So how do psychedelics affect your hypothalamus? Let’s talk about it.
Psychedelic drugs are gaining favor as potential psychological therapies.
Psychedelics do target your hypothalamus which affects your neuroendocrine system influencing both what’s happening in your brain as well as in your body. The effect of psychedelic-assisted therapies for mood disorders and addiction as well as the treatment for cluster headaches has demonstrated promising results. And the beneficial effects appear to persist well after the limited exposure to the psychedelics.
Psychedelic drugs that are used for psychiatric disorders include psilocybin, LSD, and MDMA (or Ecstasy). Psychedelics are utilized to help treat mental health disorders in close guidance with a psychiatrist or psychotherapist. Highly controlled studies on major depression showed dramatic results with over 2/3 of participants reporting a 50% reduction in their symptoms after four weeks and half of the participants entering remission.
But there are risks.
In rare incidents, psychedelics can induce a psychotic reaction, especially in people with a family history of psychosis. Schizophrenics are particularly vulnerable to psychotic reactions from the use of them.
Psychedelics bind on receptor sites that affect serotonin metabolism which can alter your senses and consciousness. While it is not understood how psychedelics work, three possible effects are hypothesized: They induce a number of immediate genes in various regions of the brain, especially in the hypothalamus. Psychedelics can produce long-lasting effects through epigenetic mechanisms, changing the way genes function. Psychedelics can have psychotherapeutic effects acting as meaning response magnifiers.
It’s your hypothalamus that produces neuropeptides and regulates your endocrine system to control mood and memory. Psychedelics induce the overproduction of various hypothalamic-controlled hormones – oxytocin, prolactin ACTH, and cortisol. The HPA – hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis – is also affected by psychedelic use. Depressed people tend to have HPA axis abnormalities with an elevation of baseline cortisol and an abnormal dexamethasone suppression test. Where people with PTSD have lower baseline cortisol levels and a greater cortisol suppression following dexamethasone challenge.
Psychedelics also affect the hypothalamus’ regulation of pineal melatonin which has a significant role in affective disorders.
Psychedelics delay melatonin production postponing REM sleep onset. Interestingly psychedelics and melatonin have some opposing effects on the body. While psychedelics induce arterial hypertension, hyperthermia, and anorexia and activate the HPA axis, melatonin induces arterial hypotension, hypothermia, hyperphagia (or overeating) and suppresses the HPA axis.
Research shows that psilocybin reduces blood flow to the hypothalamus while MDMA alters the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis suppressing GNRH and testosterone.
If you have any questions regarding psychedelics and your hypothalamus, please join me in our Hormone Support Group. You can get access by signing up for my free Hormone Reboot Training.
It’s really important that you have a healthy hypothalamus if you are considering using psychedelics in a guided experience with a psychotherapist. I’ve had patients use psilocybin. The ones who were supporting their hypothalamus with Genesis Gold® had much more therapeutic experiences without the negative effects on their hormonal balance. If you use psychedelics without optimizing hypothalamus function you can have long-lasting endocrine effects including adrenal, thyroid, and sex steroid imbalances.
Neuroendocrine Associations Underlying the Persistent …
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov › articles › PMC583801
Magic mushrooms’ effects illuminated in brain imaging studies…
https://www.sciencedaily.com › releases › 2012/01
The Recreational Drug Ecstasy Disrupts the Hypothalamic…
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov › articles › PMC2753463