World-first Psychedelics Research Centre in UK

The Centre for Psychedelics Research will carry out research on the therapeutic application of psychedelics to address various mental health issues. deposit photos/frescomovie

An amazing first, signifying the continued validation of psychedelic science, has seen Imperial College London open an official center for psychedelic research. Although there are other significant psychedelic research groups worldwide, the recently founded Centre for Psychedelics Research is the first to be formally incorporated into a sizable academic institution.

Renowned UK researcher in the current wave of psychedelic study, Robin Carhart-Harris, will serve as the center’s director. Carhart-Harris is renowned for having finished the first contemporary brain imaging study of the effects of LSD. She has worked in the field of psychopharmacology for well over ten years.

“This new Centre represents a watershed moment for psychedelic science; symbolic of its now mainstream recognition,” states Carhart-Harris. In the upcoming years, psychiatry and neuroscience are expected to be significantly impacted by psychedelics. Being at the vanguard of one of the most fascinating fields in medical science is such a luxury. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the donors who enabled this to happen.”

The Centre’s initial research strands will look into the therapeutic value of psychedelics in mental health care and the basic mechanisms of psychedelics on the brain. The Center is supported by about £3 million (US$3.8 million) in donations from five founding donors.

Carhart-Harris and the Imperial research team are currently conducting an intriguing trial that looks into the use of psilocybin as a therapy for severe depressive disorder. The primary hallucinogenic ingredient in magic mushrooms, psilocybin, was officially designated as a Breakthrough Therapy by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year, indicating that early clinical evidence shows the treatment has significant potential.

With this most recent randomized control experiment, psilocybin’s effects on depression will be directly compared to those of a traditional SSRI antidepressant medication for the first time. Psilocybin’s effectiveness as a therapy for anorexia is the subject of another trial that is currently being planned.

“It may take a few years for psychedelic therapy to be available for patients, but research so far has been very encouraging,” states Carhart-Harris. “Early stage clinical research has shown that when delivered safely and professionally, psychedelic therapy holds a great deal of promise for treating some very serious mental health conditions and may one day offer new hope to vulnerable people with limited treatment options.”