huberman robin carhart harris

Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris

Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris is a distinguished neuroscientist and researcher in the field of psychopharmacology, renowned for his groundbreaking work on the therapeutic effects of psychedelics. With a Ph.D. from the University of Bristol, Carhart-Harris has spearheaded pivotal studies at Imperial College London, exploring how substances like psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms) and LSD can be used to treat conditions such as depression, anxiety, and addiction. His research significantly contributes to the understanding of consciousness and the brain's mechanisms, challenging conventional psychiatric treatment models. Through his innovative clinical trials and thought-provoking publications, Dr. Carhart-Harris has become a leading figure in the renaissance of psychedelic science, advocating for the integration of these substances into modern mental health care, while emphasizing safety and regulatory standards.

The Science of Psychedelics for Mental Health: Insights from Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris

In a compelling episode of the Huberman Lab podcast, host Andrew Huberman welcomes Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, a distinguished professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. Renowned for his pioneering work in the field of psychedelics, Dr. Carhart-Harris discusses the transformative potential of substances like psilocybin (magic mushrooms), LSD, and DMT on neural circuitry and mental health. The conversation delves into various clinical trials demonstrating the efficacy of psilocybin in alleviating major depression and explores the broader applications of psychedelics in enhancing aspects of the human mind, including creativity and intelligence.

The Etymology and Impact of Psychedelics

Dr. Carhart-Harris provides a detailed account of the etymology of the term “psychedelic,” coined by Humphry Osmond to describe substances that reveal aspects of the psyche or soul. This term aptly encapsulates the essence of these compounds, which can unveil the hidden dimensions of human consciousness. The discussion emphasizes the importance of not just the pharmacological action of psychedelics on the serotonin 2A receptor but also the phenomenological experiences they induce. These experiences are integral to understanding the therapeutic potential of psychedelics.

Clinical Trials and Therapeutic Outcomes

The podcast explores various clinical trials where psilocybin has shown promising results in treating conditions like major depression. Dr. Carhart-Harris discusses the nuances of dosing, the importance of the setting, and the profound psychological journey individuals undergo during treatment. The conversation highlights how the subjective experience during therapy, marked by emotional release and insightful revelations, is crucial for long-term therapeutic outcomes.

The Future of Psychedelic Research

As the conversation unfolds, Dr. Carhart-Harris touches upon the challenges and controversies surrounding microdosing and the pursuit of non-hallucinogenic psychedelic compounds for therapeutic use. The discussion also ventures into the realm of neuroplasticity, examining how psychedelics may facilitate long-lasting changes in brain function and structure, contributing to their therapeutic efficacy.

Exploring the Therapeutic Potential of Psychedelics: Insights from Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris

In a thought-provoking second segment of the Huberman Lab podcast, Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris continues his deep dive into the world of psychedelics and their implications for mental health with host Andrew Huberman. The discussion spans the definition and effects of psychedelics, detailing their impact on brain communication and subjective experience. The conversation provides insight into how substances like psilocybin, LSD, and DMT may revolutionize the treatment of mental health conditions.

The Nature of the Psychedelic Experience

A key focus of this segment is understanding the psychedelic experience itself. Dr. Carhart-Harris explains the initial phase of a psychedelic journey often involves anxiety and negative emotions as the mind confronts the dissolution of its normal state. However, as the experience unfolds, individuals often encounter profound personal and sometimes transpersonal insights. These insights, coupled with emotional catharsis, are pivotal for the therapeutic process. The discussion underscores the importance of ‘letting go’ during these sessions, a concept integral to achieving beneficial outcomes.

Psychedelic-Induced Neuroplasticity

Significantly, the conversation delves into the concept of neuroplasticity induced by psychedelics. Recent research suggests that these substances don’t just create a temporary state of increased brain connectivity but may induce lasting changes in brain function. The implications of this for treating conditions like depression and anxiety are profound, offering a potential path to long-term recovery beyond the immediate effects of the drugs.

The Controversy of Microdosing and Non-Hallucinogenic Psychedelics

Dr. Carhart-Harris addresses the popular trend of microdosing, noting the lack of compelling evidence for its effectiveness. He also discusses the emerging interest in developing non-hallucinogenic psychedelics for therapeutic use. While the prospect is appealing to many, particularly within the pharmaceutical industry, he expresses skepticism regarding whether these compounds can offer the same therapeutic benefits as their hallucinogenic counterparts.

The Transformative Power of Psychedelics: Delving Deeper with Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris

In the concluding third of the Huberman Lab podcast, Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris and host Andrew Huberman engage in a profound dialogue about the transformative effects of psychedelics. This segment delves deeper into the science behind these substances, their potential for treating various mental health conditions, and the future of psychedelic research.

The Psychedelic Experience and Its Aftermath

The conversation begins by focusing on the distinct phases of a psychedelic experience, particularly the shift from initial anxiety to later stages of insight and emotional release. Dr. Carhart-Harris discusses the importance of ‘letting go’ during these sessions and how this mental surrender is crucial for achieving therapeutic outcomes. The discussion also touches on the residual effects of psychedelics, such as increased brain connectivity and neuroplasticity, which are observed even after the acute effects of the drugs have subsided.

Microdosing: The Subtle Influence

Microdosing, a popular but controversial practice, is scrutinized in this segment. Dr. Carhart-Harris expresses skepticism about its effectiveness, citing a lack of compelling evidence. He shares insights from studies attempting to understand the impact of microdoses of psychedelics on cognition and well-being, noting the challenges and the thin evidence supporting this practice.

Structural and Functional Brain Changes

The conversation delves into the neurological underpinnings of the psychedelic experience, discussing increased communication between different brain areas and the role of the serotonin 2A receptor. Dr. Carhart-Harris explains how these changes correlate with therapeutic outcomes and the potential for long-lasting effects on brain function. The segment also explores the concept of neuroplasticity, discussing how psychedelics may promote structural and functional changes in the brain, contributing to their therapeutic efficacy.

The Future of Psychedelic Medicine

The podcast explores the prospects of developing non-hallucinogenic psychedelic compounds for therapeutic use. Dr. Carhart-Harris discusses the appeal and skepticism surrounding this idea, highlighting the importance of the subjective experience in psychedelic therapy. He also touches upon the challenges of integrating the profound changes induced by psychedelics into one’s life post-experience, emphasizing the importance of the integration process in maximizing therapeutic outcomes.


This final segment of the podcast provides a comprehensive exploration of the many facets of psychedelic research and therapy. Dr. Carhart-Harris and Andrew Huberman engage in a thoughtful and in-depth discussion that not only illuminates the current state of psychedelic science but also paves the way for future research and understanding. As the conversation concludes, listeners are left with a deeper appreciation of the complex interplay between the mind, brain, and psychedelics, and the potential for these substances to bring about transformative change in mental health treatment.