The Science of Psychedelics with Dr Robin Carhart-Harris

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In the Idler Academy Science of Psychedelics online course you’ll learn all about the science behind LSD and magic mushrooms with expert Dr Robin Carhart-Harris

Psychedelics fascinate and scare us in equal measure.  For the writer Aldous Huxley, they were a gateway to a new plane of perception. For US President Richard Nixon, they were a threat to the morals of America’s youth.

But what’s the truth about psychedelics? And how do they really work?

Join Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, Head of the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London, as he takes you on a trip through the science of psychedelics.

In six lectures, beginning with a lesson on how psychedelic substances work in the brain, you’ll be guided through the past and present of psychedelic research. On the way, you’ll celebrate “Bicycle Day”, see how scientists are using cutting-edge brain-scanning techniques to understand what happens when we trip, and get up to date on the latest breakthroughs in the use of psychedelic substances like psilocybin to treat depression and other conditions.

By the end of this Science of Psychedelics online course, you’ll be able to tell psilocybin from DMT and mescaline from LSD, you’ll understand the chemical processes that trigger a trip, and you’ll be an expert in the contemporary arguments over legalisation.

Robin Carhart-Harris is an expert on the science of psychedelics. He is the Head of the Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London and one of today’s leading voices in psychopharmacology.

The Science of Psychedelics online course outline:

Introduction (1.20 minutes)

Robin introduces himself, his research and therapeutic work and gives a brief outline of the course.

Lesson 1 (30 minutes) 

Basic Pharmacology: Robin describes the chemical processes that occur in the brain during a psychedelic trip.

Lesson 2 (40 minutes) 

A Short History of Psychedelic Science: Robin takes you through the history of psychedelic science, beginning in the late nineteenth century and ending in the present.

Lesson 3 (45 minutes) 

Brain Imaging: Robin discusses the brain imaging techniques that are transforming our understanding of the effect of psychedelic substances on the brain.

Lesson 4 (42 minutes) 

What is it like to trip on a Psychedelic? Robin describes the effects a trip has on a human subject and introduces us to some of the best first-hand accounts of psychedelic trips.

Lesson 5 (16 minutes) 

Psychedelics and Therapeutic Research: Robin discusses his own research into the use of psychedelics to treat depression and the potential impact on treatment.

Lesson 6 (24 minutes)

Legislation and Legalisation: Robin brings you up to speed with the latest developments in decriminalisation and weighs the positives and negatives.

What you get in The Science of Psychedelics online course:

Video: six video lessons

Audio: the option to download and listen to Science of Psychedelics lessons in podcast form

Downloadable notes: in the Science of Psychedelics printable notes you’ll find links to further resources and further reading.

Exclusive Consider the Trees course forum: here you can chat with fellow students and pose questions to the tutor

Quiz: Test what you have learnt with our fun multiple choice quiz

Certificate: When you pass the quiz you will be issued with a beautiful Idler Academy Certificate of Completion

About the tutor

Dr. Carhart-Harris is a neuroscientist and psychologist. He is the Head of Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London and one of today’s leading voices in psychopharmacology.