This is a public event with presentations of French and German researchers, and a round table discussion, about the growing interest in psychedelics as an innovative therapy of several mental disorders like depression and addiction. The speakers present the history of medical use of psychedelics like LSD or psilocybin (the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms”), a current clinical trial with psilocybin in Germany, and the most recent activities in France in this field. After the presentations, there be an open discussion with the audience, about the chances, risks and societal obstacles to participate in the “renaissance” of psychedelic research.
Thursday March 9, 6-8 pm at the Institute for Advanced Study of Aix-Marseille University (Iméra) – Maison des Astronomes’ Conference Hall
Due to a crisis of innovation in the pharmacological treatment of mental disorders, psychedelic substances (`psychedelics´) like psilocybin and LSD are living a renaissance of public interest, both inside and outside the medical and scientific community, and belong to the most innovative and promising treatment approaches in contemporary psychiatric research. While their individual and societal harm ranks lowest among many illegal legal substances, and their addiction potential seems negligible, most psychedelics are regulated by the Controlled Substances Act from 1971, which made research and use in treatment almost impossible for several decades. Since about 2006, there has been a “psychedelic renaissance” (Sessa 2012), during which numerous clinical trials with psychedelics have been conducted in the USA, UK, Switzerland and other countries. The promising results, including strong and a rapid-acting antidepressive effects, have been published in top-notch medical journals (see for example Carhart-Harris 2016, Goodwyn 2022). The German EPIsoDE study started 2021 to investigate the efficacy and safety of psilocybin therapy in patients with treatment-resistant depression, and is as for today the largest publicly funded clinical trial on psychedelic therapy (Frank 2021). In France, many clinicians and researchers have a strong interest in setting up similar clinical trials for the treatment of depression and addiction, but institutional obstacles made it difficult so far to realize them (Tonet 2022).
- Location: At the Institute for Advanced Study of Aix-Marseille University (Iméra) – ‘Maison des Astronomes’ Conference Hall
- Language: English
– Vincent VERROUST, Paris: « Medical use of psychedelics in France: what can we learn from history for the future ? » (20 min)
– Dr. Michael KOSLOWSKI, Marseille/Berlin: « The renaissance of psychedelics in psychiatry » (20 min)
– Dre. Lucie BERKOVITCH, Paris: « Starting over again: Upcoming clinical trials with psychedelics in France » (20 min)
- Panel discussion (19:00 – 20:00):
– Questions from the audience, discussed in the panel
– Panel discussion: Prof. L. Mallet, Prof. G. Gründer, MSc. L. Mertens, Prof. A. Benyamina, MSc. V. Verroust, Dre. L. Berkovitch, Dr. Z. Dubus, Dr. M. Koslowski
This public event and the 2-day workshop on design and planning of clinical trials with psychedelic therapy will be carried out in association with the recently created section “médecine psychédélique” de l’Association Française de Psychiatrie Biologique et de Neuropsychopharmacologie (AFPBN), which had been founded in 2022 by Pr. Luc Mallet (Paris-Creteil).
About the organizer
Michael Koslowski is a Psychiatrist and researcher at CHU Charité Berlin, currently resident fellow at Iméra for the academic year 2022-23. Learn more about his research project at Iméra through the following link.
Sessa, B. (2012). The psychedelic renaissance: Reassessing the role of psychedelic drugs in 21st century psychiatry and society. Muswell Hill Press.
Goodwin, G. M., Aaronson, S. T., Alvarez, O., Arden, P. C., Baker, A., Bennett, J. C., … & Malievskaia, E. (2022). Single-dose psilocybin for a treatment-resistant episode of major depression. New England Journal of Medicine, 387(18), 1637-1648.
Carhart-Harris, R. L., Bolstridge, M., Rucker, J., Day, C. M., Erritzoe, D., Kaelen, M., … & Nutt, D. J. (2016). Psilocybin with psychological support for treatment-resistant depression: an open-label feasibility study. The Lancet Psychiatry, 3(7), 619-627.
Frank, M. (2022). Psychedelic drug research comes to Berlin. https://www.berliner-zeitung.de/en/psychedelic-research-comes-to-berlin-…
Tonet, A. (2022). France et le spectre du champignon maléfique. https://www.lemonde.fr/series-d-ete/article/2022/08/07/therapies-psyched…