Psilocybin, the active component of magic mushrooms, is being seriously considered as a therapy for people with treatment-resistant depression. One in five people suffer from depression at some point in their lives – a significant proportion of whom cannot be helped with any current psychotherapy or drugs.
In 2012 researchers published a paper which used fMRI scans to show the effects of psilocybin on the brain. A related paper, published at the same time, suggested that psilocybin could be a useful tool in psychotherapy. The researchers have now gone on to test the safety of psilocybin in a small group of patients with treatment-resistant depression. They are publishing their new findings, funded by the Medical Research Council, in The Lancet Psychiatry.
Journalists came along to the SMC to discuss:
Speakers will include:
Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, Research Fellow in the Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London
Prof. Phil Cowen, Professor of Psychopharmacology, University of Oxford
Prof. David Nutt, Edmond J Safra Chair and Head of the Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology, Imperial College London