Can magic mushrooms treat depression? – New Scientist Live 2017

Could psychedelic drugs make the world a better place?

In this talk, Robin Carhart-Harris will describe the rationale behind conducting the first ever clinical trial of psilocybin (magic mushrooms) as a treatment for depression – and share his results.

Robin will describe how psilocybin works in the brain to have its antidepressant effects and discuss the psychology of the drug experience and after-effects of the treatment.

Could psychedelic drugs like psilocybin revolutionise psychology and psychiatry?

Source: Can magic mushrooms treat depression? – New Scientist Live 2017

Psychedelics pioneer keeps his inner hippy in check

Psychedelics pioneer keeps his inner hippy in check

 

After giving people LSD and psilocybin, Robin Carhart-Harris is convinced of psychedelic therapy’s potential – but he daren’t get too excited about it

Robin Carhart-Harris
“I have conviction in psychedelics as tools to fundamentally understand the mind and the brain”

Liz Hingley

ONE of the last times I saw Robin Carhart-Harris, I was absolutely off my head on MDMA. On a Monday morning. He knew, because he was the one who gave it to me. He scanned my brain, put me through some psychological tests, and talked to me for what felt like hours about how I was feeling. I remember him being calming and patient. Then again, I was on drugs.

Today I’m completely straight, but he is still calming and patient. It’s a character trait that must come in

Source: Psychedelics pioneer keeps his inner hippy in check | New Scientist

Psychedelic medicine: the potential, the people, the politics

A multicoloured pill capsule
Trippy treatment

James Worrell/Getty

It was quite a comedown in the 1970s when research into psychedelic medicine was virtually shut down in the West. Many countries were beginning to classify psychedelics as “schedule 1”, making them illegal, on the grounds that they were drugs of “abuse” with no agreed-upon medical use.

The stigma, and many obstacles, remain. For many people – crucially those who hold the purse strings – research into psychedelic drugs has a whiff of disreputability about it. As our exclusive interview with Robin Carhart-Harris of Imperial College London reveals, anyone daring to lead this science has to perform a balancing act, with their reputations always on the line.

Nevertheless, the field is showing the green shoots of a renaissance. Here’s a round up of New Scientist’s coverage on the potential, the people and the politics of psychedelic medicine….

The people

Many creators of psychedelic drugs famously tested their products on themselves first. Alexander Shulgin, considered the world’s foremost “psychonaut”, is among those featured in our gallery of self-experimenters.

Over the years, New Scientist has interviewed many key players in psychedelics research, including: Robin Carhart-Harris; David Nutt of Imperial College London, also a former advisor to the UK government on the misuse of drugs; Amanda Feilding, a drugs policy reformer who founded the Beckley Foundation, which promotes and funds clinical research into the therapeutic possibilities of psychedelics; Rick Doblin of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies in Santa Cruz, California; and Torsten Passie of Hannover Medical School. From the other side of the fence, we’ve spoken to medicine maker David Nichols, whose work was subverted by manufacturers of recreational drugs; and a maker of legal highs, Dr Z, who argued that mind-altering drugs should be legalised for the improvement of society.

….

Watch this psychedelic space for the latest developments.

More on these topics:

Source: Psychedelic medicine: the potential, the people, the politics | New Scientist

Music And Psychedelics – An Interview With Mendel Kaelen

The following is a small snippet from the excellent article here at drug reporter

 

DoS: How did you discover psychedelics then?

MK: Because of my fascination with the altered states of consciousness described in Monroe’s book, I read articles about ketamine’s ability to induce similar states, and about ayahuasca and other psychedelics used in traditional ceremonies. That basically triggered a lot of interest – I realized that these compounds could be used to study their effects on consciousness within an experimental setting, by facilitating experiences that aren’t normally easily accessible or reliably evoked in people.

DoS: And then, suddenly…you’re conducting human psychedelic research?!

MK: (Laughs) No, not exactly. Though I had transferred majors from marine biology to neuroscience, my university professors at the time were not all equally supportive of this interest in psychedelics, but fortunately I found some good mentors at the university too. I became more interested in the clinical applications of these drugs, and one of them encouraged me to write essays, which I did for the use of psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression, and MDMA for treatment of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I also got involved in organizing and attending conferences through the OPEN Foundation in Holland, but by the end of my Master’s I was really looking to do a long-term research project leading to a PhD position.

DoS: Sounds like quite the synchronicity! What was your early experience like working with the Imperial team?

MK: Indeed, I was quite lucky! During my six-month internship they published their first fMRI study using psilocybin in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (see Carhart-Harris et al., 2012), and they also received the first government grant to fund a depression trial using psilocybin. Additionally, Amanda Feilding from the Beckley Foundation worked to fund and collaborate on a human neuroimaging study with LSD, and I just happened to be there when they were looking for someone to help coordinate the study, and they asked if I wanted to make that my PhD project (see Carhart-Harris et al., 2016).

DoS: Thank you very much for your taking the time to speak with us, we’re very excited about the work you’re doing and eager to learn more from your findings.

MK: Absolutely, I’m honored to have been featured in your first interview! Your readers might be interested in an online study we just launched. One part of this looks more broadly into “setting” variables. While there’s no control group or placebo condition, and these experiences are happening outside of the laboratory setting, such a naturalistic study brings also new opportunities.

DoS: Fantastic! Here’s the “Psychedelic Survey” link for those interested in participating.

 

Kevin Franciotti

Source: Music And Psychedelics – An Interview With Mendel Kaelen | Drugreporter

Risky research could herald mindful revolution

 

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Pioneering research into psychedelic drugs could herald a revolution in our understanding of human consciousness and how we treat mental illness.

 

 

 

FlemmingWith 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.

 

Source: Risky research could herald mindful revolution