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Amanda Feilding - The Beckley Foundation: Changing Minds through Psychedelic Research

Psychedelics Today

Release Date: 04/28/2020

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In this episode, Joe interviews Amanda Feilding, Founder and Director of The Beckley Foundation. In the show, they cover topics on psychedelic research, policy work, regulation, and the benefits of psychedelics in a time of crisis.

3 Key Points:

  1. The Beckley Foundation pioneers psychedelic research to drive evidence-based drug policy reform, founded and directed by Amanda Feilding as a UK-based think-tank and NGO.
  2. There is some interesting research happening around LSD expanding the neuroplasticity of the mind and increasing neurogenesis.
  3. We are in the midst of a mental health crisis, especially in the West, and psychedelics may be helpful in improving mental health.

Show Notes

The Beckley Foundation

  • Amanda says she felt alone for a long time, they were taking a scientific approach, and it was much too serious for the underground
  • The Beckley Foundation is doing policy work, medical work, scientific work, etc
  • Amanda has a passion for science, but felt a social responsibility to do the policy work
    • It's a very destructive work with ‘drugs’, because they are all under the same umbrella, but we psychedelic enthusiasts know, that psychedelics are beneficial and different than other drugs
  • Joe mentions he always thought how crazy LSD sentencing is, in some places it is longer than murder charges
  • “The ego is really a mirror of the government, and it can be much too restrictive and damaging” - Amanda


  • LSD increases cognitive function by expanding the networks of integrative centers in the brain
    • Amanda thinks that LSD is better at increasing cognition than mushrooms
  • She says they are doing exciting work with LSD and how it expands neuroplasticity of the mind, and how it increases neurogenesis
    • She thinks we haven't really even scratched the surface of exploring the benefits of these compounds
  • Joe says he is hearing about a lot of athletes using LSD as a performance enhancing drug
  • Neuroplasticity is like when the brain becomes hot metal and it can adapt and change


  • We have a horrible mental health crisis in the west, 1 in 3 teenage girls are depressed
  • Out of all death causes in the US, air pollution is one of the largest
  • “Our society needs a paradigm shift” - Amanda
  • Amanda says that she doesn't believe that all people need to take psychedelics, but that they can be very beneficial


  • Joe says he would love to see regulation everywhere
  • The cause of most drug harms are prohibition
  • Portugal and Switzerland are great models for boosting public service
  • Recognizing the potential benefits helps (starting with medical but not stopping there)

Final Thoughts

  • We are all moving in the right direction
  • The spreading of knowledge and education is the right path
  • The intuitive gains are the main benefits of these altered states of consciousness


The Beckley Foundation

About Amanda Fielding

Amanda Feilding has been called the ‘hidden hand’ behind the renaissance of psychedelic science, and her contribution to global drug policy reform has also been pivotal and widely acknowledged. Amanda was first introduced to LSD in the mid-1960s, at the height of the first wave of scientific research into psychedelics. Impressed by its capacity to initiate mystical states of consciousness and heighten creativity, she quickly recognised its transformative and therapeutic power. Inspired by her experiences, she began studying the mechanisms underlying the effects of psychedelic substances and dedicated herself to exploring ways of harnessing their potential to cure sickness and enhance wellbeing. In 1996, Amanda set up The Foundation to Further Consciousness, changing its name to the Beckley Foundation in 1998.

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