TED & Talks

The “heroic dose” of psychedelics, according to Johns Hopkins | Dr. Matthew Johnson

How a ‘heroic dose’ of psychedelics can be therapeutic, explained by a Johns Hopkins professor.

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Up next, Psychedelics: The scientific renaissance of mind-altering drugs
► https://youtu.be/5T0LmbWROKY

Psychedelic research is enjoying a renaissance. Recent studies have shown that psychedelic drugs like LSD and psilocybin seem to be a safe and effective method for treating conditions like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

And unlike common antidepressants, some people report long-lasting improvements in their mental health conditions after taking just one dose of psychedelics.

What makes these substances so unique and powerful? That’s one of the driving questions behind the research of Matthew W. Johnson, who has conducted numerous studies on the nature of addiction, psychedelics, and other psychoactive substances.

Read the video transcript ► https://bigthink.com/series/the-big-think-interview/psychedelics-heroic-dose/

0:00 Effing up the ineffable
1:56 Pioneers of psychedelic therapy
2:35 Psychedelics go underground
3:26 The psychedelic renaissance
4:50 Taking a ‘heroic dose’ at Johns Hopkins
8:44 The challenges of psychedelic therapy
9:46 The mental health revolution
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About Matthew Johnson:
Matthew W. Johnson, Ph.D., is The Susan Hill Ward Endowed Professor of Psychedelics and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins. Working with psychedelics since 2004, he is one of the world’s most widely published experts on psychedelics. He has published research on psychedelics and mystical experience, personality change, tobacco smoking cessation, cancer distress treatment, and depression treatment. In 2021 he received as principal investigator the first grant in 50 years from the US government for a treatment study with a classic psychedelic, specifically psilocybin in treatment of tobacco addiction. He is also known for his expertise in behavioral economics, addiction, sexual risk behavior, and research with a wide variety of drug classes. He’s been Interviewed by Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, NPR, Fox News, Fox Business News, BBC and in Michael Pollan’s book How to Change Your Mind.

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Read more of our stories on psychedelics:
AI maps psychedelic “trip” experiences to regions of the brain – opening new route to psychiatric treatments
► https://bigthink.com/health/ai-maps-psychedelic-trip-in-brain/
Psychedelic drugs: how to tell good research from bad
► https://bigthink.com/health/psychedelic-drugs-research/
Metaphysics and mushrooms: Psychedelics can change how you think about the universe
► https://bigthink.com/neuropsych/psychedelics-mushrooms-metaphysics/

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