Psilocybin researcher Roland Griffiths formally announced the new Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins University last week, VICE reports.
According to Griffiths, it will be “completely new and more of the same,” meaning he and his research team will continue to lead investigations into the potential benefits of psychedelics like psilocybin in the treatment of many conditions such as addiction, including alcoholism and nicotine dependence; post-traumatic stress disorder; anorexia; Alzheimer’s; Lyme disease; and more. What’s new, however, is that the FDA is beginning to warm up to the idea of psychedelics having medicinal potential, despite being categorized as Schedule 1 substances with supposedly zero medicinal value.
Psilocybin, in particular, has undergone something of a political transformation over the last year. Last October, the FDA granted psilocybin “breakthrough therapy” status. Denver voters, meanwhile, opted to decriminalize the substance in May, while activists in Oregon are gearing up for a 2020 initiative that could potentially legalize the banned mushrooms for medical purposes.
“This is clearly becoming more mainstream. There are many inadequate mental-health and addiction treatments today, and we need new medications to come down the pipe. This is how it’s done. It’s a well overdue initiative.” — Mark Haden, executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) Canada, via VICE
Because of its Schedule 1 categorization, funding for psilocybin research has been historically sparse — the new Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, however, is born out of $17 million worth of private donations to Johns Hopkins.
“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,” said Griffiths in a press release. “In addition to studies on new therapeutics, [they] plan to investigate creativity and the well-being in healthy volunteers that [they] hope will open up new ways to support human thriving.”
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