Psychedelic compound triggers near-death experiences

A new study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, suggests that a psychedelic compound found in ayahuasca replicates near-death experiences in the brain.

Ayahuasca is a psychoactive brew made from different plants.

A main ingredient is dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which is a “non-selective serotonin receptor agonist” — that is, a compound that boosts serotonin, or the “happiness hormone.”

DMT has to be taken with other complementary substances for its psychoactive properties to become active.

Full story at Medical News Today

Can service dogs help with anxiety?

People with anxiety-related issues can gain tremendous benefit from having a specially trained service dog.

Service dogs are companion animals that help people who have physical or mental health conditions.

A service dog for anxiety can provide a sense of calm, anticipate anxiety attacks, and even fetch medication for their owner.

In this article, we look at the benefits of service dogs for people with anxiety. We discuss how to get an anxiety service dog, which breeds make the most successful anxiety service dogs, and how much they cost.

Full story at Medical News Today

What long-term cannabis use can do to your brain

Cannabis use is a topic of fervent debate among researchers. As the drug is being legalized in an increasing number of countries, and as its medicinal properties have come into sharp focus, the experts ask to what extent it and its medicinal derivatives are helpful, and to what extent harmful.

Some use cannabis for recreational purposes, whereas others use cannabis-based drugs or essential oils to relieve chronic pain or treat epilepsy.

Recently, scientists at two academic institutions — Universidade de Lisboa in Portugal and the University of Lancaster in the United Kingdom — have conducted a study into long-term use of cannabis and its potential dangers.

Full story at Medical News Today

Psychedelic drugs ‘may improve depression, anxiety, and PTSD’

Psychedelic drugs tend to have a bad reputation; they can have harmful effects and lead to addiction. Many countries regulate them heavily. Now, however, researchers ask whether such substances may be used to manage conditions such as anxiety.

The annual convention of the American Psychological Association (APA) — held this year in San Francisco, CA — is home to much thought-provoking debate about which directions psychotherapy should next consider.

This year, researchers from various global institutions discussed the potential of psychedelic drugs in the management of anxiety, depression, and psychological trauma symptoms.

Full story at Medical News Today

Exercise for mental health: How much is too much?

Many studies suggest that exercising can help people deal with mental health issues and boost well-being. A new observational study — the largest of its kind to date — confirms this, but it also extends a caution: too much exercise may negatively affect mental health.

Recently, researchers from Yale University in New Haven, CT, have analyzed the data of 1.2 million people all across the United States to gain a better understanding of how exercise affects a person’s mental health, and which types of excercise are best for a mood boost.

More importantly, they also asked how much exercise is too much.

Full story at Medical News Today