Johns Hopkins Launches Research Center on Psychedelics
Johns Hopkins Launches Research Center on Psychedelics

Johns Hopkins Launches Research Center on Psychedelics

The facility, focused on finding treatments for mental health disorders, will be the first of its kind in the US.

Sep 9, 2019
Emily Makowski

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Last Wednesday (September 4), Johns Hopkins Medicine announced the launch of the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, which will focus on using psychedelic compounds such as LSD, ketamine, and psilocybin to treat mental health problems. The center, founded with $17 million in donations, is the first of its kind in the US, according to The New York Times.  It follows the opening of Imperial College London’s psychedelic treatment center in April 2019.

“The center’s establishment reflects a new era of research in therapeutics and the mind through studying this unique and remarkable class of pharmacological compounds,” says center director and neurologist Roland Griffiths in a press release. The use of psychedelics as treatment has been studied since the mid-20th century, but progress has stalled historically due to stigma, potential for abuse, and mixed research results. The new center is opening after several decades of renewed interest in treatment using psychedelics.

See “Decoding the Tripping Brain

Much of the funding for the center was driven by entrepreneur Tim Ferriss, who personally donated more than $2 million, according to The New York Times. Because there is currently no federal funding for research on psychedelic drugs, the center will depend on private donors.

Future studies planned by the center include researching the use of psilocybin to treat opioid addiction, Alzheimer’s disease, PTSD, anorexia nervosa, and alcohol use in depressed patients. In addition to conducting research, faculty will train graduate and medical students in psychedelic science, according to the press release.

Emily Makowski is an intern at The Scientist. Email her at emakowski@the-scientist.com.