Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Brian Duistermars

Reader 2

Lars Schmitz

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Rights Information

© 2022 Lela Mazdyasnian


Opioid use disorder (OUD) is characterized by altered regulation of serotonin release in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN), decreased density of dendritic spines, decreased amygdala volume, decreased axonal white-matter amygdala pathways, and decreased connectivity between the insula, three amygdala subdivisions, and the nucleus accumbens (Robinson et al., 2002). The allostatic state created by these altercations impacts the emotional and motivational factors of addiction and is responsible for the negative reinforcement pattern of drug-taking behavior. Psilocybin’s acute destabilization of brain networks, through the activation of 5-HT receptors, provides an opportunity for brain network activity to be altered and for the preoccupation/anticipation, binge-intoxication, and withdrawal/negative affect cycle of OUD to be broken (Johnson & Griffiths, 2017; Koob & Moal, 2001). In vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated psilocybin’s ability to promote neurogenesis and spinogenesis as well as decrease cerebral blood flow (CBF; Ly et al., 2018; Carhart-Harris et al., 2017). Reestablishment of damaged dendritic spines and neuronal pathways can reestablish a homeostatic state in individuals with OUD and the decrease in amygdala CBF is correlated with an overall decrease in negative affect and withdrawal symptoms. In addition to its regenerative structural and functional properties, psilocybin’s favorable safety profile (low dependance and addiction potentials) makes it a suitable medication assisted therapy option for individuals with an OUD (Johnson et al., 2008).

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.