Babbage from The Economist


Babbage: How psychedelics could fix the brain

Psychedelic drugs—such as LSD and psilocybin, the psychoactive compound found in magic mushrooms—may be coming to the medicine cabinet. Research into their use to treat mental-health conditions was long blocked by law and stigma. But in recent years, there has been a revival of interest in the drugs, which are now being trialled to treat conditions such as depression. The Economist’s Ainslie Johnstone visits one of Britain's most high-profile psilocybin research facilities, and investigates how the drug could help scientists better understand autism. And, as investors pile in, Natasha Loder, our health policy editor, separates the hope from the hype. Plus, we ask whether the drugs’ hallucinatory effects are necessary for their health benefits, and meet a researcher who hopes to develop psychedelics without the trip. Alok Jha hosts.

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