Dr. Nolan Williams: Psychedelics & Neurostimulation for Brain Rewiring


Huberman Lab

In this episode, my guest is Nolan Williams, M.D., a triple board-certified psychiatrist, neurologist and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford School of Medicine. He is also the Director of the Stanford Brain Stimulation Lab. We discuss clinical applications for brain stimulation, behavioral protocols and novel drug treatments to halt and reverse mental health disorders, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We first discuss the neural circuits for self-identity and mood and stress control. We discuss Dr. Williams’ work using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to depression, trauma, PTSD, and other mood disorders. We then dive deep into the history, biology, modern use, and safety margins of the various psychedelics, including MDMA, LSD, ketamine, ibogaine, ayahuasca, and psilocybin, as well as cannabis and the use of SSRIs in both adults and children. Finally, we discuss behavioral treatments for mental health disorders, including sleep and sleep deprivation, light exposure, exercise, and training to control the brain-heart-rate pathways. Regardless of age, all those interested in mental health should benefit from the incredible breadth and depth of Dr. Williams’ knowledge and the clarity with which he conveys that information.

For the full show notes, visit hubermanlab.com.

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(00:00:00) Dr. Nolan Williams, Brain Stimulation & Depression Treatment

(00:03:48) Sponsors: LMNT

(00:09:16) Depression, Risk Factors, Emergency Psychiatric Treatments

(00:15:11) The Brain-Heart Connection, Vagus Nerve, Prefrontal Cortex

(00:17:51) Right vs. Left Brain Hemispheres & Mood Balance, Connectome

(00:22:34) Heart Rate & Depression, Behavioral Interventions, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

(00:33:02) Prefrontal Cortex & Cognitive Control, TMS

(00:35:30) Sponsor: AG1

(00:39:00) Belief/Identity “Rules”, Re-scripting, TMS & Talk Therapy

(00:45:49) Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex, TMS & Depression Treatment

(00:48:36) Cingulate Cortex & Emotion, Dissociation & Catatonia

(00:54:27) Ketamine, the Opioid System & Depression; Psychedelic Experience or Biology?

(01:03:42) SSRIs, Serotonin & Depression; Childhood, Chemical Imbalance or Circuit?

(01:13:58) Memories & “Rule” Creation; Psilocybin & “Rule” Resolution

(01:21:00) MDMA & Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Treatment, Psilocybin & Depression Treatment

(01:24:12) Is MDMA Neurotoxic?, Drug Purity, Dopamine Surges, Post-MDMA Prolactin

(01:30:38) Psilocybin, Brain Connectivity & Depression Treatment

(01:34:53) Exposure Response Prevention: “Letting Go” & Depression Treatment

(01:41:23) Normal Spectrums for Mental Health Disorders

(01:45:35) Ibogaine & “Life Review”; PTSD, Depression & Clinical Trials

(01:57:16) Clinical Use of Psychedelics

(02:01:59) Ayahuasca, Brazilian Prisoner Study

(02:06:55) Cannabis: THC, CBD & Psychosis, Clinical Uses

(02:14:52) Personal Relative Drug Risk & Alcohol

(02:20:42) Circadian Reset for Depression, Sleep Deprivation, Light

(02:28:43) Stanford Neuromodulation Therapy (SNT) Study

(02:34:25) Space Learning Theory & TMS Stimulation

(02:45:35) Zero-Cost Support, YouTube Feedback, Spotify & Apple Reviews, Sponsors, Huberman Lab Premium, Neural Network Newsletter, Social Media

Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac


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