Johns Hopkins Medicine Opens Center for Psychedelic Research

The new facility is the very first of its kind in the United States.

Psychedelic-assisted therapy is nothing new. However, there has been rekindled interest in the mysterious world of psychedelics as research has revealed that many of the commonly known psychedelics have the potential to treat mental illness This has garnered worldwide attention from the scientific community, even triggering the decriminalization of some psychedelics.  

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For the uninitiated, psychedelic-assisted therapy refers to therapeutic practices that involve the ingestion of a psychedelic drug. The therapeutic benefits of psychedelics have been investigated by scientists since the ’50s and ’60s. The practice was revived again in the ’90s and has picked up tremendous steam recently. 

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A recent example of this enthusiasm for psychedelic has appeared in a massive new investment in the world of psychedelics. Renowned research and medical facility Johns Hopkins Medicine just announced the launch of the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, placing a $17 million bet on the potential healing power of psychedelics. 

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Psychedelic Medicine

Now when it comes to the world of psychedelic medicine two psychedelics stand out from the rest of the pack; LSD and psilocybin or magic mushrooms. Both of the substances have been tested for the past decade demonstrating the ability to treat depression, help those who suffer from alcoholism, and relieve anxiety.    

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These parallel the goals of the people over at Johns Hopkins Medicine. The overarching aim is to study the psychedelic substances mentioned above for a wide range of mental health issues including anorexia, addiction, and depression. This is an exciting time for psychedelics in the United States as it is the first facility of its kind in the country. 

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"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," stated Roland Griffiths, the center's director and professor of behavioral biology in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University.

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"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."

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Treatments of the future

The world has been slow to embrace the world of psychedelics, as some believe that psychedelics can exacerbate common mental health issues. Even more so, the legal status of most psychedelics has not made things any easier for researchers. Researchers from John Hopkins have an overall positive outlook about treatment for the future.  

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They imagine a world in which you might go to visit a therapist, take a psychedelic, sit and talk about how you feel in the moment; a method that has been similarly used in clinical trials. 

“This is an exciting initiative that brings new focus to efforts to learn about mind, brain and psychiatric disorders by studying the effects of psychedelic drugs,” said Dr. John Krystal, chair of psychiatry at Yale University in an email about the Johns Hopkins center to The New York Times.

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