A new study from BetterLife Pharma (CSE: BETR, OTCQB: BETRF) showed that a compound drawn from LSD promotes brain growth.
The findings provide new evidence of the chemical’s therapeutic ability to treat depression and other mental-health disorders.
The biotech company said that its lead drug, BETR-001 (2-bromo-LSD), raised the structural complexity of neurons in the treatment of rat embryonic cortical neurons, “indicating the neural plasticity activity of BETR-001.”
The compound also does not produce hallucinogenic effects typically associated with LSD.
BetterLife said that BETR-001 performed better than ketamine in the neuroplasticity study. Neuroplasticity generally refers to the brain’s capacity to form new connections and pathways that aid how people respond to life experiences – or recover from traumatic injury.
“These results confirm that our proprietary BETR-001, an LSD analog, retains the antidepressant and neural plasticity activity of LSD without causing hallucination,” CEO Ahmad Doroudian said. “The fact that BETR-001 can promote structural plasticity in the prefrontal cortex neurons indicates its therapeutic effects in depression and related disorders, providing a potential patient-friendly treatment addressing a very large unmet medical need affecting large number of patients globally.”
The cerebral cortex, which was the focus of the study, is the largest site of neural connection in the central nervous system. It plays a key role in vital brain functions such as as consciousness, thought, emotion, reasoning, language and memory.
LSD’s brain-boosting – or nootropic – effects are believed to be driven by neuroplasticity promotion, according to another recent study published in Experimental Neurology.
Researchers found that LSD increased neuroplasticity in “human brain organoids, increased novelty preference in rats and improved memory performance in humans.”
Increased structural plasticity in the brain neurons — mainly prefrontal cortex — has also been linked to the sustained antidepressant effects.