Head of Psychedelic Research, Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology, Division of Brain Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, focusses on brain imaging under the influence of LSD, psilocybin and other psychedelics
Robin Carhart-Harris completed his Ph.D. in psychopharmacology at the University of Bristol after doing an MA in psychoanalysis at Brunel University, London. In 2009, under the mentorship of Professor David Nutt, Robin moved to Imperial College London to continue his clinical research with the classic psychedelic drug psilocybin (magic mushrooms). Since eight years, with Amanda Feilding of the Beckley Foundation and David Nutt, they have built up a programme of research with psychedelics that includes brain imaging with psilocybin and MDMA and soon an MRC-sponsored clinical trial to assess the efficacy of psilocybin as a treatment for major depression. Their work with psilocybin has been published in PNAS and the British Journal of Psychiatry with several other relevant papers to follow.
Carhart-Harris uses music in both his therapeutic and the brain-imaging studies. Where people typically play classical music in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapyhe is going with some relaxing ambient stuff, particularly in the setting of a noisy MRI scanner. Carhart-Harris is also looking at the interaction between music and LSD; seeing whether emotional arousal and ego dissolution are enhanced. Unsurprisingly he’s the first person in the UK to have legally administered doses of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) to human volunteers since the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971.