Changing Minds: Psychedelic Bioethics

This doctoral project, led by Eddie Jacobs and funded by the Wellcome Trust, seeks to articulate and respond to the ethical and societal challenges embedded within the newly (re-)developed treatment modality of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. A central focus of the project is the unusual ‘side-effects’ of the treatment. Clinically relevant doses of psychedelics such as psilocybin reliably engender mystical states, which, as well as stimulating impressive symptom reduction for a range of psychopathologies, can lead to a number of downstream changes in patients, including changes to religious and spiritual beliefs, nature-connectedness, political attitudes, and personality.

Using interviews and focus groups with both patients and practitioners, the project seeks to generate an account of the significance of these changes, and their consequences for developing robust ethical and policy guidelines for psychedelic research and clinical practice.

Eddie is supervised by Ilina Singh (Psychiatry, Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities) and Jonathan Pugh (Philosophy, Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics).

Contact: Eddie Jacobs
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