This video was chosen, because Funga wants to highlight the incredible Robin Carhart-Harris and his contribution to the field of psychedelic research.
Can psychedelic drugs treat depression? That’s the promise of findings from Robin Carhart-Harris, whose research is advancing a once fringe idea—that psychedelics, such as LSD or psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, might be able to treat some mental-health disorders, such as depression and anxiety—which is now making waves in mainstream medicine. Carhart-Harris leads Imperial College London’s Centre for Psychedelic Research, which became the world’s first center focused exclusively on studying how psychedelics can be used in mental-health care when it opened in 2019. His work has found that psilocybin, combined with psychotherapy, can be a fast-acting, powerful treatment for severe depression. (Time article)
Robin introduces the above-pictured graphic in his Ted Talk, arguably the most famous, when demonstrating what psilocybin creates in the brain. The left globe is of a person’s brain who ingested a placebo drug, and the right is a person’s brain after having taken psilocybin. Each line depicts a communication pathway between two regions in the brain. Interestingly, these two circles have an equal number of lines or paths, even though they look very different. On the left, we see the normal brain, where communication is confined to particular communities or cliques in the brain. For example, visual regions are mainly talking with other visual regions. This is what happens ordinarily. Then we look at the psychedelic brain on the right, where there is much less cliquing and much more open, more unrestricted conversation across the brain.
Robin also highlights in his Ted Talk that psychedelics are not a “golden bullet” that will help everyone, that it is not a magic cure and that much work still needs to be done to learn how to optimize this treatment and further test its effectiveness. However, “when this is done properly, with the right level of preparation, good drug effects working in synergy with good therapy to lift the veil on the mind and decides what lies beneath, it can truly work like a dream.”
“The great irony of having psychedelics and heroin together on the same “Schedule” is that the former has the potential to reduce the harm done by the latter— not to mention its lower-scheduled cousins — in a way that criminalization never will.”