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A New Understanding explores the treatment of end-of-life anxiety in terminally ill cancer patients using psilocybin, a psychoactive compound found in some mushrooms, to facilitate deeply spiritual experiences. The documentary explores the confluence of science and spirituality in the first psychedelic research studies with terminally ill patients since the 1970s.

The recent resurgence of psychedelic research is once again revealing the power of compounds like psilocybin to profoundly alter our understanding of both life and death. As a society we devote a great deal of attention to treating cancer, but very little to treating the human being who is dying of cancer.

Through the eyes of patients, their loved ones, therapists and researchers A New Understanding examines the use of psilocybin in a controlled setting to reduce psychospiritual anxiety, depression, and physical pain. The treatment aims to help the patient understand that a 'good' death is possible, and to help the patient's family deal well with the dying process.

A New Understanding shows patients and their families coming to terms with dying through the skillful treatment of the whole human being. If we can learn to work more skillfully with dying, we will also learn to take better care of life.



A New Understanding: The Science of Psilocybin is a documentary based on Federal Drug Administration approved research with the medicine psilocybin conducted by leading doctors at The Heffter Research Institute at UCLA, New York University, and John's Hopkins University. The results of the phase 2 studies have been published in top tier, peer-reviewed psychiatric journals. As a board member of The Heffter Research Institute and The Multi-Disciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, I have a long standing interest in understanding and sharing these important FDA approved research studies.

My ambition is that the research documented in this film may in some manner help alleviate human suffering. Shaping a better world for our children, and for my ten-year-old daughter to understand what is important and meaningful to her father, have been the motivating factors for me in delivering this film.

I myself have suffered from cancer. At an early age, I saw my mother pass away from leukemia, and lost a close friend to a brain tumor. I have witnessed firsthand the suffering of those around me and wished so much for alleviation in their struggle. The film offers others the opportunity to find comfort and relief by giving access to information about psychoactive treatment.

Through the vehicle of this film, compelling scientific research is communicated that may assist in changing the legality of psilocybin. Legalizing this medicine to make it available as part of a therapeutic practice to those people who can benefit from this treatment would mean accessibility for end of life patients to experience profoundly more positive states of being.

~ Robert J. Barnhart


"This is Brian James, the property manager at COSM and the Entheon project manager. I saw "a New Understanding " at Cosm and wanted to thank you for the experience. It was late that night and you had a gaggle of others waiting about to speak, so I didn't get a chance to thank you in person.


Thank you for making such a powerful statement and thank you for supporting our little out post. The film is an important work and a step towards rescheduling a powerful medicine.

Best regards, love and light


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