Reviewing the potential of psychedelics for the treatment of PTSD

Few drugs have been shown to be effective in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Psychotherapy has been categorically designated as a first-line treatment for PTSD in treatment guidelines. PTSD, however, is often a chronic disorder with high rates of psychological and medical comorbidity, often after psychotherapy. Meanwhile, progress on discovering and designing drugs with novel modes of action has slowed down. As a result, there is a pressing need to study not only novel compounds but also novel approaches to treating PTSD. The use of psychedelic drugs is a promising new approach.

Two psychedelics have gained breakthrough designations from the US Food and Drug Administration for psychiatric indications in the last few years, and many psychedelics are currently being tested for the treatment of PTSD. This study looks at 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, ketamine, classic psychedelics (like psilocybin and lysergic acid diethylamide), and cannabinoids, to name a few. It discusses the clinical rationale, the environment in which they are used, and the current state of evidence in the treatment of PTSD.

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