Psychedelic illustration

A psychedelic research renaissance

Can psychedelics be used to treat substance use addiction and mental health conditions?

UBC’s Dr. Evan Wood and the BC Centre on Substance Use want to know.

As part of an international research project, Dr. Wood’s team is administering MDMA in a controlled setting to evaluate its effectiveness for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Another study will look at psilocybin’s potential for treating people with opioid addictions.

Why is Dr. Wood interested?

Research conducted here in Canada in the 1950s showed promising results:

  • Weyburn Mental Hospital in Saskatchewan was the first to study the effects of LSD on mental health, specifically schizophrenia and alcoholism.
  • Later, research at the Hollywood Hospital in New Westminster, BC, demonstrated between 50 and 90 per cent recovery rates using LSD and mescaline to treat alcoholism.

But research stopped when psychedelics were outlawed as a reaction to the 1960s counterculture. For decades, stigma and prohibition have severely limited research into psychedelics. Until recently…

Emerging research and evolving public perceptions of psychedelics is leading towards a scientific renaissance. Thanks to advanced neuroimaging technologies, we have new insights into exactly what is going on in the human brain during a psychedelic “trip” and the therapeutic benefits that could result.

Research is accelerating, along with public conversation…

On February 11, 2019, as part of the UBC Connects public lecture series, Dr. Evan Wood and Dr. Rickey Yada, Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, will co-moderate a dialogue with renowned journalist Michael Pollan.

Pollan’s latest book, How to Change Your Mind, has increased public interest in what psychedelics teach us about consciousness, dying, addiction, depression and transcendence.

This unique event, which will be streamed on this site, promises to be a thought-provoking and enlightening discussion.