New research conducted by researchers from the University of California-Santa Cruz has found that an individual dose of tabernanthalog (“TBG”) can repair neural circuits in the brain that are damaged by stress, enhance neuronal connection regrowth and remedy behavioral deficits such as cognitive inflexibility and anxiety that are caused by stress.
TBG is a new compound that has a structure similar to ibogaine, a psychedelic drug. Prior studies have found that while ibogaine has the potential to treat addiction, it is also a powerful hallucinogen and can cause severe heart arrhythmias.
However, unlike ibogaine, TBG lacks hallucinogenic and toxic effects. Researchers have found that it can reverse the effects of stress, as observed in rodent models. The study was reported in “Molecular Psychiatry” last month.
Prof. Yi Zuo, who was the corresponding author of the study, explained that researchers were surprised to find that a low dose of this treatment had such a remarkable effect in a day. Zuo, who focuses on developmental, cell and molecular biology at the institution, noted that she had found it hard to believe even after she’d seen the preliminary data.
The compound was developed at the university in the laboratory of David Olson, who is a co-author of the study.
Zuo’s laboratory had collaborated with Olson on the preliminary studies of the compound, which were published last year in the “Nature” journal. This new study centered on the harmful effects of stress, which entailed rodent models being subjected to unpredictable mild stressors over a few days.
Stress is known to cause decreased flexibility in decision-making, deficiencies in sensory processing and increased anxiety on the behavioral level. Additionally, stress adjusts the neuronal circuitry and damages the connections between neurons in the brain, which brings about an imbalance between inhibition and excitation.
Zuo explained that during the study, researchers found that TBG undid of the effects of stress; Zuo noted that the team’s research offered important insights into the mechanisms underlying the healing effects of psychedelic analogs on mental conditions. She added that it would also be beneficial to future researchers who would like to better understand their circuit and cellular mechanisms.
Preliminary studies of TBG also discovered that it decreased addictive behaviors and had antidepressant effects in mice. However, the compound is yet to be tested on people. Researchers note though that unlike ibogaine, TBG doesn’t bring about the head-twitch behavior caused by hallucinogens and is also not toxic, as observed in animal tests.
Psychedelics are indeed promising to avail solutions to many of the mental and behavioral challenges societies face. With the work being done by entities such as XPhyto Therapeutics Corp. (CSE: XPHY) (OTCQB: XPHYF) (FSE: 4XT), chances are high that approved psychedelic-based formulations may soon be available.
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