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Roland R. Griffiths, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., is Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His principal research focus in both clinical and preclinical laboratories has been on the behavioral and subjective effects of mood-altering drugs. His research has been largely supported by grants from the National Institute on Health and he is author of over 380 journal articles and book chapters, and has trained more than 50 postdoctoral research fellows. He has been a consultant to the National Institutes of Health, to numerous pharmaceutical companies in the development of new psychotropic drugs, and as a member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Drug Dependence for the World Health Organization. He has conducted extensive research with sedative-hypnotics, caffeine, and novel mood-altering drugs including. In 1999 he initiated a research program investigating the effects of the classic psychedelic psilocybin that includes studies in healthy volunteers, in beginning and long-term meditators, and in religious leaders. Therapeutic studies with psilocybin include treatment of psychological distress in cancer patients, treatment of cigarette smoking cessation, and psilocybin treatment of major depression. Other studies have examined the effects of salvinorin A, dextromethorphan, and ketamine which produce altered states of consciousness having some similarities to psilocybin. Drug interaction studies and brain imaging studies (fMRI and PET) are examining pharmacological and neural mechanisms of action. The Hopkins laboratory has also conducted a series of internet survey studies characterizing various psychedelic experiences including those associated with acute and enduring adverse effects, mystical-type effects, entity and God-encounter experiences, and alleged positive changes in mental health, including decreases in depression and anxiety, decreases in substance abuse, and reductions in death anxiety.
- Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
- Professor of Neuroscience
- B.S., Occidental College (California) (1968)
- Ph.D., University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) (Minnesota) (1972)
B.A., Occidental College, Los Angeles, California, 1968
Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1972
Research & Publications
My broad clinical and preclinical expertise is the application of behavioral pharmacology and behavioral analysis to a scientific investigation of mood-altering drugs. Areas of specialization include hallucinogens and novel “club drugs”, caffeine self-administration, withdrawal and addiction, sedative self-administration and sedative effects, cigarette smoking and nicotine self-administration, alcohol self-administration, and baboon drug self-administration and drug discrimination.
Selected PublicationsView all on Pubmed
Griffiths, R.R., Ethan S. Hurwitz, E.S., Davis, A.K., Johnson, M.W. & Jesse, R. (2019) Survey of subjective "God encounter experiences": Comparisons among naturally occurring experiences and those occasioned by the classic psychedelics psilocybin, LSD, ayahuasca, or DMT, PLOS One, 14(4): e0214377.
Griffiths, R.R., Johnson, M.W., Richards, W.A., Richards B.D., Jesse, R., MacLean, K.A., Barrett, F.S., Cosimano, M.P., & Klinedinst, K.A. (2018). Psilocybin-occasioned mystical-type experience in combination withmeditation and other spiritual practices produces enduring positive changes in psychological functioning and in trait measures of prosocial attitudes and behaviors. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 32(1), 49-69.
Griffiths R.R., Johnson, M.W., Carducci, M.A., Umbricht, A., Richards, W.A., Richards, B.D., Cosimano, M.P., Klinedinst, M.A. (2016). Psilocybin produces substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer: A randomized double-blind trial. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 30(12), 1181-1197.
Griffiths, R.R., Johnson, M.W., Richards, W.A., Richards, B.D., McCann, U., & Jesse, R. (2011). Psilocybin occasioned mystical-type experiences: Immediate and persisting dose-related effects. Psychopharmacology, 218(4), 649-665.Griffiths, R.R., Richards, W.A., McCann, U., & Jesse, R. (2006). Psilocybin can occasion mystical experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance. Psychopharmacology, 187, 268-283.
Griffiths, R.R., Richards, W.A., McCann, U., & Jesse, R. (2006). Psilocybin can occasion mystical experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance. Psychopharmacology, 187, 268-283.