New Center for Psychedelic Science Launches in UC Berkeley
With a $1.25 million anonymous donation in seed funding, the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics will start working again — some 50 years after being shut down for political and cultural reasons.
The new center will study the emotion, perception, cognition, and biological bases in the human brain using psychedelics. The initial study will use psilocybin — the primary psychoactive compound in shrooms.
Moreover, the center will also educate the general public on the topic; there will be a website with rigorously curated and original content on psychedelics’ scientific, political, business, and cultural developments.
Michael Pollan, a journalism professor and co-founder of the center, says that scientists are interested in discovering what psychedelics can teach people about perception, consciousness, learning, and creativity.
The research will complement the ongoing studies at other institutions, like Imperial College London and Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, which integrate psychotherapy and psychedelic compounds to treat disorders like PTSD, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
Psychedelics offer hope to people suffering from these conditions, yet there’s still so much we don’t know about the brain’s delicate mechanisms that make these compounds so effective. Healthy study participants and the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics will try to uncover the truth behind these compounds.
Moreover, with the Graduate Theological Union’s help, the program will also train psychedelic guides (facilitators) who will support the participants.
In the future, the program will also study the neural mechanisms of visual hallucinations to understand how the human brain constructs and perceives the world around us; measure the long-lasting effects of psychedelic experiences on identity, political, and social attitudes; and assess our resilience to stress.
All in all, the research conducted here can uncover the intricate connection between one’s psyche and the world around us in ways we haven’t seen before.