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Psychedelic drugs may reopen critical learning periods in the brain

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In adult mice, psychedelic drugs including LSD, ketamine and psilocybin have been shown to reopen the brain to a critical window for social learning usually only seen in adolescents

Health

17 November 2022

By Grace Wade

Psilocybe cubensis, a species of magic mushroom that contains the psychedelic psilocybin

Shutterstock / Alexander_Volkov

Psychedelic drugs reopen critical windows of brain development and learning in adult mice.

During these “critical periods”, the brain is highly plastic and capable of learning specific skills such as language. Once this window closes, it is nearly impossible to acquire certain abilities. For instance, children who aren’t exposed to language in their first year of life may never fully grasp sentence structure.

Previous research has shown that MDMA reopens a critical period of social learning in adult …

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