Liverpool Cafe Scientifique

Promoting Public Engagement with Science

Next Meeting

Title: Can hallucinogens and entactogens be good for your health?
Date and time: Tuesday 13th September, 7.30pm
Place: The Old Conference Room, Hope Street Hotel, Hope Street, L1
Speaker: Dr Harry Sumnall
Reader in Substance Use
Faculty of Health and Applied Social Sciences
Liverpool John Moores University
Under UK law, hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD and psilocybin (‘magic mushrooms) and entactogenic drugs such as MDMA (‘Ecstasy’) are illegal because they are deemed to have no therapeutic value and have, or are capable of having, harmful effects sufficient to constitute a social problem. Subsequently most information provided about drugs is negative in tone and concerns the dangers of use. Whilst it is clear that for some individuals and populations drug use has adverse outcomes, most drug users do not experience harm and even some of the most socially damaging drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, have legitimate medicinal uses.

The discovery of the psychoactive properties of LSD in the 1940s kick-started modern psychopharmacology. In this talk, Dr Harry Sumnall from the Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University, will discuss evidence which suggests that under carefully supervised conditions, hallucinogens and entactogens not only provide an insight into the aetiology of some psychopathologies, but may potentially serve as treatments for disorders such as depression, post traumatic stress disorder, and end-of-life anxiety. Dr Sumnall will then explore the possibility that as well as being putative therapeutic agents, these drugs may also provide psychological benefits to ‘healthy’ individuals.


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