Psychedelics for Mental Health
The Psychedelic Society, along with other organisations and individuals listed below, are calling on the UK government to reschedule psilocybin, a compound that has been called a ‘breakthrough’ treatment for mental health.
Recent trials using psilocybin to treat depression and anxiety have returned staggering results, with 80% of patients reporting improved wellbeing or life satisfaction for up to six months from just a single dose.
Psilocybin is currently a Schedule 1 substance. Schedule 1 substances are not authorised for medical use and can only be supplied, possessed or administered in exceptional circumstances under a special Home Office licence. This means psilocybin cannot be prescribed by doctors, and that conducting research with it is extremely time-consuming and expensive.
By rescheduling psilocybin from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 or below, research would become faster and cheaper, and doctors would be able to start prescribing the substance when they see fit.
To the UK Ministers for Drug Policy and Mental Health,
4 million people suffer from depression & anxiety in the UK1. Research has shown the potential of psilocybin to treat these conditions2, 3, 4, 5, yet it is being hindered by the restrictive Schedule 1 status of the substance. Out of compassion for those suffering from depression & anxiety, we ask that you take immediate action to reschedule psilocybin.
If your organisation supports this campaign, please let us know.
Caroline Lucas MP
Green Party co-leader and MP for Brighton Pavilion
Our drug laws will only start to keep people safe when they start taking account of the evidence rather than being based on dogma and scaremongering. There’s already evidence that psilocybin can have benefits for sufferers of depression and rescheduling would allow more patients to potentially benefit from further research, as well as giving doctors the option to prescribe it. This is a small change that would make a big difference, including potentially helping to protect anyone tempted to self-medicate under the current regime.
Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology, Imperial College London
Research into the treatments we urgently need is being suffocated by anti-science laws - and the UK’s leadership in this field jeopardised with it. Unless the government acts quickly to reschedule psilocybin, we will soon be outpaced by other countries to whom mental health and scientific development is a priority. We need laws that support science, not stifle it.
Producer and musician
It is time to move on from the irrational anti-science stance taken by our government and re-evaluate how we look at psilocybin. From personal experience I know that the feeling of oneness and awe that it reliably offers, plus the much-needed reminder that we are part of an infinitely wise and vast system, has a hugely positive effect on mental health. It allows us to see things anew and releases us from the prison of our own self-centred thoughts.
Professor of Cultural and Political Theory, University of East London
Psilocybin was proscribed as part of the political backlash against the counterculture (and largely as an afterthought to prohibiting LSD), on the basis of literally no sound medical evidence of risk or harm; the clinical case for potential benefit is now overwhelming, while the case for risk or harm has yet to be made by any qualified party.
Founder, Morning Gloryville
Psychedelics have not worked as a solution to my personal mental health challenges however, I know a lot of people who have experienced positively transformed through the use of psychedelics. Each person must have the right to choose their healing modality of choice and no "government", represented by similar minded conservatives, should decide for the people!
Co-director, The Psychedelic Society
The government rightly saw that the prohibition of medicinal cannabis can be a matter of life and death. Psilocybin is no different. Millions of people in this country are struggling with severe depression, with up to 15% of those diagnosed going on to commit suicide. Research suggests psilocybin could bring hope and relief to many patients by tackling the root causes of depression, in contrast to existing therapies which often only mask the symptoms. Being able to treat depression and anxiety in just a few sessions with psilocybin could save the NHS the billions it spends each year on the daily medication model that comes with undesirable side-effects and questionable efficacy. Just as with cannabis, the government should review the medicinal value of psilocybin, with a view to rescheduling it at the earliest opportunity.
Director, The Beckley Foundation
The number of antidepressants prescribed in England has more than doubled in the last decade, but the most common treatment, SSRIs, do not work for up to 50% of people. With no major breakthrough in drug development for three decades, it is vital that we facilitate research into better alternatives. Let us put health, and the reduction of suffering ahead of political expediency and rigid-thinking. Let’s reschedule psilocybin now.
Founder, Alter Ego
Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come. The convergence of our mental health crisis with the scientific consensus that psilocybin is a game changer for the treatment of depression is now too difficult to ignore or turn our backs on. We owe it to our friends and family members who are suffering to break from the irrational taboo surrounding psychedelics.
I am in support of and encourage the research looking into using psilocybin (the active psychedelic ingredient in magic mushrooms) as a means to support those who suffer from mental health challenges. I am in full support of the research that can potentially address these issues but also keen to see its use as a preventive measure too.
This would be absolutely epic. Not just in terms of research in how to treat anxiety and depressions - it will start to have massive positive effect on culture, changing how we understand ourselves and relate to each other.
Dr Ben Sessa
MBBS (MD) MRCPsych
I am doctor working with patients who are struggling to recover with traditional approaches. Psychedelic therapies with psilocybin and other compounds (e.g. MDMA) are a safe and effective form of treatment that my patients deserve.
Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of Greenwich
The current drug laws are stifling to clinical and pure research and counterproductive to the positive mental health of the nation.
The inability to conduct medical research on psilocybin due to scheduling laws is denying thousands of individuals from accessing potential life changing treatments that would be far more effective than the current treatments that are available. This must change.
Senior Policy Analyst, Transform
The politics of the war on drugs continues to create barriers to medical research - not least through the mis-scheduling of psychedelics. Ill-considered scheduling decisions from a long distant era are now holding back the exploration of research with potentially far-reaching benefits for our health and well being. A relatively simple change in scheduling would be an important step in facilitating this work. It's time we stopped playing politics with people health and allowed doctors and scientists to do what they are best at.