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The Psychedelic Drug Trial

   2021    Medicine
A ground-breaking new trial at Imperial College London sees, for the first time ever under controlled conditions, a psychedelic drug tested head-to-head against a standard antidepressant as a treatment for depression. The film follows a pioneering team of scientists and psychotherapists as they compare the effects of psilocybin (the active ingredient of magic mushrooms) with an antidepressant on a small group of participants with clinical depression.
This is scientific research at its most cutting edge. With over seven million people being prescribed antidepressants each year in England alone, this drug trial is an important milestone in understanding a completely different treatment for depression. How do psychedelic drugs measure up against the industry-standard antidepressants that have been popular since the 1990s? The empirical results of the trial are explored alongside the participants’ powerful lived experience.

Know Your Mushrooms

   2008    Culture
Ron Mann investigates the miraculous, near-secret world of fungi. Visionaries Gary Lincoff and Larry Evans lead us on a hunt for the wild mushroom and the deeper cultural experiences attached to the mysterious fungi. The oldest and largest living organisms recorded on Earth are both fungi. And their use by a new, maverick breed of scientists and thinkers has proven vital in the cleansing of sites despoiled by toxins and as a "clean" pesticide, among many other environmentally friendly applications. Combining material filmed at the Telluride Mushroom Fest with animation and archival footage, along with a neo-psychedelic soundtrack by The Flaming Lips, this film opens the doors to perception, taking the audience on an extraordinary trip where the fungi might well guide humanity to a saner, safer place.

The Magic of Mushrooms

   2014    Science
Professor Richard Fortey delves into the fascinating and normally-hidden kingdom of fungi. From their spectacular birth, through their secretive underground life to their final explosive death, Richard reveals a remarkable world that few of us understand or even realise exists - yet all life on Earth depends on it. In a specially-built mushroom lab, with the help of mycologist Dr Patrick Hickey and some state-of-the-art technology, Richard brings to life the secret world of mushrooms as never seen before and reveals the spectacular abilities of fungi to break down waste and sustain new plant life, keeping our planet alive. Beyond the lab, Richard travels across Britain and beyond to show us the biggest, fastest and most deadly organisms on the planet - all of them fungi. He reveals their almost magical powers that have world-changing potential - opening up new frontiers in science, medicine and technology.

Chapter 2 Psilocybin

   2022    Medicine
Magic mushrooms, long considered sacred by the Indigenous Mazatec in Mexico, become the subject of scientific studies measuring the intense effects of its Psilocybin and its potential therapeutic use.
In the second episode, we are introduced to Ben, who’s battled with crippling Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) his entire life. When he had his firstborn, Ben’s life became full of panic attacks regarding his son’s safety, and he knew something had to change. Ben signed up for a psilocybin-assisted therapy clinical trial which was testing whether the psychedelic could help people with severe OCD. In the session under the influence of psilocybin, Ben felt decomposed and eventually grew into a tree. While living as a tree, he saw his human self, playing with his child. Though this sounds scary, from Ben’s perspective, it was beautiful. He was one with the universe, seeing himself in the ultimate third-person perspective. Finally, he saw how it could be different if he didn’t let his OCD control him. And several months out, all the symptoms disappeared.
Ben’s story is one of many told in this series, which gives hope that help is right around the corner for the millions who suffer —often in silence— with debilitating mental disorders. But Michael Pollan’s work is showcasing the success stories. Often, even in the most successful trials, psychedelic-assisted therapy only helps up to a third of people enter remission. More frequently, patients are helped —sometimes substantially— but they still suffer with their illnesses and some people aren’t helped at all.
Series: How to Change Your Mind

Woodland

   2023    Nature
Sir David Attenborough explores the incredible diversity of Britain’s woodlands, taking us on a seasonal journey through our forests, and revealing a host of spectacular animals and the hidden dramas that rule their lives.
In an ancient pine tree in the Cairngorms, two eagle chicks are on the verge of fledging their gargantuan nest. In winter in the Forest of Dean, the reintroduction of wild boar has given the robin a lifeline. As they root through the thick snow, the boar unearth the worms with their snouts, which the robins otherwise couldn't find.
Back in Scotland, a male capercaillie displays to gathering females. These birds are on the edge. With only around 500 left, they are some of the rarest and most threatened in the British Isles. In a beech woodland outside London, the deciduous trees burst to life in spring, and huge colonies of wood ants awaken and go looking for food. Also looking for sustenance is a female roe deer. With no large predators left in our woods, the deer are free to browse on new growth to the extent that they can damage the woodland itself.
In Sussex is an ancient-looking landscape, but one that has only been recreated in the past 20 years. This is the wood pasture of Knepp, created by using old grazing methods that generate a mix of scrub, open areas and ancient trees. In the Scottish Highlands, red squirrels battle it out for access to ripe pine cones at the top of a tree. It’s an acrobatic and energetic encounter, with more than a little cunning required to win the day. As the summer finally fades, we encounter a honey buzzard nest, where two chicks feast on wasp grubs, squabble between themselves and grow up before our eyes.
Autumn brings the fallow deer rut. The woods resonate with their calls, and bucks fight for supremacy. The season also brings colour, both in the leaves but also in the fungi that fruit at this time of year. The mushrooms are just a tiny part of their story, however, and we travel underground to see how the wood-wide web connects the whole forest together.
Series: Wild Isles
The Jinx

The Jinx

2024  History
The Jinx

The Jinx

2015  History
Atom

Atom

2007  Science
Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece

2013  History
The Big Conn

The Big Conn

2022  Culture
High Score

High Score

2020  Technology