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John Hopkins Psychedelic Research Center

Dec 7, 2020
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John Hopkins, in 2019 received a donation of $17 million from private donors towards a new research center to study hallucinogenic drugs and psychedelic research. The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research is one of the first in the U.S. and is estimated to be the largest across the globe. Because psychedelic research has been going on prior to the establishment of The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, they have set very high standards and expectations for new breakthroughs and advancement in research. With the credibility of John Hopkins research, an establishment like this in a highly debated field such as psychedelics further proves the importance and validation of the ideas working and benefiting those battling mental health issues. The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness research will employ six faculty neuroscientists, experimental psychologists and clinicians with expertise in psychedelic science, as well as five postdoctoral scientists. The current and previous ongoing studies happening at John Hopkins have been able to highlight the most important therapeutic benefits of psychedelics, making the new Center for Psychedelic research very promising.

What Are Psychedelics?

Emerging research has validated psychedelics to be a healthing method for all kinds of mental disorders. This includes the treatment of depression, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and addiction. Psychedelics are a class of drugs which alter your conscious state of the mind through the release of seratonin. Oftentimes, these drugs trigger an altered state of mental, psychological, and audible being. Preconceived negative associations with drugs due to false portrayal in the media have led people to believe certain things about psychedelic drugs that simply aren't true. However, with emerging research and clinical trials backing these studies, many people are starting to realize that certain drugs actually have the ability to do more good than bad on our minds.

The Promising Potential of Psychedelic Research

Psychedelic research has made advances on improving the effect of chronic and severe mental disorders not only more effectively, but also in a more time efficient manner. Post-traumatic stress disorder is an ongoing issue that can greatly affect one's quality of life. Treatment for PTSD can take years to complete and often does not last, MDMA-assisted psychotherapy has emerged as a viable potential alternative to standard treatment options for PTSD in recent years. Along with PTSD treatment surrounding psychedelics, psilocybin, the hallucinogenic chemical in mushrooms, has proven to help treat multiple mental disorders including depression, anxiety and addiction. In regards to psilocybin being so effective in treating mental disorders, many experts believe it has the ability to alter the neuroplasticity in brain networks. A lot of components contribute to the potential that psychedelics have on treating life threatening mental disorders due to the success they have. This has further shown that the main arguments for psilocybin have been the effectiveness on patients and the lack of serious side effects in comparison to traditional medication.

John Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research

The John Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research has the ability to expand much of our existing knowledge on psychedelic therapy benefits. This research center provides hope for those routing for psychedelic benefits within medicine. John Hopkins credibility is a large reason as to why many people are going to be able to look at the research from a new and fresh perspective. The center will mainly focus on how psychedelics affect behavior, brain function, learning and memory, the brain’s biology and mood. This new center is not only very exciting, but will also be covered by private funding through Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation  along with four philanthropists: Tim Ferriss, Craig Nerenberg, Blake Myscoski, and Mat Mullenweg within the first five years of trials and research. By studying the effects of psychedelic drugs, the center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research is bringing a lot of good attention to certain drugs that have a positive impact on altering the mind. James Potash, M.D. stated that, “This center will allow enormously talented faculty to focus extensively on psychedelic research, where their passions lie and where promising new horizons beckon.” With lots of hope and excitement fueling the research at the new center, breakthroughs within psychedelic therapy sessions are bound to surface within the coming years.

Psychedelic Clinical Trials

Many current and past clinical trials have taken place in an attempt to test and record the success of certain psychedelic drugs on different mental health issues. PTSD is a large issue among many people across the globe, MDMA-assisted psychotherapy has been proven to greatly improve symptoms of PTSD and allow remission to last. People who participated in clinical trials for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy have shown significant symptom improvement of chronic PTSD for long amounts of time. Some of these people have even shown complete to almost complete remission for PTSD overall. Another leading factor in clinical trials is MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. MAPS has previously announced that they have raised over $30 million to complete its study for treatment of PTSD through MDMA. These clinical trials allow for not only FDA approved funding, but great impact on those living with chronic and life threatening PTSD. Psychedelic clinical trials allow for movement forward within the topic of psychedelic therapy due to the record of improvement and remission rates.

How to Volunteer for Psychedelic Research?

Roland Griffiths, Ph.D. said that within the new center, “in addition to new studies on therapeutics, we plan to investigate creativity and well-being in healthy volunteers that we hope will open up new ways to support human thriving”(Hopkins Medicine). Hopkins has previously had approval to initiate research with psychedelics in healthy, stable volunteers who have never tried using a psychedelic before. This volunteer work included the use of psilocybin on these volunteers and resulted in a 2006 publication explaining the mental benefits after a single use of psilocybin. With this being one of the first studies on healthy volunteers exploring the effects that psilocybin can have on the brain, it created a spark of psychedelic research surrounding the benefits they can have. If you would like to support psychedelic research, there is a way to do that, you can become a volunteer and help advance revolutionary treatments.

The Future of Psychedelic Therapy

Charles Nichols, a professor in the field of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics stated that, “When centers like Hopkins attract this money, it's a validation of the field as being legitimate.” This shows a promising uprise for the future of psychedelics. So many people are wrapped up in the ideas that were presented about psychedelics in the 60’s. However, modern medicine is evolving and has created so many alternative and safe options for those suffering from mental disorders. With John Hopkins opening a new psychedelic research center, more clinical trials will be able to happen, more research can happen, and more insight to what actually occurs in our minds on psychedelics will be published. With so many experts who will be working in the field together, they will be able to uncover exciting and important facts about the benefits that psychedelics can have on our psychological and physical state. The future of psychedelic therapy is not only growing, but it is shown to improve mental states in all shapes and forms, the new Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research will help grow the industry in a positive way.

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