Psychedelics in the UK have received warm support from Sir Patrick Vallance and Dame Kate Bingham at the Hay literary festival in Wales.
Patrick Vallance was the UK government’s Chief Scientific Advisor during the Covid-19 pandemic while Kate Bingham was the chair of the UK’s vaccine taskforce.
Both responded positively to research around psychedelics.
The topic was broached after an audience member questioned whether their 107-year-old grandmother, who suffered from depression, would respond well to psychedelics.
Bingham replied that “there is strong data now showing that different interventions can have effects on depression and mental health”.
Vallance went on to add that although no one should start “slipping their grandmother ecstasy” that we needed to experiment with both MDMA and LSD as ways to treat depression.
Questions remain though, according to Bingham, particularly in relation to regulation. However, she believes that eventually research will find a resolution to this issue.
The panel follows a recent debate in the UK parliament about the rescheduling of psilocybin.
The debate was brought by three MPs, Charlotte Nichols of Labour, Crispin Blunt of the Conservatives and Ronnie Cowan of the SNP.
They have requested the rescheduling of psilocybin so that more research can be carried out by scientists on the possible benefits of using the drug to treat issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Much of the debate focussed on the possible medical benefits that psilocybin might have within therapeutic use.
Yet, there are other reasons to allow for easier research of psychedelics by easing restrictions.
The United Kingdom is suffering from brain drain as researchers are leaving for other nations where studies around psychedelics are easier to access.
With the industry predicted to be worth up to $11 billion by the end of the decade, Crispin Blunt argues the UK would be foolish to fall behind nations such as Australia, Canada and the U.S.
With the support of Vallance and Bingham, along with the recent debate in parliament, there is a clear narrative shift happening around psychedelics in the UK.
Previous by the UK involving psychedelics has shown promise. A study by Imperial College London indicated that psilocybin could be used as a treatment for depression.