clinical research



poster sessions


Back to Interdisciplinary Track

New Findings from the University of Zurich Studies into the Mechanism of Action of Psilocybin and LSD: Relevance for Treatment of Major Depression and for Enhancement of Psychotherapy
Rainer Krähenmann, M.D.
Saturday, April 24, 2017 • 12:00 PM - 12:30 PM • Grand Ballroom
Continuing Education


john hartberg headshot

A resurgence of interest into the therapeutic potential of serotonergic psychedelics such as psilocybin and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is currently underway. Recent data from neuroimaging studies show that psychedelics modulate prefrontal-limbic-occipital emotion processing circuits which are dysfunctional in in major depression. In this talk, the speaker will review recent neuroimaging findings on the effects of psychedelics in key brain regions responsible for emotion regulation. Furthermore, the speaker will discuss recent studies indicating that psychedelic states of consciousness may be conceptualized as ‘experimental dreams’. Given previous evidence that subjective experience during psychedelic-induced states of consciousness is directly relevant to their therapeutic efficacy, this novel understanding of psychological mechanism of action of psychedelics offers a comprehensive basis for the facilitative use of psychedelics in psychotherapy. Taken together, the speaker will discuss neurobiological and psychological mechanisms of action of psychedelics and its relevance for the treatment of major depression and for enhancement of psychotherapy.

Dr. Rainer Krähenmann, M.D., University of Zurich, is head of the clinical research unit of the Neuropsychopharmacology and Brain Imaging lab, led by Professor Franz X. Vollenweider, and an attending psychiatrist at the Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics at the Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich. Dr. Krähenmann has led several neuroimaging and behavioural studies into the neurobiological and behavioural effects of action of psilocybin, LSD, and ketamine. His main interests are to advance understanding of the mechanisms of action of psychedelics using multimodal neuroimaging methods and neuropsychological experiments. Together with Franz X. Vollenweider he has recently been granted governmental funding for the first randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial (RCT) of psilocybin treatment in major depression

Share This Page