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Watch > Episode > Robin Carhart Harris - Psychedelics as Medicine

Robin Carhart Harris - Psychedelics as Medicine


In this exclusive London Real episode, Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris of Imperial College London joins Brian Rose in studio to talk about the effects of psilocybin and MDMA and how they could be used to help with depression and addiction. In a fascinating conversation, Robin also discusses his controversial colleague Professor David Nutt who claimed cannabis and ecstasy were safer and less addictive than alcohol and tobacco, and why he refrains from sampling psychedelics in order to remain objective about his research. This is a must-see interview with one of the most compelling and authoritative voices in the sector!

Dr. Carhart-Harris, a prominent neuropsychopharmacologist, has become a beacon in the field of psychedelic research, revolutionising our understanding of the mind, consciousness, and mental health treatment. Born in 1979, Dr. Carhart-Harris has made significant contributions to the exploration of psychedelics as tools for therapeutic intervention and the expansion of human consciousness.

Dr. Carhart-Harris completed his undergraduate studies in Psychology at the University of Durham before obtaining his Ph.D. in Psychopharmacology from the University of Bristol. His early career involved researching the effects of recreational drugs, but his focus shifted towards the therapeutic potential of psychedelics as he delved deeper into understanding altered states of consciousness.

Dr. Carhart-Harris is closely associated with Imperial College London, where he has played a pivotal role in establishing the Centre for Psychedelic Research. Under his leadership, the centre has become a global hub for scientific investigation into the potential therapeutic applications of psychedelics, including psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms) and LSD.

One of Dr. Carhart-Harris’s groundbreaking studies focused on the use of psilocybin in the treatment of depression. The research, conducted at Imperial College London, demonstrated promising results, indicating that psilocybin, when administered in a controlled setting, could lead to profound and sustained improvements in mood among individuals with treatment-resistant depression.

Dr. Carhart-Harris’s work extends to neuroimaging studies that explore the neural correlates of altered states of consciousness induced by psychedelics. Through advanced imaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), his research has provided insights into how these substances impact brain function and connectivity, shedding light on the neural mechanisms underlying psychedelic experiences.

One of the key findings in Dr. Carhart-Harris’s research is related to the Default Mode Network (DMN), a network of brain regions associated with self-referential thinking and the ego. His studies suggest that psychedelics, particularly psilocybin, can disrupt the normal functioning of the DMN, leading to a state of ego dissolution or a temporary loss of the sense of self. This phenomenon is considered a crucial aspect of the therapeutic and transformative potential of psychedelic experiences.

Beyond his research, Dr. Carhart-Harris is an advocate for the responsible exploration of psychedelic medicine. He emphasises the need for a rigorous scientific approach to studying these substances and advocates for their integration into mainstream medicine, particularly in the treatment of mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Dr. Carhart-Harris actively engages with the public, sharing his insights through interviews, public lectures, and written publications. His efforts to bridge the gap between scientific research and public understanding have contributed to a more informed and open dialogue about psychedelics, their potential benefits, and the importance of regulatory frameworks to ensure their safe and effective use.

Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris’s work has led to collaborations with researchers, institutions, and organisations worldwide. His influence extends beyond the scientific community, impacting the fields of mental health, consciousness studies, and drug policy reform. The global impact of his research has contributed to a renewed interest in exploring the therapeutic potential of psychedelics and challenging preconceived notions about their societal role.

As a leading figure in psychedelic research, Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris’s legacy is marked by a paradigm shift in our understanding of the mind and consciousness. His pioneering work has opened new avenues for exploring the therapeutic potential of psychedelics and has the potential to reshape mental health treatment in the years to come.

Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris is at the forefront of a scientific renaissance, exploring the profound effects of psychedelics on the human mind and consciousness. His commitment to rigorous research, advocacy for responsible use, and efforts to bridge scientific knowledge with public understanding have positioned him as a key figure in the transformative journey of psychedelic medicine.


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