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Psychedelics weighed as treatment for medical problems


(NewsNation) — There have been new medical breakthroughs in the treatment of depression, addiction and PTSD, and this time, it is through the use of psychedelics.

This week, Colorado officially decriminalized psychedelics and other states are likely to follow. Dr. Matthew Johnson, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Johns Hopkins University, discusses the research being conducted into psychedelics as a medicine.

“So far, under the conditions of the studies where people are prepared, and they’re monitored, and certain vulnerabilities are screened out, things have looked very promising,” Johnson told NewsNation’s “CUOMO” on Thursday. “Meaning very large reductions in depression, anxiety, depending on the compound. PTSD, addictive behaviors … tobacco and alcohol (abuse treatment) looks very promising.”

Psychedelics, specifically, have very powerful effects on the brain.

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“It introduces a profound effect on consciousness. The research is suggesting that even in rats, different forms … forms of neuroplasticity, are unfolding after giving a psychedelic,” Johnson added.

Neuroplasticity is a term meaning the cells in the brain are flexible and susceptible to change.

It’s been decades since there have been major advances in the treatment of mental health disorders, and psychedelics are a “very powerful way to perturb and affect the nervous system.”

Johnson added that there are risks associated with the drugs.

“There’s definitely risk. Obviously, there’s legal risks for most folks. But beyond that, folks that are susceptible to disorders like schizophrenia, and disorders like that, they can be destabilized,” Johnson said.

Johnson has been working with psychedelics since 2004. As a principal investigator and researcher, he studied the psychedelic treatment of tobacco addiction in 2014.

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