Why Psychedelic Therapy Research Gets First US Government Funding in Decades?

The latest research into psilocybin therapy as a treatment for tobacco addiction has yielded promising results.

Johns Hopkins Medicine was awarded a US$4-million grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to further clinical research investigating psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy to treat tobacco addiction. The grant is the first federal funding in half a century to be directed at clinical research on the therapeutic effects of a classical psychedelic.

The so-called psychedelic renaissance has been chugging away for around 20 years now and to date it has been mostly funded by non-profit organizations, wealthy philanthropists, and more recently for-profit companies trying to get a piece of the looming multi-billion dollar psychedelic medicine industry.

From MDMA for PTSD to psilocybin for depression, a number of promising new psychedelic therapies are on the precipice of clinical approval. Yet these substances are still classified as Schedule 1 drugs, considered to have no “accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse”.

The new grant, from the NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, focuses on a three-year multisite clinical trial looking at how effectively psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy can help people quit smoking. Matthew Johnson, principle investigator on the project, has been investigating psilocybin as a tool for smoking cessation for well over a decade.

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