October 17, 2014 – Psilocybin and Smoking


Anchor lead:  Can psilocybin help people quit smoking? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Use of the hallucinogenic drug psilocybin along with counseling  and other strategies can help people quit smoking, even long term, heavy smokers,  a Johns Hopkins study led by Matthew Johnson, a behavior and addictions researcher, has shown.  This open label study achieved much higher levels of successful smoking cessation than other interventions.  Johnson muses on why that might be so.

Johnson: Psilocybin might be helping at both the psychological and the biological level.  Psychologically people can have extraordinary experiences where people can view their lives from a different perspective.  Oftentimes when dealing with an addictive disorder, this can be helpful in terms of engaging in new behavioral patterns, achieving a greater motivation to quit.  So we found that people reported that they were taking a more holistic perspective on their lives.   :31

Johnson and colleagues are working on another study to further these findings.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.