NEW STRETCH GOAL
£50k FOR LSD AND CREATIVITY STUDY
One question that has been on our minds for sometime, is how does LSD influence creativity? With further funding, we will extend the current study to include a further module which will combine brain imaging with the investigation of the effects of LSD on creativity and problem solving. To fund this study completely we need to raise a further £50k. We would really love to run this study so we’re just going to go for it!
Thank you all for your amazing support so far!
Why is it important to understand how psychedelics work in the brain?
The main purpose of the imaging study is to determine how LSD works on the human brain to produce its characteristic psychological effects. This question has never been addressed before. Understanding more about the physiological effects of LSD will help us shed light on potential medical interventions as well as help us learn more about consciousness. In many respects how the brain works is still a mystery. By researching how psychedelics work, we will be a step closer to understanding how specific areas of the brain are affected to induce certain psychological effects.
What are you trying to discover through this research? What could the results show?
We recently carried out a brainimaging study of the key ingredient in magic mushrooms, psilocybin. It showed that psilocybin plays a role in the Default Mode Network (DMN), which is an area of the brain that has been implicated in cases of depression, OCD, Alzheimer’s, and autism. In particular, this research has raised interest in the investigation of psilocybin as a possible treatment for depression. We suspect that LSD works in a similar way to psilocybin, but we will not know for certain until we have analysed the results of the brain imaging study.
When will the research begin?
The research has already began. We have already scanned the patients and we are currently in the process of conducting the analysis.
Why crowdfund part of the study?
The LSD research is part of the Beckley Foundation’s Psychedelic Research Programme. The research is being conducted by Prof David Nutt, Robin Carhart-Harris and Amanda Feilding. The Beckley Foundation is a charity which has limited resources, therefore we are turning to crowdfunding to complete this study. It is difficult to find funding for psychedelic research as the subject is surrounded by taboo, but we hope that there are many of you who will be excited to provide funding so that this fascinating and important research project can be completed.
What funding has been received so far?
Apart from the funding provided by the Beckley Foundation, the study coordinator, Robin Carhart-Harris, is funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), and the study medical doctors, Dr Mark Bolstridge and Dr Tim Williams, are employed by the MRC and NHS, respectively.
Why have you chosen to raise funds towards this project rather than a completely new project that has not already been part funded?
We think this is a very exciting project to support and one that requires further funding to be completed. This study will lead to further research on how LSD works in the brain and what may be its therapeutic potential. However, a new study would take several years before it reaches a stage in which we can share results. As this study has already started, we will be able to share the results with you later this year, which we think makes this a particularly interesting opportunity.
WHAT ARE THE PERKS FOR SUPPORTING THIS PROJECT?
£5 – Thank you tweet from @ProfDavidNutt @BeckleyResearch and @walacea_
We will personally thank you on twitter for supporting the campaign. We really appreciate your support!
£12 – Brain activity postcard
An AWESOME postcard with a thank you message from the research team and Walacea that you can send to a friend or keep for yourself. The image is a graphical representation of the increase in neurotransmitter activity in the brain of subjects given placebo versus those given psilocybin. The left side shows the stable brain activity in a normal brain. Right, under the influence of psilocybin, diverse brain regions not normally in communication become strongly linked.
£10 – Online Seminar
The fascinating findings will be shared via an online seminar which you will receive the login details for. Questions can be asked prior to and during the seminar and the team will do their best to answer as many as possible.
£12 – NEW: Seminar After-party
Tickets to an exclusive after-party to be held in London after the seminar and drinks. This will be an opportunity to meet other people who have supported the research and talk with them about the findings and have a few drinks!
£15 – Seminar tickets
Professor Nutt will be hosting an exciting presentation on the study’s findings. You will be one of the first people to know and understand the effects of LSD on the brain, how it works and what medical uses it could have. This will be arranged in coordination with the publication of the study. Dates are to be confirmed, but most likely the event will take place later this year, most likely in London. If there were demand for seminars in other locations, we would do our best to coordinate this.
£25 – Seminar tickets and entry to drinks reception
After Professor Nutt’s presentation of the results, he and the research team will be hosting a drinks reception. This is a relaxing way to end your night and an opportunity to talk to the research team, the subjects of the research and socialise with like-minded people and share thoughts on the research.
£30 – Psychedelic Print
For the lovers of science and art, a print of one of the first fMRI images of a brain on LSD ever taken can be yours. These images have never been seen before and will bring invaluable insight into the effects of LSD on the brain and its potential to treat mental health disorders. You will also receive a booklet explaining the data from the study. All materials will be professionally designed. Prints will be numbered (limited edition).
£50 – Signed Psychedelic Print
As above and the print will be signed by Professor Nutt, Amanda Feilding and Robin Carhart-Harris.
£200 – Psychedelic Print on Canvas
As above, however the print will look extra beautiful printed on canvas.
£1000 – Dinner with the Scientists at the Beautiful Beckley Park
The truly curious and inquisitive can question the research team Prof Nutt, Amanda Feilding, Robin Carhart-Harris to their heart’s (or brain’s) desire during a dinner party hosted by the research team at the beautiful Beckley Park, with a guest of your choice. A brilliant opportunity to talk in depth with leading scientists on the effects of psychedelic drugs on the brain. In addition to this delectable dinner you will receive two brain image prints, and two tickets to the presentation and the drinks reception.
£10,000 – Lunch with the Scientists and an enjoyable afternoon at the beautiful Beckley Park
The lunch will be held at Beckley Park in the summer. It is an opportunity to discuss the Beckley Foundation Psychedelic Research Programme with Prof Nutt, Amanda Feilding and Robin Carhart-Harris and for you to raise ideas you may have about potential future studies on the effects of psychedelic drugs on the brain. In addition to the lunch and afternoon you will receive one brain image on canvas, and two tickets to the presentation and the drinks reception.
Who are the team involved?
Professor David Nutt
Dr Robin Carhart-Harris
SOME FAQS ABOUT THE STUDY
Is it legal to administer LSD in a scientific study? What licenses and/or approval are required?
Yes, it is legal. The researchers require a special license from the Home Office in order to be allowed to do this. To carry out a human research study involving the administration of a drug, the study also needs to be given a favourable opinion from an ethics committee, which this one has.
Why have there been no LSD studies in the UK for 50 years?
Studies with Schedule-1 drugs are particularly difficult to conduct because of the cost and difficulty of getting licenses. However, perhaps the main reason why there have not been any human research studies on LSD is that there is a lot of stigma surrounding the drug, i.e. researchers have not wanted to work with LSD because they have felt that their peers might consider it dangerous and reckless work. Moreover, until recently it was considered impossible to gain ethical approval for an LSD study.
Has LSD been studied recently in other countries?
There has never been a brain-imaging study investigating the mechanisms of how LSD works, but the first report on clinical research with LSD was published this year by a research team in Switzerland. This study looked at the safety and efficacy of LSD as an aid to psychotherapy for the treatment of anxiety related to dying.
Is it dangerous to give people LSD? What are the risks?
It can be risky for people to take LSD, but the dangers associated with its use are reduced significantly if it is given in a research setting with appropriate care. The two main risks associated with LSD are flashback phenomena, otherwise known as ‘hallucinogen persisting perceptual disorder’ (HPPD), which refers to the apparent persistence of unusual perceptual effects (e.g. visual ‘trailing’) associated with the acute effects of psychedelics; and exacerbated mental health problems.
With respect to flashbacks, studies have tended to show that persistent hallucinations are very rare in recreational users and the phenomenon has been widely exaggerated. In the present study, we minimised this risk further by recruiting only individuals with prior experience with psychedelics that have never experienced symptoms of persistent hallucinations. With regard to the exacerbation of mental health disorders, evidence tends to suggest that psychedelics are more prone to be associated with improvements in mental health outcomes than decrements. There are some very rare cases of psychotic reactions to LSD persisting beyond the drug’s acute effects, but the risk of this can be reduced by carefully screening volunteers, ensuring they have no personal or family history of psychosis, and including only individuals with prior experience with psychedelics who have not had psychotic reactions. Finally, the risk of dangerous behaviour under LSD is significantly offset if the drug is administered in a controlled research environment.
Where is the study being completed?
The pilot phase is being completed in London, in the NIRH/Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility at the Hammersmith Hospital, and the neuroimaging (scanning) work has been completed at the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC).
Can I take part in future studies?
We have specific eligibility criteria determining whether people can take part in our studies and these differ for the different studies we do. The simplest answer is that it would depend on the study and whether you meet the required entry criteria. If you would like to be added to our database, please complete this questionnaire.
In the video there is footage of people being scanned, how much of the research was filmed?
We have filmed most of our participants in the LSD research. We feel it is important to collect this footage for the purpose of better understanding the phenomenology of the psychedelic experience and for keeping a record of what actually happens during each experiment.
What is the Beckley Foundation Psychedelic Research Programme?
It is part of the Beckley Foundation’s Scientific Programme, which was set up in 1998 by Amanda Feilding, Director of the Beckley Foundation. This programme of work investigates the brain mechanisms underlying psychoactive substances, such as psychedelics and cannabis, and their therapeutic applications. In 2005, a collaborative programme between Amanda Feilding and Professor David Nutt, who was then at Bristol University, was set up. In 2009, when Professor David Nutt was appointed Head of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, the programme became the Beckley Imperial Psychopharmacological Research Programme.
What is the background to the Beckley Foundation Psychedelic Research Programme?
Over the past six years, the Beckley Foundation Research Programme has led to many publications in high-impact scientific journals. The work that has been conducted as part of this programme has been pioneering in many respects, and has produced some remarkable and important findings. Research includes the first functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) research with psilocybin; the first resting-state fMRI research with 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA); and now the first fMRI and MEG research with lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). In 2012, following on from pilot studies using psilocybin, a grant proposal to the Medical Research Council for a novel study investigating psilocybin as a treatment for depression was awarded. This research is expected to begin in the following months.
We would like to say an extra special thank you to Ali Jennings and Georgina Cammalleri for their excellent work shooting the video for the campaign and the LSD research.
Please check out (and subscribe to) Ali’s youtube channel AliHeartScience
…that’s of course after you have supported the worlds first LSD brain imaging study!!! 🙂