Psychedelics in the treatment of unipolar mood disorders: a systematic review

  title={Psychedelics in the treatment of unipolar mood disorders: a systematic review},
  author={James J. H. Rucker and Luke A. Jelen and Sarah A Flynn and Kyle D Frowde and Allan H. Young},
  journal={Journal of Psychopharmacology},
  pages={1220 - 1229}
Unipolar mood disorders, including major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia), confer high rates of disability and mortality and a very high socioeconomic burden. Current treatment is suboptimal in most cases and there is little of note in the pharmaceutical development pipeline. The psychedelic drugs, including lysergic acid diethylamide and psilocybin, were used extensively in the treatment of mood disorders, and other psychiatric conditions, before their… 

Tables from this paper

Psychedelics in the treatment of unipolar and bipolar depression

This is a narrative review about the role of classic and two atypical psychedelics in the treatment of unipolar and bipolar depression. Since the 1990s, psychedelics experience a renaissance in

Psychedelic treatment of functional neurological disorder: a systematic review

A systematically reviewed studies involving the use of psychedelics in FND, finding that 69% of patients treated were found to have made at least some recovery on heterogeneous and subjective clinician-rated criteria.

Classical Psychedelics as Therapeutics in Psychiatry - Current Clinical Evidence and Potential Therapeutic Mechanisms in Substance Use and Mood Disorders.

Hypotheses derived from preclinical and human studies that need to be tested in future trials are presented to better understand the clinical potential of psychedelic substances in modern psychiatry.

Psychedelic assisted therapy for major depressive disorder: Recent work and clinical directions

Psychedelic substances such as psilocybin and ketamine may represent the future of antidepressant treatment, due to their rapid and prolonged effects on mood and cognition. The current body of

Psychedelic Treatments for Psychiatric Disorders: A Systematic Review and Thematic Synthesis of Patient Experiences in Qualitative Studies

It is demonstrated how qualitative research of psychedelic treatments can contribute to distinguishing specific features of specific substances, and carry otherwise undiscovered implications for the treatment of specific psychiatric disorders.

New Insights Into the Clinical and Nonclinical Effects of Psychedelic Substances

This research primarily investigates the potential of psychedelics in the treatment of mental health disorders, their short- and long-term effects on recreational users, and the neurological and cognitive processes responsible for their effects.

Rediscovering Psilocybin as an Antidepressive Treatment Strategy

An overview of the current state of research on the potential mechanisms of psilocybin, its antidepressant potential, and the associated risks and adverse effects is provided to provide an update on a controversial topic discussed in psychopharmacology.

Antidepressant effects of a psychedelic experience in a large prospective naturalistic sample

Investigation of changes in anxiety and depression scores before versus after psychedelic experiences in naturalistic contexts lends support to therapeutic potential of psychedelics and highlight the influence of pharmacological and non-pharmacological factors in determining response.



Major affective disorder as a recurrent illness: a critical review.

Ten of the largest and most frequently quoted studies conducted over the past half century, largely in the predrug era, and concerning the natural course of affective illness are reviewed.

The neurobiology of psychedelic drugs: implications for the treatment of mood disorders

Recent behavioural and neuroimaging data show that psychedelics modulate neural circuits that have been implicated in mood and affective disorders, and can reduce the clinical symptoms of these disorders.

Psilocybin with psychological support for treatment-resistant depression: an open-label feasibility study.

Psychedelics not linked to mental health problems or suicidal behavior: A population study

Overall, it is difficult to see how prohibition of psychedelics can be justified as a public health measure, after adjusting for sociodemographics, other drug use and childhood depression.


  • R. Strassman
  • Psychology, Medicine
    The Journal of nervous and mental disease
  • 1984
The basic pharmacology of the major synthetic psychedelic compounds (primarily lysergic acid diethylamide [LSD]-25) is described and reference is made to their potentially beneficial psychological effects.

Pilot study of psilocybin treatment for anxiety in patients with advanced-stage cancer.

This study established the feasibility and safety of administering moderate doses of psilocybin to patients with advanced-stage cancer and anxiety and revealed a positive trend toward improved mood and anxiety.

Classic psychedelic use is associated with reduced psychological distress and suicidality in the United States adult population

It is indicated thatclassic psychedelics may hold promise in the prevention of suicide, supporting the view that classic psychedelics’ most highly restricted legal status should be reconsidered to facilitate scientific study, and suggesting that more extensive clinical research with classic psychedelic is warranted.

Safety, tolerability, and efficacy of psilocybin in 9 patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

In a controlled clinical environment, psilocybin was safely used in subjects with OCD and was associated with acute reductions in core OCD symptoms in several subjects.

Peak experiences and the afterglow phenomenon: When and how do therapeutic effects of hallucinogens depend on psychedelic experiences?

This review aims to re-evaluate earlier and recent concepts of how psychedelic substances may exert beneficial effects, and summarizes evidence for the relationship between subjective experiences and therapeutic success.

Further studies in the therapeutic value of lysergic acid diethylamide in mental illness.

The opinion is expressed that LSD treatment continues to be of the utmost value in psychotherapy, both in cases otherwise resistant to treatment and as a method of avoiding the prolonged time necessary for a full psychological analysis.