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Hallucinogens and Their Therapeutic Use

A Literature Review


Journal of Psychiatric Practice®: September 2019 - Volume 25 - Issue 5 - p 334–346
doi: 10.1097/PRA.0000000000000409

The exploration of possible therapeutic benefits of hallucinogenic substances has undergone a revitalization in the past decade. This literature review investigated the published literature regarding the psychotherapeutic uses of hallucinogens in psychiatric disorders. The results showed that a variety of substances have been evaluated in the treatment of psychiatric disorders, including ayahuasca, ibogaine, ketamine, lysergic acid diethylamide, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, and psilocybin. The conditions treated ranged from depression to autism, with the largest volume of research dedicated to substance use disorders. The majority of studies that were reviewed demonstrated significant associations with improvement in the conditions investigated. However, it was difficult to draw definitive conclusions as most studies suffered from small sample sizes, inconsistent measures, and poor study design. To properly assess the risks and potential benefits of hallucinogens in psychiatric treatment, there is a need for well designed, standardized studies that demonstrate the impact of hallucinogenic substances on psychiatric conditions.

BEGOLA, SCHILLERSTROM: Department of Psychiatry, UT Health San Antonio, San Antonio, TX

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Please send correspondence to: Matthew J. Begola, DO, Psychiatry Resident, UT Health San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229 (e-mail:

Online date: September 6, 2019

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