Scientific Meeting » The NIMH Director’s Innovation Speaker Series – Psilocybin: History, Neuropharmacology, and Implications for Therapeutics


Sponsored by:
NIMH Division of Extramural Affairs

The NIMH Director’s Innovation Speaker Series: Psilocybin: History, Neuropharmacology, and Implications for TherapeuticsOn December 3, 2019, Dr. Roland R. Griffiths will present “Psilocybin: History, Neuropharmacology, and Implications for Therapeutics,” as part of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH Director’s Innovation Speaker Series.

Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., is Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins, where his principal research focus in both clinical and preclinical laboratories has been on the behavioral and subjective effects of mood-altering drugs. In 1999 he initiated a research program investigating the effects of the classic psychedelic in healthy volunteers and in-patient populations.

In this presentation, Dr. Griffiths will review the history, epidemiology, risks, and neuropharmacology of classic psychedelic drugs. The presentation will highlight research into the effects of psilocybin in healthy volunteers, in beginning and long-term meditators, and in religious leaders. Clinical studies are examining the use of psilocybin for the treatment of psychological distress in cancer patients, major depression, and cigarette smoking cessation. Drug interaction 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, and alleged positive changes in mental health, including decreases in depression and anxiety, decreases in substance misuse, and reductions in death anxiety.

Registration and Parking

This event is open without prior registration to all National Institutes of Health (NIH staff and the general public. Parking is available at a nominal fee. A government-issued photo identification card (e.g., NIH ID or driver’s license is required to enter the building.


The NIMH Director’s Innovation Speaker Series was started to encourage broad, interdisciplinary thinking in the development of scientific initiatives and programs, and to press for theoretical leaps in science over the continuation of incremental thinking. Innovation speakers are encouraged to describe their work from the perspective of breaking through existing boundaries and developing successful new ideas, as well as working outside their initial area of expertise in ways that have pushed their fields forward. We encourage discussions of the meaning of innovation, creativity, breakthroughs, and paradigm-shifting.

More Information:

Information about how to participate via WebEx will be posted the week before the lecture.

Sign Language Interpreters will be provided. Individuals with disabilities who need reasonable accommodations to participate in this program should contact Dawn Smith at 301-451-3957 and/or the Federal Relay (1-800-877-8339.