March 22, 2024/Daily Health Stories

Why Researchers are Studying Use of Psychedelics

Cleveland Clinic researchers explain why they are studying the use of psychedelics to treat certain mental health and behavioral health conditions.

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CLEVELAND - Cleveland Clinic researchers are actively studying the use of psychedelics, like mushrooms and LSD, to treat certain mental health issues, and so far, the findings seem to show potential.

“They seem to allow the brain to enter a state where it becomes more flexible, and it’s easier for a period afterwards, possibly weeks to months, to learn new things,” explained Brian Barnett, MD, psychiatrist for Cleveland Clinic. “And so, it’s easier to make changes to how you view the world, how you view your interaction with the world, and also, it’s easier if you are in therapy to take what you are learning in therapy and apply it in your everyday life.”

Dr. Barnett said a lot of the research out there on psychedelics has centered around anxiety, depression and post-traumatic disorder.

However, more is starting to be done on how they could help with addiction.

So, what does a typical treatment experience look like?

Dr. Barnett said since psychedelics can alter your state of mind, they make sure the patient is in a comfortable and safe place that includes a couch, blankets and music playing.

A monitor or therapist is also on site to assist.

The length of treatment depends on the type of psychedelic used and the needs of the patient.

“LSD, which we have worked with here, lasts somewhere between 10 and 12 hours. And then there is shorter acting psychedelics that are getting a lot of research attention now because they might offer more opportunities for increasing access to these treatments when they’re approved,” said Dr. Barnett.

He said while research is ongoing, there has been some movement with a psychedelic called MDMA.

It’s expected to be approved by the FDA later this year to help with treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

About Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. Cleveland Clinic is consistently recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for its expertise and care. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 81,000 employees worldwide are more than 5,743 salaried physicians and researchers, and 20,160 registered nurses and advanced practice providers, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic is a 6,690-bed health system that includes a 173-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 23 hospitals, 276 outpatient facilities, including locations in northeast Ohio; Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2023, there were 13.7 million outpatient encounters, 323,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 301,000 surgeries and procedures throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 132 countries. Visit us at Follow us at News and resources available at

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