Are We Finally Reawakening to the Profound Healing Properties of Psychedelics?
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But now I’ve got an extremely good relationship with one of the top neuropsychopharmacologists in England, called Professor David Nutt. And we’ve started the Beckley Foundation Imperial College Psychedelic Research Program. And that’s been running for two years now, and we are just on our third study. And, the first two have produced some extremely interesting and unexpected results.
I, for one, always thought that the action of a psychedelic was dependent on an increase in blood supply to the brain, which is allowing billions more brain cells to function, and thereby explaining the expanded sense of consciousness. To my surprise, this research has showed exactly the opposite. It showed a decrease of blood flow to the brain.
And, what is specifically interesting is, it shows a decrease in this essential network of centers called the default mode network, which it is hub centers, which have the most connections. So they are the controlling centers in the brain, equivalent in Freudian language to the ego. And, in the psychedelic state, they are the centers, which lose the most blood supply.
And so, how does a psychedelic experience happen, then? It happens by reducing the constriction on sensation, experience. So, suddenly, we are flooded with perception, which is normally repressed. And that explains why one has novel and creative insights on a psychedelic, or can have. And also, why they’re so important in psychotherapy.
One of our most recent studies … and in these studies, we’re using the very, very latest brain imaging technology of FMRI, ASL and BOLD, and also now MEG. So, I don’t think any other studies in the world are using these technologies combined. And with this, we are really getting a wonderful map of how they work.
And what has come out of this study is clear new evidence of why psychedelics can be used in the treatment of depression, by reducing blood flow to center, which is normally overactive in depression. And also the same for cluster headaches.
Also, another study we’ve done shows why it is helpful in psychotherapy, because it gives memories more vivid visual and auditory input. So, they come to life much more than without a psychedelic. So, the subject can re-live the traumatic or happy experience in a much more deep and meaningful way, and then help clear it out.
Now, most people are rather bored by brain imaging studies. But, actually, I think they are like wonderful artworks, which demonstrate how these substances work in a way that no one can argue with. And we’re going to continue our studies. We’re just starting one with MDMA. Later on, we’re starting one hopefully with LSD, which is actually the kind of pivotal point of what we’re wanting to do. And so, that is one very pleasing aspect of where the research at Beckley has gone.
We’ve also been doing quite a lot of studies with cannabis, particularly with cannabidiol (CBD) and THC. And, showing the very high antipsychotic principles of CBD. And this, in turn, demonstrates why it is so essential that we have a regulated market, with labeled production, so that in England, the street cannabis, is extremely high in THC and zero CBD. And that’s why, in England, there has been quite a big increase in psychological problems from cannabis. So, with this research, we’re showing not only why it’s so important to have a balanced mix, but also the fact that CBD could be a very valuable medication for neurosis and psychosis.