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World's largest pyschedelics research centre launched

The world's largest pyschaedelics research centre has been launched in the US to examine whether the drugs can treat conditions such as depression and opioid addiction, after tech entrepreneurs helped fuel a renaissance of interest in the field, writes Rozina Sabur for The Sunday Telegraph.

Johns Hopkins University's School of Medicine announced the launch of the new Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research this week, made possible by a $17 million donation from a group of private donors who include the founder of WordPress and a popular podcast host.

It comes amid a surge in interest in psychedelic compounds and their potential to treat a range of complex mental health disorders. The field has been largely neglected since Harvard psychologist Timothy Leary began to investigate how cognitive processes and emotions are affected by mind-altering substances in the 1960s, The Sunday Telegraph reports.

LSD and other psychedelics have been illegal in the US for several decades but studies suggesting they may be effective in medical treatments has contributed to a growing cultural shift in how psychedelic substances are perceived.

Earlier this year Denver became the first US city to decriminalise magic mushrooms, in the wake of research which suggests some of its compounds can be beneficial for treating depression and anxiety among cancer patients.

Psilocybin is currently listed as a Tier 1 illegal drug in the US, and has not yet been approved as a medical treatment. However researchers hope that the new centre may contribute to a sea change in medical approaches.

The new funding – the largest ever single-donation to the field – and will support a five-year research programme to examine whether psilocybin, the psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms, can treat alcoholism, post-traumatic stress disorder and several other complex conditions, The Sunday Telegraph continues.

Many of the tests being conducted by the centre are the first of their kind and will involve between 200 and 250 volunteers over the course of a number of trials. In most cases patients will be given one or two doses of the drug while under constant observation by a therapist.

Full report on The Sunday Telegraph site

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