The Heffter Research Institute: Past and Hopeful Future

This essay describes the history and the development of the Heffter Research Institute, in their ongoing efforts to supply psilocybin for the purposes of fundamental and applied clinical research, with a prospective outlook that psilocybin will one day be recognized to have legitimate medical value and integrated within a specialized therapeutic practice.

Abstract

“This essay describes the founding of the Heffter Research Institute in 1993 and its development up to the present. The Institute is the only scientific research organization dedicated to scientific research into the medical value of psychedelics, and it has particularly focused on the use of psilocybin. The first clinical treatment study was of the value of psilocybin in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Next was a UCLA study of psilocybin to treat end-of-life distress in end-stage cancer patients. While that study was ongoing, a trial was started at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) to study the efficacy of psilocybin in treating anxiety and depression resulting from a cancer diagnosis. Following the successful completion of the UCLA project, a larger study was started at New York University, which is near completion. A pilot study of the value of psilocybin in treating alcoholism at the University of New Mexico also is nearing completion, with a larger two-site study being planned. Other studies underway involve the use of psilocybin in a smoking cessation program and a study of the effects of psilocybin in long-term meditators, both at JHU. The institute is now planning for a Phase 3 clinical trial of psilocybin to treat distress in end-stage cancer patients.”

Author: David E. Nichols

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