Psilocybin, like other classic hallucinogens such as LSD, does not appear to be addictive, and may even help people who are hooked on addictive drugs – e.g. narcotics, nicotine and alcohol – to break their habit when combined with psychotherapy.
With this in mind the Beckley Foundation is collaborating with a distinguished team at Johns Hopkins University, led by Professor Roland Griffiths and Assistant Professor Mathew Johnson, in the first study to investigate whether a classic hallucinogen can help overcome treatment-resistant addiction in conjunction with psychotherapy, in this pilot study we focus on an addiction to nicotine.
The work carries on a line of investigation which started forty years ago, before research with classic hallucinogens was prohibited. Research in the ‘60s highlighted addiction treatment as one of the areas in which classic hallucinogens showed the greatest potential benefits. People who experience the mystical mental state generated by these chemicals seem less inclined to pursue addictive behaviours.
Using the knowledge gathered from previous psychedelic research, combined with a modern understanding of addiction, the current study has developed an addiction-treatment programme that combines cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and psilocybin-occasioned mystical experiences.
As the first exploration of a classic hallucinogen for the treatment of addiction in 40 years, this project has huge potential to develop our understanding of psychedelics, their impact on health and well-being, and their therapeutic potential, and to open up an important new front in combating some of the most intractable psychological problems of modern times.