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.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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13 Replies to “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.

  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!

  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.

  5. Tim, I love your work in General und really appreciate you concentrating on this topic in particular.

    We are all in one way or another, to a higher or lesser degree affected by illness of the mind. Be it some form of depression or “only” self-defeating thought patterns about oneself.

    But there still is one piece missing to the whole picture of sanity and wholeness and the mind. And it is acknowledging that humans are not just pure biological beings that magically gained consciousness through lucky wiring, but humans have unphysical souls and contain spirit. Mental illnesses mostly have not biological, but spiritual causes. To properly treat them one had at least to put this aspect into perspective.

    I am sure some of your guests share this world view, although few did admit that.

    And as humans contain spirit, so there are other forms of spirits and entities floating in our realms. Shizophrenics talking about hearing voices? One should take them by their word and not dismiss it easily as pure hallucinations. There is research out there about it (eg Jerry Marzinsky).

    I would love to hear your thoughts and the thought of your guests on this topic.

  6. I have been paying attention to you from the beginning and appreciate all that you have done for me and the folks in my little world, There’s one woman in particular that I would like you to meet. She’s medical professional that was misdiagnosed with Lyme for years and has become a champion for addressing the disease. I think that the two of you could change the world together. How do I make the introduction?

  7. Hi Tim,

    Interesting to see you in the media. When I feel like I need to watch someone doing it right I many times go back to the promotion period of your new books (going on other shows and being able to clearly articulate why it’s a good book).

    This new project might need the same attention if it were for you to slightly shift the focus in this direction, but the current strategy to bring in different podcasts guests is probably the best middle ground strategy since it’s a win-win-win for everyone. 🙂

    ~ Felix Dragoi

  8. Hello Tim!

    I was wondering if Paul Stamets, being the pioneer in many aspects regarding a vast number of different types of mushrooms was involved in any way shape or form in this research?

    Thank you for all your hard and inspiring work!

    Best wishes and a wonderful day


  9. Hey TIm, I’m long time lover and admirer of your work and would love to join together to collaborate. We run a plant medicine center in the Amazon basin and would love to be able to share the collective vision for deep transformation and we’ve seen incredible changes in the people we’ve worked with over the years. How can we collaborate and get more involved in your project?

    Would love to know more!

  10. Hi Tim, I am just now in a position with momentum to make it happen in Canada for the first time, with a major university hospital onboard and hundreds of cancer patients. I know how much this research means to you. We are working on getting it privately funded, can you help make it happen with your network ? Looking forward to your prompt reply

  11. Greetings from New Zealand. I love your show and think you could have the most incredible conversation with Joe Dispenza. Who knows what would come out of it?!

  12. I’d rather share more links to more news on exactly how with 95% efficiency medical doctors commit suicide rather than to this bs so that more oligophrens of medicine uncapable to 100% regrow any healthy tissue and function from scratch and considering modern chemotherapy and surgery a big progress of medicine would immediately proceed to efficient actions instead of reading Tim Ferriss’s obviously inefficient recommendations on this topic.