Published October 2022 on YouTube

Dr. Nolan Williams: Psychedelics & Neurostimulation for Brain Rewiring | Huberman Lab Podcast #93

1. Psychedelic Treatments

Dr. Nolan Williams discusses the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and psychedelic treatments, such as ibogaine, psilocybin, MDMA, and cannabis, for depression and other mood disorders. He also talks about ongoing studies in his laboratory and the future of psychedelic research and clinical use.+

2. Huberman Lab Premium

Andrew Huberman announces the launch of the Huberman Lab Premium Channel, which will offer subscribers access to monthly Ask Me Anything sessions, transcripts, and short videos related to science, mental health, and performance. A portion of the proceeds will go towards supporting scientific research.+

3. InsideTracker, Eight Sleep, ROKA

Science Tools:Andrew discusses two tools that can help improve health and sleep: Inside Tracker, a personalized nutrition platform that analyzes data from blood and DNA, and Eight Sleep, a smart mattress cover with cooling, heating, and sleep tracking capacity.+
Mattress and Eyeglasses:Andrew shares two products he personally uses and recommends to listeners. The Eight Sleep Mattress Cover helps improve sleep quality and is available for a discount using a special code. Roka eyeglasses and sunglasses are designed for performance and style, with a focus on crystal-clear vision in changing lighting conditions. Listeners can save 20% on their first order with a special code.+

4. Momentous Supplements

Andrew discusses the benefits of supplements for enhancing sleep, focus, cognitive ability, energy, and hormone levels. The Huberman Lab Podcast is now partnered with Momentous supplements, which can be found at

5. Depression and Heart Disease

Depression and Heart Disease:Nolan explains the different manifestations of depression and how it is the most disabling condition worldwide. He also discusses how depression is a risk factor for heart disease and how the brain-heart connectome is being studied to reduce the risk of heart attacks.+
Treating Severe Depression:Nolan Williams discusses the severity of depression and how it is often overlooked. He emphasizes the need for more funding and focus on developing treatments. Williams also highlights the lack of consistent treatment for individuals with severe depression in emergency settings and the need for brain-based solutions.+

6. Brain-Heart Connection

Nolan explains the direct relationship between the dorsilateral prefrontal cortex and the heart, and how magnetic stimulation of this area can lead to a decrease in heart rate. This connection has been replicated multiple times, proving the physical connectome between the brain and the heart.+

7. Mood and Brain Hemispheres

Nolan and Andrew discuss the hemispheric balancing of mood in the brain and the left dorsilateral prefrontal cortex's connection to reducing depressive symptoms. They explore the human Connectome project and the regularities of right versus left or saladal prefrontal cortex.+

8. Depression and Physiology

Depression's Physiology:Andrew and Nolan discuss the connection between depression and heart rate. They explore how stimulation of the dorsalateral prefrontal cortex can alleviate depressive symptoms by slowing down the heart rate, and whether behavioral interventions such as breathing techniques can achieve the same effect.+
Exercise and Depression:Nolan discusses the relationship between exercise and depression, citing studies that suggest exercise can be an effective treatment for mild depression. He also suggests that a correlation between changes in heart rate and mood improvements could be helpful in understanding this relationship.+
Heart Rate and Depression:Andrew and Nolan discuss the relationship between heart rate and depression, exploring the idea that depression may actually be multiple disorders. While reducing heart rate may not directly improve depression, it can be an indicator that you're in the right mood regulatory area.+
Autonomic Nervous System:Andrew and Nolan discuss the autonomic nervous system and its role in depression. They explore the seesaw of alertness and calmness and the importance of the regulatory network in controlling the nervous system. The discussion also touches on the lateralization of prefrontal cortical areas and the importance of understanding brain networks rather than just specific brain areas.+

9. Prefrontal Cortex Mysteries

Prefrontal Cortex Mysteries:Andrew and Nolan discuss the mysteries surrounding the prefrontal cortex, particularly the left dorsilateral prefrontal cortex and its functional connectivity with the dorsal anterior cingulate. They also explore the different subregions within this brain region and their roles in regulating mood, perception, and motor control.+
Brain Stimulation:Nolan discusses how Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) can be used to stimulate and inhibit different areas of the prefrontal cortex, leading to increased hypnotizability. He explains how this technique can help understand the function of different brain circuits and how they relate to therapeutic hypnosis.+

10. AG1 (Athletic Greens)

Andrew explains the importance of gut health and how Athletic Greens' probiotics are vital for microbiotic health. He also mentions the other vitamins and minerals in Athletic Greens that meet all of his foundational nutritional needs.+

11. Prefrontal Cortex and Beliefs

Rules and Beliefs:Andrew and Nolan discuss the role of the prefrontal cortex in adopting transient belief systems, like the rules in the Stroop Task. They explore the idea that depression may be linked to pervasive negative beliefs, and the potential for the prefrontal cortex to switch those beliefs.+
Restoring Prefrontal Governance:Nolan explains how therapy and TMS can restore the governance of the prefrontal cortex over the cingulate area, which is correlated with treatment improvement in depression. The talk also covers how TMS can be used as a way of having exogenous sorts of cognitive functions that can be pulled off with psychotherapy in milder forms of depression.+

12. Brain Stimulation Effects

Nolan Williams discusses the effects of brain stimulation on depression patients, including the potential for a mindful, present moment experience. He also shares how the dorsilateral prefrontal cortex governs how we interpret physiological signals and spontaneous thoughts.+

13. Cingulate and Emotions

Mapping the Cingulate:Nolan Williams explains how the cingulate is mapped through neuroimaging studies and how it is related to obsessive-compulsive disorder and emotional valence. He also shares a case of akinetic mutism caused by pressure on the cingulate.+
Cingulate and dissociation:Nolan and Andrew discuss the role of the cingulate in dissociative states, including catatonia and PTSD, and its connection to hypnosis. They also explore the relationship between stress, depression, and the cingulate's ability to interact with the outside world.+

14. Emerging Depression Treatments

Emerging Depression Treatments:Andrew and Nolan discuss emerging treatments for depression, including ketamine and psilocybin. They explore the paradoxical effects of these drugs, with ketamine inducing dissociative states and psilocybin inducing highly engaged emotionality, both leading to relief of depression. They also discuss the correlation between dissociation and therapeutic effect in ketamine treatment.+
Ketamine's Antidepressant Effect:Nolan explains the results of a study that tested the effect of blocking the opioid receptor on the antidepressant effect of ketamine. The study showed that the opioid receptor plays a significant role in the antidepressant effect of ketamine. Additionally, Nolan discusses the involvement of the opioid system in pain relief and the potential emotional pain relief that opioids may provide.+
Psychedelic Biology:Andrew and Nolan discuss the underlying biology of psychedelic drugs and how they can be used to treat various illnesses. They explore the idea that the positive effects of these drugs may not be solely due to the hallucinogenic properties, but rather to changes in underlying neuromodulation.+

15. Psychiatry 3.0

SSRIs and Depression:Nolan explains that SSRIs are effective for treating depression, but their mechanism of action is not fully understood. The drugs block the reuptake of serotonin, which may lead to brain plasticity effects. However, there is no direct link between serotonin levels and depression.+
Psychiatry 3.0:Nolan discusses the evolution of psychiatry from the Freudian era to the chemical imbalance hypothesis and now to Psychiatry 3.0, which focuses on circuitry and neuromodulation. He explains how TMS works and how it challenges the serotonin hypothesis of depression.+
Psychiatry 3.0:Nolan Williams discusses the benefits of Psychiatry 3.0, which focuses on the circuit level changes in the brain that can be corrected through neuromodulation and psychedelics. He explains that this approach challenges the idea that psychiatric illnesses are forever trapping individuals in their diagnoses and shows that people can get better through sustained periods of normal mood. The sense of control that patients feel is empowering and helps them understand that they can achieve their goals.+

16. Psychedelic Therapy Insights

Psychedelic Perception:Andrew and Nolan discuss the altered thinking and perception that occurs during high dose psilocybin clinical sessions and the potential improvements in trauma-related symptomology and depression. They explore why the brain holds onto rules that don't serve us well and how psilocybin disrupts thinking and feeling to allow for novel rule consideration. The conversation also touches on the evolutionary neurobiology behind stress-induced eating and its relevance in modern times.+
Psychedelics and PTSD:Nolan and Andrew discuss the potential therapeutic effects of psychedelics on PTSD symptoms, particularly in veterans. Nolan shares anecdotes from treating Navy Seals and emphasizes the need for rigorous trials to prove the effectiveness of these substances. They also touch on the difficulty of creating a placebo condition for these trials.+

17. Psychedelic Treatments

Nolan explains that MDMA treatment has shown to have an anti-PTSD effect outside of standard levels of improvement, with about two-thirds of people experiencing significant relief from trauma. Psilocybin has shown to be effective for depression, with half to two-thirds of people experiencing relief in open label studies.+

18. MDMA and Serotonin

MDMA and Serotonin:Andrew and Nolan discuss the neurotoxicity of MDMA on serotonin neurons and the misconceptions surrounding it, including a study that mistakenly injected monkeys with methamphetamine. They also explore a study on individuals of the Mormon faith who only use MDMA and found no neurocognitive differences compared to those who don't use it.+
MDMA Neurotoxicity:Nolan and Andrew discuss the neurocognitive effects of MDMA and whether or not it is neurotoxic. They explore the results of clinical trials and studies on chronic users and conclude that there is no apparent risk in the one to three dose range. They also touch on the effects of dopamine and Prolactin on mood and libido after taking MDMA.+

19. Psilocybin Neurochemistry

Andrew and Nolan discuss the neurochemistry of psilocybin and its effects on the brain, including increased activation of lateral connectome and lack of gating of sensory input. They also explore the possibility of combining directed brain stimulation with psychedelics for treating depression. Nolan shares the work of David Nutt and Robin Carhart Harris on neuroimaging psychedelics and their findings on the decrease in brain activity and increase in global connectivity.+

20. Letting Go

Letting Go:Andrew discusses the importance of letting go during psilocybin journeys and how it can be a key variable for relief from depression. He shares insights from Dr. Matthew Johnson's clinical trials at Johns Hopkins and emphasizes the clinician's role in ensuring the patient's safety while they experience the sensation of their thoughts and feelings being out of their control.+
Letting Go:Nolan explains the concept of exposure and response prevention therapy, which is a gold standard treatment for OCD. The therapy involves exposing the individual to triggers that cause obsessions and compulsions and letting them see that exposure is fine. Nolan draws parallels between this therapy and the concept of letting go in psychedelic therapy, which also involves relinquishing control and allowing the system to assume a state that one has been fighting against.+

21. Superstitions and Mental Health

Andrew and Nolan discuss the prevalence of internal superstitions and how they relate to mental health. They emphasize the importance of talking about these issues and breaking down the stigma surrounding them.+

22. Ibogaine Insights

Ibogaine Explained:Nolan explains what ibogaine is and its traditional use by the Buiti people in Gabon. It is an atypical psychedelic that doesn't cause visual perceptual changes like psilocybin or LSD.+
Ibogaine Insights:Nolan discusses the unique effects of ibogaine, including the ability to re-experience past memories with detached empathy. He also explains why it's not a recreational substance and shares the story of Howard Lotsoff, who stopped using all drugs after a profound ibogaine experience.+
Ibogaine's Effects:Nolan discusses the long-lasting effects of ibogaine and its potential to treat PTSD in Navy Seals. He shares how the unnamed donor funded a scientific study to evaluate the effects of ibogaine and 5-MEO Dmt on Special Forces individuals. The study includes clinical scales, neurocognitive batteries, neuroimaging, and EEG to capture pre and post changes.+
Ibogaine and Five Meodmt:Nolan Williams discusses the use of ibogaine and five meodmt in psychedelic therapy. The study shows that ibogaine can reduce risk in patients with risk off of their electrocardiogram. The use of five meodmt is to help individuals see themselves in a different light and forgive themselves.+

23. Clinical Use of Psychedelics

Nolan and Andrew discuss how psychedelics can be a breakthrough in psychiatry if used in combination with psychotherapy, but only under strict medical supervision as they are too powerful to be used recreationally. They also highlight how psychedelics are being explored as a treatment for trauma and PTSD in the military, and how it is no longer considered an anti-establishment realm.+

24. Ayahuasca's Curious Effects

Nolan explains the curious effects of ayahuasca, a psychedelic plant used as a sacrament in South American countries. He talks about the two plant combination that produces a profound psychedelic effect and how it has been explored as an antidepressant agent. He also shares the results of the Brazilian prisoner study, which suggests that ayahuasca has an effect on criminal behavior.+

25. Cannabis and Psychosis

Cannabis and Psychosis:Andrew and Nolan discuss the potential link between early use of potent cannabis and the exacerbation of psychosis later in life. While acknowledging its medical benefits, they explore the effects of THC on the brain and the importance of waiting until brain development is complete before using cannabis.+
Cannabis and CBD:Nolan discusses the differences between cannabis strains bred for high THC or CBD content, and their effects on epilepsy and psychosis. He also talks about the potential benefits of using CBD as a safe treatment for seizure disorders and as an adjunctive treatment for schizophrenia. However, he warns about the potential risks of high doses of THC causing psychosis, especially in teenagers whose prefrontal maturation is not yet complete.+

26. Alcohol Risks

Drug Risks:Nolan and Andrew discuss the relative risks of drugs and how alcohol is one of the most dangerous drugs in the world due to its personal and societal risks, yet it is not perceived as a drug by society. They also touch on the prevalence of alcohol in medical institutions.+
Alcohol and Health:Nolan and Andrew discuss the potential health risks associated with alcohol consumption and predict that, similar to smoking, alcohol will eventually be banned from hospital systems and universities. They also touch on the difficulty of untangling the belief that alcohol is heart-healthy and the impact of alcohol on decision-making.+

27. Sleep and Depression

Sleep and Depression:Andrew discusses the intriguing relationship between sleep deprivation and depression, including how REM sleep deprivation can improve symptoms of depression. He emphasizes the importance of getting enough quality sleep for mental and physical health, and how sleep deprivation can dysregulate our autonomic system, affecting decision making and emotionality.+
Sleep and Depression:Nolan explains the effectiveness of circadian reset therapy in treating depression by sleep deprivation, phase shift, and bright light exposure. The therapy is complicated and should only be done under medical supervision. Insomnia is a common symptom of depression, and this therapy can help reset the circadian rhythm, leading to a profound and durable antidepressant effect.+
Sleep and Depression:Nolan and Andrew discuss the importance of regulating sleep for mild depression and offer tips such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding blue light before bed, and keeping the bedroom for sleep only. They also mention a sleep toolkit available for download on the Huberman Lab website.+

28. Neuromodulation Therapy

Neuromodulation Therapy:Nolan explains the concept of neuromodulation therapy and how it's used to treat depression with TMS. He also shares the history of TMS studies for depression and how they were able to get FDA clearance.+
Brain Stimulation:Nolan explains how neuromodulation devices can be used to stimulate certain brain regions to increase or decrease activity, or remain inert. This approach has been successful in treating depression by increasing activity in the prefrontal cortex. Neuromodulation devices can be tailored to specific conditions and individuals, much like pharmaceutical drugs.+

29. Efficient Brain Stimulation

Efficient Brain Stimulation:Nolan explains how TMS stimulation can be modified to create a new treatment approach for psychiatric emergencies. By utilizing Space Learning Theory, they were able to optimize the stimulation approach and make it much more efficient.+
TMS Dosing and Space Learning:Nolan explains how the traditional TMS dosing approach didn't utilize space learning theory and how they reorganized the stimulation in times to take the whole six-week course in just five days. By giving five times the normal dose every hour for ten hours, for five days, they were able to utilize space learning theory and have seven and a half months worth of stimulation in five days.+
Brain Stimulation:Nolan explains how they use brain stimulation to find the exact spot in the brain to stimulate to help people with depression. They have found that within one to five days, 60-90% of people go into full remission. The stimulation is done in a targeted way without getting into the rest of the brain or body.+
Depression Studies:Nolan discusses ongoing depression studies, how to participate, and the importance of accessibility for all participants. Andrew thanks Nolan for his work and for sharing his knowledge on the topic.+

30. Mental Health Treatments

Andrew and Nolan discuss the use of psychedelics and transcranial magnetic stimulation as treatments for depression, and provide information on how to participate in clinical trials for depression on the Brain Stimulation Laboratory website. They also mention the benefits of supplements and the launch of a premium channel for the Huberman Lab podcast.+