The psychopharmacology department at Maastricht University focuses on the cognitive, behavioral, and biological effects of various substances, ranging from pharmaceutical to recreational drugs
Currently, the assessment of the neurobehavioral consequences of repeated cannabis use is restricted to studies in which brain function of chronic cannabis users is compared to that of non-cannabis using controls. The assumption of such studies is that changes in brain function of chronic users are caused by repeated and prolonged exposure to acute cannabis… Continue reading Cannabis Use and Neuroadaptation: A Call for Δ 9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol Challenge Studies.
The therapeutic potential of psychedelics (psilocybin, LSD, DMT, ayahuasca) is increasingly shown by clinical studies and is proposed to result from increases in neuroplasticity - the brain’s ability to change throughout life. This systematic literature review summarizes the evidence that psychedelics induce neuroplasticity by focusing on psychedelics’ cellular and molecular neuroplasticity effects after single and repeated administration, as investigated in… Continue reading Psychedelics and Neuroplasticity: A Systematic Review Unraveling the Biological Underpinnings of Psychedelics
Getting a glass of water when you’re thirsty or having a snack when you’re hungry is called goal-directed behaviour. However, when you repeat that behaviour many times the sight of water or a snack may be sufficient to eat and drink. Behaviour is then no longer driven by the goal to alleviate the hunger and/or… Continue reading Dopaminergic and noradrenergic modulation of stress-induced alterations in brain activation associated with goal-directed behaviour
A new study from our group: Collaboration with facilitators of ayahuasca ceremonies throughout the Netherlands has allowed us to assess if Ayahuasca, a psychedelic brew of Amazonian origin, induces persisting short- and long-term effects on emotional and cognitive functioning of healthy volunteers. It was found that 24 hours after participating in an ayahuasca ceremony, participants… Continue reading Persisting Effects of Ayahuasca on Empathy, Creative Thinking, Decentering, Personality, and Well-Being
There is growing evidence for the antidepressant effects of psychedelics, yet the mechanism underlying these effects are still a mystery. Igor Magaraggia and Rudy Schreiber (of PIM) have suggested a hypothetical model of psychedelics therapeutic mechanism. "After investigating what psychedelics do at the molecular, cellular, and behavioural level, we have suggested a hypothetical model that… Continue reading Improving cognitive functioning in major depressive disorder with psychedelics: A dimensional approach