The Therapeutic Potential of Psilocybin: Insights from the Huberman Lab Podcast

FEATURED
June 5, 2023

Nue Life

Nue Life
3 MIN READ

In one of the latest episodes of the Huberman Lab Podcast, Stanford neurobiology and ophthalmology professor, Andrew Huberman, delved into the intriguing world of psychedelics, specifically psilocybin. Derived from magic mushrooms, psilocybin presents an intriguing confluence of the mystical and scientific, with increasing evidence backing its potential as a therapeutic tool.

Psilocybin is a unique substance that alters human cognition and perception, reshaping the landscape of our internal and external world. It manipulates memories, thoughts, feelings, and the way we perceive our surroundings. Unlike other psychedelics such as LSD, DMT, 5MeO, and MDMA, it binds and activates the serotonin-2A receptor primarily. This receptor, prevalent in certain brain areas, instigates changes in neural circuitry, potentially improving mood, relieving compulsive disorders, and mitigating depression.

Remarkably, recent clinical trials have shown psilocybin to outperform conventional therapy and SSRIs for depression relief. Its selective binding to the serotonin-2A receptor explains the therapeutic excitement surrounding psilocybin. However, it’s essential to remember that despite being approved for therapeutic settings in Oregon, psilocybin remains a Schedule 1 drug and is illegal in most of the United States.

Dosage is a critical consideration, whether translating from psilocybin mushrooms to actual psilocybin or in terms of safety for young people or those with a history of antidepressants or at risk of psychotic episodes. A typical microdose ranges from 1-3 milligrams per day, whereas a single dose could span 10-30 milligrams per day. However, these concentrations can vary across different mushroom strains, underlining the importance of sourcing for therapeutic consistency.

The subjective experience during a psilocybin journey is profoundly influential, with elements like music, eye position (open or closed), and the set and setting shaping the therapeutic outcome. During a typical 4-6 hours psilocybin journey, music assists in modulating the emotional and cognitive experience, leading to perceptual blending or synesthesia – a sensory merging facilitated by the neurotransmitter psilocin, the compound that enacts psilocybin’s effects.

Most subjects report feelings of connectedness, ego dissolution, and letting go during their journey. Intriguingly, a strong correlation exists between a sense of oceanic boundlessness, a mystical state experienced during the psychedelic journey, and positive therapeutic outcomes. It is important, however, to manage anxiety levels, as extreme anxiety could negatively impact the journey.

Psilocybin’s capacity to rewire neural connections is another cause for therapeutic optimism. It enhances the functional connectivity of the brain, fostering expansive communication between areas typically less synchronized. This adaptive rewiring of neural tissue could partly explain the long-lasting changes experienced post-psilocybin journeys.

Recent studies have evaluated the use of psilocybin to treat depression, with dosages ranging from placebo to 30 milligrams. A standout 2022 study in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed a single 25 milligram psilocybin dose significantly more effective than a one-milligram dose in treating resistant depression.

In conclusion, psilocybin represents a double-edged sword, a potentially transformative therapeutic tool that needs cautious handling. The Huberman Lab Podcast continues to explore this fascinating compound, highlighting the imperative to promote beneficial psychedelic experiences and ensure safety, particularly for individuals under 25, or those with mental health disorders or without access to a highly trained physician. The prospect of psychedelics like psilocybin providing mental health relief is exciting, reflecting the endless adaptability of the brain.

Sources:

https://hubermanlab.com/how-psilocybin-can-rewire-our-brain-its-therapeutic-benefits-and-its-risks/

* Nue Life Health is leveraging the power of Nue Life’s AI knowledge engine to produce informative personal wellness articles, which are carefully reviewed and fact-checked by our team of experienced editors.

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