Dr. Matthew Johnson: Psychedelics for Treating Mental Disorders | Episode 38

This episode I discuss medical research on psychedelic compounds with Dr. Matthew Johnson, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. We discuss the biology and medical clinical-trial uses of psilocybin, MDMA, ayahuasca, DMT, and LSD. Dr. Johnson teaches us what the clinical trials in his lab are revealing about the potential these compounds hold for the treatment of depression, addiction, trauma, eating disorders, ADHD, and other disorders of the mind. Dr. Johnson describes a typical psychedelic experiment in his laboratory, start to finish, including the conditions for optimal clinical outcomes. And he explains some of the potential hazards and common misconceptions and pitfalls related to psychedelic medicine. Dr. Johnson explains flashbacks, the heightened risks of certain people and age groups using psychedelics and the ever evolving legal and pharmaceutical industry landscape surrounding psychedelics. Dr. Johnson also explains how the scientific study of psychedelics is likely to set the trajectory of psychiatric medicine in the years to come. Dr. Johnson is among a small handful of researchers who have pioneered the clinical study of these powerful compounds. He has unprecedented insight into how they can be woven into other psychiatric treatments, changing ones sense of self and of reality.


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  • 00:00:00 Introducing Dr. Matthew Johnson
  • 00:02:10 Supporting Sponsors
  • 00:06:40 ‘Psychedelics’ Defined
  • 00:14:09 Hallucinations, Synesthesia, Altered Space-Time Perception
  • 00:19:56 Serotonin & Dopamine 
  • 00:23:50 Ketamine & Glutamate 
  • 00:28:00 An Example Psychedelic Experiment
  • 00:37:30 ‘Letting Go’ with Psychedelics
  • 00:44:10 Our Mind’s Eye
  • 00:48:00 Redefining Your Sense of Self 
  • 00:58:56 Exporting Psychedelic Learnings to Daily Life
  • 01:04:36 Flashbacks
  • 01:12:10 Ayahuasca, & ASMR, Kundalini Breathing
  • 01:15:54 MDMA, DMT
  • 01:26:00 Dangers of Psychedelics, Bad Trips, Long-Lasting Psychosis
  • 01:38:15 Micro-Dosing
  • 01:56:45 Risks for Kids, Adolescents & Teenagers; Future Clinical Trials
  • 02:03:40 Legal Status: Decriminalization vs. Legalization vs. Regulation
  • 02:18:35 Psychedelics for Treating Concussion & Traumatic Brain Injury 
  • 02:27:45 Shifting Trends in Psychedelic Research, Academic Culture
  • 02:44:23 Participating in a Clinical Trial, Online Survey Studies, Breathwork 
  • 02:50:38 Conclusions, Subscribing & Supporting the HLP, Supplements

Please note that The Huberman Lab Podcast is distinct from Dr. Huberman's teaching and research roles at Stanford University School of Medicine. The information provided in this show is not medical advice, nor should it be taken or applied as a replacement for medical advice. The Huberman Lab Podcast, its employees, guests and affiliates assume no liability for the application of the information discussed.


Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac - https://www.blabacphoto.com

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