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Can psychedelics cure depression? Professor David Nutt makes the case for therapeutic drug use

Drop acid, not bombs.(Credit: Hoberman Collection/Universal Images Group/Getty)

Drop acid, not bombs.(Credit: Hoberman Collection/Universal Images Group/Getty)


May 22, 2023   18 mins

Is there a clinical case for psychedelic drugs? Professor David Nutt, a neuropsychopharmacologist, has spent his career trying to demonstrate that there is — and that, beyond their recreational powers, drugs such as psilocybin can effectively treat depression. Some of his advocacy has landed him in controversy: in 2009, he was dismissed from a governmental advisory position for his arguments about drug harms. But over the last decade, as more pharmaceutical companies and even the NHS look to psychedelic treatments, he appears to have been vindicated.

This week, Prof Nutt visited the UnHerd Club to discuss his latest research, the resistance he’s faced from the academic community and the transformative power of psychedelics. Below is an edited transcript of his conversation with Flo Read:

Florence Read: Instead of turning on parts of the brain, psychedelics can do something quite unusual, which is actually turn some parts off. Could you just explain a little bit more about that?

David Nutt: Obviously, Timothy Leary was wrong, these drugs don’t turn on the brain, they actually turn off the brain. Imaging work has shown that there’s a circuit in the brain called the “default mode network”, which controls how you think. Our research showed that network was being switched off.

You’ve probably heard of Aldous Huxley’s book The Doors of Perception. That book was written after a mescaline trip, but the phrase “the doors of perception” is taken from William Blake. And Blake said that: “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” He was referring to people who aren’t artists, who see things in a very restricted way. Huxley used that quote, but he realised that what mescaline had done was open his mind, and then worked out that something must be closing his mind. What’s closing his mind? He said: the brain.

The brain is an instrument for focusing the mind. Psychedelics switch off the parts of the brain that control your mind. There was a group at Yale doing work in depression. They showed that the default mode network — the part of the brain that was turned off by psychedelics — is overactive in depression. If you scan the brains of depressed people, a greater amount of their brain is engaged in this internal, reflective, self-referential thinking. We thought: “Let’s see if we can turn it off in depressed people, and will they be non-depressed?” And lo and behold, they were.

We gave a single dose of psilocybin to people who had failed on other treatments. (They’d all failed on two antidepressants — somebody had failed on more than 10; they’d all failed on CBT.) They all got better. It’s the strongest effective treatment for resistant depression there’s ever been. Some of them are still well now, 10 years later. For the majority, the depression has crept back, and that tells us something else about the nature of how deeply embedded depressive thinking can be. But the fact that you could switch off the depression circuit, and lift people’s mood — that was a discovery.

 

FR: Among that cohort of treatment-resistant depressives, was there a common thread between them, in terms of their experience on the psilocybin? Or is it quite individualised?

DN: The content of a psychedelic trip is completely unpredictable. After that first trial, we set up a second trial, where we wanted to see if we could prolong the antidepressant effect of psilocybin by giving two trips, three weeks apart. And there was absolutely no relationship between the first trip and the second trip. Some people had a terrifying trip the first time, then a good one, and vice-versa.

What we try to do in therapy is get people to use the experience to deal with the thinking that is underpinning their depression. We asked them to try to engage with problems, to go back to issues in their childhood that might be relevant to their depression. Most of them don’t want to do that. One of the theories of depression — one of the theories about why your mind is so preoccupied in depression — is that you’re trying to resist re-engaging with those traumas. But we encouraged them to do that. It’s challenging, it’s difficult, they find it distressing — but they often get fundamental insights.

One of our patients on the first trial said: “I saw my father abusing me and I realised that was why I was depressed.” He realised: “I was blaming myself for the abuse. And in the trip, I was able to say to him, ‘That’s it.’” He got closure. He came out of the trip and he’s been well ever since. So people’s trips often focus on an individual trauma in their lives which they struggled to deal with. They have that in common.

FR: So given this level of success, why are these drugs not available for depressives in the UK?

DN: There are so many hurdles. Where to begin? The first is really weird. That initial study that we did was actually funded by the Medical Research Council. They put out a call for new treatments for depression and we got the grant. Getting the grant was the easiest bit. It took three iterations of the Ethics Committee to get permission to do this study. The ethics committee said: “It’s too dangerous; you can’t give depressed people psychedelics.” Why not? “Well, they might die.” That’s pretty unlikely — no one’s ever died on psilocybin before — but why do you think depressed people might die? “Well, they’re depressed.”

The third time we were going to this committee, I realised if we didn’t agree to do what they said, we would never get the study done. So in the end, they said: “You cannot do a controlled trial; you can do a safety study. Give 12 people it, see how they go. If none of them are dead in six months then you can come back and do a controlled trial.” So we said yes — in fact, the original trial was to see if people survived, which they all did. And the secondary outcome was whether their mood had changed. They could have got worse. They all got better.

So it took us a year to pass ethics. It took us another year to get hold of the medicine — the drug — because there’s only one place in the world that could make it. Then we had to get import licences and export licences. It took 30 months to get hold of the drug, and two more months to get permission from the Home Office to actually use it. That’s 32 months out of a 36-month grant — all because these drugs have been vilified for the last 50 years. The bureaucracy is so intense.

FR: Is this a bureaucracy problem or is it a moral failing?

DN: It’s more than moral; it’s political. The reason psychedelics were banned in 1967 in the US and in 1970 in the UK was simply because psychedelics were allowing people to think differently about how they wanted to run international relations. The war in Vietnam was being protested. There’s this amazing photograph I have, of someone holding a placard that says: “Drop acid, not bombs.” They couldn’t ban the anti-war protests so they banned the drugs instead, thinking that would dissipate the protests. Of course it didn’t, and eventually, the protesters won.

The Vietnam War ended but by that time, the drugs had been banned. And one of the worst things about drug laws is that it’s almost impossible to remedy them. For example, in America, two-thirds of states have medicalised cannabis, and half of states have recreational cannabis, but it’s still illegal under the federal law. In fact, there’s only two countries in the world that have actually pulled cannabis out of the UN conventions, and that’s Canada and Uruguay. Every other country in the world, even America, still complies with the UN regulations, which still say that cannabis is an illegal drug. And no country has pulled psychedelics out of the UN conventions.

So everything we do, we do in the face of this enormous barrier. They’ve created this myth that these are very dangerous. Almost everything you’ve heard about psychedelics has actually been a deliberate misrepresentation to perpetuate this political decision that people shouldn’t use them.

FR: Would the power dynamic between a doctor and a patient change if this kind of drug became legalised?

DN: The medical profession isn’t really that progressive. And I can say that: I’m a doctor. I have become more and more disappointed by the inability of medicine — particularly in fields like psychiatry — to move with the times. I personally think that psychedelics will re-energise psychiatry. A lot of psychiatrists are very disillusioned. We haven’t had any real innovation in psychiatric medicine or psychiatric psychotherapy for 50 years.

FR: One thing under threat at the moment is the idea of holistic health — the idea that your mind and body have some sort of co-dependent relationship.

DN: We are quite top-down, paternalistic and autocratic in healthcare. There is very little scope to do anything that we’re not told to do from above — and, of course, that’s why I was sacked. Because even if you challenge — even if you just raise an intellectual question about the policy — they don’t like it.

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you that I’m quite a fan of Huxley. But my favourite book is not Brave New World or Doors of Perception. It’s actually Island, his last book. It is a roadmap to a society where you use psychology — you use dance, you use movement, you use exercise — and you use psychedelics to maximise quality of life. That’s what we should be doing. I was on the Good Read programme about six years ago, and Island was my Good Read. And two weeks later, I was in Parliament, at a group on drugs and drug addiction, and I was viciously attacked by a drug service provider for daring to talk on the radio about the use of illegal drugs to help people have a better life. That exemplifies our silos of thinking, which have become entrenched over decades. I don’t even think psychedelics could open their minds. 

FR: When people are having these transcendent experiences on psychedelics, are they finding something that we have all lost? Barely 3% of the country goes to church anymore; we’ve lost so much of our connection to the spiritual. Do you think they are recovering some of that?

DN: Yes, I have no doubt. Psychedelics increase connectedness — with the self, with other people and with nature. There’s a very interesting relationship between psychedelics and religion, because pretty much all religions emerged from groups of people using psychedelics. Hinduism came from a combination of mushrooms and Ephedra. South American beliefs came from ayahuasca and DMT and also from mushrooms. There’s a wonderful study going on in the States using psilocybin on priests who’ve lost their faith, and it’s working — it’s working for some faiths: I don’t think it’s quite as good for Islam as it is for Christianity — but there are priests coming out saying they have begun to find their faith again.

And of course, there was this remarkable experiment called the Marsh Chapel Experiment at Harvard in the Sixties. They took trainee priests on Good Friday — when they’re going to be in chapel praying and contemplating for the whole day — and they split them and gave 10 of them psilocybin in the same doses. And of the 10 given psilocybin, eight of them have this powerful mystical experience where they saw God.

So that does help make sense of the way in which religion or religious beliefs can be facilitated by changing the way your mind works. Of course, historically, people have done that in very different ways. In the old days, you used to starve yourself for days and nights, or kneel and pray for hours and hours, to get those kinds of mystical changes. And they would have been produced by alterations in biochemistry — due to stress — which are not necessarily very different from those that psychedelics produce. But psychedelics are just easier and probably more effective.

FR: If these drugs did become widely available, how would we preserve this connection to spiritual well-being?

DN: There’s a really interesting experiment going on in the US now. Oregon has made magic mushrooms effectively a legal medicine. But more than that, they are authorising wellness centres, all around the state, to provide mushroom therapy, or mushrooms as part of wellbeing therapy. Now, that’s an amazing decision. It’s the first time anywhere in America that there’s kind of socialised medicine — using what it is now, and will be even when the therapy centres are open, an illegal drug. The purpose is to improve wellbeing in communities, and I think it’s going to work. 

FR: You’re a good advocate for psychedelics, but have you faced judgement from your academic peers? Do you find that you are in any way isolated in that community?

DN: About five years ago, I gave a talk to the Royal College of Psychiatrists and about psychedelics as the future of psychiatry. And after the talk, the room divided into three separate groups. There were about seven or eight men in the room older than me, who said: “Fantastic. I was there in the Sixties, we were using it. It was working fine. Thank goodness you’re bringing it back.” And the majority of the room were people from 35 to 60 who said: “This is rubbish. There’s no RCTs. They’re dangerous drugs.” And then there were about 50 trainees who said: “Fantastic — at last. Psychiatry has got something to offer me!” So credibility is very age-related.

Academically, I’ve been generally pleasantly surprised by the positivity. I think there are a lot of academics out there who realise that this is the way forward. They just don’t have the courage to stand up and do it because they don’t want to be vilified, they don’t want the Daily Mail writing about them. But they are on-side. There’s very little criticism within the scientific community about what we’re doing, because it’s good science. It’s published in the top journals. It’s very hard to argue with that.

FR: Let’s take some questions from the audience.

You spoke about shutting down the “default mode network” as a one-off event. Have you found that there’s a need to link therapy, psychotherapy, and a deep understanding of people’s trauma with the psychedelic experience, versus treating it like a neuroscientific event?

DN: What I find amazing is that both are true and that’s why it’s unusual. In fact, it’s kind of unique in psychiatry — to be able to do a brain imaging of someone who’s had a treatment, and see why it’s worked. What we see in people who’ve been depressed, who’ve had a psychedelic trip, is their brains are more flexible. And that accords extremely well with the cognitive experience of actually being able to think differently and not be locked into negative thought loops.

But I absolutely agree with you that the experience itself is what people want to talk about — and the value of that, in terms of helping them change their lives and move forward is, for the patient, absolutely central. Critics say: “Prove to me that what the patient thinks matters.” In fact, there are people who’ve said to me: “I’m not going to believe that psychedelics work until you give it to people under anesthetic, because it could all be placebo.” It’s surreal, because we don’t do any other kind of therapy under anaesthesia. People want to talk about why the experience is valuable to them. They want to get other people to engage with it. 

FR: Placebo is a concept that’s totally vilified in the mainstream scientific arena. Do you think that there’s room for a good placebo effect?

DN: Half of everything any doctor does to you is placebo. It’s you wanting to get better. If you don’t want to get better, you won’t get better. If you want to get better, you can get better, and psychedelics allow you to get better — whether that’s a placebo, or whether it’s a drug effect. I think it’s a drug effect, but proving it’s a drug effect is kind of pointless, and probably impossible, and I’m not going to bother.

I was a government minister in the Department of Health in 2018, when we rescheduled THC for therapeutic use. And probably the most important thing was having a cause célèbre. There was Billy Caldwell, and a number of children with horrendous, untreatable epilepsy — suffering dozens of fits a day — who were treated by these medicines. And the compassionate power, forced on people in positions of power, was irresistible. That is actually what led to change. So applying that to psychedelics — who will be the cause célèbre?

DN: Australia decided in February that, from the first of July, psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression, and MDMA for treatment-resistant PTSD, will be approved medicines. And that was driven by an example: a woman who was actually a friend of the Prime Minister’s husband became severely depressed, begged for psychedelic therapy, couldn’t get it, and killed himself. And she made videos and she campaigned and she became the cause célèbre because of her dead husband.

We haven’t got that patient in Britain. But the sad thing is, we do have a lot of veterans who are medicating themselves. Some of them have been part of our studies. We’ve been working with them for eight years. They have been campaigning for this law change. And it’s not happening. These veterans are going to South America to get treatment — many of them can’t afford it; we’ve got senior members of the military arguing for this. But it’s falling on deaf ears. And I don’t know what the problem is. It may be because it’s not a child. The other thing about Billy Caldwell is that he was dying in St. Thomas’s, which is just across the river from politics. Parliamentarians could not avoid the fact that he could be dead within a few hours. So they had to do something. We don’t have quite the same immediacy.

I feel that cannabis has got stuck. It’s got stuck at this stage where unlicenced cannabis medicines are massively on the rise, but the NHS is not prescribing the licenced medicine. And it’s very hard to change. Even if tomorrow, the Home Office looked to reschedule psilocybin, we’ll end up in a similar place — where psilocybin therapy is only accessible privately because the NHS won’t endorse it. What’s your view on how we push past that?

DN: You’re quite right: for four and a half years cannabis has been a medicine, and there have been four prescriptions on the NHS. That’s almost as big of a scandal as having made it illegal in the first place in 1971. The NHS is not flexible and the mistake made was to insist that cannabis could only be prescribed by a specialist. And most specialists are old white men like me who spent their lives working on treatments which aren’t cannabis, and they don’t want to have to get out of their rut and learn about cannabis. The people that need to prescribe medical cannabis are the GPs and they’re not allowed to.

The other problem with the NHS is their budgets are controlled by pharmacists.You’d think pharmacists would be interested in pharmacology, but actually they’re not — they’re interested in money, and they’re really resistant to bringing in new treatments. So even with patients where it’s incontrovertible — the consultant says: “Medical cannabis has helped this person, please can we prescribe on the NHS” — the pharmacist says: “No because NICE hasn’t approved it.” And that’s why I left the NHS. That’s why now my work with ketamine is outside the NHS. Because it’s the only way we can actually use a psychedelic drug on patients. The same will be true with psilocybin or MDMA when they become available.

What we’re doing in the clinics that I’m working with — the awakened clinics here — is collecting data. At some point in the not-too-distant future, we will be able to go to the NHS and say: “100 patients with depression treated with ketamine therapy. Make NICE approve it.” We’re all campaigning to get NICE to accept that this real-world data for ketamine could be used — in the same way that real-world data for cannabis was collected.

I work at the Centre for Social Justice and we work with around 800 small grassroots charities, many of which are working in the addiction sector. And I have yet to meet a single one of those organisations that thinks legalisation is the answer. In fact, they actually think the opposite. We recently held a roundtable with a load of drug dealers, and we asked them what they thought about legalisation, and they said they were absolutely desperate for it, because it was going to significantly increase the number of people who will be buying drugs. And their response to that, they said, would be to undercut the legal drugs by making them cheaper, and then they can make them stronger or weaker, depending on what the clients want. And I wondered what you thought of that?

DN: Free markets are a problem, aren’t they? So my argument would be that we should decriminalise personal possession of all drugs. Criminalising people who use drugs is both immoral and ineffective. It would be economically sensible to have regulated markets for all drugs which are less harmful to the user than alcohol. Because reducing the use of alcohol would have a net beneficial effect on society. We’re beginning to see that now, in countries or states where medical cannabis has become legal: people are drinking less, and also using less opiates.

In our medical cannabis initiative — the Drug Science 2021 initiative, which you can access online — we had 3,500 people on medical cannabis, over 1000 of them for chronic pain. And they almost halve their use of opiates without even being asked to stop opiate painkillers. They’re just stopping because medical cannabis is better for pain.

In terms of treatment providers, the reason cannabis is a problem in Britain is because we tried to get rid of cannabis, in the same way that heroin is a problem in America because they tried to get rid of heroin. They tried to stop people using relatively mild forms of cannabis and what did the market do? The market just shifted to make stronger forms of cannabis. When we tried to clamp down on cannabis in prisons, what happened? We started making spice, and spice kills people; cannabis doesn’t. So our hostility to cannabis has driven the problem for cannabis. When we tried to stop the use of opium in 1910 by Chinese people in the East End of London, what happened? They stopped smoking opium; they started injecting morphine.

Almost every drug we’ve tried to control through prohibition has resulted in the use of stronger, more toxic alternatives, and lead to greater problems with addiction. I was in a huge conference in Orlando, speaking to 2,500 addiction service providers, last year. I started talking about using psychedelics to treat addiction and they were horrified. But it’s their business. The addiction business is a big business. A lot of people get their employment out of it, but they need addicts to keep the business going. And if we can get rid of addicts, they will be out of business, so they don’t want change either.

When the default mode network is switched off, how does it come back? And if it comes back, how does it not cause the depression again?

DN: It comes back different, it comes back more flexible, it comes back less entrenched. Now why that is? We don’t know. One analogy is, if you keep thinking something, it’s like a cartwheel going along in a muddy field. It digs deeper and deeper and deeper. But then if you have a rainstorm or a flood, you can wash the ruts away and you can start again. But how that actually translates into neurochemical changes, or neurological changes in neurons, is still a mystery, and it is actually to my mind the big target at present. I would really like to understand how we get rid of it. Some people use the analogy of a snow field: once you’ve skied for a long time, you get stuck in a rut. Then the snow comes and you can see normally again. But eventually, for many people who’ve been chronically depressed, particularly from childhood, there’s a pressure to rut again. And what is that? I don’t know. And that’s one of the areas I’m really trying to get my head around intellectually, because then we might be able to design some experiments to test it.

FR: This comes back to this idea of neuroplasticity, which you have when you’re young and then you lose as you get older — do you think people have a fear of the general public becoming more neuroplastic?

DN: Yes and no. No one minds people with Alzheimer’s getting more neuroplastic. But young people thinking differently — that frightens society, or the establishment. But neuroplasticity — this is an ancient concept. Every time you do anything, you’ve grown a few synapses in your brain, you’ve consolidated some synapses, you’ve made them more efficient. Now, that process is very powerfully stimulated by psychedelics. It’s also stimulated by ketamine and MDMA. And from the insights you get during a trip, people often see things very differently, come up with new solutions to old problems. But they can consolidate those new solutions by neuroplasticity. 

The US Department of Defence has invested something like $27 million in trying to develop drugs which will produce plasticity, without being psychedelic, because they’re terrified of psychedelics. If you’re a vet in America, and you use an illegal drug to get better, you lose your pension, and you lose your access to healthcare. So rather than change the law, they’re trying to find drugs which will actually heal the brain through plasticity. I don’t know if that’s going to work. I think it might be useful. It might augment psychotherapy. But I think it’s going to be something you take every day. I don’t think you’re going to have a single dose of a neuroplastic agent and suddenly you’re going to wake up the next morning feeling un-depressed. But the research is going on, and we’ll find out.

What is monkey dust?

DN: Monkey dust is a new cathinone. Here’s a story. Just before the 2010 election, along comes mephedrone (“meow meow” or MCAT), a relatively weak cathinone that’s legal. It becomes very popular. But an election’s coming up, and Gordon Brown doesn’t want to be seen as soft on drugs. So mephedrone gets banned. And then, after a couple of years, we start to look at the data. And what we saw with mephedrone between 2008 and 2010 was as use went up, cocaine deaths fell, amphetamine deaths fell. Why? Because people were switching from an illegal, dangerous, harmful drug, to a legal, less harmful drug. So there were two or three deaths from mephedrone, and it reduced cocaine deaths by about 50%. It’s the biggest impact on cocaine death ever.

When mephedrone is illegal, and the dose and supply runs out, people switch back to cocaine because it’s a better drug. If everything’s illegal, why not use a better drug. Cocaine deaths have now gone up and up and they’ve now reached an all-time high. So for those two years, we saw that the drug market does have a lot of rationality. People want a drug that is fun but less harmful than the ones they’re using. So having banned mephedrone people said: “Mephedrone is pretty weedy. Why don’t we make a stronger mephedrone which we can sell in smaller amounts?” That’s monkey dust. Monkey dust is to mephedrone what fentanyl is to heroin. It’s just the product of having banned mephedrone.

Are there any studies on microdosing?

DN: Yes there are and we’ve done the best one. It’s very difficult to do because the problem with microdosing is: it’s illegal. And when we set up a microdosing study at Imperial, six years ago, we wanted to give a microdose — one microgram of LSD — to people twice a week for six weeks and see what happened. And the ethics committee said yes, but every single microdose had to be given in hospital, and they had to stay in hospital for 12 hours. We’ve never done the study because we couldn’t afford to do it.

So we did a citizen science study. We basically worked out a way of getting people to randomise their own microdoses, and that study was published last year. It shows that microdosing works — if you think you’re microdosing. So if you’re taking placebo, and you think it’s a microdose, it works. That’s the best study we have so far. It’s what you want it to be, in a way. So at present, we don’t know if microdosing works, but it doesn’t seem to harm you.

With antidepressants, you don’t know what it’s doing, but you feel better after it’s built up. With psilocybin, we can see the effect on the brain scan: it’s essentially an experience that changes the person. Are there any other drugs that are like that? 

DN: It’s like surgery. It’s like a cure. Are there any other drugs like that? I suppose with some anti-cancer drugs, you might get a relatively rapid cure. But not in terms of mental health. But the idea of a sudden cure is not novel in psychiatry. When I was on the Isle of Skye 30 years ago, there was a wonderful tale there about how they used to treat depression. They used to take depressed people to the blacksmith and put their head down on the anvil and the blacksmith would take out his massive hammer and bring it down right next to their head, but not hit them. And they would get better. That seems implausible, but it’s not completely implausible, because that is a massive stress.

Pavarotti suffered from depression. And he was talking about how he overcame his depression, and he was on a plane that crashed. He said: “That near-death experience lifted my depression.” And in fact quite a lot of people who have near-death experiences say not only that their depression goes, but that they feel more spiritual. Interestingly, the brain scans of people who have near-death experiences and those after psychedelics are very similar. So the final answer to your question is that it is a psychological experience, but fundamentally it’s a biological experience, changing your psyche, and that’s why it’s so powerful. Huxley was right: your brain controls your mind. If your brain gets it wrong, as it sometimes does, change your brain. Then your mind can be free.


is UnHerd’s Producer and Presenter for UnHerd TV.


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Nick G
Nick G
11 months ago

Interesting that Nutt simply ignored or dismissed out of hand any downsides or risks associated with psychedelics. It’s no wonder that he struggles to get his case across if he doesn’t address peoples’ concerns.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
11 months ago
Reply to  Nick G

He’s a strange blend of eccentric and fanatic, soft left I daresay, but by that very “softness” more lethal than the hard variety, since the gentle approach carries the same delusions more decisively into people’s thinking. And as you rightly observe, it involves the same process of ignoring and dismissing contrary evidence and countervailing considerations. The final recourse is to shout opposition down.

Simon Bonini
Simon Bonini
11 months ago
Reply to  Nick G

What are the downside risks that were ignored? His team went through a 3-year process just to get his controlled study off the ground. There are risks but these have been greatly distorted. His work is looking at whether these compounds have therapeutic uses. It’s not about taking them at a party!

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
11 months ago
Reply to  Nick G

He’s a strange blend of eccentric and fanatic, soft left I daresay, but by that very “softness” more lethal than the hard variety, since the gentle approach carries the same delusions more decisively into people’s thinking. And as you rightly observe, it involves the same process of ignoring and dismissing contrary evidence and countervailing considerations. The final recourse is to shout opposition down.

Simon Bonini
Simon Bonini
11 months ago
Reply to  Nick G

What are the downside risks that were ignored? His team went through a 3-year process just to get his controlled study off the ground. There are risks but these have been greatly distorted. His work is looking at whether these compounds have therapeutic uses. It’s not about taking them at a party!

Nick G
Nick G
11 months ago

Interesting that Nutt simply ignored or dismissed out of hand any downsides or risks associated with psychedelics. It’s no wonder that he struggles to get his case across if he doesn’t address peoples’ concerns.

Steven Somsen
Steven Somsen
11 months ago

I have been exploring spiritual sort of paths practically since my 16th. And have used LSD in my home country (Netherlands) when I was 19/20 and ayahuasca etc (mostly in Brazil and Colombia) extensively when I was 50-56. My personal experience is not positive: it did not really add depth to my own path. I don’t advise it to anyone: I would say, do the work, no shortcuts.

Last edited 11 months ago by Steven Somsen
Danielle Treille
Danielle Treille
11 months ago
Reply to  Steven Somsen

You said it: PERSONAL experience…

Simon Denis
SD
Simon Denis
11 months ago

What other experience can the individual have? And do you really regard Nutt’s eccentric case studies as sufficiently broad in scope to overturn the findings of legions of medics from decade to decade?

Simon Bonini
SB
Simon Bonini
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Prof Nutt works at Imperial College in the medical field. These are controlled studies not one-offs. All work on psychedelics stopped for decades. I don’t believe that there are studies setting out the harms. Remember that man has been using them for millennia – it doesn’t follow that they are necessarily good but it might indicate they ain’t that bad.

Dominic A
Dominic A
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Anecdote is deeply inadequate way of getting at the truth. Unfortunately that’s pretty much all we have, as the puritans shut down research from the 1960’s on. There are also ‘no legions of medics’ over decades who warn against psychedelic experience. There are however legions of very smart people – philosophers, psychologists, scientists, writers who have found the experience to be amongst the most valuable of their lives. And, yes, there are still those who threw themselves out of windows in terror. That should also give you a clue as to why this class of drugs is nothing like a narcotic, feel good/numb drug – rather, like most valuable, powerful, effective things, there is cost as well as benefit, a risk of having the worlst most disturbing experience you’ve ever had – though if you are able to, like Sam Harris was, even this can form the basis of spiritual, psychological advances – if you do the work.

Simon Bonini
Simon Bonini
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Prof Nutt works at Imperial College in the medical field. These are controlled studies not one-offs. All work on psychedelics stopped for decades. I don’t believe that there are studies setting out the harms. Remember that man has been using them for millennia – it doesn’t follow that they are necessarily good but it might indicate they ain’t that bad.

Dominic A
Dominic A
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Anecdote is deeply inadequate way of getting at the truth. Unfortunately that’s pretty much all we have, as the puritans shut down research from the 1960’s on. There are also ‘no legions of medics’ over decades who warn against psychedelic experience. There are however legions of very smart people – philosophers, psychologists, scientists, writers who have found the experience to be amongst the most valuable of their lives. And, yes, there are still those who threw themselves out of windows in terror. That should also give you a clue as to why this class of drugs is nothing like a narcotic, feel good/numb drug – rather, like most valuable, powerful, effective things, there is cost as well as benefit, a risk of having the worlst most disturbing experience you’ve ever had – though if you are able to, like Sam Harris was, even this can form the basis of spiritual, psychological advances – if you do the work.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
11 months ago

What other experience can the individual have? And do you really regard Nutt’s eccentric case studies as sufficiently broad in scope to overturn the findings of legions of medics from decade to decade?

Philip Cotnoir
PC
Philip Cotnoir
11 months ago
Reply to  Steven Somsen

“Beware unearned wisdom.”
Thanks.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Steven Somsen

I think it’s unwise of you to give unsolicited advice based on your negative, personal, experience.

Last edited 11 months ago by Clare Knight
Phil Mac
Phil Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I think you’re very much mistaken to think putting that garbage into your brain is anything other than destructive.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Phil Mac

Thank you for your concern but I’m doing very well as a wise, old crone.

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I’m really not concerned.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

‘Self praise is NO recommendation.’

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Self evaluation.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Self evaluation.

Phil Mac
PM
Phil Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I’m really not concerned.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

‘Self praise is NO recommendation.’

Clare Knight
CK
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Phil Mac

Thank you for your concern but I’m doing very well as a wise, old crone.

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I think you’re very much mistaken to think putting that garbage into your brain is anything other than destructive.

Danielle Treille
Danielle Treille
11 months ago
Reply to  Steven Somsen

You said it: PERSONAL experience…

Philip Cotnoir
Philip Cotnoir
11 months ago
Reply to  Steven Somsen

“Beware unearned wisdom.”
Thanks.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Steven Somsen

I think it’s unwise of you to give unsolicited advice based on your negative, personal, experience.

Last edited 11 months ago by Clare Knight
Steven Somsen
Steven Somsen
11 months ago

I have been exploring spiritual sort of paths practically since my 16th. And have used LSD in my home country (Netherlands) when I was 19/20 and ayahuasca etc (mostly in Brazil and Colombia) extensively when I was 50-56. My personal experience is not positive: it did not really add depth to my own path. I don’t advise it to anyone: I would say, do the work, no shortcuts.

Last edited 11 months ago by Steven Somsen
Robert Hochbaum
Robert Hochbaum
11 months ago

“…but fundamentally it’s a biological experience, changing your psyche,”
Hmm. What could possibly go wrong?

Robert Hochbaum
RH
Robert Hochbaum
11 months ago

“…but fundamentally it’s a biological experience, changing your psyche,”
Hmm. What could possibly go wrong?

Nick Hallam
Nick Hallam
11 months ago

“Luxury beliefs are ideas and opinions that confer status on the upper class while inflicting costs on the lower classes.” – Rob Henderson.

Last edited 11 months ago by Nick Hallam
Nick Hallam
NH
Nick Hallam
11 months ago

“Luxury beliefs are ideas and opinions that confer status on the upper class while inflicting costs on the lower classes.” – Rob Henderson.

Last edited 11 months ago by Nick Hallam
Douglas Cumming
Douglas Cumming
11 months ago

Personal experience is irrelevant here. Back in the ’70s, mine was positive, while other people I know were psychologically damaged. It is a powerful, mind-altering drug, and under controlled conditions could be just the tool trained therapists need. The concerning issue here is not the use of LSD per se but the refusal to consider its possible advantages in psychiatry. Thousands of suffering people need to have Professor Nutt taken seriously.

Last edited 11 months ago by Douglas Cumming
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

I’ve seen a couple of documentaries about the use of LSD, Mescaline, peyote and psilocybin being used theraputically and supervised, with positive outcomes. My own exeriences taking LSD, alone, have been intense – re-experiencing my birth – and, though positive, I can’t say they were life changing.However, I would jump at the opportunity to have a guided trip with a sage guide.

Last edited 11 months ago by Clare Knight
Phil Mac
Phil Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Yeah, I bet you would.

Alternatively you might think about what’s missing from your real life experience that makes you want to take the lazy route to a different mental state. For as long as it lasts, then it’s back to reality.

I should say that I’d defend to the last your right to fill yourself up with this stuff if you want. I’m actually very much in favour of choice, from an evolutionary point of view it’s great for the species.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Phil Mac

Thanks for the chuckle, Phil.

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Hey, happy to help you find some satisfaction other than from your pills and chemicals.

Simon Bonini
Simon Bonini
11 months ago
Reply to  Phil Mac

Deleted

Last edited 11 months ago by Simon Bonini
Simon Bonini
SB
Simon Bonini
11 months ago
Reply to  Phil Mac

Deleted

Last edited 11 months ago by Simon Bonini
Phil Mac
Phil Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Hey, happy to help you find some satisfaction other than from your pills and chemicals.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Phil Mac

Thanks for the chuckle, Phil.

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Yeah, I bet you would.

Alternatively you might think about what’s missing from your real life experience that makes you want to take the lazy route to a different mental state. For as long as it lasts, then it’s back to reality.

I should say that I’d defend to the last your right to fill yourself up with this stuff if you want. I’m actually very much in favour of choice, from an evolutionary point of view it’s great for the species.

Nell Clover
Nell Clover
11 months ago

Nutt does the most unscientific things possible: he fails to counter the opposing research, he doesn’t properly acknowledge his partiality and commercial interest, and he appeals to his authority as a world renowned scientist. He has stopped being a scientist and is now a paid advocate.

Partly because of the infinite ways to engineer patentable variations of synthetic drugs, there is already keen interest in this area. The universal problem is that producing systematic treatments using therapeutic doses has proven impossible. It shouldn’t be, and currently isn’t possible to approve a medical intervention that has such unpredictable, often negative effects or zero and most often unmeasurable long term improvement in the condition supposedly being treated.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

I’ve seen a couple of documentaries about the use of LSD, Mescaline, peyote and psilocybin being used theraputically and supervised, with positive outcomes. My own exeriences taking LSD, alone, have been intense – re-experiencing my birth – and, though positive, I can’t say they were life changing.However, I would jump at the opportunity to have a guided trip with a sage guide.

Last edited 11 months ago by Clare Knight
Nell Clover
Nell Clover
11 months ago

Nutt does the most unscientific things possible: he fails to counter the opposing research, he doesn’t properly acknowledge his partiality and commercial interest, and he appeals to his authority as a world renowned scientist. He has stopped being a scientist and is now a paid advocate.

Partly because of the infinite ways to engineer patentable variations of synthetic drugs, there is already keen interest in this area. The universal problem is that producing systematic treatments using therapeutic doses has proven impossible. It shouldn’t be, and currently isn’t possible to approve a medical intervention that has such unpredictable, often negative effects or zero and most often unmeasurable long term improvement in the condition supposedly being treated.

Douglas Cumming
Douglas Cumming
11 months ago

Personal experience is irrelevant here. Back in the ’70s, mine was positive, while other people I know were psychologically damaged. It is a powerful, mind-altering drug, and under controlled conditions could be just the tool trained therapists need. The concerning issue here is not the use of LSD per se but the refusal to consider its possible advantages in psychiatry. Thousands of suffering people need to have Professor Nutt taken seriously.

Last edited 11 months ago by Douglas Cumming
Suzanne C.
Suzanne C.
11 months ago

Since people can barely get an appointment with a mental health care professional of mediocre talents how is something as labor intensive as medically supervised and therapeutic tripping, supposing such a thing actually exists, going to happen?
it will only be the very privileged who are able to take advantage of this compared to the many who will be fobbed off with an unsupervised acid trip instead of unsupervised antidepressants and little to no actual therapy.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Suzanne C.

So true.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Suzanne C.

So true.

Suzanne C.
Suzanne C.
11 months ago

Since people can barely get an appointment with a mental health care professional of mediocre talents how is something as labor intensive as medically supervised and therapeutic tripping, supposing such a thing actually exists, going to happen?
it will only be the very privileged who are able to take advantage of this compared to the many who will be fobbed off with an unsupervised acid trip instead of unsupervised antidepressants and little to no actual therapy.

Chris Milburn
Chris Milburn
11 months ago

I find the discussion around psychedelics very odd. My patients (I’m a doc) who benefit from ANY antidepressant, or therapy, or who just get better with time all feel “more connected” once they are better.
Without expounding at length, I’ll just say that I find the idea that the solution to existential angst can be found at the bottom of an empty pill bottle – be those pills SSRI’s promoted by Pfizer, or psychedelics promoted by new-agey wizards of woo – problematic. The idea that we are bags of chemicals, and happiness and meaning are to be found in tweaking those chemicals, is facile.

Chris Milburn
CM
Chris Milburn
11 months ago

I find the discussion around psychedelics very odd. My patients (I’m a doc) who benefit from ANY antidepressant, or therapy, or who just get better with time all feel “more connected” once they are better.
Without expounding at length, I’ll just say that I find the idea that the solution to existential angst can be found at the bottom of an empty pill bottle – be those pills SSRI’s promoted by Pfizer, or psychedelics promoted by new-agey wizards of woo – problematic. The idea that we are bags of chemicals, and happiness and meaning are to be found in tweaking those chemicals, is facile.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago

Ernst Jünger* (1895-1998.)was a great fan of LSD, and he should know.

(* Author of THE book on the Great War: “ Storm of Steel”.)

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago

Ernst Jünger* (1895-1998.)was a great fan of LSD, and he should know.

(* Author of THE book on the Great War: “ Storm of Steel”.)

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
11 months ago

testing

Dumetrius
D
Dumetrius
11 months ago

_____

Last edited 11 months ago by Dumetrius
Dumetrius
D
Dumetrius
11 months ago

___

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
10 months ago

.

Last edited 10 months ago by Dumetrius
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago

It’s legitimate to feel unhappy about traumatic events – money, health, relationships etc. 
Politicising this, labelling it “depression” and prescribing drugs for it, is despicable.
Can you not see how you’re being exploited?
As with the ADHD myth, there is no such thing as depression. 
Read Dr. Thomas Szasz’s book, “The Myth of Mental Illness” and wise up.
https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17326328.mental-health-conditions-schizophrenia-even-depression-myth-according-leading-experts-mind/

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago

It’s legitimate to feel unhappy about traumatic events – money, health, relationships etc. 
Politicising this, labelling it “depression” and prescribing drugs for it, is despicable.
Can you not see how you’re being exploited?
As with the ADHD myth, there is no such thing as depression. 
Read Dr. Thomas Szasz’s book, “The Myth of Mental Illness” and wise up.
https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17326328.mental-health-conditions-schizophrenia-even-depression-myth-according-leading-experts-mind/

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
11 months ago

Putting chemicals into your body to alter your mental state is bad. Social use of any drug – and I very much include alcohol and gambling here – is just a stupid short-cut to attaining a mood that (i) fades really quickly so you need to repeat, (ii) builds dependency, but most importantly of all, (iii) suggests that you don’t address the real World causes of your discontent.

I stopped drinking 18 years ago. I wasn’t an alcoholic in any way but I drank too much, for bad reasons, and dumping it just on a whim for good is the best thing I ever did. My mind became more positive as I took ownership of the responsibility to change real things to give me satisfaction. Life is still challenging – breaking news, it just is – but it’s my life, my things to fix, and a mind altering drug is a handicap.

Until people get this simple principle there’ll never be a fix to this. I’m a hard-core atheist but my biggest beef with religions is that they took incredible wisdom and to get people to obey it they packaged it up in bull**** of supernatural beings threatening eternal punishment. The seven deadly sins are truly terrible sins …… but they’re against YOURSELF. My complaint is that by bundling this wisdom under a fiction they set the scene for the baby to go out with the bathwater once people worked out there wasn’t a God.

The availability of drugs isn’t the issue, it’s the utter lack of realisation that we’re here a short time and what we get out of the experience depends on what we put in. Trying to cheat the system by putting chemicals in to alter the mental state undermines this, it’s a terrible mistake..

Last edited 11 months ago by Phil Mac
Dominic A
Dominic A
11 months ago
Reply to  Phil Mac

Cary Grant, for one, was greatly helped in managing his alcoholism by taking LSD. There is a huge difference between drugs; and in one’s ability to take them healthily.

Phil Mac
PM
Phil Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

As the old Irish joke goes, when asking for directions out of his mess maybe the advice to him would have been “well I wouldn’t be starting from here”.
I didn’t know that fact about him but he had already fallen for the con that a mind altering drug was a good idea. I guess if one countered the other then whatever, but the point stands.

Last edited 11 months ago by Phil Mac
Phil Mac
PM
Phil Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

As the old Irish joke goes, when asking for directions out of his mess maybe the advice to him would have been “well I wouldn’t be starting from here”.
I didn’t know that fact about him but he had already fallen for the con that a mind altering drug was a good idea. I guess if one countered the other then whatever, but the point stands.

Last edited 11 months ago by Phil Mac
Clare Knight
CK
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Phil Mac

What works for you has worked for you, well done. However, one size doesn’t fit all. The rest of us aren’t the same as you, and we all find out own paths for many different reasons. You’ve made the mistake of wanting to control other people and project onto them, two really big problems that you have yet to address on your path to healing.

Phil Mac
PM
Phil Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I haven’t been on a “path to healing” (such bull again distracts from the simple principles), I just recognise that if I want to feel better about things then I have to take action in the real World. The idea that solutions to fulfilment lies in a pill is facile, probably self-serving.
Pushing onto others seems to be the habit of those saying mind-altering chemicals do the trick. Still, you stick to your fix and I’ll stick to changing my situations, I just wish that young people could learn what will really make them fulfilled and not fail into becoming varying levels of drug addicts.

Last edited 11 months ago by Phil Mac
Dominic A
Dominic A
11 months ago
Reply to  Phil Mac

You profoundly misunderstand the difference between psychedelics and narcotics. That’s all I take from your comments.

Dominic A
Dominic A
11 months ago
Reply to  Phil Mac

You profoundly misunderstand the difference between psychedelics and narcotics. That’s all I take from your comments.

Phil Mac
PM
Phil Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I haven’t been on a “path to healing” (such bull again distracts from the simple principles), I just recognise that if I want to feel better about things then I have to take action in the real World. The idea that solutions to fulfilment lies in a pill is facile, probably self-serving.
Pushing onto others seems to be the habit of those saying mind-altering chemicals do the trick. Still, you stick to your fix and I’ll stick to changing my situations, I just wish that young people could learn what will really make them fulfilled and not fail into becoming varying levels of drug addicts.

Last edited 11 months ago by Phil Mac
Dominic A
Dominic A
11 months ago
Reply to  Phil Mac

Cary Grant, for one, was greatly helped in managing his alcoholism by taking LSD. There is a huge difference between drugs; and in one’s ability to take them healthily.

Clare Knight
CK
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Phil Mac

What works for you has worked for you, well done. However, one size doesn’t fit all. The rest of us aren’t the same as you, and we all find out own paths for many different reasons. You’ve made the mistake of wanting to control other people and project onto them, two really big problems that you have yet to address on your path to healing.

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
11 months ago

Putting chemicals into your body to alter your mental state is bad. Social use of any drug – and I very much include alcohol and gambling here – is just a stupid short-cut to attaining a mood that (i) fades really quickly so you need to repeat, (ii) builds dependency, but most importantly of all, (iii) suggests that you don’t address the real World causes of your discontent.

I stopped drinking 18 years ago. I wasn’t an alcoholic in any way but I drank too much, for bad reasons, and dumping it just on a whim for good is the best thing I ever did. My mind became more positive as I took ownership of the responsibility to change real things to give me satisfaction. Life is still challenging – breaking news, it just is – but it’s my life, my things to fix, and a mind altering drug is a handicap.

Until people get this simple principle there’ll never be a fix to this. I’m a hard-core atheist but my biggest beef with religions is that they took incredible wisdom and to get people to obey it they packaged it up in bull**** of supernatural beings threatening eternal punishment. The seven deadly sins are truly terrible sins …… but they’re against YOURSELF. My complaint is that by bundling this wisdom under a fiction they set the scene for the baby to go out with the bathwater once people worked out there wasn’t a God.

The availability of drugs isn’t the issue, it’s the utter lack of realisation that we’re here a short time and what we get out of the experience depends on what we put in. Trying to cheat the system by putting chemicals in to alter the mental state undermines this, it’s a terrible mistake..

Last edited 11 months ago by Phil Mac
UnHerd Reader
EC
UnHerd Reader
11 months ago

I could not listen to this cra* – as someone who has done enough drugs to OD a couple Battalions of Marines, and lived down with the street fringe and the stoners and addicts and crazies and damaged and broken people and the criminals and lost people out there on the streets and road – at their level for years…..I can answer that……

No – the answer to the question of if psychedelics can help cure anyone of anything – the answer is no. Same as the answer to the question of ‘Does Marijuana have a role in medical treatments? That answer is No too

Very much like the question of ‘Does MDMA, or ecstasy, have a medicinal value? Because that answer is NO too.

I could elaborate a great amount – but I think I summed it up pretty well.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
11 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

FFS!

‘When I was on the Isle of Skye 30 years ago, there was a wonderful tale there about how they used to treat depression. They used to take depressed people to the blacksmith and put their head down on the anvil and the blacksmith would take out his massive hammer and bring it down right next to their head,”
hahahaaa
Man – they were dic*ing with you there, messing with the Sassenach’s head… my guess is it was in some pub after hours and they were drunk and having fun….(Did they tell you of the Silkies taking off the young men into the Sea Loch and all that was ever seen of him again were a set of lites floating on the shore?) (a kind of mermaid crypto-zoological spirit which lured the men to life under the waters with them – and as the young man no longer would need their lungs (lites) they would leave those behind so the boy could never return to his life on land, haha, they are loaded with this stuff – I lived on the Hebrides and Orkney a lot – being a distant cousin of Trump’s Mother) (I believe the silkie story a lot more than the anvil one)

Simon Denis
SD
Simon Denis
11 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Well said. You only have to heed the usual tropes of leftist nonsense popping up throughout the interview – “the establishment” not wanting people to “think differently”, “old white men like me”, “Vietnam” – not to mention the discredited Freudianism lurking in the stuff about “buried memories” etcetera, and the essential Utopianism which underlies the lot, to realise that here – as in so much of our spavined society – is an obnoxious sixties throwback.

Danielle Treille
Danielle Treille
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Tell that to the chronically severely depressed who do NOT react to anti-depressants/CBT, the standard 50 yr-old samo samo psychiatric treatment for depression. That’s a third of all patients. If you were suffering from a life-threatening condition, you would try anything, especially if the alternatives to traditional medicine have been studied, clinically trialled and proven to alleviate/cure suffering. And I know, from personal experience, what I am talking about. So you stop being… obnoxious.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
11 months ago

Like all quacks he is playing upon understandable desperation; and like many dupes you are falling for it.
As for not being obnoxious, do you not regard your dismissive response to Steven Somsen’s witness statement concerning the well named Nutt’s drugs of choice as worse than obnoxious?

Last edited 11 months ago by Simon Denis
Clare Knight
CK
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Well said Danielle. Unfortunately there are some nasty commenters here.

Simon Denis
SD
Simon Denis
10 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Oh, so it’s “nasty” to express a contrary point of view, is it? And what do you call the immediate recourse to moral condemnation? As it appears to be your own habit, I daresay you maintain a diplomatic silence on the subject. How typically left wing.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
10 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Oh, so it’s “nasty” to express a contrary point of view, is it? And what do you call the immediate recourse to moral condemnation? As it appears to be your own habit, I daresay you maintain a diplomatic silence on the subject. How typically left wing.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
11 months ago

Like all quacks he is playing upon understandable desperation; and like many dupes you are falling for it.
As for not being obnoxious, do you not regard your dismissive response to Steven Somsen’s witness statement concerning the well named Nutt’s drugs of choice as worse than obnoxious?

Last edited 11 months ago by Simon Denis
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Well said Danielle. Unfortunately there are some nasty commenters here.

Apo State
Apo State
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

I think we should also note that the use of psilocybin was an integral part of the Manson family’s nightly rituals. I don’t know if the “family” members recovered from their own traumas, but some of them inflicted enormous suffering and damage on others!
For me, the question raised by so much of this interview was…why do so many people “need” drugs (or alcohol, etc.) just to get through their daily lives? Perhaps we should be looking at our culture with this in mind, with the aim of finding a possible solution that doesn’t have as many downsides as drugs.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Apo State

Well aren’t you the lucky one that you need to ask why the rest of us might need a bit of help.

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Lucky, yes. In the sense that they have somehow come across the intelligent route to personal fulfilment rather than the stupid one of imbibing chemicals to fake it.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Phil Mac

Why would you need to sound so superior and nasty if you’ve become enlightened? Some of us have used many different modalities to heal what ails us from the human condition, and societal abuse.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Phil Mac

Why would you need to sound so superior and nasty if you’ve become enlightened? Some of us have used many different modalities to heal what ails us from the human condition, and societal abuse.

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Lucky, yes. In the sense that they have somehow come across the intelligent route to personal fulfilment rather than the stupid one of imbibing chemicals to fake it.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Apo State

Well aren’t you the lucky one that you need to ask why the rest of us might need a bit of help.

Danielle Treille
Danielle Treille
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Tell that to the chronically severely depressed who do NOT react to anti-depressants/CBT, the standard 50 yr-old samo samo psychiatric treatment for depression. That’s a third of all patients. If you were suffering from a life-threatening condition, you would try anything, especially if the alternatives to traditional medicine have been studied, clinically trialled and proven to alleviate/cure suffering. And I know, from personal experience, what I am talking about. So you stop being… obnoxious.

Apo State
Apo State
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

I think we should also note that the use of psilocybin was an integral part of the Manson family’s nightly rituals. I don’t know if the “family” members recovered from their own traumas, but some of them inflicted enormous suffering and damage on others!
For me, the question raised by so much of this interview was…why do so many people “need” drugs (or alcohol, etc.) just to get through their daily lives? Perhaps we should be looking at our culture with this in mind, with the aim of finding a possible solution that doesn’t have as many downsides as drugs.

Danielle Treille
DT
Danielle Treille
11 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You did, sum it up: no when these drugs are used for recreational purposes (which is obviously your case), but YES when they are used therapeutically in a controlled environment. I would be curious to know your credentials, apart from being a professional stoner.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
11 months ago

Credentials are neither here nor there. Conscience is what matters and if your antagonist is writing sincerely there is no occasion to “pull rank” on him. Argue the point, not the CV.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

I didn’t sense that Danielle was “pulling rank”. Perhaps a projection on your part.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
10 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Of course she was – denying her opponent the right to speak on the grounds that he or she is not an “expert”.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
10 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Of course she was – denying her opponent the right to speak on the grounds that he or she is not an “expert”.

Clare Knight
CK
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

I didn’t sense that Danielle was “pulling rank”. Perhaps a projection on your part.

Clare Knight
CK
Clare Knight
11 months ago

That was worth a chuckle, thanks

Clare Knight
CK
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Well said and good for a chuckle.

Simon Denis
SD
Simon Denis
11 months ago

Credentials are neither here nor there. Conscience is what matters and if your antagonist is writing sincerely there is no occasion to “pull rank” on him. Argue the point, not the CV.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

That was worth a chuckle, thanks

Clare Knight
CK
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Well said and good for a chuckle.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Well that explains a lot.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
11 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

FFS!

‘When I was on the Isle of Skye 30 years ago, there was a wonderful tale there about how they used to treat depression. They used to take depressed people to the blacksmith and put their head down on the anvil and the blacksmith would take out his massive hammer and bring it down right next to their head,”
hahahaaa
Man – they were dic*ing with you there, messing with the Sassenach’s head… my guess is it was in some pub after hours and they were drunk and having fun….(Did they tell you of the Silkies taking off the young men into the Sea Loch and all that was ever seen of him again were a set of lites floating on the shore?) (a kind of mermaid crypto-zoological spirit which lured the men to life under the waters with them – and as the young man no longer would need their lungs (lites) they would leave those behind so the boy could never return to his life on land, haha, they are loaded with this stuff – I lived on the Hebrides and Orkney a lot – being a distant cousin of Trump’s Mother) (I believe the silkie story a lot more than the anvil one)

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
11 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Well said. You only have to heed the usual tropes of leftist nonsense popping up throughout the interview – “the establishment” not wanting people to “think differently”, “old white men like me”, “Vietnam” – not to mention the discredited Freudianism lurking in the stuff about “buried memories” etcetera, and the essential Utopianism which underlies the lot, to realise that here – as in so much of our spavined society – is an obnoxious sixties throwback.

Danielle Treille
Danielle Treille
11 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You did, sum it up: no when these drugs are used for recreational purposes (which is obviously your case), but YES when they are used therapeutically in a controlled environment. I would be curious to know your credentials, apart from being a professional stoner.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Well that explains a lot.

UnHerd Reader
EC
UnHerd Reader
11 months ago

I could not listen to this cra* – as someone who has done enough drugs to OD a couple Battalions of Marines, and lived down with the street fringe and the stoners and addicts and crazies and damaged and broken people and the criminals and lost people out there on the streets and road – at their level for years…..I can answer that……

No – the answer to the question of if psychedelics can help cure anyone of anything – the answer is no. Same as the answer to the question of ‘Does Marijuana have a role in medical treatments? That answer is No too

Very much like the question of ‘Does MDMA, or ecstasy, have a medicinal value? Because that answer is NO too.

I could elaborate a great amount – but I think I summed it up pretty well.