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Roland Griffiths, Renown Psychedelics Researcher, Dies At 77

Roland R. Griffiths, Ph.D. was a renowned researcher in the field of psychedelics, known for his groundbreaking studies and contributions to the understanding of psychedelic substances. His work has had a significant impact on the field, leading to further research and potential therapeutic applications for these substances.

On Monday, Oct. 16, Dr. Griffiths passed away at the age of 77, leaving behind a legacy that continues to shape and advance the study of psychedelics.

Early Career and Achievements

Dr. Griffiths’ interest in the study of psychedelics began during his education at Occidental College in Los Angeles, where he majored in psychology. After receiving his undergraduate degree, he continued on to the University of Minnesota, where he studied psychopharmacology. In 1972, he received his doctorate degree and was soon hired by Johns Hopkins University.

During his time at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Griffiths contributed to several studies related to drug use, including a groundbreaking study on caffeine addiction in the early 90s, which was among the first to describe chronic caffeine use as similar to other forms of addiction.

His research on caffeine also showed that it could be considered an addictive substance and that caffeine addiction was a “clinically meaningful disorder.” Dr. Griffiths also contributed to studies on opiate use, cocaine, nicotine, and more.

His work in these areas helped shed light on the effects of drug use and addiction. He was highly respected by his colleagues for his expertise in the field of psychopharmacology. Following this success with caffeine research, he eventually turned his attention towards studying psychedelics.

Groundbreaking Psilocybin Study

In 2006, Dr. Griffiths conducted a pioneering study on the effects of psilocybin, a psychedelic compound found in certain types of mushrooms. The study involved giving high doses of psilocybin to healthy volunteers and monitoring their experiences.

The results of the study were groundbreaking – many participants reported profound mystical experiences that had a lasting positive impact on their lives. This sparked further interest and research into the potential therapeutic uses of psychedelics for mental health disorders.

Dr. Griffiths’ work in this study was also featured in Michael Pollan’s book *How to Change Your Mind,* which brought more attention to the potential benefits of psychedelics and further solidified Dr. Griffiths’ reputation as a leading expert in the field.

Creation of Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research

Thanks to Dr. Griffiths’ contributions and the success of his psilocybin study, in 2019, Johns Hopkins University announced the creation of the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research – a first-of-its-kind research center focused on studying psychedelics and their potential therapeutic uses.

Dr. Griffiths was chosen as the founding director of this center, further solidifying his influence and expertise in this field. The center has received over $17 million in gifts towards research, a testament to the importance and impact of Dr. Griffiths’ work.

Impact on Psychedelics Field

Dr. Griffiths’ contributions to the field of psychedelics have had a significant impact on the overall perception and understanding of these substances. The creation of the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, with Dr. Griffiths as its leader, has further solidified this impact.

His groundbreaking study on psilocybin has sparked further research into potential therapeutic uses for psychedelics in treating mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. This has opened up new avenues for treatment and potential breakthroughs in the field of psychiatry.

The center’s continued research, with Dr. Griffiths’ guidance and expertise, promises to shed further light on the potential uses and benefits of psychedelics in improving overall well-being.

Reflecting on Dr. Griffiths’ Contributions

Dr. Roland Griffiths was a pioneer in the study of psychedelics and his contributions have had a profound impact on the field of research surrounding these substances. His work has sparked new avenues for treatment and potential breakthroughs in the field of psychiatry.

His legacy will continue to live on through the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, which he helped create and lead. Dr. Griffiths’ expertise, dedication, and passion for this field have set a strong foundation for future research and advancements in our understanding of psychedelics.

He will be greatly missed, but his impact will continue to shape the future of psychedelic research. So it is safe to say that Roland Griffiths’ contributions have paved the way for further exploration into these substances and their potential benefits for humanity. We can only imagine what other groundbreaking discoveries may come from his pioneering work in this fascinating field of study.


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