). Polypharmacology or “Pharmacological Promiscuity” In Psychedelic Research: What Are We Missing?. ACS chemical neuroscience, 11(20), 3191–3193. https://doi.org/10.1021/acschemneuro.0c00614

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Potential safety, benefits, and influence of the placebo effect in microdosing psychedelic drugs: A systematic review

Abstract

Microdosing psychedelic drugs-that is, taking sub-behavioral doses of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) or psilocybin-is a growing practice in Western societies. Taken mainly for creative or mood-enhancing purposes, thousands of users are increasingly being exposed to (micro)doses of psychedelic drugs. In this systematic review, we searched the available evidence from human studies, focusing our results in terms of three main axes: efficacy, safety, and the influence of the placebo effect in microdosing practices. While the available evidence has some strengths (e.g. large sample sizes, robust methodologies) there are also remarkable limitations (e.g. gender bias, heterogeneity of dosing schedules and drugs used). Highly contradictory results have been found, showing both the benefits and detriments of microdosing in terms of mood, creative processes, and energy, among other regards. This review provides a general overview of the methods and approaches used, which could be useful for improving future studies.

Ona, G., & Bouso, J. C. (2020). Potential safety, benefits, and influence of the placebo effect in microdosing psychedelic drugs: A systematic review. Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, 119, 194–203. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2020.09.035

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Long-lasting analgesic effect of the psychedelic drug changa: A case report

Abstract

Background and aims

Pain is the most prevalent symptom of a health condition, and it is inappropriately treated in many cases. Here, we present a case report in which we observe a long-lasting analgesic effect produced by changa, a psychedelic drug that contains the psychoactive N,N-dimethyltryptamine and ground seeds of Peganum harmala, which are rich in β-carbolines.

Methods

We describe the case and offer a brief review of supportive findings.

Results

A long-lasting analgesic effect after the use of changa was reported. Possible analgesic mechanisms are discussed. We suggest that both pharmacological and non-pharmacological factors could be involved.

Conclusion

These findings offer preliminary evidence of the analgesic effect of changa, but due to its complex pharmacological actions, involving many neurotransmitter systems, further research is needed in order to establish the specific mechanisms at work.
Ona, G., & Troncoso, S. (2019). Long-lasting analgesic effect of the psychedelic drug changa: A case report. Journal of Psychedelic Studies3(1), 7-13., 10.1556/2054.2019.001.
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Ayahuasca and Public Health: Health Status, Psychosocial Well-Being, Lifestyle, and Coping Strategies in a Large Sample of Ritual Ayahuasca Users

Assessing the health status of ayahuasca users has been challenging due to the limitations involved in randomized clinical trials and psychometric approaches. The main objective of this study is the implementation of an approach based on public health indicators. We developed a self-administered questionnaire that was administered to long-term ayahuasca users around Spain. The questionnaire was administrated face-to-face to participants (n = 380) in places where ayahuasca ceremonies were occurring. Public health indicators were compared with Spanish normative data, and intergroup analyses were conducted. Long-term ayahuasca use was associated with higher positive perception of health or with a healthy lifestyle, among other outcomes. Fifty-six percent of the sample reported reducing their use of prescription drugs due to ayahuasca use. Participants who used ayahuasca more than 100 times scored higher in personal values measures. The main conclusion of this study is that a respectful and controlled use of hallucinogenic/psychedelic drugs taken in communitarian settings can be incorporated into modern society with benefits for public health. This new approach, based on the use of health indicators that were not used in previous ayahuasca studies, offers relevant information about the impact of long-term exposure to ayahuasca on public health.

Ona, G., Kohek, M., Massaguer, T., Gomariz, A., Jiménez, D. F., Dos Santos, R. G., … & Bouso, J. C. (2019). Ayahuasca and Public Health: Health Status, Psychosocial Well-Being, Lifestyle, and Coping Strategies in a Large Sample of Ritual Ayahuasca Users. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 1-11., 10.1080/02791072.2019.1567961
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