Recent, well-controlled – albeit small-scale – clinical trials show that serotonergic psychedelics, including psilocybin and lysergic acid diethylamide, possess great promise for treating psychiatric disorders, including treatment-resistant depression. Additionally, fresh results from a deluge of clinical neuroimaging studies are unveiling the dynamic effects of serotonergic psychedelics on functional activity within, and connectivity across, discrete neural systems. These observations have led to testable hypotheses regarding neural processing mechanisms that contribute to psychedelic effects and therapeutic benefits. Despite these advances and a plethora of preclinical and clinical observations supporting a central role for brain serotonin 5-HT2A receptors in producing serotonergic psychedelic effects, lingering and new questions about mechanisms abound. These chiefly pertain to molecular neuropharmacology. This chapter is devoted to illuminating and discussing such questions in the context of preclinical experimental approaches for studying mechanisms of action of serotonergic psychedelics, classic and new.
Canal, C. E. (2018). Serotonergic Psychedelics: Experimental Approaches for Assessing Mechanisms of Action. 10.1007/164_2018_107