Amanda Feilding

Amanda Feilding
Beckley Foundation

About

99
Publications
124,689
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Introduction
Amanda Feilding is the founder and director of the Beckley Foundation, a UK-based think-tank that, since its establishment in 1998, has been at the forefront of global drug policy reform and scientific research into the potential medical benefits of psychoactive substances, with a particular focus on cannabis and the psychedelics.
Additional affiliations
January 1998 - present
Beckley Foundation
Beckley Foundation
Position
  • Managing Director

Publications

Publications (99)
Article
Full-text available
Although several studies and reports have shown the potential analgesic use of serotonergic psychedelics in cancer pain, phantom limb pain and cluster headache, evidence supporting their use for chronic pain is still limited. The past years have seen a considerable renewal of interest toward the therapeutic use of these compounds for mood disorders...
Article
Full-text available
RationaleStream of thought describes the nature of the mind when it is freely roaming, a mental state that is continuous and highly dynamic as in mind-wandering or free association. Classic serotonergic psychedelics are known to profoundly impact perception, cognition and language, yet their influence on the stream of thought remains largely unexpl...
Article
The therapeutic use of classical psychedelic substances such as d-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) surged in recent years. Studies in rodents suggest that these effects are produced by increased neural plasticity, including stimulation of the mTOR pathway, a key regulator of metabolism, plasticity, and aging. Could psychedelic-induced neural plasti...
Article
Psychedelics acutely impair cognitive functions, but these impairments decline with growing experiences with psychedelics and microdoses may even exert opposing effects. Given the recent evidence that psychedelics induce neuroplasticity, this explorative study aimed at investigating the potential of psychedelics to sub-acutely change cognition. For...
Article
Background: Controversy surrounds psychedelics and their potential to boost creativity. To date, psychedelic studies lack a uniform conceptualization of creativity and methodologically rigorous designs. Aims: This study aimed at addressing previous issues by examining the effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) on creativity using multimodal...
Article
Background For a century, psychedelics have been investigated as models of psychosis for demonstrating phenomenological similarities with psychotic experiences and as therapeutic models for treating depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. This study sought to explore this paradoxical relationship connecting key parameters of the psychotic...
Article
Full-text available
Promoting well-being is one of the main goals to improve health in the world. We examined the well-being and quality of life over the course of one year in a sample that participated in an Indigenous Shipibo healing program where traditional healers work in a series of ayahuasca ceremonies. We also explored the role of decentering as a mediator of...
Article
Full-text available
Creativity is an essential cognitive ability linked to all areas of our everyday functioning. Thus, finding a way to enhance it is of broad interest. A large number of anecdotal reports suggest that the consumption of psychedelic drugs can enhance creative thinking; however, scientific evidence is lacking. Following a double-blind, placebo-controll...
Article
Full-text available
Microdosing is the practice of regularly using low doses of psychedelic drugs. Anecdotal reports suggest that microdosing enhances well-being and cognition; however, such accounts are potentially biased by the placebo effect. This study used a ‘self-blinding’ citizen science initiative, where participants were given online instructions on how to in...
Article
Full-text available
Microdosing is the practice of regularly using low doses of psychedelic drugs. Anecdotal reports suggest that microdosing enhances well-being and cognition; however, such accounts are potentially biased by the placebo effect. This study used a ‘self-blinding’ citizen science initiative, where participants were given online instructions on how to in...
Preprint
Full-text available
Recent findings have shown that psychedelics reliably enhance brain entropy (understood as neural signal diversity), and this effect has been associated with both acute and long-term psychological outcomes such as personality changes. These findings are particularly intriguing given that a decrease of brain entropy is a robust indicator of loss of...
Article
Full-text available
There is a popular interest in microdosing with psychedelics such as LSD. This practice of using one-tenth of a full psychedelic dose according to a specific dosing schedule, anecdotally enhances mood and performance. Nonetheless, controlled research on the efficacy of microdosing is scarce. The main objective of the present dose-finding study was...
Article
Full-text available
"Microdoses" of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) are used recreationally to enhance mood and cognition. Increasing interest has also been seen in developing LSD into a medication. Therefore, we performed a pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic study using very low doses of LSD. Single doses of LSD base (5, 10, and 20 µg) and placebo were administered in...
Article
Despite preclinical evidence for psychedelic-induced neuroplasticity, confirmation in humans is grossly lacking. Given the increased interest in using low doses of psychedelics for psychiatric indications, and the importance of neuroplasticity in the therapeutic response, this placebo-controlled within-subject study investigated the effect of singl...
Article
Full-text available
Background Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is an ergot alkaloid derivative with psychedelic properties that has been implicated in the management of persistent pain. Clinical studies in the 1960s and 1970s have demonstrated profound analgesic effects of full doses of LSD in terminally ill patients, but this line of research evaporated after LSD wa...
Article
Full-text available
Background 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is being actively researched as an adjunct to psychotherapy. It may be beneficial to trust, empathy and cooperative behaviour due to its acute prosocial effects. Aim To test (a) the acute effects of MDMA on measures of empathy, trust and cooperative behaviour, and (b) subacute changes in mood thr...
Article
Full-text available
There is growing interest in the therapeutic utility of psychedelic substances, like psilocybin, for disorders characterized by distortions of the self-experience, like depression. Accumulating preclinical evidence emphasizes the role of the glutamate system in the acute action of the drug on brain and behavior; however this has never been tested i...
Article
Full-text available
Rationale Recent studies have assessed the therapeutic potential of ayahuasca for the treatment of depression with promising preliminary results. Objectives Here, we examine the course of grief over 1 year of follow-up in a bereaved sample that attended a center in Peru to participate in indigenous Shipibo ayahuasca ceremonies. We also explore the...
Article
Full-text available
Background Serotonin 2A receptors, the molecular target of psychedelics, are expressed by neuronal and vascular cells, both of which might contribute to brain haemodynamic characteristics for the psychedelic state. Aim Aiming for a systemic understanding of psychedelic vasoactivity, here we investigated the effect of N-(2-hydroxybenzyl)-2,5-dimeth...
Preprint
Full-text available
Psychedelic agonists of serotonin receptors induce neural plasticity and synaptogenesis, but their potential to enhance learning remains uncharted. Here we show that a single dose of d-LSD, a potent serotonergic agonist, increased novel object preference in young and adult rats several days after treatment. d-LSD alone did not increase preference i...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Two major constituents of cannabis are Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the main psychoactive component; CBD may buffer the user against the harmful effects of THC. Aims: We examined the effects of two strains of cannabis and placebo on the human brain's resting-state networks using fMRI. Methods: Sevente...
Article
Full-text available
The article The hidden therapist: evidence for a central role of music in psychedelic therapy, written by Mendel Kaelen, Bruna Giribaldi, Jordan Raine, Lisa Evans, Christopher Timmerman, Natalie Rodriguez, Leor Roseman, Amanda Feilding, David Nutt, Robin Carhart-Harris, was originally published electronically on the publisher's internet portal.
Article
Full-text available
Background: The therapeutic effects of the Amazonian plant tea ayahuasca may relate to its ability to enhance mindfulness capacities. Ayahuasca induces a modified state of awareness through the combined action of its active principles: the psychedelic N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and a series of centrally acting β-carbolines, mainly harmine and tet...
Article
Full-text available
Rationale: Recent clinical trials are reporting marked improvements in mental health outcomes with psychedelic drug-assisted psychotherapy. Objectives: Here, we report on safety and efficacy outcomes for up to 6 months in an open-label trial of psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression. Methods: Twenty patients (six females) with (mostly)...
Article
Full-text available
Rationale: Recent studies have supported the safety and efficacy of psychedelic therapy for mood disorders and addiction. Music is considered an important component in the treatment model, but little empirical research has been done to examine the magnitude and nature of its therapeutic role. Objectives: The present study assessed the influence...
Article
Full-text available
Banisteriopsis caapi is the basic ingredient of ayahuasca, a psychotropic plant tea used in the Amazon for ritual and medicinal purposes, and by interested individuals worldwide. Animal studies and recent clinical research suggests that B. caapi preparations show antidepressant activity, a therapeutic effect that has been linked to hippocampal neur...
Preprint
Full-text available
Music is a highly dynamic stimulus, and consists of distinct acoustic features, such as pitch, rhythm and timbre. Neuroimaging studies highlight a hierarchy of brain networks involved in music perception. Psychedelic drugs such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) temporary disintegrate the normal hierarchy of brain functioning, and produce profound...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Ayahuasca is a plant tea containing the psychedelic 5-HT2A agonist N,N-dimethyltryptamine and harmala monoamine-oxidase inhibitors. Acute administration leads to neurophysiological modifications in brain regions of the default mode network, purportedly through a glutamatergic mechanism. Post-acutely, ayahuasca potentiates mindfulness ca...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Ayahuasca is a plant tea containing the psychedelic 5-HT2A agonist N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and harmala monoamine-oxidase inhibitors. Acute administration leads to neurophysiological modifications in brain regions of the default mode network (DMN), purportedly through a glutamatergic mechanism. Post-acutely, ayahuasca potentiates m...
Article
Full-text available
Banisteriopsis caapi is the basic ingredient of ayahuasca, a psychotropic plant tea used in the Amazon for ritual and medicinal purposes, and by interested individuals worldwide. Animal studies and recent clinical research suggests that B. caapi preparations show antidepressant activity, a therapeutic effect that has been linked to hippocampal neur...
Article
Recent work with noninvasive human brain imaging has started to investigate the effects of 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) on large-scale patterns of brain activity. MDMA, a potent monoamine-releaser with particularly pronounced serotonin- releasing properties, has unique subjective effects that include: marked positive mood, pleasant/unu...
Chapter
In the last few years, Guatemala has emerged as a leading voice in the drug policy reform debate. This chapter sheds light on the roots of this shift in the national discourse and assesses its depth and potential implications. Our research will be presented in three parts. Part one explores the origins of Guatemala’s drug problem, its transformatio...
Poster
Full-text available
The question of how spatially organized activity in the visual cortex behaves during eyes-closed, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)-induced “psychedelic imagery” (e.g., visions of geometric patterns and more complex phenomena) has never been empirically addressed, although it has been proposed that under psychedelics, with eyes-closed, the brain may...
Article
Personality is known to be relatively stable throughout adulthood. Nevertheless, it has been shown that major life events with high personal significance, including experiences engendered by psychedelic drugs, can have an enduring impact on some core facets of personality. In the present, balanced-order, placebo-controlled study, we investigated bi...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Psilocybin is a serotonin receptor agonist that occurs naturally in some mushroom species. Recent studies have assessed the therapeutic potential of psilocybin for various conditions, including end-of-life anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and smoking and alcohol dependence, with promising preliminary results. Here, we aimed to i...
Article
Full-text available
The question of how spatially organized activity in the visual cortex behaves during eyes-closed, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)-induced "psychedelic imagery" (e.g., visions of geometric patterns and more complex phenomena) has never been empirically addressed, although it has been proposed that under psychedelics, with eyes-closed, the brain may...
Article
Full-text available
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is the prototypical psychedelic drug, but its effects on the human brain have never been studied before with modern neuroimaging. Here, three complementary neuroimaging techniques: arterial spin labeling (ASL), blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) measures, and magnetoencephalography (MEG), implemented during resting...
Article
This paper reports on the effects of LSD on mental time travel during spontaneous mentation. Twenty healthy volunteers participated in a placebo-controlled crossover study, incorporating intravenous administration of LSD (75 μg) and placebo (saline) prior to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Six independent, blind judges analysed mentat...
Article
Full-text available
Psychedelic drugs such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) were used extensively in psychiatry in the past and their therapeutic potential is beginning to be re-examined today. Psychedelic psychotherapy typically involves a patient lying with their eyes-closed during peak drug effects, while listening to music and being supervised by trained psycho...
Article
Full-text available
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a non-selective serotonin-receptor agonist that was first synthesized in 1938 and identified as (potently) psychoactive in 1943. Psychedelics have been used by indigenous cultures for millennia [1]; however, because of LSD's unique potency and the timing of its discovery (coinciding with a period of major discove...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Ayahuasca is a psychotropic plant tea used for ritual purposes by the indigenous populations of the Amazon. In the last two decades, its use has expanded worldwide. The tea contains the psychedelic 5-HT2A receptor agonist N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), plus β-carboline alkaloids with monoamine-oxidase-inhibiting properties. Acute admini...
Article
Ayahuasca is the Quechua name for a tea obtained from the vine Banisteriopsis caapi, and used for ritual purposes by the indigenous populations of the Amazon. The use of a variation of the tea that combines B. caapi with the leaves of the shrub Psychotria viridis has experienced unprecedented expansion worldwide for its psychotropic properties. Thi...
Article
Ayahuasca is an Amazonian psychotropic plant tea typically obtained from two plants, Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis. It contains the psychedelic 5-HT2A and sigma-1 agonist N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) plus β-carboline alkaloids with monoamine-oxidase (MAO)-inhibiting properties. Although the psychoactive effects of ayahuasca have commo...
Article
Background: Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a potent serotonergic hallucinogen or psychedelic that modulates consciousness in a marked and novel way. This study sought to examine the acute and mid-term psychological effects of LSD in a controlled study. Method: A total of 20 healthy volunteers participated in this within-subjects study. Part...