Researching psychedelics to treat addiction
Psychedelics were the subject of serious medical research in the 1940s to the 1960s, when many scientists believed some of the mind-bending compounds held tremendous therapeutic promise for treating a number of conditions including severe mental health problems and alcohol addiction. By the mid-60s, research into psychedelics was shut down for decades.
After the blackout ended, the doctor we have on the podcast today was among the first to initiate a new series of studies on psilocybin—the psychoactive compound in “magic” mushrooms.
On today’s Broken Brain Podcast, our host, Dhru, talks to Dr. Roland Griffiths, a Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He has conducted extensive research with sedative-hypnotics, caffeine, and novel mood-altering drugs. In 1999, he initiated a research program at Johns Hopkins investigating the effects of the classic hallucinogen psilocybin that includes studies of psilocybin-occasioned mystical-type experiences in healthy volunteers, psilocybin-facilitated treatment of psychological distress in cancer patients, psilocybin-facilitated treatment of cigarette smoking cessation, psilocybin effects in beginning and long-term meditators, and psilocybin effects in religious leaders.
In this episode, Dhru and Dr. Griffiths talk about his extensive research with psilocybin in the treatment of psychological distress in cancer patients and cigarette smoking cessation. They discuss the connection between psilocybin, spirituality, and consciousness. They also talk about psychedelics and their potential for treating conditions ranging from drug and alcohol dependence to depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.