Nature Reviews Neuroscience 11, 642-651 (September 2010) | doi:10.1038/nrn2884

OpinionThe neurobiology of psychedelic drugs: implications for the treatment of mood disorders

Franz X. Vollenweider1,2 & Michael Kometer1  About the authors


After a pause of nearly 40 years in research into the effects of psychedelic drugs, recent advances in our understanding of the neurobiology of psychedelics, such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin and ketamine have led to renewed interest in the clinical potential of psychedelics in the treatment of various psychiatric disorders. Recent behavioural and neuroimaging data show that psychedelics modulate neural circuits that have been implicated in mood and affective disorders, and can reduce the clinical symptoms of these disorders. These findings raise the possibility that research into psychedelics might identify novel therapeutic mechanisms and approaches that are based on glutamate-driven neuroplasticity.

Author affiliations

  1. Franz X. Vollenweider and Michael Kometer are at the Neuropsychopharmacology and Brain Imaging Research Unit, University Hospital of Psychiatry, Zurich, Switzerland.
  2. Franz X. Vollenweider is also at the School of Medicine, University of Zurich, Switzerland.

Correspondence to: Franz X. Vollenweider1,2 Email:

Published online 18 August 2010


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