European Neuropsychopharmacology (2014) 24, 342-356
Psilocybin, a psychoactive alkaloid contained in hallucinogenic mushrooms, is nowadays given a lot of attention in the scientific community as a research tool for modeling psychosis as well as due to its potential therapeutic effects. However, it is also a very popular and frequently abused natural hallucinogen. This review summarizes all the past and recent knowledge on psilocybin. It briefly deals with its history, discusses the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, and compares its action in humans and animals. It attempts to describe the mechanism of psychedelic effects and objectify its action using modern imaging and psychometric methods. Finally, it describes its therapeutic and abuse potential.
In summary, psilocybin has a strong research and therapeutic potential. Due to the good knowledge of its pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics, beneficial safety profile and zero potential to cause addiction it is frequently used both in animal and human research. It brings a number of key findings regarding the functioning of the human brain, in particular the role of the serotonergic system in complex functions such as perception and emotions. It also serves as a useful tool for the study of the neurobiology of psychoses. Due to its considerable degree of translational validity of animal and human studies, a psilocybin model of psychosis plays a key role in the development of new treatments for psychotic disorders. Finally, the most recent human studies also suggest its potential therapeutic use in the treatment of several psychiatric and neurological disorders.
Edited by MrGumball, 30 August 2015 - 05:26 PM.