On Wednesday 13 April, Amanda Feilding and David Nutt hosted a symposium in the Wellcome Trust Lecture Hall at the Royal Society, the UK National Academy of Science. The occasion was a celebration of the findings which have emerged from the latest investigation into LSD by the Beckley/Imperial Research programme, of which they are the co-directors.
The event provided the opportunity to reflect on the rewards and challenges of undertaking research into psychedelics, and to showcase a selection of the findings from four new studies which were published this week.
The completion of the research represents a promise made by Amanda Feilding to Albert Hofmann, the creator of LSD, to undertake a study on LSD with human subjects. Amanda delivered the first talk of the evening, “The Coming of Age of LSD” in which she explained the importance of scientific investigation into psychedelics and conveyed the magnitude of the Beckley/Imperial Research Programme’s achievement in completing this study. You can access Amanda’s talk entitled ‘The Coming-of-Age of LSD’ here.
This was followed by an excellent presentation by the lead investigator of the Programme, Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, entitled “LSD Revealed: The Results” which featured filmed footage of the LSD study taking place, providing a vivid and remarkable insight into the fascinating adventure of conducting this research. The comments from the participating subjects were a particular highlight, with recurrent themes of “oneness” and an ability to meld with one’s surroundings perfectly corroborating the findings of the study relating to LSD as a facilitator of ego dissolution.
Robin’s explanation of the findings as a whole, and the very promising potential of LSD to treat mental health conditions such as addiction and depression, was followed by a presentation from fellow Beckley/Imperial researcher Mendel Kaelen focussing on LSD’s ability to induce the modulation of music-induced imagery, “Neuroimaging of LSD and Music.”
Following the revelation of these insights into the workings of LSD on the human brain, its remarkable ability to enhance interconnectivity between neural networks and the benefits that this can afford, Prof David Nutt turned the discussion to the current illegality of LSD, and the crippling obstructions that this has posed historically to psychedelic research. His speech, “Time for a New Policy on Psychedelics”, was both a glorification of LSD and the history-shaping discoveries; including the discovery of DNA by Francis Crick; that it has stimulated, and a battle cry against the futile and incalculably damaging “war on drugs”.
The presentations were followed by a reception which provided a chance to thank all those involved in bringing about this ground-breaking scientific achievement.
These revelations about LSD have precipitated a furore of international press attention, with over 125 responses produced this week in English alone. Particular media highlights include: this video by the Guardian on LSD and creativity, a front page article in Science Focus and articles in the The Guardian , Vice: Motherboard, Huck Magazine, The New Statesman , The Huffington Post , Politics.co.uk, and BBC News.