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Matter Over Mind? The Psychedelic Pathway to Beating Pain

Article Title: “Beating Pain with Psychedelics: Matter Over Mind?

Authors: Elman, A. Pustilnik, D. Borsook

Publication Date: December, 2021

DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2021.12.005


Pain, a complex and often debilitating experience, affects millions worldwide, presenting a significant challenge to healthcare systems. Traditional pain management approaches, while effective for some, fail to provide relief for all patients, highlighting the need for innovative treatments. Here psychedelics: substances once relegated to the fringes of medical research, show promise in filling this gap, and are now being explored for their potential in pain management.

Study Overview

In their groundbreaking study, the authors investigate the application of psychedelic substances as a novel approach to pain relief. This research delves into the mechanisms by which psychedelics may alter the perception of pain, exploring whether these effects are rooted more in the physical (matter) or psychological (mind) realm.

Key Findings

The study’s key revelations: 

  • Potential Mechanisms: The study outlines potential mechanisms through which psychedelics could modulate pain, including alterations in brain chemistry and changes in the subjective experience of pain.
  • Psychedelics and Chronic Pain: Evidence suggests that psychedelics may offer significant benefits for individuals suffering from chronic pain, potentially providing relief where conventional medications have not.
  • The Interplay of Mind and Matter: The research highlights the complex interplay between the psychological and physiological aspects of pain and how psychedelics may bridge these realms to provide relief.



This research sheds light on the promising yet complex role of psychedelics in pain management. By potentially acting on both the mind and matter, these substances offer a holistic approach to pain relief, challenging conventional notions of pain treatment and offering an alternative path for those suffering despite traditional pain treatments.


The implications of this study are profound, suggesting that psychedelics could revolutionise pain management strategies. This could lead to the development of new treatment protocols that harness the full spectrum of pain relief mechanisms.

Potential Application

If further research supports these findings, psychedelics could become an integral part of pain management, offering hope to those for whom traditional treatments have fallen short. This would thus offer an additional option for people looking for pain management and relief.


This paper opens a new frontier in the quest to understand and manage pain. By embracing the potential of psychedelics, the medical community may be on the cusp of a paradigm shift in pain treatment strategies.


Elman, I., Pustilnik, A., & Borsook, D. (2021). Beating pain with psychedelics: Matter over mind? Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews.


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