Sebastian Nevols

Can psychedelic drugs treat depression? That’s the promise of findings from Robin Carhart-Harris, whose research is advancing a once fringe idea—that psychedelics, such as LSD or psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, might be able to treat some mental-health disorders, such as depression and ­anxiety—which is now making waves in mainstream medicine. Carhart-Harris leads Imperial College London’s Centre for Psychedelic Research, which became the world’s first center focused exclusively on studying how psychedelics can be used in mental-health care when it opened in 2019. His work has found that psilocybin, combined with psychotherapy, can be a fast-acting, powerful treatment for severe depression. “Psychedelics seem to reveal things within one’s psyche that are important and linked to why we are suffering, and they bring those things to the fore,” he says, adding that we’ve only scratched the surface of their therapeutic potential. —Mandy Oaklander

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