Can magic mushrooms cure depression? Monty Watts’ new documentary Magic Medicine aims to answer this unlikely question as it follows three volunteers through the world’s first medical trial of psilocybin to treat the condition, which affects up to 1 in 10 of us.
Watts had exclusive access to the research team behind the ambitious project at Imperial College London (ICL), with exclusive interviews and intimate footage of the patients’ ‘trips’. The result is an honest and fascinating first look at research that could “revolutionise depression treatment, if not psychiatry”, according to trial lead Dr Robin Carhart-Harris.
It’s thought that up to 50% of people with depression don’t respond to conventional treatment, so the idea of using psychedelics in this area is attracting a lot of attention, reopening a line of enquiry that has been largely feared, dismissed and legislated against since the 1960s.
This weekend’s screening is part of the Wellcome Collection’s Global Health film festival, with a chance to put questions to a team of medical experts and filmmakers involved in the project after the film.