Take the 2-minute tour ×
Cognitive Sciences Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for practitioners, researchers, and students in cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience, and psychiatry. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Drugs that activate the serotonergic 5-HT2A receptor (e.g. LSD, psilocybin, mescaline) are notorious for causing psychedelic experiences and I would like to know the neurochemical mechanism behind this.

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

Broadband cortical desynchronization "begins at the cellular level with excitation of layer 5 pyramidal neurons, and extends to the macroscopic level with cortical desynchronization and decreased brain network integrity."

"Stimulation of the 5-HT2A receptor has been shown to enhance spontaneous EPSPs/EPSCs (excitatory postsynaptic potential / excitatory postsynaptic current) in neocortical layer 5 pyramidal cells by reducing outward potassium currents (Aghajanian and Marek, 1997; Lambe et al., 2000) and to cause increased glutamatergic recurrent activity in layer 5 of the cortex."

"Speculatively, if deep-layer pyramidal cells were to become hyperexcitable during the psychedelic state, information processing would be biased in the direction of inference—such that implicit models of the world become spontaneously manifest—intruding into consciousness without prior invitation from sensory data. This could explain many of the subjective effects of psychedelics."

http://www.jneurosci.org/content/33/38/15171.short

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.