A New Year message from the Beckley Foundation
We would like to wish you all a happy new year and take the opportunity to thank you for your support during 2016.
It has been a fantastic year for the Beckley Foundation. At the Beckley/Imperial Research Programme we have completed two pioneering studies: investigating the effect of LSD on the human brain and exploring the use of psilocybin as a treatment for depression. Our publication of the world’s first images of the human brain on LSD was a landmark for both psychedelic pharmacology and the personal life of Amanda Feilding, who has worked tirelessly for several decades to break the taboo and censorship imposed upon psychedelic research since the early 1970s, and revive scientific interest in LSD – the most significant drug acting on the brain ever discovered.
The results from the psilocybin study were equally ground-breaking. Participants in the programme had suffered from depression for at least 18 years and been unresponsive to any of the conventional treatments offered. Two doses of psilocybin resulted in 67% of participants being depression-free one week following treatment, and 42% still in remission after 3 months. Next year we will be carrying out a larger, placebo-controlled study to further support these findings.
Our research with Dr Jordi Riba (Beckley/Sant Pau Research Programme) has also produced an important finding this year: the alkaloids most prevalent in ayahuasca (harmine, tetrahydroharmine, harmol and harmaline) have the capacity to stimulate the birth and growth of new neurons in neural stem cells. If we can replicate these findings in vivo (in living animals) this would open up a new avenue of research for ayahuasca and its active principles. Potential applications would include psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders – such as depression, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease – and brain damage associated with a stroke or trauma.
Images of neurogenesis occurring in stem cells treated with saline, harmine, and tetrahydroharmine
Why we do what we do
Through Amanda’s close collaborations with world-class research institutions, the Beckley Foundation is contributing to the growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating the enormous potential of psychedelic compounds. It is essential that we understand the mechanisms by which these substances work in the brain, not only to better characterise brain states and their relation to changes in consciousness, but also so that we can identify the exact circuits and networks responsible for pathologies and the means by which they may be modified. With this in mind, upcoming Beckley collaborations will investigate the effects of LSD and other psychedelics on brain network activity, neural rhythms and cerebral blood flow.
We are also collaborating on clinical trials that include: the first modern study to investigate the efficacy of LSD in the treatment of alcohol addiction, and an investigation into the potential of psilocybin to enhance divergent thinking – which may enable people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder to reframe their traumatic memories.
Today we are involved in over thirty ground-breaking scientific endeavours, which are increasing our knowledge of these powerful substances, and bringing them closer to the patients who need them most.
For further details about our research please click on the following links:
Drug Policy Reform
There have been major reforms in drug policy in various countries around the world this year – the US legalising recreational cannabis use in four more states, Canada announcing plans to create a legally regulated market, and Germany and Ireland both proposing to legalise the medical use of marijuana.
However, on the home front, the current UK government remains staunchly prohibitionist in their approach to this issue – as demonstrated by the ignorant and virtually unenforceable piece of legislation that is the Psychoactive Substance Act of 2016, banning the production and supply of all psychoactive substances except a handful including alcohol, caffeine and nicotine.
To bring attention to the regressive nature of the Psychoactive Substance Act, we launched our report, entitled Roadmaps to Regulation: New Psychoactive Substances, to coincide with the Bill becoming law in May 2016. We followed this with several articles published in the national press (the Guardian, the Independent, the Mirror and MetroNews).
Our primary concentration this year has been on the scientific programme at the Beckley Foundation, but progress has also been made in the policy domain. Amanda and the team presented at the the Convention on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna and the UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS) in New York, and Amanda continues to advise international governments on drug policy reform, with a special focus on Jamaica.
Beckley in the Media
The LSD and psilocybin studies kicked up quite a storm and were covered by all forms of national and international media. LSD revealed generated over 3500 articles, and the psilocybin study 1,740 articles worldwide. Amanda has been repeatedly interviewed about the foundations’ scientific research and its position on global drug policy, all of which has contributed to a change in perception towards psychedelic research and the need for drug policy reform.
Psychedelic Science Conference 2017
We are excited to be co-hosting Psychedelic Science 2017 with MAPS on the 19 to 24 April 2017, in Oakland, California. The three-day conference will include presentations by leading and up-and-coming international researchers in the fast-growing field of psychedelic science and medicine. The conference will be organised in three simultaneous tracks: Clinical Research, Interdisciplinary Research, and Plant Medicines.
Get your tickets here.
THE SUNSHINE MAKERS
The Beckley Foundation is proud to announce the theatrical and VOD release of The Sunshine Makers, a feature documentary by Amanda Feilding’s son, Cosmo Feilding Mellen.
From the producer of Searching For Sugarman, The Sunshine Makers reveals the extraordinary, untold story of Nicholas Sand and Tim Scully, the unlikely duo at the heart of the 1960s psychedelic revolution.
Watch the trailer for The Sunshine Makers
We thank you
We are immensely grateful to everyone who has contributed donations throughout the year. Our work totally depends upon your continued generous support. 2016 started with our extremely successful crowdfunding campaign to help fund the first LSD study in recent times. We reached our target funding in 48 hrs and doubled this with donations from over forty countries.
With very best wishes,
Amanda Feilding and the Beckley Foundation team
Psilocybin for Depression
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