The Beckley Foundation Psychedelic Research Programme
To provide a context for introducing the Beckley Foundation’s Scientific Programme, and to explain its role in shaping the psychedelic renaissance, I shall begin with a brief history of psychedelics and what has motivated my long-standing interest in this subject. I will then summarise our latest findings, including the first ever brain imaging study of LSD and results from the psilocybin for depression study, and introduce new studies we are developing. My focus will then shift to our Research Programme on ayahuasca/DMT, investigating the neural and psychological mechanisms whereby ayahuasca exerts effects on the human psyche. I will also explicate a new observational study monitoring long-term well-being and mental health of participants at an ayahuasca centre in Peru. Finally, I will emphasise the exceptional role that psychedelics have played in shaping society, and conclude with the observation that much of their potential has yet to be explored.
Amanda Feilding is Director of the Beckley Foundation, a UK-based think tank and UN-accredited NGO, which she founded in 1998. Its chief objectives are studying the mechanisms underlying altered states of consciousness and reforming global drug policy. She is dubbed the ‘hidden hand behind the renaissance of psychedelic science and drug policy reform’.
Through the Scientific Programme, Amanda orchestrates collaborations with leading scientists worldwide, investigating cannabis, psilocybin, LSD, Ayahuasca, DMT and MDMA. These include clinical trials identifying the effects of psychoactive substances on cerebral circulation, brain function, subjective experience, and clinical symptoms. She co-directs the thriving Beckley/Imperial Research Programme with Prof David Nutt.
Through the Policy Programme, Amanda advocates policy-making informed by scientific evidence. She has established a seminar series, Drugs & Society: A Rational Perspective, producing over 40 books and policy reports. Amanda advises world leaders on policy reform– most recently the Jamaican government on forming their cannabis industry.