Science has, at long last, begun to catch up with persistent anecdotal accounts touting the arguably unparalleled benefits of psychedelic use for the treatment of depression and other maladies — but exactly how and why those substances work remained the subject of some conjecture. Now, Brazilian scientists believe they know — or, at least, have come to a better understanding — thanks to new research using human mini-brains (more on that later) to study the effects of 5-MeO-DMT.
“For the first time we could describe psychedelic-related changes in the molecular functioning of human neural tissue,” Stevens Rehen, study lead author, Professor of Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and Head of Research at D’Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR), announced in a press release. Per that statement,
“Researchers found that proteins important for synaptic formation and maintenance were upregulated. Among them, proteins related to cellular mechanisms of learning and memory, key components of brain functioning.
“On the other hand, proteins involved in inflammation, degeneration and brain lesion were downregulated, suggesting a potential neuroprotective role for the psychedelic substance.”
Read more: Using Human Mini Brains, Scientists Learn for the First Time How and Why DMT Works