A bit about me and how I got here

Hi, I’m Evan. I’m originally from the UK and currently studying a masters in Brain and Cognitive Sciences in Amsterdam. After graduating with a BSc in Psychology from the University of Sheffield, I decided to take a few years out to ensure that I wanted to pursue further education. In that time  I was a chef, I taught English in Vietnam and the UK, and then I pursued work in college education. After being accepted for my master’s programme in 2018, I decided that it was the right time to go; my time out of education had facilitated my thirst to study. However, the first few months of my master’s made me feel disillusioned with the state of scientific research. All this amazing work is being done in Cognitive Neuroscience, yet there is a lack of communication between science and society; many people are only aware of what research is being conducted through sensationalised newspaper headlines. This is why I would like to work with Jesse: to communicate psychedelic research in an honest, accessible and transparent way.

How Does Psilocybin Fit?

Professor David Nutt has been a huge influence in my scientific stance on psychedelics. In 2016 I attended a talk held by Professor Nutt, where he discussed an influential paper about psilocybin (the psychoactive component found in hallucinogenic mushrooms). The paper demonstrated the efficacy of psilocybin and psychotherapy for the treatment of depression and the findings were remarkable. Eight out of the twelve participants with treatment-resistant depression achieved complete remission one week after a high dose of psilocybin, and three months later five of these participants remained in a remission state.

This finding made me bury my head in the research. I wanted to know more about how this substance could have such a profound effect, and also why? I realised that due to the illicit nature of psilocybin in many countries, research has not been able to progress and develop. However, more and more studies have been published in the last ten years, the FDA have granted psilocybin ‘Breakthrough Therapy’ status, and research groups are now dedicating themselves primarily to the study of psychedelics. With these developments, science can further illuminate the therapeutic benefits that psilocybin may possess. My primary aim on this blog is to communicate this research to a wider audience, as well as illuminate how the general public’s perception of psychedelics may have been distorted through a biased historical lense.