Psych Newsletter UK Interviews MP, Crispin Blunt


Here’s the introduction to the interview

Member of Parliament Crispin Blunt has championed the campaign to reschedule psilocybin for scientific and research purposes in the UK. Last month the honourable Mr Blunt raised the issue directly with Boris Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions, with Johnson declaring he would get back to Blunt at the earliest opportunity. 

The constitutional convention saw the campaign to reschedule psilocybin elevated to national headlines, and a week later British psychedelic company COMPASS Pathways released data from its pivotal Phase IIb trial with psilocybin, which demonstrated its efficacy in treatment-resistant depression.

PSYCH sat down with Blunt and Timmy Davis, Psilocybin Rescheduling Project Manager at the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group, to discuss the groundbreaking study and the future of the nation’s psychedelic healthcare industry, and receive an update on lobbying.

The campaign to reschedule psilocybin in the UK was outlined in the ‘Medicinal Use of Psilocybin’ policy document, published in June. PSYCH asked for an overview for its readers.

‘In the report we go over a brief history of psilocybin, its medical use, modern research and the barriers to research in the UK due to psilocybin’s Schedule 1 status under The Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001,’ outlined Davis.

‘We present an argument for a change in policy that would move psilocin and its esters, including psilocybin, from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2, with restrictions that would mitigate inappropriate prescribing.

COMPASS Pathways is a British company leading the charge in a lot of ways, yet they are listed on the Nasdaq rather than the London Stock Exchange. They have just released fantastic Phase IIb topline data, which is very exciting, and we wish them all the best in the hope market authorisation across the pond will speed things up here.

‘We are absolutely doing our best to get everything that is released, from every corner of the globe, under the noses of the policy makers. We’re drawing their attention to the fact that the COMPASS study is the largest trial to date, and that it shows psilocybin is one of the most effective interventions for treatment-resistant depression.

‘We can’t help but think that if the government had acted sooner on rescheduling psilocybin, a lot of the trial locations would have been onshore, further reaffirming the UK’s position as a world leader in the space.

‘The original neuroimaging research was done at Imperial College London, which found psilocybin affected the areas of the brain implicated in depression, sparking everything that has led to this huge industry. So, it is a point of frustration in the UK that we have not capitalised off the back of science which essentially originated here.’

With the nation in danger of losing its position as a global leader in scientific research, PSYCH was eager to know if Blunt had spoken with the Prime Minister since their public confrontation.

‘We haven’t had a formal response since then,’ revealed Blunt. ‘I am promised a meeting by the Health Secretary and will personally brief him on the opportunities that are available.

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