Hallucinogens by David E. Nichols

By David E. Nichols

Released in Pharmacology & Therapeutics one zero one (2004) 131– 181
"Hallucinogens (psychedelics) are psychoactive components that powerfully modify notion, temper, and a number of cognitive techniques. they're thought of physiologically secure and don't produce dependence or habit. Their foundation predates written heritage, they usually have been hired through early cultures in quite a few sociocultural and formality contexts. within the Nineteen Fifties, after the almost contemporaneous discovery of either serotonin (5-HT) and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD-25), early mind study targeted intensely at the hazard that LSD or different hallucinogens had a serotonergic foundation of motion and bolstered the concept that 5-HT was once an enormous neurotransmitter in mind. those principles have been finally confirmed, and at the present time it really is believed that hallucinogens stimulate 5-HT2A receptors, in particular these expressed on neocortical pyramidal cells. Activation of 5-HT2A receptors additionally ends up in elevated cortical glutamate degrees possibly by way of a presynaptic receptor-mediated liberate from thalamic afferents. those findings have ended in comparisons of the results of classical hallucinogens with sure features of acute psychosis and to a spotlight on thalamocortical interactions as key to realizing either the motion of those ingredients and the neuroanatomical websites serious about altered states of attention (ASC). In vivo mind imaging in people utilizing [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose has proven that hallucinogens bring up prefrontal cortical metabolism, and correlations were built among job in particular mind components and mental parts of the ASC produced through hallucinogens. The 5-HT2A receptor sincerely performs a vital position in cognitive processing, together with operating reminiscence, and ligands for this receptor should be super important instruments for destiny cognitive neuroscience study. moreover, it seems that totally attainable that software should emerge for using hallucinogens in treating alcoholism, substance abuse, and likely psychiatric disorders."

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It is now understood that there is no ‘‘seat’’ of consciousness and that consciousness is not a property of a single brain location but more likely arises as the result of dynamic interactions among widely distributed groups of neurons that integrate a very large number of sensory inputs and motor responses occurring in parallel. Edelman (1989) has emphasized that consciousness concerns the rapid integration of signals from a great variety of modalities and submodalities to create a unified, coherent scene or idea.

There are two other broad research areas where there is clinical interest in hallucinogens. The first arises from a continuing belief that hallucinogens may possess medical utility in treating certain psychiatric disorders. The second area of interest that is emerging is their value as research tools for cognitive neuroscience. The following sections will highlight examples of both of these directions. 1. Lysergic acid diethylamide treatment in terminal illness Of all the proposed medical indications for hallucinogens, one of the more interesting and well-documented uses, particularly for LSD, was in the treatment of terminal patients.

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