Journal of Addiction & Addictive Disorders Category: Clinical Type: Review Article

The Intersection of Psychedelics and Neuroplasticity: Rethinking Therapeutic Approaches for Mental Health

Kargbo RB1*
1 API & DP Development, Usona Institute, Fitchburg, Wisconsin, United states

*Corresponding Author(s):
Kargbo RB
API & DP Development, Usona Institute, Fitchburg, Wisconsin, United States
Tel:+1 5182530069,

Received Date: Jun 12, 2023
Accepted Date: Jun 26, 2023
Published Date: Jul 03, 2023


The expanding field of psychedelic-assisted therapy presents innovative treatment avenues for various mental health disorders. This review explores the potential role of psychedelics in enhancing neuroplasticity, a key mechanism underlying recovery from mental health conditions. An overview of the history of psychedelic research, from early studies to the present-day resurgence, is provided. Key psychedelics, including psilocybin, LSD, MDMA, and ayahuasca, are discussed, focusing on their mechanisms of action and impact on the brain and cognition. We examine the therapeutic model of psychedelic-assisted therapy, emphasizing the importance of the therapist's role and the therapeutic requisites. Our review of major clinical trials shows the promising efficacy of this treatment modality. We discuss the benefits and risks, emphasizing the need for additional research and meticulous implementation. We also present legal and ethical considerations surrounding psychedelic research and therapy, bringing current challenges and future implications to light. The review concludes by emphasizing the exciting future directions in the field, including potential new treatments, the training of therapists, impacts on healthcare systems, and shifting public perception. Ultimately, this review underscores the potential of psychedelic-assisted therapy in treating mental health disorders, marking a cautionary potential significant shift in our therapeutic approach.


The incidence of mental health disorders is a global concern, affecting hundreds of millions of individuals. According to estimates by the World Health Organization, more than 264 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In comparison, around 45 million people have bipolar disorder, and 20 million have schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders [1]. These figures underscore the urgent need to enhance mental health treatment methods, and for this reason, scientific research has sought to develop and validate innovative therapeutic interventions.Traditional therapeutic approaches, such as pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy, have yielded substantial benefits but are not universally effective. For instance, reports indicate that approximately one-third of individuals suffering from major depression do not respond to conventional antidepressant treatments [2,3]. This treatment limitation exposes a significant gap in mental healthcare that calls for exploring alternative interventions. 

In recent years, psychedelic-assisted therapy has emerged as a promising frontier in mental health treatment. It involves the medically supervised use of psychedelic substances, such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), 3,4- methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), and ayahuasca, in conjunction with psychotherapy [4,5]. Psychedelic-assisted therapy has its roots in the mid-20th century when psychedelics were used extensively in psychiatric research [6]. Early on, researchers identified the potential therapeutic effects of these substances, but sociopolitical factors restricted their use in research and treatment [7]. However, the 21st century has witnessed a resurgence in the scientific interest surrounding these substances, primarily driven by their potential therapeutic benefits. 

Researchers infer that psychedelics affect the serotonergic system at a neurobiological level and facilitate neuroplastic changes, thereby creating a reasonable window for therapeutic intervention [8]. They appear to disrupt rigid patterns of thought and behavior, thereby offering a path to healing for people with conditions such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance use disorders, among others [9]. Moreover, these substances are used in conjunction with psychotherapy to help individuals process their experiences and consolidate insights and changes in perspective. Despite the stigma and regulatory challenges, evidence shows that psychedelic-assisted therapy may be a transformative approach to mental health treatment. As we move forward, it is crucial to integrate this therapeutic approach into our understanding and treatment of mental health disorders.

Brief History of Psychedelic Research in Mental Health

The history of psychedelic use for mental health spans centuries, originating from traditional indigenous cultures that used psychedelic plants for spiritual and healing purposes [10]. However, the scientific exploration of psychedelics and their potential use in psychiatric treatment mainly began in the mid-20th century. 

  • Early studies and use 

The first synthetic psychedelic substance, LSD, was accidentally discovered by Albert Hofmann in 1938 [11]. Subsequent self-experiments led Hofmann to report the profound psychological effects of LSD, sparking scientific interest in its potential therapeutic applications. Hofmann's subsequent self-experiments led him to write the profound psychological effects of LSD, which sparked scientific interest in its potential therapeutic applications. Researchers extensively researched LSD and psilocybin, another psychedelic substance, in the 1950s and 1960s. Over 1,000 scientific papers were published during this period, indicating potential benefits for alcoholism and anxiety disorders [6]. Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, the developer of LSD, initially marketed it under the name "Delysid" for psychiatric use, particularly as a tool for understanding psychosis and facilitating psychotherapy [12]. 

Meanwhile, the use of another synthetic psychedelic, MDMA, was popularized in psychotherapeutic circles in the 1970s, although it was synthesized much earlier, in 1912, by Merck Pharmaceuticals [13]. Due to its unique empathogenic effects, MDMA was often used in therapy involving couples and treating of various psychiatric conditions [14]. 

  • Cultural backlash 

Despite the initial enthusiasm, a cultural and political backlash curtailed the research into and medical use of psychedelics. During the late 1960s, psychedelics became associated with countercultural movements, increasing recreational use and resulting in several cases of misuse and abuse [15]. Consequently, these substances were classified as Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act in 1970 in the United States, indicating high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use [16]. This legislation drastically impeded research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics due to regulatory hurdles and lack of funding. 

  • Resurgence of interest 

The 21st century has witnessed a renaissance in psychedelic research due to the persistent efforts of scientists and advocates. Early studies by organizations such as the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and researchers at Johns Hopkins University have been instrumental in this resurgence.Since the early 2000s, a growing body of evidence has indicated the potential of psychedelics in treating various psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, PTSD and substance use disorders [17,18]. Furthermore, societal and scientific attitudes towards these substances have occurred, with the recognition of their therapeutic potential outweighing the stigmatization associated with their recreational use. 

In a landmark study published in 2006, researchers demonstrated that psilocybin could induce mystical experiences with substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance [19]. Further clinical trials have highlighted psychedelics’efficacy in treating mental health disorders, often with effects lasting longer than conventional treatments [8]. The field has come a long way since the cultural backlash, with regulatory bodies like the FDA granting“breakthrough therapy” designation to MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD and psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression and major depressive disorder [20,21]. As we delve deeper into the 21st century, the research and application of psychedelic-assisted treatment for mental health appears promising, paving the way for a potential paradigm shift in psychiatry.

Overview of Psychedelics

Psychedelics are a class of substances that induce altered states of consciousness, characterized by changes in thought, perception, and emotion. Researchers have explored these substances for their potential therapeutic benefits in treating mental health disorders. Some commonly used psychedelics in therapy include psilocybin, LSD, MDMA and ayahuasca. 

  • Types of psychedelics used in therapy 

Psilocybin: This is the active compound found in over 200 species of ‘magic mushrooms’. Psilocybin has been the focus of numerous clinical trials and has shown promising results in treating conditions such as depression, anxiety, and addiction [18,22]. It’s usually administered in a controlled setting under the supervision of trained therapists. 

LSD: Often called ‘acid’, LSD was initially synthesized in 1938 and later discovered to have potent psychedelic properties. Sociopolitical factors essentially halted research in the 1970s. However, recent studies have suggested the potential benefits of LSD-assisted psychotherapy in treating mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression [23]. 

MDMA: Commonly known as ‘ecstasy’ or ‘molly’ in recreational contexts, MDMA is a synthetic drug with unique empathogenic properties. It is currently under research for its efficacy in treating PTSD when combined with psychotherapy, with promising results [17]. 

Ayahuasca: A traditional psychedelic brew used by indigenous cultures in the Amazon, ayahuasca contains the powerful psychedelic DMT (N, N-Dimethyltryptamine) and a monoamine oxidase inhibitor. Preliminary studies indicate its potential in treating depression and addiction [24]. 

  • Mechanism of action 

Although diverse in their chemical structures, psychedelics share a common mechanism of action through the serotonergic system, specifically by agonistically binding to the 5-HT2A receptor subtype [25]. This binding is believed to trigger neurobiological events, leading to altered perception, thought and emotions.Research has demonstrated that psilocybin and LSD can increase the connectivity between different brain regions, resulting in an enhanced state of "unified consciousness". This phenomenon, often referred to as “ego dissolution”, is thought to be therapeutically beneficial by allowing individuals to break free from rigid patterns of thought and behavior [26,27]. 

In addition to serotonin, MDMA also impacts the levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and hormones like oxytocin, leading to feelings of empathy, trust, and compassion. This empathogenic effect of MDMA can help facilitate the therapeutic synergy and encourage the emotional processing of traumatic memories [28]. The ayahuasca brew causes a temporary modification of brain networks, similar to other psychedelics, which may assist in breaking habitual thought patterns and providing new perspectives on personal issues and traumas [29]. 

While more research is needed to fully understand the intricate mechanisms of psychedelics and their effects on the brain and cognition, scientific evidence suggests that these substances might help catalyze therapeutic processes and facilitate profound, lasting changes in mental health when used responsibly within a therapeutic context.

Neuroplasticity and Psychedelics

Neuroplasticity, also called brain plasticity or neural plasticity, is a fundamental concept in neuroscience that illustrates the brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. This capacity for change enables learning, adaptation to experiences, recovery from brain injury, and, crucially, forms the basis for many mental health treatments. 

  • Explanation of neuroplasticity and its crucial role in mental health 

The human brain’s plasticity is a dynamic process that allows neurons (nerve cells) to compensate for injury, disease, or adjust their responses to new situations or environmental changes [30]. This flexibility shapes our brain circuits responsible for behaviors, thoughts and emotions. The term ‘neuroplasticity’ encompasses several different phenomena, including neurogenesis (the birth of new neurons), synaptic plasticity (the strength of connections between neurons), and cortical remapping (the reorganization of the brain's functional and structural connectivity) [31]. 

Many mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD, are believed to involve disruptions in standard patterns of neuroplasticity. For example, research indicates that individuals with depression often exhibit reduced hippocampal volume, likely resulting from impaired neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity [32]. Therefore, enhancing neuroplasticity may alleviate these conditions by promoting the growth of new neurons, strengthening healthy neural connections, and weakening maladaptive ones. 

  • Psychedelics and their impact on neuroplasticity 

Recent studies have revealed a fascinating aspect of psychedelic substances: their capacity to promote neuroplasticity. This process might explain some of the profound, long-lasting effects observed in treating of mental health disorders.Psilocybin and LSD have been shown to stimulate the growth of new neurons and promote neuritogenesis (the development of neurites that can develop into axons or dendrites) and spinogenesis (the formation of dendritic spines, tiny protrusions involved in neurotransmission) [33]. These changes in neuronal structure could lead to alterations in brain network connectivity, potentially facilitating new patterns of thought and behavior. 

Scientific evidence also suggests that MDMA may promote neuroplasticity. Preclinical studies indicate that it can enhance fear extinction learning, a process thought to be crucial for therapeutic responses in PTSD [34]. Research on ayahuasca also suggests it can promote neurogenesis and neural plasticity, possibly contributing to its observed therapeutic effects [35]. One emerging theory is that psychedelics facilitate a ‘window of plasticity,’ during which the brain is especially receptive to forming new neural connections. This window might enhance the impact of psychotherapy by allowing patients to reshape maladaptive thought patterns and behaviors more effectively [36]. While exploring the relationship between psychedelics and neuroplasticity is still in its early days, the results are promising. By deepening our understanding of these processes, we could refine psychedelic-assisted therapies and potentially uncover new treatment approaches for various mental health disorders.

Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy

Psychedelic-assisted therapy is a model that combines the use of psychedelic substances with psychotherapy to facilitate self-exploration and personal growth. In this context, we do not perceive psychedelics as curatives but as potential catalysts for therapeutic processes when used within a safe, structured, and supportive environment. 

  • The therapeutic model: preparation, psychedelic session and integration 

The psychedelic-assisted therapeutic model generally comprises three key stages: preparation, the psychedelic session, and integration. 

Preparation: This stage involves several therapy sessions where the therapist and client establish a therapeutic synergy. Therapists help prepare the client for the psychedelic experience by providing education about the substance, setting expectations, exploring intentions for the experienceand discussing potential challenges. This preparation helps to create a safe and trusting environment that can significantly influence the quality and outcome of the psychedelic experience [37]. 

Psychedelic session: On the day of the session, the client ingests the psychedelic substance in a comfortable, controlled, and safe setting under the supervision of one or more trained therapists. The client is often encouraged to wear eyeshades and listen to a pre-selected music playlist to promote introspection. Therapists provide non-directive support during the session, allowing the client to explore their inner experience. The therapist’s role during this phase is to provide reassurance and to hold space for the client’s process [38]. 

Integration: This stage is critical and involves subsequent therapy sessions where the client and therapist discuss the psychedelic experience. The goal of integration is to help the client make sense of and apply insights or changes experienced during the psychedelic session to their everyday life. This process can facilitate personal growth, promote healthier behaviors, and contribute to the resolution of psychological issues [39]. 

  • Role of the therapist and therapeutic alliance in psychedelic-assisted therapy 

The therapist’s role in psychedelic-assisted therapy is multi-faceted, serving as an educator, guide and support system. Solid therapeutic association, characterized by trust, empathy, and mutual understanding, is foundational to this therapeutic model.In the preparation stage, therapists set the groundwork for the client’s journey, instilling confidence, setting intentions, and managing expectations. During the psychedelic session, therapists offer emotional support and reassurance, ensuring the client's physical comfort and safety while allowing the psychedelic experience to unfold. In the integration phase, they help clients make sense of their expertise, translating insights into actionable changes in their lives. 

The therapeutic alliance in psychedelic-assisted therapy is essential. Research suggests that the quality of the therapeutic relationship can significantly influence the outcomes of psychedelic therapy, with a more robust experience associated with better results [40]. By creating a trusting, empathetic environment, therapists can help clients feel safe and supported, promoting openness and exploration during the psychedelic experience.In conclusion, psychedelic-assisted therapy offers a promising approach to mental health treatment, incorporating neuroplasticity-inducing substances into a comprehensive therapeutic framework. Refining our understanding of this modelmay unlock new possibilities healing and personal growth.

Review of Clinical Trials and Studies

Numerous clinical trials and studies have explored the potential of psychedelic-assisted therapy in treating various mental health disorders. These studies are critical for understandingthese novel therapies’ potential risks, benefits and mechanisms. 

  • Major trials on psychedelic-assisted therapy for mental health disorders 

Griffiths et al. conducted a significant study on psilocybin, in which they found that two-thirds of the participants rated their experience among the top five most spiritually meaningful experiences of their lives [41]. Following this, the same team did a pilot study on psilocybin-assisted therapy for tobacco addiction, resulting in an 80% abstinence rate after six months, substantially higher than current treatments [22]. A phase II clinical trial by Mithoefer et al., demonstrated the efficacy of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treating PTSD. The 12-month follow-up showed long-term benefits, with 67.8% of participants no longer qualifying for PTSD [42]. 

The Beckley/Imperial Research Program conducted a pilot study 2016 on LSD-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with life-threatening diseases. The results indicated anxiety reduction following two LSD-assisted psychotherapy sessions [43]. A randomized, double-blind study was conducted to assess the antidepressant effects of ayahuasca in patients with treatment-resistant depression. The study found significant reductions in depression scores, suggesting a rapid onset of antidepressant effects [24]. 

  • Meta-analyses and systematic reviews 

A systematic review by Luoma et al., evaluated the efficacy of psychedelic-assisted therapies, summarizing outcomes from 34 studies. The review found that these therapies were associated with significant improvements in various mental health conditions, including PTSD, anxiety, depression and substance use disorders [44]. A meta-analysis by Goldberg et al., evaluated the effect of psilocybin on depressive and anxiety symptoms in patients with life-threatening cancer. The analysis found significant decreases in both symptoms, supporting the therapeutic potential of psilocybin [45]. 

A systematic review and meta-analysis by Vargas et al., evaluated the efficacy of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. The study found that this therapy significantly improved PTSD symptoms, with effects maintained at follow-up assessments [46]. Despite the preliminary nature of much of this research, these studies highlight the significant potential of psychedelic-assisted therapy for treating various mental health disorders. As research in this area expands, we anticipate that more robust, larger-scale studies will further illuminate the efficacy and mechanisms of these treatments.

Benefits and Risks of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy

The potential of psychedelic-assisted therapy in treating mental health disorders has gained substantial attention over the past decade. The combination of profound subjective experiences and the promotion of neuroplasticity suggests a unique opportunity for breakthroughs in mental health treatment. However, as with any therapeutic intervention, it's essential to consider both the benefits and risks. 

  • Potential benefits and effective disorders 

Psychedelic-assisted therapy may offer numerous benefits, some of which are: 

Efficacy: Preliminary research suggests psychedelic-assisted therapy may be effective in treating a variety of mental health conditions, including depression [38,22], anxiety [41], PTSD [40] and substance use disorders [39]. Long-lasting Effects: Psychedelic-assisted therapy sessions often lead to enduring positive effects. For instance, a follow-up study on psilocybin-assisted therapy for tobacco addiction found a significant abstinence rate even six months post-treatment [39]. Similarly, MDMA-assisted treatment for PTSD demonstrated sustained benefits over 12 months[40]. 

Breakthrough Experiences: Psychedelics can lead to profound experiences that may offer unique therapeutic opportunities, including mystical-type experiences and deeply personal insights [38]. 

Promotion of Neuroplasticity: Psychedelics promote neuroplasticity, which might help restructure maladaptive patterns of thought and behavior [30]. 

However, it is crucial to note that research is ongoing, and further large-scale studies are needed to establish the efficacy of these therapies definitively. 

  • Potential risks, side effects and contraindications 

While the potential benefits are considerable, there are also risks associated with psychedelic-assisted therapy: 

Adverse Psychological Reactions: High doses of psychedelics can cause challenging experiences, such as anxiety, paranoia and temporary psychosis. While these experiences are typically manageable in a therapeutic context, they may be distressing [47]. 

Physical Side Effects: Psychedelics can temporarily increase heart rate and blood pressure and may cause nausea or vomiting [48]. 

Contraindications: Psychedelics should not be used by individuals with a history of psychotic disorders or certain medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease [49]. Furthermore, they may interact negatively with certain medications [50]. 

Potential for Over-reliance: While rare, there is a risk that some individuals might overly rely on psychedelic experiences for personal growth or escape, potentially leading to unhealthy usage patterns. 

A careful screening process, adequate preparation and integration, and medical supervision are vital to mitigate these risks. With careful handling, the potential benefits of psychedelic-assisted therapy may significantly outweigh the risks for many individuals. However, it is essential for researchers, clinicians, and patients to maintain a balanced perspective, considering both the immense potential and the inherent risks of this approach.

Legal and Ethical Considerations in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy

The potential benefits of psychedelic-assisted therapy have significant implications for legal and ethical frameworks. These substances were mainly criminalized and stigmatized in the mid-20th century. However, recent research advancements have prompted a reassessment of their therapeutic value, thus necessitating a review of their legal status and ethical guidelines. 

  • Current legal status and implications for research and therapy 

The legal status of psychedelic substances varies by country and substance, but in general, many remain controlled substances, often classified as Schedule I drugs under international conventions and national laws [51]. For example, in the United States, substances such as psilocybin, LSD, and MDMA are classified as Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act, implying that they have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use [52]. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted “breakthrough therapy” designation to psilocybin (for treatment-resistant depression and major depressive disorder) and MDMA (for PTSD), expediting their research and development [53]. 

This legal classification presents a significant hurdle to the advancement of psychedelic-assisted therapy. Schedule I classification creates administrative, financial, and legal barriers to research, inhibiting the conduct of large-scale trials necessary for understanding the full therapeutic potential and risks of these substances [54]. Recently, there have been progressive changes at the local level. Several U.S. cities have decriminalized psilocybin, and a state-wide measure in Oregon has legalized psilocybin-assisted therapy [55]. These changes may pave the way for more accessible psychedelic-assisted therapy and research in the future. 

  • Ethical considerations related to this form of treatment 

Alongside the legal considerations, there are also significant ethical considerations that must be addressed: 

Informed Consent: Given the profound and unpredictable nature of psychedelic experiences, it is critical that individuals considering this treatment are provided with comprehensive information about potential risks and benefits [56]. 

Screening and Exclusion: It is crucial to identify individuals for whom psychedelic-assisted therapy might be contraindicated due to psychological or physical health conditions [49]. 

Integration Support: Integration of insights and experiences gained during psychedelic-assisted therapy is a crucial part of the therapeutic process. Patients should have access to professional support to help integrate their experiences [39]. 

Access and Equity: The potential benefits of psychedelic-assisted therapy should be accessible to all who may benefit. Ethical frameworks must ensure equitable access to these treatments and not be restricted to those with financial means [57]. 

In summary, the legal and ethical landscape surrounding psychedelic-assisted therapy is complex and rapidly evolving. We must balance providing access to potentially life-changing treatments and ensuring patient safety and ethical conduct.

Future Directions in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy

Given the rapid progress and growing interest in psychedelic-assisted therapy for mental health disorders, it’s an exciting time to contemplate future directions. As we progress, it’s vital to consider potential new treatments and applications, unanswered questions, and broader impacts on healthcare systems and public perception. 

  • Where the research is heading, potential new treatments and remaining questions 

Research in this field is expanding rapidly, with promising trials underway investigating psychedelics’ potential in treating a broad range of disorders, from mood and anxiety disorders to addiction and end-of-life distress [18,42]. Several trials are exploring the utility of these substances in unexplored areas, such as cognitive enhancement [58], or as adjuncts to psychotherapy to increase its efficacy [59]. The advent of neuroimaging technologies and advancements in computational modeling allows researchers to delve deeper into how psychedelics alter brain function and connectivity, potentially leading to more targeted therapeutic applications [60]. With further understanding, personalized psychedelic-assisted therapy could become a reality, targeting the intervention to individual neurobiology and psychological needs. 

However, many questions remain to be answered: What are the long-term effects of psychedelic-assisted therapy? What is the optimal dose, setting, and frequency of sessions for different disorders? How can we best integrate psychedelic experiences into ongoing psychotherapy? These are just a few exciting challenges that future research will tackle. 

  • Impacts on healthcare systems, therapist training and public perception 

Integration of psychedelic-assisted therapy into mainstream mental healthcare could revolutionize treatment models and pose new challenges. For instance, healthcare systems will need to adapt to these novel therapies, requiring changes in infrastructure and resources to provide safe and effective treatment [61]. The training of therapists will also need to evolve. Psychedelic-assisted therapy requires a unique skill set, including knowledge of psychedelic substances, experience guiding psychedelic experiences, and proficiency in integrative therapeutic techniques [37]. The development of rigorous training programs will be essential to ensure high-quality care [48]. 

Lastly, public perception of psychedelics is shifting. The emerging evidence base supporting psychedelic-assisted therapy is beginning to counteract the stigma and misconceptions rooted in the tumultuous history of these substances. Continued transparent, ethical research and clear communication of findings are crucial for continuing this shift and fostering an informed public understanding [48]. Although the future of psychedelic-assisted therapy holds many exciting opportunities, we must address substantial challenges. Improving mental health outcomes will be the ultimate aim, depending on our careful navigation through these opportunities and challenges.

Summary and Conclusion

The field of psychedelic-assisted therapy is currently in a dynamic state of evolution, driven by an expanding body of research highlighting the therapeutic potential of substances such as psilocybin, LSD, MDMA, and ayahuasca for various mental health disorders. This progress represents a dramatic shift from the historical stigmatization of these substances, and it offers a promising new pathway to tackle the current mental health crisis [62]. 

Key findings from clinical trials suggest that psychedelic-assisted therapy can offer rapid and sustained relief from symptoms in conditions notoriously resistant to conventional treatments, such as treatment-resistant depression, PTSD and substance use disorders [8,42,63]. These results are underpinned by research demonstrating that psychedelics can enhance neuroplasticity, foster emotional release, and engender transformative experiences, contributing to improved mental health outcomes [33,39]. The therapeutic model utilized in psychedelic-assisted therapy, involving careful preparation, guided psychedelic sessions, and integration work, is fundamental to its efficacy. The therapist's role in this process is critical, underscoring the need for robust training and guidelines in this emergent field [41]. 

However, the therapeutic use of psychedelics is not without risks, and safety protocols are paramount to managing potential adverse effects. It’s important to consider contraindications, such as certain psychological and physical health conditions, and to ensure appropriate support to help patients integrate their experiences post-treatment [48,49]. Furthermore, legal and ethical considerations challenge the broader integration of psychedelic-assisted therapy into mainstream healthcare. A gradual regulation shift is occurring, with several countries and states adjusting their stance on psychedelic substances in light of the emerging evidence base [60]. 

Looking ahead, the future of psychedelic-assisted therapy is promising but still holds many questions. As research progresses, it will address the unanswered questions about long-term effects, the optimal therapeutic models, and the specific neural mechanisms of action. The potential impact on healthcare systems, the required evolution in therapist training, and shifts in public perception also present exciting areas for future exploration and development [64,65]. 

As such, psychedelic-assisted therapy offers a potential paradigm shift in treating mental health disorders. While challenges remain, the evidence suggests that, with careful and ethical implementation, these powerful substances can provide significant relief for those struggling with mental illness, filling a crucial gap in our current treatment options [59].


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Citation: Kargbo RB (2023) The Intersection of Psychedelics and Neuroplasticity: Rethinking Therapeutic Approaches for Mental Health. J Addict Addictv Disord 10: 126.

Copyright: © 2023  Kargbo RB, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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