Published May 2023 on YouTube

Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris: The Science of Psychedelics for Mental Health | Huberman Lab Podcast

1. Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris

Dr. Robin discusses the history and current state of psychedelics in treating mental health issues. He explains how they work in the short term and how they can rewire the brain in the long term.+

2. Sleep and Glucose

Sleep Science:Andrew emphasizes the importance of sleep and how controlling the temperature of your sleeping environment can lead to better sleep. He introduces Eight Sleep, a smart mattress cover that can be programmed to cool or heat the mattress surface to help you fall into deep sleep and wake up refreshed.+
Blood Glucose and Ketones:Andrew discusses the importance of monitoring blood glucose levels and how Levels can help assess how different foods and activities impact them. He also talks about the benefits of increasing blood ketones with Hvmmn Ketone IQ, even if you're not on a ketogenic diet.+

3. The Brain-Body Contract

Andrew Huberman announces two live events in Toronto and Chicago in September 2023, discussing tools and science related to mental and physical health. Early access to tickets available on Tour with code Huberman.+

4. Psychedelic Etymology

Robin explains the origin of the term "psychedelic" and its Ancient Greek roots, highlighting the principle that these compounds reveal aspects of the human mind and soul that are ordinarily not visible.Show transcript +

5. Revealing the Psyche

Robin Carhart-Harris discusses how classic psychedelics reveal aspects of the unconscious mind that are normally masked or repressed. He explains that these drugs can bring up repressed memories and catalyze the therapeutic process with strong emotional release. The discussion also touches on the transpersonal quality of the unconscious and the biological basis for these revelations.+

6. Microdosing

Psilocybin Dosages:Andrew and Robin discuss the dosages used in clinical trials involving psilocybin and the confusion surrounding microdosing versus macrodosing. Robin explains the definition of a microdose and the average amount of psilocybin contained in a gram of magic mushrooms.+
Microdosing Placebo Effect:Robin Carhart-Harris discusses the lack of compelling evidence for microdosing and a creative study that found the placebo effect to be the bigger factor in perceived benefits. The study used a citizen science approach and controlled for positive expectancy.+

7. Psilocybin Dosage

Robin Carhart-Harris discusses the dosage of psilocybin and its content in magic mushrooms. They mention that there is no proper study on it yet and it's important to not use their answer to calibrate dosing of mushrooms.+

8. “Psychedelic-Therapy”, Music

Psilocybin Therapy:Robin explains that psilocybin therapy can lead to a phenomenal transformation of mood and state in patients with depression. The experience during the therapy session is vital and can create neuroplasticity changes in the neural wiring, leading to long-term positive outcomes.+
Psychedelic Therapy Music:Robin and Andrew discuss the importance of music in psychedelic therapy and how it is a staple component in all the published studies. They also share the hypothesis that there is a positive interaction between psychedelic therapy and music, creating a synergy between the two.+

9. Sponsor: AG1 (Athletic Greens)

Andrew shares why he's been taking Athletic Greens for almost a decade and how it helps him meet his foundational nutritional needs, particularly for gut health through probiotics. He also mentions the adaptogens, vitamins, and minerals it contains. Listeners can try Athletic Greens for free by going to and get five free travel packs and a year supply of vitamin D, three K two.+

10. Letting Go

Letting Go:Robin Carhart-Harris discusses the importance of letting go during psychedelic experiences in clinical trials. This phrase is a staple component of guiding patients through the experience, and it encourages a willingness to let go. The unconscious material can then emerge into conscious awareness, revealing something that's always there but not accessible.+
Trust, Let Go, Be Open:Robin discusses the importance of trust, letting go, and being open in psychedelic therapy. Trust is measured through therapeutic rapport and is a significant predictor of the quality of the experience and therapeutic outcomes. Being open involves a willingness to confront and be inquisitive, which can be difficult for a vulnerable population carrying significant adversity. A student is working on characterizing the different phases of the psychedelic experience.+

11. Psychedelic Trip Phases

Robin Carhart-Harris discusses the different phases of a psychedelic trip, including the initial struggle against the drug effects and the core fears of losing one's mind or dying.+

12. Psychedelic Brain Connectivity

Psychedelics and Brain Connectivity:Robin discusses recent findings on the effects of psychedelics on brain connectivity, specifically an increase in global functional connectivity and intermodular communication between brain areas. These effects have been observed in studies using psilocybin, LSD, and DMT. These findings could play a role in the positive therapeutic outcomes seen with psychedelic use.+
Psychedelic Connectivity:Andrew and Robin discuss the circular causality between increased connectivity and subjective experience caused by the activation of serotonin two A receptors. They explore the possibility of the two phenomena being distinct and the difficulty in separating mind from brain.+

13. Psychedelics and Depression

Psychedelics and Depression:Andrew and Robin discuss the potential for modifying psychedelics to treat depression without hallucinations. Robin expresses skepticism about the logic and potential wishful thinking behind this approach.+
Microdosing and Psychedelic Therapy:Andrew and Robin discuss the potential of microdosing to alter circuits without the psychedelic effects of hallucination. They also explore the lack of selective serotonin receptor agonists that are therapeutic in psychiatry, and the potential for their development in the future.+

14. Psychedelic Brain Changes

Psychedelic Neuroplasticity:Andrew and Robin discuss the neuroplasticity effects of psychedelics, including dendritic and spine growth, and increased communication between brain areas. They explore whether these effects are observed after the drug wears off and how long they last. They also touch on the relationship between these changes and mental health outcomes.+
Brain Modularity:Andrew and Robin discuss the relationship between brain modularity and depression. They explore how increasing cross talk between different modules of the brain is strongly correlated with a positive therapeutic outcome for depression. However, they caution that we need to be careful not to run with this idea too far and that there is still much to learn about brain function and modularity.+
Psychedelic States:Robin and Andrew discuss the effects of psychedelics on the brain and how it relates to depression. They share their intuition on how a decrease in modularity or an opening up of the brain could lead to an opening up of the mind, which could be enduring after a psychedelic dosing session. They also touch on the cognitive bias in depression and how it can lead to feeling cut off from the world.+

15. Sponsor: LMNT

Andrew emphasizes the importance of electrolytes for optimal cognitive and physical performance. He recommends Element, an electrolyte drink with a science-backed ratio of sodium, potassium, and magnesium, and shares when he drinks it to stay hydrated and replenish electrolytes. Listeners can claim a free sample pack with their purchase by visiting and using the code "Huberman."+

16. Psilocybin Therapy & Anorexia

Robin discusses the ongoing psychedelic therapy trials for anorexia and the promising results they're seeing, including alleviation of obsessive thoughts about food and improved weight at long-term follow-up. Andrew highlights the severity of anorexia nervosa as the most deadly of all psychiatric illnesses.+

17. Psychedelic Integration

Psychedelic Integration:Andrew and Robin discuss the importance of the integration phase after taking psychedelics. They explore the ways in which people can maximize on the neuroplasticity and brain changes in a positive way in the days and weeks afterwards, and how often one chooses to think about the insights could also have an impact. Robin emphasizes that integration lasts a lifetime, but it's on the individual to a point.+
Psychedelic Therapy Practice:Robin discusses how psychedelic therapy can become a practice and how meditation can complement it. Andrew shares how psychedelics give people access to a better version of themselves and how times are changing in regards to discussing psychedelics.+

18. Psychedelic Insights

Psychedelic Trials:Robin Carhart-Harris discusses their completed trial on the first-time use of psychedelics, including the dose, age range, and gender balance of the participants. The trial was conducted on healthy volunteers and not typical psychology study participants.+
Psychedelic Trial Insights:Robin describes a repeated measures design trial where participants were given a placebo before their first ever psychedelic experience. The team used EEG headsets and MRI scanning to record brain activity and found that all changes occurred with a 25mg dose of psilocybin. This resulted in significant improvements in psychological well-being and an increase in the informational complexity of ongoing brain activity recorded.+
Brain Changes:Robin discusses the exciting results of their study on psilocybin and its effects on the brain's anatomy, specifically changes in the cabling of the brain and white matter tracts. The decrease in axial diffusivity seen in the study is opposite to what is typically seen in aging brains or with pathology of aging, and is similar to what is seen in a healthy brain as it develops from childhood to adulthood.+

19. Psilocybin for Fibromyalgia

Psilocybin for Fibromyalgia:Robin explains the use of psilocybin therapy for Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder that has been controversial in the medical community. The study is exploring the relationship between trauma and inflammation as a potential cause for the disorder.+
Psychedelic Therapy Insights:Robin and Andrew discuss the differences between classic psychedelic therapy and MDMA therapy, including the use of eye masks and the focus on inner healing. They also touch on the ongoing study using psilocybin to treat debilitating pain and caution against assuming every case involves buried trauma.+

20. Pretrial Expectancy

Robin discusses the results of the Psilocybin therapy versus Estatellopram trial and how pretrial expectancy affected response. While pretrial expectancy for acetylapram predicted response, it didn't predict response to psilocybin therapy. This challenges the idea that classic psychedelic therapy is just a placebo response and opens up more intrigue about what it could be.+

21. LSD Trials Duration

LSD Trials Duration:Andrew and Robin discuss the lack of attention towards LSD in psychedelic trials, citing its longer trip duration as a possible reason. The FDA's requirement for participants to stay in the lab for up to 8 hours post-dose also makes it impractical for low dose studies.+
Long Days:Andrew and Robin discuss the long hours and practical constraints of scientific research, including the challenges faced by graduate students and staff during experiments with LSD, psilocybin, and MDMA. They also touch on the importance of real-world framing for scientific studies and the need to balance scientific goals with personal relationships and practical considerations.+

22. Psychedelic Therapy Insights

Psychedelic Combinations:Andrew and Robin discuss the use of combination psilocybin and MDMA in therapy. While it's not recommended to self-administer, therapists have been using this combination to balance out the affect component of psilocybin.+
Psychedelic Combinations:Robin and Andrew discuss the potential benefits and hazards of combining different psychedelics in therapy. While psilocybin can help access deep-seated issues, it can also be overwhelming. MDMA, on the other hand, is more directionally positive but can lead to distractions. They explore the possibilities of precision medicine and personalized therapy for certain patients.+
Psychedelic Therapy:Robin and Andrew discuss the benefits and limitations of different types of psychedelic therapy, including the importance of confronting uncomfortable experiences in trauma treatment.+

23. DMT “Rocketship” & Serotonin 2A Receptors; Ibogaine

DMT's Profound Effects:Andrew and Robin discuss the profound effects of DMT on veterans and its impact on brain networks. Veterans Solutions Initiative in Mexico is evaluating the neural changes with Ibogaine and DMT, which has shown great success in dealing with various issues. The short duration of DMT makes it a significant statement coming from individuals who have experienced the extremes of human experience.+
Psychedelic Potency:Robin and Andrew discuss the potency of different psychedelics, specifically DMT and Five Meo, and how their affinity for the serotonin receptor affects their effects. They also touch on the different ways these compounds are administered and their use in both clinical and recreational settings.+

24. Psychedelics and Ego Dissolution

Understanding Ego Dissolution:Andrew and Robin discuss the concept of ego dissolution and its positive effects on feeling interconnected with the world. They explore the idea that the ego is a construction of the mind and how serotonin addiction can cause ego dissolution.+
The Brain and Family:Andrew and Robin discuss the interconnectedness of the brain and how it relates to the construct of family. They explore the concept of drawing boundaries and where to draw the line, as well as the effects of psychedelics on empathy for self and others.+
Psychedelics and Ego Dissolution:Robin and Andrew discuss how drugs like cocaine and psychedelics affect the brain's ego. They explain how serotonin receptors play a role in ego dissolution and how classic psychedelics scramble up brain activity.+
Psychedelic Therapy Paradox:Robin and Andrew discuss the paradox of psychedelic therapy, where the ego dissolves during the trip but comes back after, sometimes with a vengeance. While psychedelic therapy can provide profound insights and a window of wellness, sadly, it doesn't last for everyone, especially those with chronic depression. The biggest challenge is that the treatment is illegal, leaving those who experienced remission in trials without access to the treatment.+

25. Psychedelic Legality

Andrew and Robin discuss the current state of legality surrounding psychedelics, including the role of big pharma, government funding, and therapists accessing illegal sources. They also touch on the risks of purchasing from the black market and the potential for decriminalization and legalization in certain areas.+

26. Psychedelic Medicine Progress

Psychedelic Medicine:Robin and Andrew discuss the progress of psychedelic medicine in the US, specifically the FDA's licensing of psychedelics as medicine through phase three trials. They also touch on the success of MDMA therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder, with Maps potentially becoming the provider for the medicine.+
MDMA Therapy Rollout:Robin and Andrew discuss the rollout of MDMA therapy and the questions surrounding who can provide it, the necessary training, and the stipulations for the clinician providing it. They also touch on the potential cardiac issues that can arise due to the amphetamine properties of MDMA.+

27. Psychedelic Therapy Progress

Robin Carhart-Harris discusses the progress of psilocybin therapy trials for treatment-resistant depression, which are currently in phase three. She also notes that MDMA is ahead in the process, but there are many other indications being explored for psychedelic therapy, including anorexia, fibromyalgia syndrome, and methamphetamine use disorder. Despite the slow licensing process, there is a groundswell of activity and positive results being reported in small investigator-led studies.+

28. Psychedelic Paradigm Shift

Psychedelic Therapy Paradigm:Robin and Andrew discuss the potential paradigm shift that psychedelic therapy can bring to the mental health crisis. They touch on the importance of proper safeguards and standards, and the need for a new approach to treating psychiatric illness.+
Psychedelic Paradigm Shift:Andrew and Robin discuss the potential paradigm shift in mental health treatment with the use of psychedelics, highlighting the importance of caution and attribution in clinical data. They touch on the preliminary but exciting results seen in Robin's laboratory and the potential underlying mechanisms for the improvements in mental and physical health outcomes.+

29. Psychedelic Science

Andrew discusses the science and clinical uses of psychedelics with Dr. Robin and provides links to his research and social media accounts. He also mentions Momentous Supplements and encourages listeners to subscribe to the Neural Network newsletter for free toolkits.+