America's first center for psychedelic research launched at Johns Hopkins University
In a first for the United States, Johns Hopkins University is launching a research center dedicated to investigating the effects and medical potential of psychedelic compounds. Called the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research it’s suggested this will be the largest research hub of its kind in the world.
The center is funded to the tune of US$17 million by a handful of private donors, including co-founder of WordPress Matt Mullenweg, founder of the shoe and accessory brand TOMS Blake Mycoskie, and the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation. It's claimed this initial flush of funding will effectively cover the first five years of the center’s operational expenses.
Pioneering psychedelic researcher Roland Griffiths has been appointed the center’s director. Griffiths’ research examining the associations between psilocybin and mystical experiences in the early 2000s was at the forefront of the modern renaissance in psychedelic medicine over the past decade. Griffiths suggests the new center will enable his team to expand its sphere of research while also allowing new pathways for graduate students interested in the field of psychedelic science.
"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 Griffiths. "In addition to studies on new therapeutics, we plan to investigate creativity and well-being in healthy volunteers that we hope will open up new ways to support human thriving."
Most of the center's work at this stage seems to be focusing on psilocybin, the primary psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms. Prior Johns Hopkins research has examined the therapeutic uses of psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression, distress faced in life-threatening diseases, and a variety of addictions. The new center will allow for a multitude of novel studies to get underway, investigating the potential for psilocybin to treat anorexia nervosa, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
"We have to take braver and bolder steps if we want to help those suffering from chronic illness, addiction, and mental health challenges," explains Alex Cohen, president of the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation. "By investing in the Johns Hopkins center, we are investing in the hope that researchers will keep proving the benefits of psychedelics – and people will have new ways to heal."
The launch of the center follows a similar announcement earlier in the year from Imperial College London, which established a psychedelic research hub in the United Kingdom. Called the Centre of Psychedelic Research, that facility is led by Robin Carhart-Harris, a leading UK figure in the new wave of psychedelic research.
Source: Johns Hopkins University