Episode 337

The Future of Psychedelic Medicine

A Conversation with Jeannie Fontana and Robin Carhart-Harris

October 4, 2023

Sam Harris speaks with Jeannie Fontana and Robin Carhart-Harris about the TREAT Initiative in California and the growing promise of psychedelics for mental health care.

Jeannie Fontana, MD, PhD, is a multifaceted leader in healthcare, specializing in Internal Medicine, Environmental Toxicology, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. She initiated an ALS-focused research team at Sanford Burnham Prebys and established the Cedars-Sinai ALS Center of Excellence, driving policy change and boosting federal funding for ALS research. As a founding trustee of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), she played a pivotal role in creating the world's largest stem cell granting agency with an $8.5 billion budget. Under her influence, the agency has achieved FDA approvals, fast-track designations, and launched groundbreaking clinical trials. Additionally, CIRM catalyzed the creation of over 55,000 jobs, 50 new companies, and $10 billion in added state revenue. Now, Jeannie is poised to address California's urgent mental health crisis through her role in the TREAT California Initiative.

Website: treatcalifornia.org


Robin Carhart-Harris, PhD, moved to Imperial College London in 2008 after obtaining a PhD in Psychopharmacology from the University of Bristol. He has designed human brain imaging studies with LSD, psilocybin, MDMA and DMT, and several clinical trials of psilocybin therapy for severe mental illnesses, including 3 key trials in depression plus 2 further trials in anorexia and fibromyalgia syndrome. Dr Carhart-Harris founded the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London in April 2019, the first of its kind in the world. In 2020, he was named among the top 31 medical scientists by The Times newspaper. Dr Carhart-Harris became the inaugural Ralph Metzner Distinguished Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco in 2021, and in the same year, was listed in TIME magazine’s ‘100 Next’ - a list of emerging leaders from around the world who are shaping the future.

Website: carhartharrislab.com

Twitter: @RCarhartHarris


Learning how to train your mind is the single greatest investment you can make in life. That’s why Sam Harris created the Waking Up app. From rational mindfulness practice to lessons on some of life’s most important topics, join Sam as he demystifies the practice of meditation and explores the theory behind it.