johns hopkins

Johns Hopkins Opens New Center for Psychedelic Research

Benedict Carey, writing for The New York Times:

On Wednesday, Johns Hopkins Medicine announced the launch of the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, to study compounds like LSD and psilocybin for a range of mental health problems, including anorexia, addiction and depression. The center is the first of its kind in the country, established with $17 million in commitments from wealthy private donors and a foundation. Imperial College London launched what is thought to be the world’s first such center in April, with some $3.5 million from private sources.

First Imperial College London, now Johns Hopkins. It’s amazing to see two psychedelic research centers open up in one year. And $17 million from a group of private donors ain’t too bad.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this announcement is what will be studied:

Within the center, scientists will launch studies of psilocybin (the key psychedelic ingredient in magic mushrooms) as a treatment for a panoply of disorders and conditions: anorexia, opioid addiction, Alzheimer’s, chronic Lyme disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, and alcohol addiction. John Hopkins scientists will also study the effects of micro-dosing on healthy people, and will conduct a study on how psilocybin affects creativity.

Many of these tests of psilocybin are novel: The studies on anorexia, Alzheimer’s, opiate addiction, and Lyme disease will all be the first of their kind. And though there’s currently an advanced trial on using the psychedelic MDMA to treat PTSD, the John Hopkins trial will be the first to systematically evaluate psilocybin.

We’ll have to wait until these studies are published to see if psilocybin can successfully treat any of these ailments, but I’ll wager that it’s good for at least a few.