Journal Club: A Safer Psychedelic

David Olson and Lauren Richardson

Posted January 21, 2021

Move over microdosing, there is a new approach to psychedelic medicine. Psychedelics — like LSD and psilocybin — are some of the most powerful drugs that affect our brains, but their therapeutic potential has been limited due to their adverse side effects. That is where the work of today’s guest, Dr. David Olson (@DEOlsonLab) of UC Davis, comes in. He talks to host Lauren Richardson (@lr_bio) about his lab’s work to develop new drugs based off the structure of psychedelics that retain their therapeutic properties, but that have better safety profiles, and that importantly, are non-hallucinogenic. The conversation covers his team’s recent Nature paper, “A non-hallucinogenic psychedelic analogue with therapeutic potential“, creating a non-hallucinogenic derivative of ibogaine, the evidence from animal models of its ability to treat depression and alcohol- and heroin-seeking behaviors, and the unexpected challenges facing the psychedelic medicine field.