Could Psychedelics Treat Neuropathic Chronic Pain?

Jonathan Iliff,

Published on: 2023-03-03


Chronic pain conditions are a substantial health problem and there is a strong need for new treatments. We hypothesise that classical psychedelics such as psilocybin may be one such treatment for chronic pain states. We introduce the pharmacology of psychedelics and existing data on their use in humans, including side effects, safety and abuse liability. We systematically review and explore the existing data on the use of psychedelics to treat pain, predominantly chronic and neuropathic in type. A discussion of the psychological and psychiatric aspects of chronic pain and the effects of psychedelics on these aspects follows, culminating in an integrated hypothesis that psychedelics effect high level priors that compound chronic pain, alongside putative direct nociceptive effects. Finally, we propose a clinical trial to test our primary hypothesis.

scroll up