Magic mushrooms trial for depression delayed by red tape

Professor David Nutt
Professor David Nutt

“The knock-on effect is this profound impairment of research. We are the first people ever to have done a psilocybin study in the UK, but we are still hunting for a company that can manufacture the drug to GMP standards for the clinical trial, even though we’ve been trying for a year to find one. We live in a world of insanity in terms of regulating drugs at present. The whole field is so bogged down by these intransient regulations, so that even if you have a good idea, you may never get it into the clinic.”

Professor Nutt said: “The law for the control of drugs like psilocybin as a Schedule 1 Class A drug makes it almost impossible to use them for research. The reason we haven’t started the study is because finding companies who could manufacture the drug and who are prepared to go through the regulatory hoops to get the licence, which can take up to a year and triple the price, is proving very difficult. The whole situation is bedevilled by this primitive, old-fashioned attitude that Schedule 1 drugs could never have therapeutic potential, and so they have to be made impossible to access.

Professor Nutt’s research has shown that psilocybin, the psychedelic ingredient in magic mushrooms, may have the potential to alleviate severe forms of depression in people who have failed to respond fully to other anti-depressant treatments. However, psilocybin is illegal in the UK. The United Nations 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances classifies it as a Schedule 1 drug, one that has a high potential for abuse with no recognised medical use, and the UK has classified it as a Class A drug, the classification used for the most dangerous drugs. This means that a special licence has to be obtained to use magic mushrooms in research in the UK, and the manufacture of a synthetic form of psilocybin for use in patients is tightly controlled by EU regulations.

Professor David Nutt, president of the British Neuroscience Association (BNA) and Edmond J Safra Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, told  BNA’s Festival of Neuroscience yesterday that although the Medical Research Council has awarded a grant for the study, Government regulations controlling the licensing of illegal drugs in research and EU guidelines on Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) have stalled the start of the trial, which was expected to start this year. He is calling for a change to the regulations.

The UK’s first clinical trial using the hallucinogenic ingredient in magic mushrooms for treating depression is being delayed due to UK and EU rules on the use of illegal drugs in research.

 

 

Videos

Can Magic Mushrooms treat depression?- Robin Carhart-Harris at New Scientist Live 2017

Comeback of psychedelics in science and medicine: Robin Carhart Harris

Mendel Kaelen 29th June 2016

Robin Carhart Harris 20th July 2016

How Do Psychedelic Drugs Work On The Brain? (Full Lecture)

  • terry hall on Help us treat depression!I would be very interested to hear about your research on your use of psychedelics , I would be very interested if you are looking for new volunteers for further trials , I am 50 years old and I have suffered with depression for 25 years and have fou…
  • Bob on The administration of psilocybin to healthy hallucinogen experienced volunteersHi, I have read your articles and I am currently on anti depressants. I have tried different kinds as I have mild PTSD from military service and suffer from depression constantly. I would very much like to assist and be a volunteer for future trials.
  • Chris noton on The administration of psilocybin to healthy hallucinogen experienced volunteersHello, I’m am 43 year old male living in oxford and suffered from depression and anxiety for 20 some years and I am a chronic suffer. I am very interested in participating on this type of drug trial. In my 20’s I have picked my own mushrooms once or…
  • Anonymous on Are you having a psychedelic experience in the near future?Hi All, I suffer from depression and anxiety and have done so for many years. After being placed on anti-depressants (again), I had a very bad response and the side effects of increased suicidal thoughts became unbearable. It was an everyday battle o…
  • J Moran on Help us treat depression!Hello, I am wondering if you have completed your research into the use of psychedelics to aid with depression. I suffer with it myself and want to know if you are still looking for volunteers? I am currently 20 years old, turning 21 in September. I a…
  • Leo Tognetti on The administration of psilocybin to healthy hallucinogen experienced volunteersHi Drew Thanks for sharing. What was your method?
  • Richard NAUGHTON on Help us treat depression!These mushrooms have powers beyond the understanding of the modern world that have been lost in translation since the dawn of man . I've used them and felt drawn to them and felt it was a calling . I collected them myself for 15 years ate them , drie…
  • Garry Tickell on Are you having a psychedelic experience in the near future?My name is Garry.I have been using LSD (truffles)every day for the last fortnight.I have bi;polar disorder,and asbergers.I have several different thoughts on what im doing,and why,the hell i have to do it illegally.Right now,i have to start work,so d…

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