Psychedelics and Autoimmune Disease with Caitlin Thompson


On this week’s episode of the Plant Medicine Podcast, Caitlin Thompson joins to discuss her recent article “Psychedelics as a Novel Approach to Treating Autoimmune Conditions” published in Immunology Letters. Caitlin is the founder of the nutritional supplement company EntheoZen, a certified kambo practitioner, and a research associate at the UCSD school of medicine. Drawing on personal experience with an autoimmune condition, Caitlin hopes her scientific research investigating psychedelics and kambo can help give credence to these healing modalities, allowing for more effective treatments of autoimmune conditions.

In this conversation, Caitlin discusses the five major findings from her literature review published in Immunology Letters. Her findings draw important connections between the serotonergic mechanism of classic psychedelics and the immunomodulating function of the serotonin 5-HT2A receptor. Additionally, she discusses the impact of psychosocial stress and the gut microbiome on the immune system. As psychedelics can definitely improve psychosocial stress and may even impact the microbiome through serotonergic mechanisms, Caitlin sees significant potential for these compounds as treatments for autoimmune conditions.

Caitlin closes by discussing kambo, which remains an under-investigated healing modality. She explains what little is known about how kambo is able to clear microbes from the body while at the same time being inert in relation to human cells. Now that her literature review has been published, Caitlin hopes to focus her research on kambo, and since kambo is not regulated like psychedelics, she will have more freedom to conduct original research leading to new discoveries.

In This Episode

• An overview of Caitlin’s recent article published in Immunology Letters
• How the serotonin 5-HT2A receptor modulates immune responses
• The impact of stress on physiological processes
• How psychedelics impact the gut microbiome
• Why kambo is often an effective treatment for autoimmune conditions


“What’s actually really fascinating is how important serotonin is for regulating all sorts of processes that are related to immune function.” [8:40]

“There are very real scientific explanations for the way that stress can influence our physical health.” [12:32]

“It’s a bit useless to go through all these treatments, to have this pristine diet, to take all these supplements if you’re not also approaching the core thing that compromised the person in the first place.” [15:35]

“When people are able to actually, consciously resolve and find peace with traumatic experiences, it actually completely changes how the nervous system responds.” [22:41]


* The Psychedelic Medicine Podcast has allowed the Psychedelic Medicine Association to post episodes as an educational resource, and in return the PMA is hosting the podcast show notes.