The new science of psychedelics

Science Oxford recently teamed up with the Ultimate Picture Palace to screen Magic Medicine, a documentary film by filmmaker Monty Wates. The film follows a cohort of patients with chronic treatment-resistant depression as they take part in a groundbreaking clinical trial of psilocybin, the active psychedelic compound found in many species of wild mushroom. Wates’ remarkable film follows three of the volunteers and their families through the trial process, as well as the ambitious researchers who are hoping this controversial treatment will have the power to transform millions of lives.

The sold-out film screening was followed by a Q&A with Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, the Head of Psychedelic Research at Imperial College, London, who features in the documentary.

Chaired by teacher and science communicator Jase Taylor, the ever-insightful audience quizzed Robin on whether he was still convinced about the potential for medicated psychedelics to revolutionize psychiatry. The answer was a confident yes – the film shows how, in some cases, psilocybin is a totally transformative treatment.  He was asked how the efforts to overcome political and ethical hurdles might affect the rollout of psychedelic treatments in the future; and why it’s so important for the experience to take place within a carefully-crafted therapeutic environment. Robin finished by inspiring any budding neuroscientists to get involved in this fascinating new area of research.

If you missed the Q&A and you’d like to find out more, Robin Carhart-Harris recently spoke about the new science of psychedelics at the World Economic Forum – you can watch his interview here.

Watch the film trailer here:

Magic Medicine Official Trailer from Monty Wates on Vimeo.

This screening was part of a partnership between Science Oxford and the UPP in Oxford that aims to bring science and technology-themed activities to wider audiences across the region.