Press

Category Archives

The World’s First Brain Imaging Study on the Effects of LSD

SOURCE: The laughing squid

by Rebecca Escamilla at 2:22 pm on March 9, 2015

The Beckley Foundation, a UK non-profit founded by Amanda Feilding that supports drug science and policy, has successfully crowdfunded the world’s first-ever brain imaging study on the effects of lysergic acid diethylamide–better known as LSD. The foundation turned to crowdfunding as their resources are limited and political tiptoeing around the subject of drugs keep traditional funding sources behind mounds of red tape. Results of the scan analyses are expected to be published later this year.

In a video produced for the campaign, David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London and researcher on the project, spoke about the scientific importance of the study.

“Psychedelics have been part of human history. Every culture that’s been discovered has used psychedelics. This project is, I think, one of the most significant projects in the history of brain research. It’s been banned effectively from research for 50 years. That’s outrageous. That’s the worst censorship of science that’s ever been and I want to rectify that.”

While the original campaign was fully funded in only two days, contributions can still be made through Walacea to extend the current study to investigate how LSD affects creativity and problem-solving abilities. The foundation recently made a statement expressing their gratitude and encouraging further donations for their extended goal.

Thanks to your generous support, we’ve gone beyond the initial goal in less than two days! We are very humbled and grateful. But there is still so much to be done. Your donations will help us continue developing research on consciousness, psychedelics and their potential therapeutic applications.

http://laughingsquid.com/?s=lsd+crowdfunding

Crowdfunding Enables Groundbreaking Research of Brains on LSD

SOURCE: Big Think

By Robert Montenegro

I think it’s pretty well-understood that we simply don’t know much about how our brains work. Yet sometimes it’s striking to realize what seemingly obvious research has yet to be done. For example, there has been so little research done on how the brain behaves on psychedelic drugs, that a team of scientists in the UK is currently crowdfunding capital in order to analyze the very first brain scans of people on LSD. The team’s crowdfunding video below explains everything:

A few things to note. First, Professor David Nutt, one of the head researchers in the video above, was formerly the UK government’s chief advisor on drugs before being fired in 2009. The reason for his sacking stems from an unfortunate habit of making fact-based statements that didn’t jive with the home secretary’s agenda. Needless to say — drugs are always going to be a tricky topic when science and politics are forced to merge. This is why it’s been so difficult to obtain funds to study LSD and similar substances even though there are potentially beneficial neuroscientific insights to be gleaned from such analyses.

[Video embedded]

Second, this sort of research would be impossible without websites like Walacea, the crowdfunding platform on which the LSD researchers have amassed considerable amounts of capital. Crowdfunding has disrupted the capital industry to such a degree that the former gatekeepers who decided which projects did and did not obtain funding have been stripped of their formerly universal power, for better and for worse. The world of science has never before been infused with such a dose of populism. This is terrific news for young researchers as well as those like Dr. Nutt, whose projects are too controversial for traditional funders. On the flipside, there’s also a heightened risk of funding becoming a popularity contest in which research proposals are judged more on sexiness than scientific merit.

That said, the LSD brain scan analyses that have so far been funded should provide neuroscientists with valuable clues to help advance our current efforts toward understanding consciousness and our most vital organ.

Check out the study’s page on Walacea, a crowdfunding site for scientific research.

http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/professor-crowdfunds-research-to-analyze-brain-scans-of-people-on-lsd

Scientists Need Public Cash To Fund LSD Study

Scientists are asking the public to step in and fund a controversial study into the effect of LSD on the brain.

So far 20 volunteers have had brain scans while high on the hallucinogenic drug as part of a study that was given a small amount of funding by Imperial College London and the Beckley Foundation.

But the researchers, led by former government drugs tsar Professor David Nutt, need a further £25,000 to analyse the scans.

Prof Nutt launched an appeal on the science crowdfunding site Walacea.com after traditional research councils and other groups refused to fund the study because it involved an illegal recreational drug.

He said: “Despite the incredible potential of this drug to further our understanding of the brain, political stigma has silenced research.

“We must not play politics with promising science that has so much potential for good.”

Prof Nutt said research in the 1960s suggested LSD could be used to treat addiction, depression and chronic pain.

Yet since being made illegal in 1967 there has only been one clinical study and two neuroscience studies.

“That is an absurd amount of censorship,” said Prof Nutt, who was sacked as the government’s chief drugs advisor after saying ecstasy and LSD were less harmful than alcohol.

The 20 volunteers in the new study were injected with a “moderate” dose of LSD.

None of the participants reported having a bad experience, though three said they had some anxiety and temporary paranoia.

Another of the researchers, Dr Robin Carhart-Harris of Imperial College London, said: “What’s especially intriguing is that people can have a very challenging experience yet afterwards they seem to be somehow psychologically refreshed by the experience.”

See the campaign page on WALACEA

Crowdfunding for World’s first LSD Brain Imaging Study

SOURCE: SHROOMERY

For some people, they’re the recipe for one heck of a party. For others, they’re dangerous, one-way tickets to trouble that deserve their illegal status. But regardless of how people view them, and whether or not governments and policy makers like to admit it, psychoactive drugs are starting to show great promise as effective therapies for various mental health problems, and could well be a key to furthering our understanding of consciousness.

Take Ketamine, or ‘Special K’ as it is colloquially known. It’s already widely used in clinical settings as an anesthetic in both animals and humans, but studies are also highlighting its remarkable ability to treat depression, bipolar disorder and suicidal behavior. Not only that, but it is also super-fast acting, exhibiting potent antidepressant effects in as little as just two hours.

But that’s not all: Cannabis has shown potential in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and insomnia; the active compound of magic mushrooms, psilocybin, could be useful in treating addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorders and depression; MDMA could help those with post-traumatic stress disorder or Parkinson’s; and LSD could help anxiety, alcoholism and even inflammatory disorders. It’s quite an impressive list.

Unfortunately, despite these promising early studies, there is a major barrier in this field of research: attitudes towards drugs, at least in the U.K., make it very difficult to conduct such studies. Not only are funding bodies cautious about giving away their cash to such experiments, but restrictions and regulations are also very difficult to get around. Consequently, despite the huge potential for these drugs to be used in clinical settings, the dogma and fear surrounding their use is a significant obstacle.

In spite of this, there are some people who are endeavoring to conduct human research on psychedelic drugs, especially LSD, Ketamine and psilocybin. Alongside investigating their potential use as therapeutics, scientists also hope that by studying how they affect the brain in controlled settings, we could unlock some of the mysteries of consciousness.

One such scientist who is keen to delve deeper into the human mind through these drugs is Imperial College London’s David Nutt, esteemed professor of neuropsychopharmacology and the former government chief drug adviser. Given the ongoing struggle for academics to secure grants for research, and the prudence of funding bodies when it comes to research involving human use of illicit substances, Nutt is now reaching out to the public through the start-up science crowdfunding platform Walacea to continue his LSD research, which has resulted from a collaboration with Imperial College London and the Beckley Foundation.

“Despite the incredible potential of this drug to further our understanding of the brain, political stigma has silenced research,” Nutt said in a news release, referring to the fact that since LSD was banned, there has only been one clinical trial on LSD. “We must not play politics with promising science that has so much potential for good.”

So far, Nutt has already administered 20 subjects with a moderate dose of LSD and conducted imaging studies on its effect in the brain using a combination of fMRI and MEG. Both of these measure brain function, but the former takes snapshots of brain activity, whereas MEG is more like recording a video.

They predict that LSD may behave in a similar way to psilocybin, reducing blood flow to the control centers of the brain and thus dampening their activity, which ultimately enhances brain connectivity. In doing so, psilocybin seems to help brain regions that are normally distinct begin to communicate with one another, which could be why we see an increase in creativity with the use of this substance. However, we won’t know if LSD works in a similar manner until the second stage of the study is completed, and that requires the public to dig deep into their pockets.

http://www.shroomery.org/forums/showflat.php/Number/21369652

See the campaign page on WALACEA

These Fine Folks Are Crowdsourcing Funds For The World’s First LSD Brain Imaging Study

SOURCE: UPROXX

By Andrew Husband

Whether it’s the musical preferences of cats or the bacterial composition of the New York City subway system, scientific research deemed worthy of note often perplexes most who hear or read about it. Yet the news from WALACEA, a crowdfunding website dedicated to helping researchers fund their work, is different. It’s actually quite groovy, baby.

The poorly-named Dr. David Nutt (Imperial College London), Amanda Feilding (Beckley Foundation), and Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris (Imperial College London) are all a part of the ongoing study, which has been many years in the making. They want to know how and why 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. (Via WALACEA)

WALACEA’s campaign page for the study was published on Wednesday with a stated goal of £25,000. As of this writing, the imaging study has surpassed this with £29,253 in public contributions. With the campaign’s end date set for April 18th, the researchers have upped the ante with a new goal of £50,000 and an additional project:

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! (Via WALACEA)

Those who pledge £1,000 or more get to dine with the scientists involved at a private function (with a limit of 10). Hopefully, those who attend this intimate intellectual gathering are going for the brain food and not for the supposed fix.

http://uproxx.com/webculture/2015/03/these-fine-folks-are-crowdsourcing-funds-for-the-worlds-first-lsd-brain-imaging-study/

Terminally ill should take LSD, says the former government drug tsar sacked after saying acid was ‘safer than alcohol’

SOURCE: Mail Online
Published 7th March 4pm

By Lydia Willgress and Anna Hodgekiss

A British scientist has claimed the terminally ill should be given hallucinogenic drug LSD.
David Nutt, a former government drug tsar, thinks that psychedelic trips might be able to lead to long-term benefits in a person’s thinking.

The 63-year-old said that using the drug is the ‘great unanswered question in neuroscience’.
Professor Nutt was sacked from his job as the Government’s chief adviser on drugs in 2009 after saying ecstasy and LSD were less harmful than alcohol.

But he maintains that psychedelic trips might help terminally ill patients feel at one with the world.
‘The way we deal with death is to poison people with opiates so that they can’t think,’ The Independent reported him saying.

‘But on LSD it’s as if they have died, as if they’ve gone out to another place. They exist beyond their body.

‘That experience can give them a sense of perpetuity, of permanence, of being part of the cycle of life.’
At a briefing in London this week, he spoke out against restrictions on research on recreational drugs which he called ‘the worst censorship in the history of science’.

But having been turned down by ‘classic funders’, he raised the more than £32,000 on crowdfunding site Walacea.com.

In the controversial study 20 British volunteers will be the first in the world to have their brains scanned while high on LSD.

Early results are said to be ‘exciting’ but the full findings must wait until more funding can be found to complete the research.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2984116/Terminally-ill-LSD-says-former-government-drug-tsar-sacked-saying-acid-safer-alcohol.html?login#readerCommentsCommand-message-field

See the campaign page on WALACEA

 

Your Brain on LSD

SOURCE: IFLS

by Justine Alford, follow on twitter @LamnidaeBlue

For some people, they’re the recipe for one heck of a party. For others, they’re dangerous, one-way tickets to trouble that deserve their illegal status. But regardless of how people view them, and whether or not governments and policy makers like to admit it, psychoactive drugs are starting to show great promise as effective therapies for various mental health problems, and could well be a key to furthering our understanding of consciousness.

Take Ketamine, or ‘Special K’ as it is colloquially known. It’s already widely used in clinical settings as an anesthetic in both animals and humans, but studies are also highlighting its remarkable ability to treat depression, bipolar disorder and suicidal behavior. Not only that, but it is also super-fast acting, exhibiting potent antidepressant effects in as little as just two hours.

But that’s not all: Cannabis has shown potential in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and insomnia; the active compound of magic mushrooms, psilocybin, could be useful in treating addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorders and depression; MDMA could help those with post-traumatic stress disorder or Parkinson’s; and LSD could help anxiety, alcoholism and even inflammatory disorders. It’s quite an impressive list.

Unfortunately, despite these promising early studies, there is a major barrier in this field of research: attitudes towards drugs, at least in the U.K., make it very difficult to conduct such studies. Not only are funding bodies cautious about giving away their cash to such experiments, but restrictions and regulations are also very difficult to get around. Consequently, despite the huge potential for these drugs to be used in clinical settings, the dogma and fear surrounding their use is a significant obstacle.

In spite of this, there are some people who are endeavoring to conduct human research on psychedelic drugs, especially LSD, Ketamine and psilocybin. Alongside investigating their potential use as therapeutics, scientists also hope that by studying how they affect the brain in controlled settings, we could unlock some of the mysteries of consciousness.

One such scientist who is keen to delve deeper into the human mind through these drugs is Imperial College London’s David Nutt, esteemed professor of neuropsychopharmacology and the former government chief drug adviser. Given the ongoing struggle for academics to secure grants for research, and the prudence of funding bodies when it comes to research involving human use of illicit substances, Nutt is now reaching out to the public through the start-up science crowdfunding platform Walacea to continue his LSD research, which has resulted from a collaboration with Imperial College London and the Beckley Foundation.

“Despite the incredible potential of this drug to further our understanding of the brain, political stigma has silenced research,” Nutt said in a news release, referring to the fact that since LSD was banned, there has only been one clinical trial on LSD. “We must not play politics with promising science that has so much potential for good.”

So far, Nutt has already administered 20 subjects with a moderate dose of LSD and conducted imaging studies on its effect in the brain using a combination of fMRI and MEG. Both of these measure brain function, but the former takes snapshots of brain activity, whereas MEG is more like recording a video.

They predict that LSD may behave in a similar way to psilocybin, reducing blood flow to the control centers of the brain and thus dampening their activity, which ultimately enhances brain connectivity. In doing so, psilocybin seems to help brain regions that are normally distinct begin to communicate with one another, which could be why we see an increase in creativity with the use of this substance. However, we won’t know if LSD works in a similar manner until the second stage of the study is completed, and that requires the public to dig deep into their pockets.

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.iflscience.com/brain/uk-scientists-are-conducting-worlds-first-imaging-study-brain-lsd

See the campaign page on WALACEA

 

‘The Greatest Opportunity We Have in Mental Health’: Inside the British Study Where Volunteers Mainline LSD

SOURCE: VICE

by Ben Bryant, Follow Ben Bryant on Twitter: @benbryant

It was 9:30 AM when Tom Hulme watched the syringe full of LSD empty into his forearm. It occurred to him, over the three minutes it took to mainline the drug, that this was not a normal acid experience. He was completely sober, lying in a dummy MRI scanner in Wales’ Cardiff University hospital, bathed in fluorescent light.

“I suppose I was slightly anxious,” he told VICE News. “I didn’t have huge reservations but I suppose with anything like this you think, ‘What if it’s absolutely horrendous and I have a bad time, a really bad trip?

“You’re taking this in a very sterile setting. It’s not like you’re experiencing it in a club.”

Five minutes passed, then 10. After 15 minutes, he was sure he’d been given a placebo. Then a slight tingling began.

“It was mainly the warm feeling you get, and the visual disturbances,” he said. “The walls start to breathe. Colors start to appear much brighter. I wouldn’t say I was anxious, but more just a little bit like, ‘This is it now, how’s it going to pan out.’ ”

By the time the drug had taken hold, a researcher was guiding him out of the fake MRI scanner — set up to help participants acclimatise to the study — and into the real one.

“It was quite clear I’d been given LSD,” he recalled. “You’re just cocooned in the machine, and they put these big headphones on you. You can just hear these very mechanical rhythmic noises of the scanner. And when you’re tripping it’s almost like hardcore rave music. I was getting quite into it, really.”

Hulme was one of 20 participants in a landmark study by Professor David Nutt and Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris into the clinical applications of LSD. The research has obtained the first ever brain scans of people tripping on acid. Nutt and his colleagues are looking at evidence that psychoactive drugs could help reverse patterns of addictive or negative thinking, and say the early results are “very promising” — but the scientists face an uphill struggle to fund their continuing research.

“These drugs offer the greatest opportunity we have in mental health,” said Nutt at a briefing in London on Tuesday. “There’s little else on the horizon.”

Nutt was the UK’s most senior drug advisor until he was sacked in 2009 following his repeated calls for ministers to adopt evidence-based drug policy. Since then he and Carhartt-Harris have battled prohibitive regulations to conduct groundbreaking studies into the effects of drugs including MDMA and psilocybin on the brain.

Their work is part of a global resurgence of medical interest in LSD, psilocybin, ketamine and other controlled drugs which, trials suggest, may have medical applications in conditions from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder.

The controversy of the research makes securing funding difficult, though. The pair have been forced to innovate, and hope to raise £25,000 ($38,000) through a crowd-funding campaign at Walacea.com, which launched today. The platform itself is only six months old, and works like a Kickstarter for scientific research.

“Scientists working in controversial fields often find it hard to raise money through traditional models, but this campaign will show that there is real public appetite for research into the effects of psychedelic drugs,” Walacea founder Natalie Jonk told VICE News. “Crowdfunding science is an excellent opportunity for the public to hear directly from scientists on research they are curious about.”

“This research needs to happen,” said one backer, Katie Anderson, explaining her support to VICE News. “So much scientific knowledge has been suppressed because of the political, anti-drug agenda in our country.”

The UK’s strict drug policies stand in stark contrast to broad public support for reform, and most political parties take a dim view of the clinical benefits of controlled drugs. On Wednesday the Liberal Democrats, the junior partner in the ruling coalition, announced a raft of election manifesto commitments to reform drug policy, which included the legalization of medicinal cannabis. VICE News raised the obstructions to research with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in an exclusive interview.

“I’ve learnt the hard way if you want to reform things, just get on with the next steps you can take,” he said.

“When you say should they be given the funding to get on with the research into LSD, I say let’s first do the obvious … which is to make, where it’s clinically proven to be the case, make marijuana medicinally available to those people who have conditions where it can really help.”

In the meantime Carhart-Harris and Nutt have had to rely on friends and patrons to help them conduct their research. Hulme, a psychiatric nurse at Bristol infirmary, once worked in the same office as Nutt, and played five-a-side soccer with Carhart-Harris. He has been an active participant in various drug studies since 2012.

“I emailed Robin and said I’d be quite interested in taking part,” he said.

“From a therapeutic angle, I’m hoping to be a part of some groundbreaking research that’s going to develop some major advances in psychiatric nursing.”

The volunteers were given 75 micrograms of LSD — a “moderate” dose according to Carhart-Harris, but one that “can still produce a profound state of consciousness.”

The MRI scan was the first part of the experiment, and volunteers were asked questions about the experience throughout.

“One of the things they talked about in the study is how it increases empathy as well, and oneness,” Hulme recalled.

“I remember saying to [the researcher] it was almost like peeling the layers off an onion. When I shut my eyes I could almost choose how far down into the experience I wanted to go.”

Afterwards volunteers were given a MEG scan, which maps the magnetic fields produced by electrical currents in the brain.

“They put lots of electrodes on my head and put me in this room,” Hulme recounted. “It was absolute silence. I could swear I was just hearing wind chimes within the silence. I could swear I was hearing the silence of the wind chimes.”

This time, emerging from the scanner into the clinical surroundings was “a bit of a shock really,” he said. “But still quite enjoyable. Everything seemed really alien and looked a bit different.”

The final part of the experiment involved a series of tasks and psychometric tests.

“There was some really bizarre psychometric testing they got me to do,” he said.

“I had to say if I had a supply of tin cans and I could invent anything I wanted to, or put them to any kind of use, what uses could I find. If there was string coming down from the clouds, what could I do with that scenario.

“I can’t remember, because on that occasion, well, I was quite out of it, and I was just thinking of many creative things I could do with tin cans.”

The volunteers had to do the study twice; once with a placebo. Hulme said that the “clunking sound of the scanner” lost its appeal without acid.

“It was the most tedious thing I’d ever done,” he added.

The trip was a short one for LSD, which researchers put down to the moderate dose and intravenous administration. Its most intense effects had faded in most participants within two hours.

“I think it probably wasn’t anything like a normal LSD experience,” Hulme said. “Because it wasn’t that kind of experience where you sit down with your nearest and dearest and have really in-depth, pseudo intellectual conversations that seem to be earth-shattering revelations in that moment. And the next day you’re like, what was I on about.”

See the campaign page on WALACEA

https://news.vice.com/article/this-is-our-greatest-opportunity-in-mental-health-inside-the-british-study-mainlining-lsd-for-science?preview&cb=v1425573625042

The Sun One Liner…

SOURCE: The Sun

One line in print….we are yet to find out what it was!

See the campaign page on WALACEA

Terms of Agreement

Member usage

Definitions

Crowd.Science’s Service

Crowd.Science has limited liability

How Campaigns Work

Campaign Owner and Campaign Funder Obligation

Campaign Rewards

Fees Payable to Crowd.Science

Stripe Payment Gateway

Refunds

Communications with Crowd.Science

Tax and legal compliance

Dispute Resolution

Governing Law and Jurisdiction

Third Party Site

Prohibited Use Of Crowd.Science

General Overview