The special screening of The Sunshine Makers was followed by a great Q&A discussion with the film’s director Cosmo Feilding-Mellen, Amanda Feilding and Dr. James Rucker of Maudsley Hospital. The Sunshine Makers is set for a wider European release later this year and is among the documentaries being screened at Psychedelic Science 2017.
After the film, Cosmo Feilding-Mellen told the audience about the difficulty of condensing the story of a generation into a tight 90-minute documentary. Among the colourful anecdotes that had to be left on the cutting room floor were the time the film’s two protagonists, Scully and Sand, were hounded by the Hell’s Angels and the period in Tim Scully’s life when he became a roadie for the Grateful Dead.
The makers of Orange Sunshine had wanted to change the world by turning everyone on to LSD, and while they undoubtedly did change the world, the film shows how their plans to flood the globe with acid were brought up short by the US government. Dr. James Rucker, a psychiatrist working with King’s College London and founder of the the Maudsley Psychedelic Society, explained how this is certainly not the goal of the psychedelic movement today. As a practising psychiatrist, his interest in psychedelics stems from their promising potential as a therapeutic tool – they can be of great benefit to some people but they are definitely not for everyone. He went on to say that everybody at the screening very likely drugged themselves on an almost daily basis, be it with caffeine, nicotine or alcohol, so what is really needed in the conversation about drugs is honesty: we are naturally inclined to seek altered states of consciousness and the act of arbitrarily sanctioning one set of drugs while criminalising people for their use of another is in itself criminal.
Amanda Feilding, director of the Beckley Foundation, spoke to the audience about how today’s psychedelic renaissance is driven by scientific research that until recently was prohibited – and that while the recent breakthroughs with LSD research have been fantastic, those three letters still carry a whole load of stigma. For this reason research with other psychedelic substances like psilocybin and ayahuasca potentially hold more promise in the immediate future. Highlighting the need for changes at the policy level, Amanda stressed the importance of campaigning for the rescheduling of these substances: ‘A really important thing which we should all campaign for is to change their categorisation from schedule 1 to schedule 2, because then research can happen much more easily and doctors can prescribe.’
The event was held at King’s College London on February 16 and was hosted by the Beckley Foundation, VolteFace, the UCL Society for the Application of Psychedelics, The Maudsley Psychedelic Society and the King’s Society for Psychedelic Studies.
Psilocybin for Depression
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