Johns Hopkins receives first federal grant for psychedelic treatment research in 50 years


Johns Hopkins Medicine received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to explore the potential impacts of psilocybin on tobacco addiction, the first NIH grant in over half a century to directly study the therapeutic effects of a psychedelic classic.

Johns Hopkins Medicine will lead the three-year multi-site study in collaboration with the University of Alabama at Birmingham and New York University. The study will be conducted simultaneously at all three facilities in order to diversify the pool of participants and increase confidence that the results apply to a wide range of smokers. The grant, totaling nearly $ 4 million, is funded by the NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse.

“The historical significance of this grant is monumental.”

Matthew Johnson

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

“The historical significance of this grant is monumental,” said lead researcher Matthew Johnson, professor of psychedelics and conscience in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “We knew it was only a matter of time before the NIH funded this work because the data is so compelling and because the work was proven to be safe. Psilocybin carries very real risks, but these risks are downright mitigated in controlled environments through screening, preparation, screening and follow-up care. ”

Over the past 20 years, there has been a renaissance of research with classic psychedelics, which are the pharmacological class of compounds that includes psilocybin and LSD. These studies were largely funded by philanthropy, resulting in impressive clinical results for cancer-related existential distress, major depressive disorder, and substance use disorders.

Johnson started this line of research testing psilocybin for smoking cessation 13 years ago. A pilot study published in 2014 showed very high abstinence rates, much higher than those seen with traditional smoking cessation drugs and therapies.

The current, double-blind, randomized trial involves sessions of psilocybin as well as cognitive behavioral therapy, a type of talk therapy or psychotherapy focused on identifying negative thought patterns that can lead to behavioral and behavioral problems. Mental Health. Researchers suggest that psilocybin may help break the addictive pattern of thinking and behavior that has taken hold after years of smoking, helping people quit smoking.

Psilocybin, a compound found in so-called magic mushrooms, produces visual and auditory illusions and profound changes in consciousness. Combined with preparation and structured support, psilocybin has shown promise for the treatment of a range of addictions and mental health disorders.

This research is supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.

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