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July 1969

A New Psychotropic Agent

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeuties (Dr. Snyder) and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Drs. Snyder, Faillace, and Weingartner), The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;21(1):95-101. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740190097014

PSYCHEDELIC drugs include a number of compounds of widely varying chemical structures which produce, however, similar subjective effects. The spectrum of the psychedelic syndrome embraces mood changes, alterations in body image, central sympathetic stimulation, changes in thought processes, perceptual distortions, and hallucinations, and is essentially the same for drugs of lysergic acid, tryptamine, and mescaline classes. The possibility that these similar effects result from interaction of these drugs on a common receptor site is supported by the existence of cross-tolerance among psychedelic drugs of different structures1,2 and by similarities of their molecular conformation3 and electronic configuration.4,5

An important therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs has been as facilitators of psychotherapy. In this "psycholytic" usage the facet of drug action applied is its capacity to enhance self-awareness and permit new insight. The failure of this type of therapy

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