The World’s Largest Psychedelic Research Center (#385)


This is something I’ve been working on for ~1.5 years and something diligent scientists have been working toward for 20+ years.

This episode features a recording of the press conference announcing the launch of the world’s largest psychedelic research center and the U.S.’s first psychedelic research center, The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Among other things, researchers there will be investigating the effectiveness of psychedelics as a new therapy for opioid addiction, Alzheimer’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (formerly known as chronic Lyme disease), anorexia nervosa, and alcohol use in people with major depression. The researchers hope to create precision medicine treatments tailored to individual patient needs.

I couldn’t be happier, and it wouldn’t have happened without generous support from Steven and Alexandra Cohen (@cohengive), Matt Mullenweg (@photomatt), Blake Mycoskie (@blakemycoskie), and Craig Nerenberg. Many thanks also to Benedict Carey of the New York Times (@bencareynyt) for investigating and reporting on this from multiple perspectives, as he’s done for many years.

As some of you know, I shifted most of my focus from startup investing to this field in 2015, and it’s incredibly important to me that this watershed announcement help to catalyze more studies, more ambitious centers, more scientists entering the field, and more philanthropists and sources of funding taking a close look at psychedelic science. To that end, it’s critical that more people realize there is much more reputational upside than reputational risk in supporting this work in 2019 and beyond. To broadcast this as widely as possible, I have one offer and one sincere ask:

  • THE OFFER — If you’re involved with media and would like to learn more about the center or speak with the key scientists involved, please visit this contact page.
  • THE ASK — Please share the the New York Times articles (here is one tweet) or the announcement. Whatever you can do to spread the word is most appreciated! The short link will also forward to one of the NYT articles.

For this press conference, I am joined by Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., who initiated the psilocybin research program at Johns Hopkins almost 20 years ago, leading the first studies investigating the effects of its use by healthy volunteers. His pioneering work led to the consideration of psilocybin as a therapy for serious health conditions. Griffiths recruited and trained the center faculty in psychedelic research as well.

Also participating is Matthew Johnson, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral science, who has expertise in drug addictions and behavioral economic decision-making and has conducted psychedelic research at Johns Hopkins since 2004 (with well over 100 publications). He has led studies that show psilocybin can treat nicotine addiction. Johnson will lead two new clinical trials and will be associate director of the new center. 

The conference was moderated by Audrey Huang, Ph.D., a media relations director at Johns Hopkins.

Additional resources: 

Johns Hopkins Opens New Center for Psychedelic Research (New York Times
Tim Ferriss, the Man Who Put His Money Behind Psychedelic Medicine (New York Times
Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research (Official website) 
Johns Hopkins Launches Center For Psychedelic Research (Johns Hopkins Newsroom) 
Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research Contact Form

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, StitcherCastbox, or on your favorite podcast platform.

#385: The World's Largest Psychedelic Research Center

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Posted on: September 10, 2019.

Please check out Tribe of Mentors, my newest book, which shares short, tactical life advice from 100+ world-class performers. Many of the world's most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, poker players, and artists are part of the book. The tips and strategies in Tribe of Mentors have already changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for a sample chapter and full details. Roughly 90% of the guests have never appeared on my podcast.

Who was interviewed? Here's a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.

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4 comments on “The World’s Largest Psychedelic Research Center (#385)

  1. #ImListeningTimFerriss
    Prior to 2017, I never contemplated psychedelics as a viable way to fix…anything. Basically, I was afraid; I was debilitated by the fear of everything, but most pervasive: my own mind.
    The love of my life was killed in a head on collision with a semi on his way to work the morning of Tuesday, December 5th 2017. It took me nearly 8 months to see through the fog of grief enough to realize I had wasted years, decades, of precious time, crippled by the fear of something that was inevitable: death. It’s coming for all of us, there was nothing to fear…not even my own mind.
    I’m listening Tim Ferriss… Keep up the good work; you’re changing lives. You’ve changed my life, and my perception of psychedelics. I’m ready to see what my mind has to show me. Thank you. Sincerely, Antonella


  2. Psychedelic mushrooms had a profound healing effect on me. I was raised in a fundamentalist religion. Taught to believe the end of the world is near. Very dark stuff. It never really made sense to me, and as soon as I reached adulthood I quit it. Even though I wasn’t a believer, I still carried a tremendous amount of guilt, and self-doubt, and felt alienated from my family. Taking mushrooms one night at age 19 changed everything. It reset my perspective. It really was like seeing the world for the first time.
    As I listened to the press conference in this episode it sent shivers down my spine. This has such huge potential to help mankind. It cannot be overstated.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Psilocybin helped me overcome depression and anxiety, I re-discovered awe and a connectedness in the world. This translated directly to my art practice and every other thing and I believe it has helped me to make much better choices. I’m thrilled about the John Hopkins research center and all the work you are doing Tim Ferris! Congratulations, I will certainly help spread the word!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tim, you’ve got to interview Dave Powers. He and his partner have found some with far greater potential than psychedelics. His YouTube channel DaveSuperPowers provides a good introduction.