Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

- Advertisement -

Prince Harry accused of ‘wishful thinking’ after he claimed psychedelic drugs can ease grief

Prince Harry was today accused of ‘trying to justify his drug-taking’ after he revealed he used magic mushrooms to help deal with grief.

The Duke of Sussex, 38, claimed he used psychedelics like ayahuasca and mushrooms as ‘medicine’ after the death of his mother Princess Diana in 1997.

Research has suggested psilocybin — the active chemical in ‘shrooms’ — could help treat people with depression, when taken under the watchful eye of medics.

But experts told MailOnline Harry’s claims are based on ‘flimsy notions of therapeutic value’, given much of the drug-taking described in his book Spare was recreational.

Prince Harry admitted to using psychedelic drugs to deal with the ‘grief’ and ‘trauma’ he felt after the tragic death of his mom, Princess Diana

The Duke of Sussex , 38, claimed he used psychedelics like ayahuasca and magic mushrooms (pictured) as 'medicine' after the death of his mother Princess Diana in 1997

The Duke of Sussex , 38, claimed he used psychedelics like ayahuasca and magic mushrooms (pictured) as ‘medicine’ after the death of his mother Princess Diana in 1997

Ayahuasca is a drink made by boiling together vine stems along with leaves from a chacruna shrub — both native to the Amazonia region

Ayahuasca is a drink made by boiling together vine stems along with leaves from a chacruna shrub — both native to the Amazonia region

WHAT ARE PSILOCYBIN AND AYAHUASCA AND CAN THEY TREAT DEPRESSION OR GRIEF? 

Psilocybin is a chemical found in several species of psilocybe mushrooms, known as ‘magic mushrooms’ or ‘shrooms’.

Researchers, led by Oxford University’s Dr Guy Goodwin, created a synthetic version of psilocybin.

They say it works by stimulating a receptor in the brain — called 5-HT2A — in an unusual way.

This triggers a clinical state that is ‘best described as a waking dream’ that users can remember afterwards.

It also releases a surge of dopamine — which is involved in mood regulation. 

Glutamate, a neurotransmitter, is also released. This puts the brain in a more flexible state, ‘opening a therapeutic window of opportunity’, the team say.

This can lead to positive changes in the mind of people suffering treatment-resistant depression. 

Meanwhile, ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic drink that is illegal in the US and UK but widely used by tribal societies in the Amazon basin.

Shamans consider ayahuasca a ‘wisdom’ plant that allows an entry into the spiritual world, and it was recognized as such by the government of Peru in 2008.

It can cause hallucinations that are similar to the effects of LSD or magic mushrooms. 

They last for two hours and are ‘usually pleasurable’ but can cause panic and horrifying flashbacks.

The negative emotional effects from taking ayahuasca can last for days, and make it especially dangerous for people with mental health problems.

It can also raise blood pressure and heart rate and may harm those with a pre-existing heart condition. 

It contains the compound N,N-Dymethyltriptamine (DMT) which is one of the world’s most powerful known hallucinogens. 

Similar to psilocybin, DMT has demonstrated its ability to increase connectivity between different brain networks.

Professor Edzard Ernst, an expert in alternative medicines at the University of Exeter, said to claim the drugs work as a medicine amounts amount to ‘wishful thinking’.

He said: ‘There is precious little evidence for his assumption to be true. More likely he is merely trying to justify his drug-taking with flimsy notions of therapeutic value.’

Possession or selling of magic mushrooms or psilocybin is illegal in the UK, but taking either is technically not.

Both are illegal in most of the US but have been fully decriminalised in Oregon and partially in Colorado, when under medical supervision.

Psilocybin is thought to work against depression by stimulating a receptor in the brain — called 5-HT2A — in an unusual way.

This triggers a clinical state that is ‘best described as a waking dream’ that users can remember afterwards, researchers have said.

It also releases a surge of dopamine — which is involved in mood regulation — and a neurotransmitter, called glutamate.

This puts the brain in a more flexible state, ‘opening a therapeutic window of opportunity’, according to the scientists.

This can lead to positive changes in the mind of people suffering treatment-resistant depression. 

Meanwhile, ayahuasca is a drink made by boiling together vine stems along with leaves from a chacruna shrub — both native to the Amazonia region.

It is legal in most Latin American countries but is illegal to prepare, distribute or possess in the UK. It is illegal in the US unless for religious use. 

The psychedelic brew contains the compound N,N-Dymethyltriptamine (DMT) which is one of the world’s most powerful known hallucinogens. 

Similar to psilocybin, DMT has demonstrated its ability to increase connectivity between different brain networks.

Professor Andrew McIntosh, a psychiatrist at the University of Edinburgh, said there is ‘no good evidence’ for using either drug for treating grief.

He told MailOnline: ‘There is early evidence for psychedelics for the management of treatment resistant depression — depression that has not responded to at least two antidepressants given at high doses over a long period — but no good evidence that it might be helpful for the treatment of grief. 

‘The use of psychedelics is still very much at the early research stage. 

‘I don’t think anyone is seriously considering their routine use outside of a clinical trial for people with resistant depression. 

‘I’m not aware of anyone who is proposing their use in people who have been bereaved.

‘There are a small handful of case reports online where they have been used in individual people with bereavement. 

‘It would be very risky to argue, based on those studies, that psychedelics should be used in the health service — as they provide weak evidence that they would benefit people more generally and they may also be associated with significant harms.’

'I would never recommend people to do this recreationally,' Harry (seen in 2004) said. 'But if you are suffering from a huge amount of loss, grief or trauma, these things have a way of working as a medicine'

 ‘I would never recommend people to do this recreationally,’ Harry (seen in 2004) said. ‘But if you are suffering from a huge amount of loss, grief or trauma, these things have a way of working as a medicine’

Professor David Nutt, a neuropsychopharmacologist at Imperial College London who has studied psychedelics use in mental health treatment and is founder of UK charity Drug Science, said the evidence on how effective either drug is is ‘complicated’.

But he warned patients suffering with depression or grief should never take the drugs outside of a trial. 

He told MailOnline: ‘There are now many trials showing the efficacy of psilocybin – the active ingredient in magic mushrooms  in depression.

‘And several for ayahuasca too — and they can work after just a single dose.

‘Our studies use psilocybin and ayahuasca in clinical settings and we do not encourage self-medication.’

Other experts are more optimistic about the drugs still.

Dr Steve Taylor, a psychologist at Leeds Beckett University and author of The Leap: The Psychology of Spiritual Awakening, said some trials show the drugs can be more effective than antidepressants.

He told MailOnline: ‘There is a lot of research showing that psychedelic substances can have a therapeutic effect, helping people who are suffering from depression, grief and other psychological issues. 

‘Recent research has shown that they can be more effective than standard treatments, such as conventional anti-depressants.

‘They seem to work by revealing a wider vision of reality, providing people with a glimpse of meaning that provides them with hope and optimism. 

‘Depression is often the result of constant rumination that immerses people in their own mental worlds — psychedelics take people outside that, giving them a sense of connection, a feeling that they are part of a larger network of meaning.’

He added: ‘Of course, this doesn’t mean that they should be used indiscriminately — it’s really important for psychedelic therapy to take place in a safe, therapeutic setting.’

Despite the conflicting evidence, Harry said the drugs worked ‘as a medicine’ for his feelings of ‘loss and trauma’.

He was only 12 when Diana tragically died in a car accident and he admitted that he struggled to come to grips with her sudden passing in Spare.

Researchers, led by Oxford University's Dr Guy Goodwin, created a synthetic version of psilocybin. They say it works by stimulating a receptor in the brain — called 5-HT2A — in an unusual way. This triggers a clinical state that is 'best described as a waking dream' that users can remember afterwards. It also releases a surge of dopamine — which is involved in mood regulation. Glutamate, a neurotransmitter, is also released. This puts the brain in a more flexible state, 'opening a therapeutic window of opportunity', the team say. This can lead to positive changes in the mind of people suffering treatment-resistant depression

Researchers, led by Oxford University’s Dr Guy Goodwin, created a synthetic version of psilocybin. They say it works by stimulating a receptor in the brain — called 5-HT2A — in an unusual way. This triggers a clinical state that is ‘best described as a waking dream’ that users can remember afterwards. It also releases a surge of dopamine — which is involved in mood regulation. Glutamate, a neurotransmitter, is also released. This puts the brain in a more flexible state, ‘opening a therapeutic window of opportunity’, the team say. This can lead to positive changes in the mind of people suffering treatment-resistant depression

In an interview last night, he revealed he only cried once over his mother’s death — when her coffin was put in the ground.

He said he was plagued with guilt over feeling like he was not being emotional enough over her passing for years.

But the former royal said using psychedelics when he got older ultimately ‘cleared away the idea’ that he needed be sad to prove he ‘missed’ his mother.

‘I would never recommend people to do this recreationally,’ he said during during an explosive new sit down interview with 60 Minutes. 

‘But doing it with the right people if you are suffering from a huge amount of loss, grief or trauma, then these things have a way of working as a medicine.

‘For me, they cleared the windscreen, the windshield, the misery of loss. They cleared away this idea that I had in my head that … I needed to cry to prove to my mother that I missed her. When in fact, all she wanted was for me to be happy.’

Despite not specifically recommending the drugs recreationally, in the book, Harry described one of his hallucinogenic trips while taking mushrooms at a party.

He wrote: ‘Beside the toilet was a round silver bin, the kind with a foot pedal to open the lid.

‘I stared at the bin. It stared back. Then it became… a head. I stepped on the pedal and the head opened its mouth. A huge open grin. I laughed, turned away, took a p***.’

MPs last week slammed the Prince for glorifying dangerous drugs ahead of the Government’s fresh crackdown on recreational use in the middle classes, which is set to be launched.

A minister told the Daily Telegraph: ‘His comments are grossly irresponsible in that they seek to justify and promote drug use, are an embarrassment to himself and are in parts incoherent psychobabble. 

‘I hope and expect that people will simply ignore the nonsense he has come up with.’

David Sidwick, Dorset police and crime commissioner, described the comments as ‘extremely unhelpful’.

He said: ‘As a role model, it is deeply disappointing. It is this tacit acknowledgement that its use is okay by people who should know better which is part of the problem.’

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.