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Matthew W. Johnson, Ph.D.

Matthew Wayne Johnson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

See Research on Pubmed | See Research on Google Scholar



  • Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Centers & Institutes

  • Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit


Addiction Medicine, Drug Abuse Research, Drug Dependency

Research Interests

Human behavior change, especially in the context of addiction recovery; Drug administration studies in humans to characterize abuse liability, reinforcing effects, effects on decision making, and subjective effects; Delay discounting (the devaluation of future consequences) and addiction; Delay discounting and HIV sexual risk behavior; Behavioral economics of drug consumption and addiction; Psychopharmacology of psilocybin, salvinorin A, and other psychedelics/hallucinogens; Therapeutic effects of the psychedelic compound psilocybin in the treatment of addiction, and in the treatment of cancer-related anxiety and depression


  • English
Additional Resources +
  • Education +


    • B.S., Eastern Oregon University, La Grande, Oregon, 1998
    • M.A., University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, 2007
    • Ph.D., University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, 2004


    • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, 2007, Human Behavioral Pharmacology
  • Research & Publications +

    Research Summary

    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. Johnson on CNN Wolf Blitzer.avi

    Selected Publications View all on PubMed

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Johnson, M.W., Richards, W.A., Griffiths, R.R. (2008). Human hallucinogen research:  Guidelines for safety. Journal of Psychopharmacology. 22, 603-620.
    5. 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. 
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    • Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

    For Research Inquiries Contact

    Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
    Behavioral Biology Research Center, BPRU
    5510 Nathan Shock Drive
    Baltimore, MD 21224-6823

    Phone: 410-550-0056
    Fax: 410-550-0030


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