Exploring Psilocybin as a Tool for Modern Psychology and Medicine

agr_facultyportrait2015

Exploring Psilocybin as a Tool for Modern Psychology and Medicine

Tuesday February 7th, Center for Urban Horticulture 7:30 PM

Research on psychedelics as an aid in the treatment of mood and substance use disorders has generated renewed interest over the past decade. Recent pilot studies have shown safety and feasibility of psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychedelic found in some mushrooms of the genus Psilocybe, as a therapeutic tool in the treatment of depression, end-of-life anxiety, alcohol, and tobacco use disorders. Moreover, data suggest a notable effect of psychedelics in occasioning profound and lasting changes in mood, behaviors, and attitudes consistent with enhanced health and well-being. Despite these compelling findings, the mechanisms of action of psychedelic-facilitated treatments remain poorly understood. Preliminary evidence indicates that spiritual and mystical-type drug effects are associated with positive outcomes in psilocybin-facilitated treatments, consistent with early researchers’ observations that the subjective effects of psychedelics play a pivotal role in mediating ongoing benefits. This discussion will present an overview of contemporary research with psilocybin, with a focus on the work conducted since 2000 at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Albert Garcia-Romeu, Ph.D. is a member of the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences faculty at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he studies the effects of psychedelic drugs in humans with a focus on psilocybin as an aid in the treatment of addiction. He received his doctorate in psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, CA where he researched self-transcendence, meditation, and altered states of consciousness.