The MIND Foundation Resources consist of three main segments: Psychedelic Compendium, Multimedia Trove, and the Berlin Registry.

The Resources section was created to give an up-to-date overview of German and international journalistic coverage, high-quality research publications, as well as further media on psychedelic research topics. 

Enjoy our documentation of growing academic interest in psychedelic experience, and its applications in the medical field as well as self-development processes. 

Our Resources for you: 

The Psychedelic Compendium comprises carefully curated and annotated readings on key topics in psychedelic research and implementation. Among these are four categories:

  • Lists for Researchers,
  • Lists for Physicians & Therapists, 
  • and Lists for Press & Journalists,
  • and Lists for Patients. 

The first two categories summarize scientific publications. Reading Lists for Press & Journalists comprise high-quality journalistic publications from the German and international context. The category of Lists for Patients includes a mix of educational literature.

The Multimedia Trove presents a selection of recommended non-fiction literature, biographies and fiction, podcasts, feature films, and documentaries related to psychedelic research, society, and cultural history. 

The Berlin Registry is a regularly updated overview of companies that are involved in the psychedelic industry worldwide. The interactive map provides an insight into currently active companies and their ongoing projects. 

Enjoy browsing our resources!

Psychedelic Compendium

Further Resources

Research Instruments

Presented here are a variety of tools that assist scientific inquiry, such as questionnaires. Some of these research instruments have been created by those in the MIND family, while some are shared by our collaborators.

Find out more


The Berlin Registry is an interactive and regularly updated overview of companies that are involved in the psychedelic industry worldwide. Our interactive map provides an insight into currently active companies and their ongoing projects.

Find out more


The Multimedia Trove presents a selection of recommended non-fiction literature, biographies and fiction, podcasts, feature films, and documentaries related to psychedelic research, society, and cultural history.

Find out more


We support and conduct high-quality psychedelic research

The MIND Foundation’s research projects are geared towards evidence-based practice and high-quality science. For many of these projects, we are working together with universities in and outside of Germany and in collaboration with our Scientific Advisory Board. We invite you to explore our current projects, which are listed below.

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Principal investigator Prof. Dr. med. Gerhard Gründer has received the final approval for a psilocybin depression study (EPIsoDE) at the Central Institute of Mental Health Mannheim and the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin.  The MIND Foundation is a cooperation partner in the EPIsoDE study.

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Studies & Surveys

Find out more about participation in studies and online surveys. You will find studies & surveys that are directly supported by MIND as well as those conducted by other universities and institutes, which are featured here.

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Psychedelic research has implications for a wide range of people and professions. Check out some useful resources for newcomers and those looking to deepen their understanding of the subject.

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uniMIND sets up academic journal clubs across the world to discuss psychedelic research. Students as well as senior academics of any level and any background are invited to engage in critical discourse on altered states of consciousness and psychedelics.

Find Out More

MIND Awards

In recognition of outstanding contributions to the psychedelic research and therapy field, we award young and established academics prizes of various kinds. Usually at the INSIGHT conference.

Learn more

Research Fellowships

The MIND Foundation’s Research Fellowship program 2020 provides two fellowships for doctoral students.

Learn more
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Combining Psychedelics and 12-Step Programs for Substance Use Disorders

  • Blog
  • Science
  • Interview
  • 7 minutes
Novembro 12, 2021

Incoming Assistant Professor

David currently studies the subjective and behavioral effects of psychedelic substances as well as their treatment potential.

View full profile ››

Ph.D. Candidate

Lukas Basedow's research is in the field of adolescent substance abuse at the medical faculty of the TU Dresden.

View full profile ››

This interview is about the following publication: Yaden, D. B., Berghella, A. P., Regier, P. S., Garcia-Romeu, A., Johnson, M. W., & Hendricks, P. S. (2021). Classic psychedelics in the treatment of substance use disorder: Potential synergies with twelve-step programs. International Journal of Drug Policy, 98, 103380.

Treatment for people with substance use disorders is often based on classical psychotherapeutic principles, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy. However, two unorthodox approaches have existed since the 1950s that, at first glance, seem to incorporate opposing principles: 12-step abstinence-based programs and psychedelic therapy. In this interview, I exchange with David Yaden, PhD, who recently published a paper with his colleagues from John Hopkins University, in which they discuss potential synergies between these two treatment modalities.

L: For our readers who may be are unaware of this concept, could you shortly explain what 12-step programs are?

D: 12-step programs are peer-support groups that follow a guiding set of principles to help members maintain sobriety. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was the first 12-step program, and probably the one that most people are familiar with. Nowadays, there are 12-step groups intended to help with most addictive drugs as well as behaviors like gambling.

12-step groups sit a little uneasily with mainstream addiction treatments. While many clinicians encourage their patients to seek out 12-step groups as an adjunct to evidence-based therapies or treatments, 12-step programs are not themselves considered part of medical or clinical treatments. Moreover, many 12-step programs do not allow members to participate in some evidence-based drug treatments such as medication assisted treatments (e.g., methadone), which is considered a controversial practice among evidence-based clinicians and researchers who see this as preventing effective treatment. Lastly, a large Cochrane review showed that there is evidence suggesting that 12-step programs are effective for some people.1 There are a complex set of dynamics at play here.

L: What do you think is the broad appeal of 12-step programs? Why has this program been able to spread successfully across the whole globe?

D: 12-step programs benefit from its members, who are often extremely engaged and can provide social connection and support to people who are often lacking it in their lives. The social support that many 12-step programs provide goes well beyond the amount of time that clinicians can provide due to the constraints of their schedules. For example, 12-step program members are teamed with another 12-step program member, who plays the role of a “sponsor.” New members can generally call their sponsor at any hour, day or night, if they are tempted to relapse or if they simply need someone to talk to.

Additionally, the 12-steps themselves are very easy to understand, and provide as their name implies, a step-by-step process to regain sobriety and remain sober.

Finally, 12-step programs are usually easily accessible and free, while healthcare resources can sometimes be inaccessible and/or difficult to afford in the US.

L: The 12-step programs explicitly mention spiritual experiences as catalysts of change. Could you elaborate on what is meant by that?  What is considered a spiritual experience in 12-step programs and how does this experience differ from or is similar to experiences induced by psychedelic substances?

D: The 12-step programs stem from Bill Wilson’s writings. Bill Wilson (b. 1895 – d. 1971) co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) after he achieved sobriety during a moment that he considered a “spiritual experience.” Here is Bill Wilson describing his experience:

“Slowly the ecstasy subsided. I lay on the bed, but now for a time I was in another world, a new world of consciousness. All about me and through me was a wonderful feeling of Presence. A great peace stole over me and I thought, “No matter how wrong things seem to be, they are all right…” (quoted by Ernest Kurtz2)

Notably, Bill Wilson was being treated with a substance called Scopolamine, which some consider a psychedelic (though it is not a classic psychedelic like psilocybin or LSD). He was undergoing treatment for alcoholism in a New York City hospital under the care of a physician who was attempting a new form of treatment. Most people are unaware that Bill Wilson’s first spiritual experience occurred under the influence of a psychedelic-like substance!

Spiritual experience plays a prominent role in 12 step programs. After all, it’s part of the 12 steps. The 12th and final step reads: “Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”3

L: With regards to your paper: What led you to think that synergies between psychedelic use and 12-steps programs could exist?

D: The spiritual experience that Bill Wilson described as prompting his sobriety is very similar to the subjective effects reported by many people taking psychedelics.  Bill himself made this point. Later in his life, Bill tried LSD (a classic psychedelic) under the care of a physician. He appeared to benefit from these psychedelic treatments, and Wilson provided a positive endorsement:

“It is a generally acknowledged fact in spiritual development that ego reduction makes the influx of God’s grace possible If, therefore, under LSD we can have a temporary reduction, so that we can better see what we are and where we are going – well, that might be of some help. The goal might become clearer. So I consider LSD to be of some value to some people, and practically no damage to anyone.” 4

Wilson’s endorsement of psychedelic treatments may surprise people – it certainly surprised us when we learned about it. According to one scholar, Joe Miller, who wrote US of AA, this fact may have even been actively suppressed by the board of AA.

L: So, what actual synergies do you see? Do you believe there is a benefit to combining the two approaches?

D: I want to be very clear on this point – in the paper, we are neither advocating nor denouncing the combination of psychedelics with 12-step programs.

However, we can’t help but notice the substantial similarities between psychedelic treatments, which many people report resulting in a spiritual-type experience, and the aims of 12-step programs, which aim to provide a kind of spiritual experience as a result of working the steps.

We thought it was interesting that 12-step programs tend to disallow members from participating in medication assisted treatments (MAT) because they are seen as “swapping one drug for another.” This can be unfortunate considering that MAT has been shown to be among the most effective ways of keeping people who have substance use disorders alive.

We were curious as to whether some 12-step programs might make an exception for treatments with psychedelics. Indeed, while they are drugs or kinds of medication, they provide experiences that are similar to (or identical to in some cases) the spiritual experiences that are at the heart of 12-step programs. Meanwhile, the founder of AA advocated combining 12-step programs with psychedelic treatments – and it could be that knowing about this endorsement from AA’s founder might be impactful or at least interesting to some members of 12-step programs.

L: Regarding the integration of psychedelics into 12-steps: What would the actual practice look like? How could psychedelics be integrated into a 12-step program?

D: We could imagine a few different possibilities – call the possible models initiatory, intermittent, or culmination. An initiatory model would suggest undergoing a psychedelic experience toward the beginning of the 12-step process in order to provide more motivation during what may be a difficult period of transition. An intermittent model might involve periodically engaging in psychedelic treatments over the course of the 12-step process, maybe once every few months or so, in order to maintain the momentum of treatment and sobriety. Lastly, a culmination model might involve having the psychedelic treatment along with the 12th and final step as a kind of capstone to, and opportunity to reflect on, the entire process.

Again, these are just some possibilities, we don’t really know how this integration might look in the real world. It’s a topic that’s worth studying and would require interdisciplinary teams to do the research well. Let me reiterate that both here and in the paper, we are neither advocating or denouncing the combination of psychedelics with 12-step programs, but merely considering the subject.

L: What do you think the next steps would look like for this line of research? What are important aspects about this combination that need to be explored?

D: We’re launching some research projects to study groups that are apparently already engaged in integrating psychedelics into the 12-step process. Yet again, I want to reiterate that we’re not supporting or condoning integrating psychedelics into 12-step groups (it is currently illegal in the US and therefore legally risky). But we do want to learn more about this practice – the potential safety issues that come up, whether it’s effective, and how the integration fits with 12-step philosophy as well as with current mainstream evidence-based treatments. There are a number of interesting and important psychological, medical, legal, and anthropological questions to address in this framework.

L: Finally, what would the best possible care for patients with substance use disorders look like? What do you envision the ideal future of treatment to look like?

D: I am a psychological and psychopharmacological researcher, so I study psychological and pharmacological interventions. I think there is a great deal of progress that can be made on both of these fronts. It’s important to note that there are treatments currently available for people who suffer from substance use disorders, and I encourage this population to take advantage of these existing evidence-based treatments.

Learn more about substance use disorders on MIND’s Elements of Science.

At our lab at Johns Hopkins, the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, we are conducting studies and collecting promising data on the potential efficacy of psychedelics for the treatment of substance use disorders. We need more and better research to follow-up on preliminary findings (something that researchers like Matt Johnson, Albert Garcia-Romeu, and Peter Hendricks are currently working on), but it does seem that psychedelics have the potential to help treat some patients with substance use disorders. On the other hand, community-based peer support groups like 12-step programs also appear to be effective, as the recent Cochrane review showed.

Ultimately, though, several larger social forces and policy-related issues need to be addressed to allow people with substances use disorders to obtain access to the services and resources they need.

To summarize, “the best possible care for substance use disorders” would likely involve the integration of access to economic resources and social services. The same goes for psychological and pharmacological treatments. There are no easy or simple solutions here.

The aim of our paper was to highlight a somewhat complicated situation – integrating psychedelics into 12-step programs – and to try to understand their dynamics a little better. I think we probably succeeded more in raising questions than we did at providing concrete answers.

Our work at MIND relies on donations from people like you.

If you share our vision and want to support psychedelic research and education, we are grateful for any amount you can give.

  1. Kelly JF, Humphreys K, Ferri M. Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12‐step programs for alcohol use disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2021 Sep 30];(3). Available from:
  2. Kurtz E. A.A.: The Story by Ernest Kurtz. Harpercollins; 1988.
  3. Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book. 4th ed. Hazelden; 2001.
  4. Hartigan F. Bill W.: A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson. Thomas Dunne Books; 2000. 256 p.

Die Ressourcen der MIND Foundation bestehen aus drei Hauptsegmenten: Psychedelic Compendium, Multimedia Trove und die Berlin Registry.

Die Rubrik Ressourcen wurde geschaffen, um einen aktuellen Überblick über deutsche sowie internationale journalistische Berichterstattung, hochwertige Forschungspublikationen und weitere Medien zu psychedelischen Forschungsthemen zu geben.

Nutzen Sie unsere Dokumentation der wachsenden akademischen Beschäftigung mit psychedelischen Erfahrungen und deren Anwendungen im medizinischen Bereich und Selbstentwicklungsprozessen.

Unsere Ressourcen für Sie:

Das Psychedelic Compendium umfasst sorgfältig kuratierte und kommentierte Literatur zu wichtigen Themen der psychedelischen Forschung und Anwendung. Darunter befinden sich vier Kategorien:

  • Listen für Forschende,
  • Listen für Ärzte & Therapeuten,
  • und Listen für Presse & Journalisten,
  • und Listen für Patienten.

Die ersten beiden Kategorien fassen wissenschaftliche Publikationen zusammen. Die Leselisten für Presse & Journalisten umfassen hochwertige journalistische Publikationen aus dem deutschen und internationalen Kontext. Die Kategorie Listen für Patienten enthält einen Mischung informativer Literatur.

Die Multimedia Trove präsentiert eine Auswahl an empfehlenswerter Sachliteratur, Biografien und Belletristik, Podcasts, Spielfilmen und Dokumentationen mit Bezug zur psychedelischen Forschung, Gesellschaft und Kulturgeschichte.

Die Berlin Registry ist eine regelmäßig aktualisierte Übersicht über Unternehmen, die weltweit in der psychedelischen Industrie tätig sind. Die interaktive Karte gibt einen Einblick in derzeit aktive Firmen und ihre laufenden Projekte.

Wir wünschen Ihnen viel Freude beim Durchstöbern unserer Ressourcen!

Psychedelic Compendium

Further Resources

Weitere Ressourcen


Hier werden eine Reihe von Instrumenten vorgestellt, die die wissenschaftliche Untersuchung unterstützen, wie z. B. Fragebögen. Einige dieser Forschungsinstrumente wurden von den Angehörigen der MIND-Familie erstellt, während andere von unseren Kooperationspartnern zur Verfügung gestellt wurden.

Research Instruments


Die Berlin Registry ist eine interaktive und regelmäßig aktualisierte Übersicht über Unternehmen, die in der psychedelischen Industrie tätig sind. Unsere interaktive Karte gibt einen Einblick in aktuell aktive Unternehmen und deren laufende Projekte.

The Berlin Registry


Die Multimedia Trove präsentiert eine Auswahl empfehlenswerter Sachliteratur, Biografien und Belletristik, Podcasts, Spielfilmen und Dokumentationen mit Bezug zur psychedelischen Forschung, Gesellschaft und Kulturgeschichte.

Multimedia Trove
Wir unterstützen und führen hochwertige psychedelische Forschung durch

Die Forschungsprojekte der MIND Foundation sind auf evidenzbasierte Praxis und qualitativ hochwertige Wissenschaft ausgerichtet. In vielen unserer Projekte arbeiten wir gemeinsam mit Universitäten in- und außerhalb Deutschlands, sowie in Zusammenarbeit mit unserem wissenschaftlichen Beirat. Wir laden Sie ein, sich über unsere aktuellen Projekte zu informieren, die im Folgenden aufgeführt sind.

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Die geplante Studie wurde initiiert und wird geleitet von Studienleiter Prof. Dr. med. Gerhard Gründer am Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit Mannheim des Universitätsklinikums Heidelberg. Wir arbeiten mit beiden Studienzentren in Mannheim und an der Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie der Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin zusammen.

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Studien & Umfragen

Erfahren Sie mehr über die Teilnahme an Studien und Online-Umfragen. Sie finden hier sowohl Studien & Umfragen, die direkt von MIND unterstützt werden, als auch solche, die von anderen Universitäten und Instituten durchgeführt werden, die hier vorgestellt werden.

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Die psychedelische Forschung hat Implikationen für ein breites Spektrum von Menschen und Berufen. Wir stellen nützliche Ressourcen zur Verfügung und erweitern diese ständig.

Für Neulinge und diejenigen, die ihr Verständnis des Themas vertiefen möchten.

Erfahren Sie mehr


Mit uniMIND entstehen weltweit akademische Journalclubs zur Diskussion psychedelischer Forschung. Sowohl Studierende als auch höherrangige Akademiker sind eingeladen, sich am kritischen Diskurs über veränderte Bewusstseinszustände und Psychedelika zu beteiligen.

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MIND Awards

In Anerkennung herausragender Beiträge zum Feld psychedelischer Forschung und Therapie verleihen wir jungen sowie etablierten WissenschaftlerInnen Preise unterschiedlicher Art. Die Verleihung findet in der Regel auf der INSIGHT Konferenz statt.

Erfahren Sie mehr


Die MIND Foundation stellt jährlich Stipendien für Doktoranden zur Verfügung.

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Unsere Verpflichtung

Bei der MIND Foundation gestalten wir durch psychedelische Forschung und Bildung eine gesündere, miteinander verbundene Welt. Wir verstehen, dass die Verwirklichung dieser Vision bedeutet, Vielfalt und Integration zu einer Priorität zu machen, unabhängig von Geschlecht, Alter, ethnischer Zugehörigkeit oder sozialem Status, Religion, sexueller Orientierung, körperlichen Merkmalen oder jeglicher gesundheitlicher Einschränkungen.

MIND begrüßt Menschen aus allen Bereichen der Gesellschaft im Engagement für unsere Organisation und unsere Werte. Ganz gleich, ob es um eine zugängliche Gestaltung von Programmen der MIND Academy geht, oder diverse Perspektiven innerhalb des MIND Office zu fördern – wir haben uns verpflichtet, dieses wichtige Thema in der Entwicklung unserer Organisation in den Mittelpunkt zu stellen.

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“Ich glaube, dass der Diskurs über psychedelische Erfahrung durch Beiträge aus einem  breiten Spektrum an Perspektiven immens profitieren kann. Aus diesem Grund fördert die MIND Academy einen integrativen Ansatz in der psychedelischen Forschung und Bildung. Unser Ziel ist es, Grundlagen für konstruktive Dialoge mit einem soliden Fundament in Wissenschaft und kritischem Denken zu schaffen.”

Sergio Pérez Rosal, MD
Direktor der MIND Academy

MIND Academy Diversity Program




Das MIND Academy Diversity Program wird entwickelt, um unser Academy Programm unabhängig von sozioökonomischem Status leichter zugänglich zu machen. Diese Initiative wird Menschen mit aufrichtigem Interesse an unserer Arbeit eine Chance zur Teilnahme bieten, die sonst nicht die Möglichkeit dazu hätten. Bitte melden Sie sich in naher Zukunft bei uns für mehr Information!


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MIND Mitglieder weltweit


Die MIND Members Association(Mitgliedervereinigung, MMA) umfasst eine große Vielfalt an Menschen. Wir heißen alle Menschen willkommen, ungeachtet ihrer Hintergründe und sexuellen Orientierung, Geschlechtsidentität, ethnischen Zugehörigkeit, Kultur, nationalen Herkunft, Hautfarbe, Einwanderungsstatus, Geschlecht, persönlicher Überzeugung oder Religion.

Die MMA setzt sich aus mehr als 600 Mitgliedern zusamen, darunter Neurowissenschaftler, Mediziner, Psychologen, Forscher, Politiker, Künstler, Ökonomen, Studierende und Freunde. Sie unterstützen unsere Vision und setzen sich für die Etablierung sicherer und legaler therapeutischer Nutzung der psychedelischen Erfahrung ein.

Die Mitglieder der MIND Foundation sind weltweit verteilt. Unsere Gemeinschaft erstreckt sich über fünf Kontinente, 34 Nationalitäten, in 28 Ländern. Diese Vielfalt von Menschen bereichert unsere Gemeinschaft und wächst kontinuierlich!


Um mehr über die Mitgliedschaft in unserer internationalen Gemeinschaft zu erfahren, klicken Sie hier.



Stimmen der MIND Mitarbeiter

Perspektiven auf psychedelische Forschung und Therapie

Melina Mitsotaki, M.Phil., RKE Associate und uniMIND Project Coordinator,

“Ich begeistere mich dafür, dass Psychedelika zur Vernetzung und zu Systemdenken führen können. Sei dies im Zusammenhang mit zwischenmenschlichen Beziehungen oder im wissenschaftlichen Betrieb, für mich ist es höchste Zeit, dass unsere weltweite Verbundenheit wahrgenommen wird. Dies kann uns wiederum helfen, die systemischen Probleme unserer Zeit anzugehen und eine bessere Welt um uns herum zu schaffen. Betrachtet man die psychedelische Forschung durch diese Linse, so zeigt sich nicht ein abweichender Ausreißer im Feld der Wissenschaft, sondern ein zentraler Stoffwechselweg, der Kommunikation zwischen den wissenschaftlichen Disziplinen stärkt.“

Vlad Nicolescu, M.Sc., RKE Associate, MIND Academy, und Communications,

“Wie viele Wissenschaftler und Therapeuten in den letzten Jahrzehnten betont haben, können Psychedelika genutzt werden, um das menschliche Bewusstsein zu verstehen, zu transformieren und zu heilen. Wo ich herkomme werden diese Fragen selten bis nie diskutiert. Die Folge ist, dass Menschen im Stillen unter psychischen Erkrankungen und deren Stigmatisierung leiden. Das autoritäre politische Regime des vergangenen Jahrhunderts hat tiefe Spuren in unserer Psyche hinterlassen. Dies wird besonders sichtbar, wenn man sich mit Fragen der psychischen Gesundheit und der sozialen Ungleichheit befasst. Beide Themen werden mit einer gewissen Angst und Unverständnis angegangen. Ich hoffe, dass die psychedelisch-unterstützte Therapie schließlich in der Lage sein wird, einige dieser Probleme zu lindern, indem sie einen Weg bietet, sich selbst und seinen sozialen Kontext zu verstehen, zu akzeptieren und zu transformieren.“

Alejandra Díaz, M.B.A., Members Manager,

“Ich komme aus einem Land mit einer überraschenden Vielfalt an halluzinogenen Kakteen, Kräutern und Pilzen, die in indigenen Kulturen seit Tausenden von Jahren verwendet werden. Es ist aufregend zu sehen, wie diese Substanzen über unsere Grenzen hinaus getragen wurden und auf der ganzen Welt Fantasie angeregt haben. Jetzt, Tausende von Jahren später, versucht die psychedelischen Forschung, einige der tiefgreifenden und einzigartigen substanzinduzierten Bewusstseinsveränderungen zu erklären. Ein Aspekt, der mich besonders erstaunt, ist der Einfluss von Psychedelika auf  Neuroplastizität. Die Wissenschaft scheint darauf hinzuweisen, dass Psychedelika das Potenzial haben, die Gehirn-Verschaltung zu verändern. Das gibt uns die Möglichkeit unsere Lebensgeschichte neu zu schreiben, und dies individuell und im Kollektiven.“

Luis Retana, Marketing Manager,

“Ich habe großes Glück, in der psychedelischen Forschung arbeiten zu dürfen. Ich glaube wir sind es gewohnt, uns mehr um unsere physische als um unsere psychische Gesundheit zu kümmern, da sich dies leichter praktizieren lässt. Wenn es darum geht sich um die eigene psychische Gesundheit zu kümmern, ist das im Alltag irgendwie schwieriger zu bewerkstelligen. Das Verstehen der psychedelischen Erfahrung kann bei der Behandlung psychischer Erkrankungen helfen, indem man mehr über das menschliche Bewusstsein lernt. Das finde ich sehr faszinierend.“

Jagoda Mackowiak, M.Sc., Resources & ASC Study Monitor Project Coordinator, RKE Associate,

“So klischeehaft es auch klingen mag, ich glaube daran, dass Psychedelika die Welt verändern können. Obwohl dies in der modernen Geschichte vernachlässigt wurde, sind psychedelische Substanzen seit Jahrhunderten in der einheimischen Medizin vorhanden. Es ist ein enormer Verlust für die Gesellschaft, dass wir sie in der jungen Vergangenheit beiseite geräumt haben, anstatt ihr therapeutisches Potenzial zu erforschen. Da wir heute ein Wiederaufleben der psychedelischen Forschung erfahren, möchte ich an der Umkehrung des schlechten Rufs der Psychedelika teilhaben und zur Verbesserung der globalen psychischen Gesundheit beitragen.“

Sasha Silberberg, B.A., Director of Communications,
Washington DC, USA

“Obwohl mich viele Bereiche innerhalb der psychedelischen Forschung begeistern, finde ich den therapeutischen Einsatz von Psychedelika bei Patienten, die unter Angststörungen am Lebensende leiden besonders inspirierend und interessant. Psychedelika können den Patienten helfen, die ontologischen Fragen am Ende ihres Lebens anzugehen und die mit dem Tod einhergehende Angst zu lindern. Ich bin gespannt wie sich dieses Forschungsgebiet in den kommenden Jahren entwickelt, wenn der Anteil älterer Menschen an der Weltbevölkerung zunimmt.“

MINDs Richtlinien zur Vielfalt

Die MIND Foundation hält sich an die in der Charta der Grundrechte der Europäischen Union festgelegten Prinzipien bezüglich Gleichheit, Nichtdiskriminierung und Vielfalt. Im Zuge unseres Wachstums entwickeln wir unsere Richtlinien weiter, um dem natürlichen Streben nach Vielfalt in der psychedelischen Forschung und Bildung gerecht zu werden.

Wir freuen uns über jede Rückmeldung oder Anregung.

Schreiben Sie uns

Over the course of six weeks, you will reconnect deeply with one of your psychedelic experiences in order to identify and embody the insights you have gained in sustainable ways. To support you in unfolding both the challenging and the beneficial aspects you may have uncovered, you will be guided through the integration process in six structured steps. Each week will cover one specific aspect and the modules will build on each other, progressing from intention to transformation.

The live webinars will happen once a week for six consecutive weeks, starting on April 12th, 7pm.

The peer group meetings are intended to take place on Sundays from 6pm to 7.30pm (CET) as a follow up to the live webinar sessions. However, the dates for the peer group meetings can be changed, according to the needs of the participants.

You can join from everywhere in the world!


Get your ticket here: Footsteps on MIND Academy Online
The ticket price includes the whole course with all six live sessions and access to all recordings, course resources, additional material and access to the course platform.

Over the course of six weeks, you will reconnect deeply with one of your psychedelic experiences in order to identify and embody the insights you have gained in sustainable ways. To support you in unfolding both the challenging and the beneficial aspects you may have uncovered, you will be guided through the integration process in six structured steps. Each week will cover one specific aspect and the modules will build on each other, progressing from intention to transformation.

The live webinars will happen once a week for six consecutive weeks, starting on June 1st, 8pm.

The peer group meetings are intended to take place on Sundays from 6pm to 7.30pm (CET) as a follow up to the live webinar sessions. However, the dates for the peer group meetings can be changed, according to the needs of the participants.

You can join from everywhere in the world!


Get your ticket here: Footsteps on MIND Academy Online
The ticket price includes the whole course with all six live sessions and access to all recordings, course resources, additional material and access to the course platform.


In the MIND Foundation, we distinguish between two general kinds of partnerships which we may develop further into different sub-types. Cooperations are a type of partnership where actual resources flow in via money, personnel, or materials. In this case, an entire corresponding contract is necessary for tax reasons and clarifying characteristics like a partner’s non-profit or for-profit status. In cooperation projects, it is also important to specify, for example, the publication rights. For cooperation contracts, we usually use templates available by the European or German Research Council and adapt them. The second type of partnerships are resource-free collaborations (there is no flow of material resources, but of course time itself is a very important resource) and are usually about the joint implementation of a project or mutual provided services like media cooperations. Here, a contract is not mandatory, but can always be useful to build clarity and avoid controversies – as these here and there occur e.g. in joint publications.




The aim of this section is to act as a platform for individuals interested in the interplay between coaching & psychedelics as to exchange ideas and experiences, share thoughts, concerns, resources and generally explore how coaching and psychedelics may work together to create positive change for people.

This is a supportive space for professional coaches to discuss their coaching practice in relation to the preparation and integration of psychedelics experiences as a form of peer supervision.





These are some potential projects that the whole section or individual working groups within the section will work on:

  • The formulation of a professional framework/definition for coaching in the context of psychedelics”.
  • The development of a possible integration coaching methodology (e.g. development of a semi-structured methodology or defined framework for integration and/or preparation coaching).
  • The development of a code of ethics for coaches working in the field of psychedelics.


  • An academic white paper to argue the case for the potential coaching & psychedelics to work together and to lay the foundations for future research.
  • A short online course or document on “what we feel you should know if you are a coach and consider to work with clients around their psychedelic experience”.
  • Creating a professional body.
  • Presenting case studies from professional coaches (possibly culminating in a book of coaching & psychedelics case studies).


Code of Ethics

The Coaching & Psychedelics Section has developed a Code of Ethics for coaches working in the psychedelic field. Read the full text here.


Get to know our work environment

The section has already set-up Google Drive and Zoom infrastructure. Zoom provides a secure video platform for our meetings.

Google Drive will provide access to shared documents, resources, meeting minutes, member list, bylaws and other relevant information for the section and is accessible to all members.




Join us

If you are a MIND member and you would like to join this network, please fill out the form below.

Apply for this section



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Magic Yeasts and How to Make Them Produce Psilocybin

An ASC Study Monitor interview with Nick Milne, PhD, CSO of Octarine
  • Blog
  • Science
  • Interview
  • 12 minutes
Janeiro 15, 2021

CSO of Octarine

Nick Milne, PhD, is a Co-founder and the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of Octarine, a synthetic biology company developing cannabinoid and psychedelic therapeutics.

View full profile ››

Research & Knowledge Exchange Associate, Resources Manager

Jagoda contributes to the Drug Science Program and the Resources section.

View full profile ››

Publication Discussed in this ASC Study Monitor interview:
Milne, N., Thomsen, P., Mølgaard Knudsen, N., Rubaszka, P., Kristensen, M., and Borodina, I. (2020) Metabolic engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the de novo production of psilocybin and related tryptamine derivatives. Metabolic Engineering, 60:25-36

J: Welcome, Nick. Thank you so much for coming!  In your lab at The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, you have mainly worked on projects related to sustainability. What made you interested in psilocybin?

N: The research center where I worked is the Center for Biosustainability – A core focus of the center is to develop bio-based processes to replace non-renewable synthetic chemistry. I have always been interested in mental health, and particularly how we treat mental health, or rather how badly we treat mental health today. I was also always interested in the potential of psilocybin.

J: Psilocybin is not a mainstream medication yet; it is actually still quite far from it. At the same time, your research topic sounded like a great idea; was it really so easy to pursue?

N: At the time, it was undoubtedly a bit of a risk, and the first time I pitched the idea, I got laughed at! Eventually, what swayed people was showing them the clinical data. About two years ago, there was a lot of excellent clinical data starting to come out that showed the potential of these molecules, and I think that was what really swayed the people at the center to kind of say: ‘Okay, let’s give this a go.’ Thankfully, it has spun out into a company, and now, a year later, the psychedelics industry is becoming a promising one.

Interested in learning more the psychedelics industry and the current legal context? Check out our INSIGHT 2021 conference in September, which includes presentations by Charles Raison, M.D., on an open science approach to drug development, and a workshop on legal and ethical considerations in psychedelic research by Dr. Fabian Wenner.

J: And just a little bit over one year later, you have already published your results! That went pretty quickly.

N: It was indeed fast! Even by our standards, it did go very quickly, and the time it took to go from idea to proof of concept was only about four months. It took a while to put everything into publication form, but the research went surprisingly well. Thankfully there was a bunch of other researchers who helped a lot with this project which made the whole thing go faster.


J: That sounds great! Could you then summarize what you found in your study and how difficult it was to obtain these results?

N: Our research’s primary goal was to identify how Psilocybe mushrooms produce psilocybin and then figure out how to replicate that process in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, also known as brewer’s yeast. The biosynthetic pathway to produce psilocybin was discovered a couple of years ago, but notably, not all of the genes were found. Since biosynthesis is a process requiring a concerted action of genes involved in synthesis, transport, and regulation it is necessary to classify them all. The main genes identified were the ones that catalyzed the critical reactions, but there was a couple that were left out and still needed to be found. We had to dig a little bit into the genome of Psilocybe cubensis to find the missing genes. We then introduced them into yeast by transferring the genetic material.

We were able to demonstrate the production of psilocybin, which was a good start, but a lot of the work was focused on figuring out how to produce more psilocybin. Basically, the way that we did that was to work on the native yeast metabolism. Essentially how this works is that the genes that we transferred from Psilocybe cubensis work together with the genes that could transform tryptophan into psilocybin. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, but it is also an amino acid that yeast produces endogenously, and actually, most species do. The most challenging part of the work was increasing tryptophan production – so playing around with the native yeast metabolism to increase the rate of tryptophan production, which subsequently led to more psilocybin production.

The last thing we did was to play around with the genetic code of the Psilocybe genes a little bit so that we could divert production towards some of the other intermediates and derivatives of the pathway. For example, we showed that we could make a small tweak and produce aeruginascin instead of psilocybin, and we showed that by introducing entirely foreign genes, we could make molecules that did not yet exist in nature.

J: Other studies, however, successfully demonstrated the production of psilocybin in E. coli.1 Could you explain why did you chose brewer’s yeast and what was the advantage of it?

N: I think, first, it is good to explain why it is a good idea to produce psilocybin in living cells in the first place. Today, apart from our method, there are two main ways of getting psilocybin – either you have to grow the mushroom, or you have to synthesize it chemically. When it comes to the mushroom, if you have seen what a mushroom looks like, it is not that easy to grow, and the psilocybin accumulates in tiny quantities in the mushroom.

J: Psilocybin is also found not evenly distributed across the different parts of the mushroom, so I imagine that extracting psilocybin from large quantities of Psilocybe cubensis must be tricky.

N: Exactly! If we are thinking about commercial applications, we would need massive amounts of mushroom biomass. It would be challenging to extract, and the complexity of this process makes it very difficult for pharmaceutical applications. If we want to use psilocybin in humans, it needs to be very pure, and the production needs to be very consistent. On top of that, most pharmaceutical drugs are derived from non-renewable resources, including psilocybin. Synthetic psilocybin is derived from benzene, which is a fossil fuel.  It is also very environmentally hazardous and the chemical synthesis methods generate toxic waste, so there is undoubtedly an urgent need to develop a more sustainable way, which leads us to production in microorganisms.

And why yeast instead of E. coli? That’s an excellent question; in my mind, there are two reasons – the first is that yeast is  the world’s oldest example of domestication. A thousand years ago, humans started domesticating yeast to produce beer, and fast forward to today; we have this organism bred essentially to thrive in an industrial environment – it does exceptionally well in beer fermentation and ethanol production. That is because it has evolved over all these years to tolerate the very extreme conditions of industrial-scale fermentation.

Still, importantly for psilocybin, the other main reason is that yeast is a very close relative of Psilocybe mushrooms from an evolutionary point of view. They are both from the same kingdom – they are both fungi, so this makes a crucial difference if you want to express foreign genes in an organism; it helps if they are already closely related, and for Psilocybe this is very important. Hydroxylation, which is the key enzymatic step, does not work in bacteria such as E. coli. E. coli is actually missing an organelle – an essential piece of machinery that would allow this enzyme to work. Hence, reconstruction of the entire pathway is virtually impossible in bacteria. Other reports have successfully produced psilocybin in E. coli, but essentially, they had to circumvent this problem by feeding their strain a synthetic compound. From a cost point of view and from an environmental point of view, it is not really feasible. Our study has used sugar as a starting substrate, so it is very sustainable, and we can achieve a much lower cost of production, and our process is almost CO2 neutral.


J: The sustainability of the process is definitely a significant advantage over other methods. You have also fine-tuned the yeast metabolic pathway, but it is probably not optimized yet for large scale production. What exactly would you have to improve to make it optimal for production on an industrial scale?

N:  The main challenge is to increase the amount of sugar that gets converted into psilocybin. Beyond that, to reach commercial-scale production satisfactory enough to be used for human clinical trials, we need to scale the process from one liter to thousands of liters. The fermentation development is critical, and of course, the other issue that we need to look into is how to efficiently purify psilocybin from the fermentation broth.

J: How far is the work, do you think, from achieving a production protocol available to be used industrially? 

N: This work is what we are doing at Octarine right now. It is already feasible to produce small amounts of psilocybin, but to produce the quantities needed for human clinical trials and eventually commercial applications, there is still a little way to go.  Still, the biggest hurdle is the regulatory approval, so we can have a production process ready considerably faster than the regulatory bodies will give the authorization to use it.

J: You have used the method of introducing foreign pieces of DNA into the yeast genome. This has been done already with gene-editing techniques like CRISPR all over the world, and it is not a new thing to do, but there is always a risk involved in the process of playing around with genomes of living organisms, which may produce some unwanted effects. Have you observed any of these?

N: Indeed, it can be a big issue. Not only expressing foreign genes in heterologous hosts [an organism naturally lacking the gene of interest] but also just producing molecules which the organism has not encountered before. In our case, thankfully, we did not see any of these issues. That is another good reason for using yeast – it tolerates foreign gene expression very well and it typically does well when faced with a foreign metabolite. The natural host often produces these molecules for a very good reason, so there has to be a reason why mushrooms produce psilocybin. Often the produced compound acts as a deterrent, which means it is a toxin to microorganisms. This is the case with, for example, cannabinoids, which we also work with. Cannabis produces cannabinoids primarily as an antimicrobial, so if you are trying to produce it in a microorganism, you are going to come across toxicity effects. Thankfully we have not seen any issues so far in the psychedelics we are working with.

J: Right. You have also achieved a stable transformation of the cells, which means that the foreign genetic material is integrated forever.

N: Exactly! This is another excellent reason for using yeast. It is very easy to integrate straight into the genome and integrate stably, so essentially the genes are in there without any selection pressure or anything to force them to stay there.

J: Usually antibiotic resistance genes are transferred together with genes of interest, so that when an antibiotic is introduced into the growth medium the cells are continuously forced to express the foreign genes. You have managed to integrate your genes of interest without any antibiotic selection?

N: Yes, and that is important for large scale production, you do not want to have antibiotics or any sort of selection pressure, both from a cost point of view – antibiotics are expensive – but also from a human safety point of view – you do not want antibiotics in your mixture, and you also do not want any activation of the antibiotic resistance genes.


J: Next to all those impressive achievements, you have managed to do another thing – to synthesize a novel molecule that has not existed in nature before, N-acetyl-4-hydroxytryptamine. Could you tell us about this compound and if you are going to investigate it in more detail in the future?

N: We are not only interested in producing psilocybin; we are also interested in the range of other molecules that Psilocybe mushrooms produce. We were inspired by the fascinating findings in the research on cannabinoids, which shows that some of the minor cannabinoids have new or improved functions. For example, CBD seems to be very effective at treating epilepsy, but one of the minor cannabinoids, CBDv, potentially could be even better. The amount of evidence is growing, and it suggests that the same could be true for Psilocybe mushrooms, so we are, of course, very interested in all of the derivatives and all the intermediates that the Psilocybe mushroom produces.

Going beyond that, one of the things that we are very interested in, especially at Octarine, is how we can use biological machinery to create molecules that do not exist in nature. At least in theory, enzymes should be vastly superior to synthetic chemistry. They should be able to catalyze reactions that synthetic chemistry cannot do, do it much more efficiently, and under much more favorable conditions. The trick here is figuring out how you can ‘convince’ an enzyme to catalyze a reaction it does not normally do. That is a part of the core technology that we are developing at Octarine, but in this paper, we just wanted to demonstrate the potential of natural enzymes to be coaxed into catalyzing reactions, which they do not normally do.  That was an example with this molecule N-acetyl-4-hydroxytryptamine, which is essentially half psilocybin and half melatonin. In general, we are very interested in investigating the properties not only of novel molecules that are produced in our platform but also the properties of some of the minor tryptamines that Psilocybe mushrooms and other psychedelic organisms produce.

J: Melatonin is a sleep hormone found in the human brain and psilocybin acts on serotonin receptors. Do you think this new type of tryptamine could also have some psychoactive effects in humans?

N: I would say it is too early to speculate. This work is more about a production proof of concept, but what I can say is that, in general, the idea is that we are creating new molecules in the hope of creating a better version of psilocybin or a molecule that has a different therapeutic effect. This is essentially the work that is going on right now – we try to figure out what these molecules do and whether they could be interesting from a therapeutic point of view.

J: It seems like there is a whole new generation of compounds waiting to be discovered, which is very exciting! Now, imagine somebody gives you an unlimited grant for Octarine, for any research project. What would it be?

N: This is a very good question and what comes to my mind is that in nature, there are thousands and thousands of interesting molecules that have interesting therapeutic effects, and we have been exploiting these natural sources since, well, forever.

J: That is true in the indigenous context, but in Western medicine they have been relatively neglected.

N: Exactly, and I think part of the reason is that there is a big gap that exists between understanding what these molecules do and figuring out how we can produce them. There are plenty of examples of molecules that we know exist in nature, and we even know that they have remarkable therapeutic properties, but we do not have the tools yet to produce them in quantities suitable for pharmaceutical application.  For a very long time we had no idea how the natural organism produced them. It was only in the last few years that we actually figured out how cannabis makes cannabinoids and how Psilocybe mushrooms make psilocybin. However, for the thousands of other molecules, we have little idea how they are produced, and we have no idea which enzymes and which genes are responsible. I think this is a bottleneck in developing natural molecules for therapeutic applications.


J: What exactly would be the first big step to improve this situation?

N: In my opinion, the main problem is speed – we have methods in place for elucidating biosynthetic pathways, but they are incredibly laborious and time-consuming. There have been considerable advances in obtaining increasingly large data sets on cellular processes. Perhaps using things like machine learning or artificial intelligence to take some of the guesswork out of the interpretation of this data could be a significant improvement. We make some good guesses about what we think is going on, but then we spend a very long time testing it, and far too often… we are wrong.

J: So, computer modeling could definitely speed up the process.

N: I think so. Taking the human aspect out of it and improving our methods of figuring things out would definitely improve our best guesses on which genes are involved. It would be a giant leap in the field, I think.

J: I will keep my fingers crossed for the developments in Octarine. My last question relates to what you said before about the first time you pitched your idea to others and it was met with… not the most fertile ground. Do you have any hints for researchers and students about how to push for this kind of research?

N: I think that, at least in the research community, the stigma around these molecules is rapidly decreasing.  In my opinion, it is because we can look at the clinical data and it is fairly black and white that these molecules hold a lot of promise, so it is not the research community that needs to worry about stigma; it is the public perception which I think is a more significant issue. In general, a part of how I got into the field was looking at the clinical data and being convinced that there is something interesting there. I always think that a good place to start is to dive deep into the data and see for yourself the potential of these molecules.

One of the great things about this field, as well as with cannabinoids, is that it brings together people from entirely different backgrounds. I could never imagine that I would be working with all different kinds of researchers, but that just shows how promising these industries are and that it requires collaboration from so many different backgrounds. In my case, the background is yeast and microbiology. I have spent my career making biofuels and trying to decrease fossil fuel emissions, so it is fascinating how different experiences can be relevant. The field is developing thanks to people applying the skills they have picked up in one area and figuring out how it can be applied to the psychedelics industry. I think that would be my advice – look at the skills you have and try to see how they can be applied to this new industry because I really believe that there is so much opportunity for development in the ecosystem.

J: Thank you so much for this advice! One piece of good news that I could share with you is that the Central Institute of Mental Health (ZI) Mannheim have just recently announced the start of a psilocybin-depression study lead by Prof. Dr. Gerhard Gründer. The MIND Foundation participates in this research and our clinical partner OVID supports with therapists at the second study center in Berlin – and both are thus providing additional financial resources for the study. It is the first study of this kind with the prospect of being funded by German governmental funds.

N: I think that in the world, the momentum is very rapidly building, and I read about this the other day. It is a huge moment, since public funding is being used for psychedelic research. One thing that was really encouraging for us is that one of our investors is the Danish government.

J: That is amazing!

N: The Danish government has a venture fund and they are one of our biggest investors. For us, that is a hugely positive sign for industry in terms of overcoming the stigma – the fact that public institutions and even governments are getting behind this kind of research. Even the FDA has a lot of positive things to say about psychedelics and they are very pragmatic about this, so indeed, times are changing and I have no doubt that five years from now, this will not be an issue anymore and it will become clear that psychedelics can be used for therapeutic benefit.

J: As soon as the pharmaceutical industry recognizes the benefits?

N: Essentially, that is what we have seen with cannabinoids.

J: That is true; the therapeutic use of cannabinoids became mainstream so quickly.

N: It is essentially mainstream by now, right? The majority of people agree that cannabis is therapeutic and it is a pharmaceutical drug now, so seeing how that has changed in such a short amount of time makes me really think that psychedelics will closely follow.

J: It makes me optimistic as well, so fingers crossed for that and thank you so much for the talk!

N: Thanks, I appreciated the time.

For more on this and many other issues in psychedelic research, be sure to check out our INSIGHT 2021 conference program and pre-conference workshops.

Our work at MIND relies on donations from people like you.

If you share our vision and want to support psychedelic research and education, we are grateful for any amount you can give.



  1. Adams, A. M., Kaplan, N. A., Wei, Z., Brinton, J. D., Monnier, C. S., Enacopol, A. L., Ramelot, T. A., & Jones, J. A. (2019). In vivo production of psilocybin in E. coli. Metabolic engineering, 56:111–119.