Podcast # 478: Psychedelics and Depression - The Emergency Medical Minute

Author: Chris Holmes, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Hallucinogenic drugs have been in use since ancient times for both medical and recreational purposes
  • Ayahausca is an ancient psychedelic with origins in Bolivia that causes intense vomiting followed by a psychedelic experience
  • This and other hallucinogens are gaining gaining interest for their use in depression with some startling positive initial results



Carhart-Harris RL et. al. Psilocybin with psychological support for treatment-resistant depression: six-month follow-up. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2018 Feb;235(2):399-408. doi: 10.1007/s00213-017-4771-x. Epub 2017 Nov 8. PubMed PMID: 29119217; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5813086.

Palhano-Fontes F et. al. Rapid antidepressant effects of the psychedelic ayahuasca in treatment-resistant depression: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Psychol Med. 2019 Mar;49(4):655-663. doi: 10.1017/S0033291718001356. Epub 2018 Jun 15. PubMed PMID: 29903051; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6378413.

Summarized by Will Dewispelaere, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD

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