You can now watch the presentation that Professor David Nutt, who is Head of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, gave in July at Breaking Convention 2015. Alongside Beckley Foundation Director, Amanda Feilding, Prof. Nutt co-directs the Beckley/Imperial Psychedelic Research Programme and sits on the Beckley Foundation Scientific Advisory Board. The Beckley /Imperial Psychedelic Research Programme investigates the brain mechanisms underlying psychoactive substances, such as psychedelics and cannabis, using neuroimaging, psychological and behavioural studies, with the aims of the furthering our understanding of consciousness and the development of effective medical treatments using psychedelics.
Prof. Nutt spoke on the work of the Beckley/Imperial team, and also how current national and international drug policies are holding back scientific and medical research into psychoactive substances, preventing the development of valuable treatments to psychiatric conditions ranging from addiction to anxiety and depression. The title of his presentation was ‘Throwing the Baby Out With the Bath Water: How Irrational Drug Laws are Hampering Medical Research’.
In the past, Prof. Nutt has called the censorship around the area of psychedelic research the ‘worst censorship of medicine in world history‘, and has decried the Schedule I status given to psychedelic substances such as LSD and psilocybin, which is reserved for substances with no medical value and a high abuse potential. This classification creates unnecessary financial and bureaucratic hurdles for researchers, as well as contributing to the continuation of negative attitudes within the academic community to the medical use of psychedelic substances.