The underlying theme of my career has been to understand and facilitate human behavioral change, particularly behavioral change that is fundamental to addiction recovery. Toward that end, much of my research has applied behavioral economic concepts such as delay discounting to decision-making underlying drug addiction. My current research is applying these models to understand the high rates of sexual HIV risk behavior associated with certain abused drugs (e.g., cocaine, methamphetamine, alcohol). Another focus of my research involves laboratory studies determining the behavioral and psychological effects of psychoactive drugs in humans, particularly novel or atypical drugs. This work has examined hallucinogens including psilocybin and salvinorin A (Salvia divinorum), stimulants including cocaine, methamphetamine, nicotine, and caffeine, and various sedatives. Current research with psilocybin is examining its potential for facilitating behavior change. These studies include a trial determining the ability of psilocybin to increase engagement in a meditation program, a trial testing if psilocybin can decrease anxiety and depression in cancer patients, and a study examining psilocybin as an anti-addiction medication for tobacco smoking cessation.
Watch a video interview with Dr. Johnson regarding the drug Salvia divinorum on CNN’s Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. https://jshare.johnshopkins.edu/mjohn109/public_html/Matthew Johnson on CNN Wolf Blitzer.avi
- Johnson, M.W., Bruner, N.R (2012). The Sexual Discounting Task: HIV risk behavior and the discounting of delayed sexual rewards in cocaine dependence. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 123, 15-21.
- Johnson, M.W. (2012). An efficient operant choice procedure for assessing delay discounting in humans: Initial validation in cocaine-dependent and control individuals. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 20, 191-204.
- Johnson, M.W., MacLean, K.A., Reissig, C.J., Prisinzano, T.E., Griffiths, R.R. (2011). Human psychopharmacology and dose-effects of salvinorin A, a kappa-opioid agonist hallucinogen present in the plant Salvia divinorum. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 115, 150-5.
- Johnson, M.W., Richards, W.A., Griffiths, R.R. (2008). Human hallucinogen research: Guidelines for safety. Journal of Psychopharmacology. 22, 603-620.
- Johnson, M.W., Suess, P.E., Griffiths (2006). Ramelteon: A novel hypnotic lacking abuse liability and sedative adverse effects. Archives of General Psychiatry, 63, 1149-1157.