Dr. Matthew W. Johnson

124 karmaJoined May 2021


For the blinding question, I think we need to examine a broader range of active comparators. Oral THC would be a more credible comparator in terms of fooling folks that they got psilocybin. Amphetamine is a good comparator for MDMA. We also need to do a better job reporting on how well the blind works or not.

To serve an organizational role that you describe, you would not necessarily need to be trained in science, psychology, or medicine, but you would need to work very closely with such folks.

Yes, I see a potential danger, and I've described it in at least of couple of previous posts here. But I think with the right framing we can minimize such harms and maximize benefits. And yes, I absolutely see therapeutic potential in DMT.  DMT will surely be developed into an approved medicine in my opinion, although we need to follow the data of course.

Sure. Most of the modern therapeutic research has in fact used a "heroic dose" of psilocybin, or close to it. Most of our high dose work at Hopkins has used 30 mg/70 kg (154 lbs) bodyweight of the person (e.g., a 200 lbs. person would get 39 mg). According to analysis of cultivated mushrooms, the classic "heroic dose" that Terrence McKenna would speak of (5 dried grams of psilocybe cubensis mushrooms) contains on average about 30 mg psilocybin. So our high dose is a "heroic dose" or even higher in some cases for heavier people. 5 grams is about half way between an eight and a quarter ounce of mushrooms (as a reference since ounces are the units of typical sale in the illicit market in the US).  For a typical recreational dose that one might take at a concert, for example, people might split a eight ounce between two or three people. So a heroic dose is indeed much higher than the dose many folks have used recreationally.  The entire history of the "psychedelic therapy" method of using psychedelics, dating back to the 1950s, rests upon using a very large (heroic) dose. For LSD this would be 300 micrograms or above, sometimes up to 800 micrograms or more.

I think LSD might have even greater potential for therapeutics, but this is untested. I will be doing upcoming research with LSD in treating chronic pain with an eye for reducing or stopping opioid use. Some people say LSD is more likely to bring attention to one's personal issues. It is also a longer experience which might help as there is a variability to experiences and not all of the experience is going to be meaningful. Sometimes the meaningful part of a psilocybin experience only starts 4 or 5 hours in, leaving little time. That would be less of an issue with LSD. 

Yes, I believe there are several groups working on preparing trials. We at Johns Hopkins are one of them. I think it is worth investigation for sure.

We have conducted extensive research on healthy people (without disorders) at Johns Hopkins. Yes, sometimes these are extremely therapeutic for issues that didn't have anything to do with why they volunteers. Several instances of past trauma being relieved and processed, for example.

The only research that I'm aware of is going on in North American, Europe, and South America.  I'm assuming stigma is the reason it is not more broadly studied.

Yes there is some research on this. We found in survey research the personality trait of neuroticism is associated with more difficult psychedelic experiences:

The Vollenweider lab has found that the personality trait of absorption in lab research was associated with greater pleasant and mystical experiences, and emotional excitability was associated with unpleasant and anxious reactions.

Copying part of a response I made to another question: 

Another point is that I think there is a role for nonprofits to play in monitoring and litigating the patent landscape. I support the appropriate use of IP, and when it works this incentivizes innovation that pushes advances that wouldn't have been made otherwise. But there is a need to make sure the system is not abused, and that patents are not awarded to ideas that truly don't meet the legal standards such as non-intuitiveness and originality.

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