Mental health pharmacists are using a range of chemicals – including some found in Magic Mushrooms and Cannabis – to develop effective new drugs for mental health conditions.
Pharmacists working in mental health are heavily involved in clinical research. A lot of this research involves testing new medicines when they start being used in practice, with real patients.
Of course all medicines are tested to some extent before they are released but this is just the start. We only really get to know about how useful a medicine is when it is used in real patients under real conditions. Pharmacists at the Maudsley Hospital observe the effects of all new medicines and report on how well they work. They also test how often people get side effects.
Mental health pharmacists also help in research into the use of illegal drugs for mental health conditions. Psilocybin (from Magic Mushrooms) seems to work as an antidepressant. Cannabidiol (from cannabis) acts as a pain-reliever and antipsychotic. It may also be useful in epilepsy.
This is an exciting time to work in mental health as many new medicines are now appearing and Maudsley pharmacists are leading the way in developing them into successful treatments.