Using Bold fMRI to Measure the Effects of Psilocin on Brain Activity and Connectivity

Investigators: Robin Carhart-Harris, Ph.D., Richard Wise, Amanda Feilding, David Nutt, Ph.D.

Sponsor: Beckley Foundation

Supporting sponsor: MAPS and Heffter Research Institute

Contact: Robin Carhart Harris

This study is part of the Beckley Foundation/Imperial College Psychedelic Research Programme. It aims to discover how psilocin works in the brain by measuring increases and decreases in activity in different regions of the brain induced by the drug. Using analyses of functional and effective connectivity it will reveal network relationships between different regions of the brain and will show whether activity in certain brain regions is exerting a causal or driving influence over activity in other brain regions. These analyses may be very important for understanding the mechanism of action of psilocin. Based on the rationale of psychotherapeutic work with LSD and psilocybin/psilocin in the 1950s and 60s we will also address the hypothesis that psilocin lowers repression and facilitates autobiographical recollection. If this hypothesis is supported it will: 1) indicate that psilocin can facilitate the recollection of autobiographical memories 2) offer a biological explanation for how this occurs and 3) indicate how psilocin might be useful as an adjunct to dynamic psychotherapy.

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