Researchers may have found why psychedelics are a useful tool in treating depression, according to a new study published.
Recently, there have been many positive small-scale studies using psychedelics such as LSD, psilocybin and more in treating depression.
While the studies using psychedelics for treatment of depressions have been positive overall, leading to calls for further research, the precise reason as to why they work remains a bit of a mystery.
However, the new study published in Nature Neuroscience believes it may have found one of the key reasons.
The study showed that while experimenting on mice using LSD, the LSD binds to a specific receptor in the brains of the mice which therefore acts as an antidepressant.
One key finding of the study is that if this is confirmed, there might be treatments for depression using elements of psychedelics but without having the patient have the need for the accompanying hallucinations.
During the study, LSD was shown to bind to a receptor known as TrkB. In previous studies it was also shown that fluoxetine and ketamine bind to this receptor to help as an antidepressant.
LSD, however, binds to TrkB at a rate 1,000 times higher than other antidepressants.
One key issue of using psychedelics to treat depression is due to hallucinations in that they require extensive administration and intensive monitoring as they take place within a clinical setting according to the study.
If the study is correct and psychedelics can be used to treat depression without the hallucinations, it would become easier to treat patients at a much lower cost.
The call for further research into psychedelics has been a common theme in the UK recently with a debate held in the Houses of Parliament regarding a rescheduling of psilocybin to make it easier for research to be conducted.