Psychedelics promote neural plasticity
The positive effects were not only structural, but functional – electrophysiological recordings found that the frequency and strength of neural currents were increased for many hours after the psychedelic compounds had been removed.
Patients who suffer from depression and post-traumatic-stress-disorder tend to have impaired neurogenesis and neuroplasticity – their brain cells grow more slowly and are less adaptable … [Researchers] found that LSD, DMT, and DOI – all serotonergic psychedelics – significantly increased the growth and complexity of neurones in a similar manner to ketamine, with LSD particularly potent. Interestingly, ibogaine was found to have no effect on neuroplasticity – but its metabolite noribogaine did, suggesting it was the active molecule in the anti-addictive properties of iboga. As a comparison, amphetamine and serotonin – which share structural similarities with psychedelics – were also tested, and were found to have no effect on measures of neurogenesis. These effects were observed not only in cell cultures, but also by testing the compounds on the brains of fly larvae and zebrafish, showing that they also have a tangible effect in living organisms.