CNS Affiliate David Olson: Microdosing relieves depression and anxiety in rat study

Headshot of David Olson, PhD

Microdosing - taking tiny amounts of psychedelic drugs to boost mood and mental acuity - was found to provide relief for symptoms of depression and anxiety in a study with rats by CNS Affliate David Olson, assistant professor in the UC Davis departments of Chemistry and of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine.

Olson and his research team administered one-tenth the estimated hallucinogenic dose of N,N-dimethyltryptamine, a psychedelic compound, in rats every third day for two months. The microdosing helped rats overcome a “fear response” in a test considered to be a model of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder in humans. 

Because potential side effects included altered neuronal structure and metabolism, further study is needed. However, Olson is optimistic:

“Our study demonstrates that psychedelics can produce beneficial behavioral effects without drastically altering perception, which is a critical step towards producing viable medicines inspired by these compounds," says Olson.

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