Weekly Mind Reader: Exploring the Connection Between Psilocybin and Serotonin

by Staff Writer
March 1, 2024 at 11:34 AM UTC

This week begins with a look at opioid use disorder data, a dive into mild cognitive impairment, and a roundup of bipolar disorder research.

The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders has published research that examines the relationship between psilocybin and some brain chemicals.

Psilocybin and Serotonin Toxicity

Psilocybin is a substance found in some mushrooms that can alter certain brain chemicals, such as serotonin and dopamine. Some studies suggest it might help with conditions such as depression and PTSD when used alongside therapy. However, medical professionals don’t fully understand how small, unmonitored doses – microdosing – works. Many worry it might not be safe.

In a recent case, a woman was taking mental health medications, including a high dose of venlafaxine and bupropion. This included some recreational psilocybin use. When her doctor added a sleep medication called trazodone to her regimen, she experienced symptoms like sweating, shaking, and nausea. Her doctor identified these as signs of serotonin toxicity. The combination of medications, including psilocybin, led to too much serotonin in her brain.

This case shows that mixing psilocybin with certain medications can be risky and might lead to serotonin toxicity. It’s essential to be cautious and monitored when using psilocybin, especially alongside other medications.

IN OTHER PSYCHIATRY AND NEUROLOGY NEWS

  • A study evaluates the safety and tolerability of aripiprazole lauroxil (AL) administered every two months following initiation with AL NanoCrystal Dispersion plus oral aripiprazole compared to paliperidone palmitate (PP) in patients with schizophrenia, finding no new safety concerns and consistent adverse event profiles.
  • A new study explores how the COVID-19 pandemic affected healthcare workers’ sense of moral injury, where they felt their moral values were violated due to the demands and constraints of their work environment, leading to feelings of guilt, shame, and conflict. A review of 14 studies failed to find major benefits of cannabinoids in improving overall PTSD symptoms, although some benefits in cluster B and E symptoms were seen.
  • Adolescents with major depressive disorder (MDD) experiencing suicidal ideation showed worse executive function and higher MSK1 methylation, with MSK1 methylation potentially predicting suicidal ideation, while improvements in executive function were associated with reduced suicidal ideation during antidepressant treatment, suggesting that both executive function and MSK1 methylation play significant roles in suicidal ideation among adolescents with MDD.
  • New research suggests that dogs might be able to help detect Parkinson’s disease – with nearly 90 percent accuracy.

Commentary

Learning by Doing: Can Our Collective Experiences as Clinicians Improve Mental Health Care?

Drs Rush and Tramontin discuss how simple outcomes, often patient reported, could facilitate evidence-based decision making by clinicians, administrators, and payors and provide the foundation for a learning health care system.

A. John Rush and others

Letter to the Editor

Psychiatric History of Presenting Illness Mnemonic

In this letter to the editor, the author presents a mnemonic created to help clinicians obtain a psychiatric history.

Abdulsamad A. Aljeshi