Psychedelics have long shown promise for treating a host of mental illnesses, and now scientists have identified a compound that provides only the benefits.
Named AAZ-A-154, it has the potential to repair chemical pathways in the brain, say the US researchers.
Study co-author Dr David Olson, a chemist at University of California, Davis, explained: "One of the problems with psychedelic therapies is they require close guidance and supervision from a medical team… A drug that doesn't cause hallucinations could be taken at home."
Experiments using a fluorescent sensor called psychLight showed the new drug activates a gene that makes serotonin—the body's 'feel good' hormone.
The most common antidepressants, such as Prozac, also work by triggering the serotonin 2A receptor.