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New Center for Psychedelic Science and Education Launched by UC Berkeley

Neuroscientist Michael Silver
Neuroscientist Michael Silver, inaugural director of the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics. (Photo by Elena Zhukova)

Read the original article here. With $1.25 million in seed funding from an anonymous donor, the new UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics will conduct research using psychedelics to investigate cognition, perception and emotion and their biological bases in the human brain.

Research at the new center will complement ongoing clinical studies at other institutions — such as Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and Imperial College London — that are integrating psilocybin and other psychedelic compounds with psychotherapy to treat mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse.

The centers inaugural director, Michael Silver, said “This is a pivotal time in history for a discussion about psychedelics and under what circumstances they should be used,” he said. “This has obviously been a very polarizing topic, but I think people’s minds are changing.”

One unique aspect of the new center is its emphasis on public education. It will produce a website offering rigorously vetted original and curated content covering scientific, political, business and cultural developments in psychedelics, Pollan said.

This program will eventually train guides, also known as facilitators, in the cultural, contemplative and spiritual care dimensions of psychedelics, working in partnership with the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics research studies. Given the rapidly growing number of psychedelic research studies, there are not enough trained facilitators to meet the demand, the center’s founders said.

At the center, researchers will focus on the use of these ancient compounds to explore the unplumbed depths of the mind and to shed light on how these molecules can improve mental health.

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