Come on our crash course through the latest developments in drugs. Learn how they can be used and about recent breakthroughs in the therapeutic use of...

Future of Drugs


The Great Hall, Level 5, Tower Building
2007 NSW

Vivid Ideas Exchange, University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
From: $25.00
New Horizons: Future of Drugs
New Horizons: Future of Drugs


Iain McGregor headshot

Iain McGregor

Iain McGregor is Professor of Psychopharmacology and Academic Director of the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics in the Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney, Australia.
Iain's research is focused on the discovery and development of new medications for the treatment of disease. His research spans medicinal chemistry, in silico pharmacology, cellular and preclinical animal models of disease, human psychopharmacology and clinical trials.
Iain has a strong interest in the area of medicinal cannabis with more than 25 years of experience in cannabinoid research. The Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics was formed in 2015 with a gift of unprecedented generosity from the Lambert family to the University of Sydney.
The Lambert Initiative aims to fast track research into the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids in various disease states including epilepsy, pain, cancer, addictions and mental health conditions. The Lambert Initiative is also engaged at a social and political level to improve community and professional education around medicinal cannabis and to bring about evidence-based regulatory change and improved patient access.

Samuel Banister headshot

Samuel Banister

Samuel Banister is Team Leader in Medicinal Chemistry at the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics within the Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney, Australia. Samuel’s research utilises cannabinoids and related natural compounds for the development of clinical candidates to treat disorders of the brain including epilepsy, neuropathic pain, and substance abuse.
Samuel also studies the chemistry, pharmacology, and toxicology of so-called “designer drugs”, formally known as new psychoactive substances (NPS). Dr Banister regularly consults to government agencies in Australia, New Zealand, and the USA on the latest developments in emerging drugs. His expertise in the science of psychoactive substances is internationally recognised, and his work in this area has been featured in major newspapers including The New York Times and The Sydney Morning Herald. He has been invited to speak about his work on several US national radio programs and podcasts, and has presented his work at science outreach events such as National Science Week and Pint of Science.

Event Details

Come on our crash course through the latest developments in drugs. Learn how they can be used and about recent breakthroughs in the therapeutic use of illicit drugs, the medicalisation of cannabis as well as the explosion of interest in psychedelic microdosing for sharpening the mind and enhancing creativity.

You’ll hear from Professor Iain McGregor and Dr Sam Banister – two of Australia’s leading experts in the chemistry and pharmacology of psychoactive substances. They will unpack the history and promise of future drugs, and share insights regarding their effects revealed by advances in biology, neuroscience and brain imaging.

Currently in Australia, about one in six people take some form of drug – prescription or otherwise – to combat a mental health condition. Despite limited effectiveness, risks of addiction and serious side-effects, there are few new medicines in the pipeline. This is ironic given experimentation with illicit drugs for medicinal purposes, so-called “new psychoactive substances” (NPS), is on the rise.

Iain and Sam investigate why pharmaceutical companies have reduced their output of psychiatric drugs over the past decade and how the industry is now changing its tune on the therapeutic use of currently illicit psychoactive plants and drugs. Cannabis (marijuana) and its components have been reintroduced into mainstream medicine as approved drugs for treating neurological disorders including childhood epilepsies and other conditions, with new studies showing therapeutic benefits in everything from pain management to insomnia relief. MDMA (ecstasy) is currently being administered to hundreds of post-traumatic stress disorder sufferers with positive, long-term benefits, while psilocybin (the psychedelic component of magic mushrooms) is being trialled as a treatment for major depression and anxiety in terminal cancer patients.

Come and hear why the wind is changing. Find out what this means for promising psychoactive drug trials, approvals and distribution. Understand the latest debates around decriminalisation, legalisation and medicalisation of illicit drugs. And, discover what future drugs could do for you… or sufferers you know. 

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