The research programme the Trust has funded at Imperial College to test the efficacy of psilocybin as a treatment for depression has finally received all of the required approvals, and can begin recruiting participants. The trial will compare the results of psilocybin, the active ingredient in Magic Mushrooms, against Escitalopram, a commonly prescribed SSRI antidepressant.
As it is classified in Schedule 1 under the UK Misuse of Drugs Regulations and the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, scientific research on the effects and possible medicinal uses of Psilocybin have been restricted for many decades, and acquiring the relevant permissions as well as the regulated substance itself has been a protracted process.
The profound and powerful effects of psilocybin and other psychedelics are both the reason why they are so popular with recreational users and also why they were banned in the 1960s when they became associated with the counter-culture and were deemed a threat to the social fabric. But their powerful effects are also the reason that they hold such promise for advancing understanding of the brain and as potential treatments for some of our most serious and widespread mental health conditions. This extremely exciting area of science has been held up for two generations, and is only now beginning to re-emerge.