Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris: The Science of Psychedelics for Mental Health


Huberman Lab

In this episode, my guest is Robin Carhart-Harris, PhD, distinguished professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. He is one of leading researchers in the study of how psychedelics such as psilocybin, LSD and DMT can change the human brain and in doing so, be used to successfully treat various mental health challenges such as major depression, anorexia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and addiction. He explains how psilocybin induces sustained changes in adaptive brain wiring and cognition. We discuss the key components of safe and effective psychedelic journeys, the role of hallucinations, the use of eye-masks to encourage people to “go internal,” and music, as well as what effective therapist support consists of before, during and after the session (also known as integration). We discuss micodosing vs. macrodosing and how researchers control for placebo effects in psychedelic research. We also discuss the current legal landscape around psychedelic therapies. Psychedelic therapies are fast emerging as powerful and soon-to-be mainstream treatments for medical health disorders, but they are not without their risks. As such, this episode ought to be of use to anyone interested in brain plasticity, mental health, psychology or neuroscience.

For the full show notes, visit hubermanlab.com.

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The Brain Body Contract​



(00:00:00) Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris

(00:02:28) Sponsors: LMNT & Waking Up

(00:05:41) The Brain-Body Contract

(00:06:31) Origin of the Word: “Psychedelics”; Pharmacology

(00:12:05) Psychedelics & Revealing the Unconscious Mind, Psychotherapy

(00:17:32) Microdosing

(00:26:08) Psilocybin vs. Magic Mushroom Doses

(00:28:28) “Psychedelic-Therapy”, Music

(00:31:13) Sponsor: AG1

(00:36:26) Psychedelic Journey: “Trust, Let Go, Be Open”

(00:43:01) Negative Emotions, Fear & Psychedelics

(00:46:21) Global Functional Connectivity, Serotonin 2A Receptor; Subjective Experiences

(00:52:33) Pharmacology: Therapeutics without Psychedelic Effects; SSRIs

(00:58:45) Psilocybin & Depression; Long-Term Effects: Connectivity & Neuroplasticity

(01:10:26) Psilocybin Therapy & Anorexia

(01:12:56) Integration Phase & Psychedelic-Therapy; Meditation

(01:19:50) First-Time Psychedelic Use, “Entropic Brain Effect”, Neuroplasticity, Cognition

(01:30:16) Fibromyalgia & Psychedelic Treatment; MDMA Therapy & “Inner Healer”

(01:38:55) Placebo Response & Psychedelic Therapy

(01:41:39) LSD & Psychedelic-Therapy, Micro-Dose

(01:48:19) Combination Psilocybin-MDMA Therapy

(01:56:06) DMT “Rocketship” & Serotonin 2A Receptors; Ibogaine

(02:01:04) “Ego Dissolution”, Cocaine vs. Psychedelics; Relapses

(02:12:26) Psychedelics & Legal Landscape; Decriminalization

(02:17:54) MDMA, Trauma & Clinical Trials; Future Regulatory (FDA) Approval?

(02:23:25) Psilocybin & Current Clinical Trials

(02:28:41) Mental Health & Psychedelic Treatment, Safeguards, Paradigm Shift

(02:34:39) Zero-Cost Support, YouTube Feedback, Spotify & Apple Reviews, Sponsors, Momentous, Social Media, Neural Network Newsletter

Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac


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