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Mapping the Future of Psychedelics: Deconstructing Powerful Drugs To Make Better Medicine

Psychedelic-class drugs like psilocybin, ketamine and MDMA are powerful probes of conscious states with tremendous promise for an array of psychiatric conditions. Each compound has a unique set of effects, some desirable and others less-so, often dependent on the setting in which they are given. As recent drug development efforts have shown, designing targeted, safer drugs requires more than an understanding of brain receptors. Rather, our understanding must bridge pharmacology, large scale neural dynamics, and behavior, and do so in a way that accounts for the tremendous differences between humans and experimental animal models. What makes MDMA special when taken in a group? Is ketamine an opioid? Does one need to be conscious and fully aware to experience the benefit of these therapies? Our research group works with both human patients and mouse models to addresses some of these questions.

During this webinar we will review:

  • Limitations of receptor-based drug development.
  • Our approach to “circuit-based” therapeutic discovery.
  • Recent clinical findings on the relationship between anesthetic states and recovery from mood and stress disorders.
Boris Heifets, MD, PhD
Boris Heifets, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine