Pioneering research into psychedelic drugs could herald a revolution in our understanding of human consciousness and how we treat mental illness.
With its roots in the great age of Victorian invention, Imperial College London looks back on a rich heritage of breakthroughs in science, engineering and medicine – from the discovery of penicillin and development of radar technology in the early 20th century, through to ‘lab on a chip’ DNA sequencing in the 21st Century.
It’s perhaps not, at first glance, the sort of place you might expect to find controversial research involving members of the public taking ecstasy, magic mushrooms and LSD − as has been happening for a few years now at the College.
“I try very hard to not to romanticise psychedelics and present them as only wonderful things that could change to world for the better – even though I suspect that they have that capacity – because it would be wrong to think that these compounds have no limitations or any potential for harm. I have a responsibility to look at those aspects as well.
“These are powerful tools to engender change − done irresponsibly that change could be negative but handled in the right way it could be very positive.”
All images by Thomas Angus.