The Hopes and Fears of Psychedelic Science
“The team at Imperial that I am a part of, led by Dr Robin Carhart-Harris and Professor David Nutt, will shortly publish results of the first trial of psilocybin assisted psychotherapy in treatment resistant depression. Robin explains to Jamie that 2/3 of the patients in the study were depression free after 1 week, with 42% still depression free at 3 months”.
The programme concludes by illustrating the pragmatic difficulties there would be in getting psilocybin and LSD onto the market. The cost is massive, and currently prohibitive. However the precedent exists with cannabis and so, one day, perhaps it will be with psychedelics. We are a long way off from that and, in the meantime, we need to make sure that the mistakes of the 1960s do not happen again and we proceed with a slow, meticulous collection of good quality evidence. That will take time but, I feel, it is time well spent. It was good to see a programme on psychedelic science that challenged the stigma surrounding these substances, and gave an equipoised presentation of the risks and benefits. I hope it’s the first of many.