The Beckley Foundation is conducting the world’s first study of the brain on LSD to investigate the LSD’s effects on creativity and problem solving. You can support and help them complete their research through their crowdfunding campaign.
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 tocrowdfunding 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.