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UW launches psychoactive substances research center

August 24, 2021 10:15 AM | Anonymous

Wisconsin Health News

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is launching a center to coordinate ongoing research and education in psychedelic compounds, including their use in treating substance abuse and psychiatric disorders. 

The Transdisciplinary Center for Research in Psychoactive Substances, housed at the UW-Madison School of Pharmacy, will study the science, history and cultural impact of psychedelic agents, including their therapeutic potential.

 “Psychoactive agents are the new frontier for potential new therapies and medications,” Paul Hutson, founding center director and a UW pharmacy professor, said in a statement. 

Four clinical trials are currently underway on campus, including studying the effects of MDMA, or ecstasy, in treating post-traumatic stress disorder and psilocybin, also known as “magic mushrooms,” in treating depression and opioid addiction. Hutson anticipates federal approval for both substances within the next five years.

The center also seeks to increase participation in research by underrepresented groups. 

And it will partner on the pharmacy school’s master’s of science program in psychoactive pharmaceutical investigation, the first accredited U.S. degree focused on the study and therapeutic development of psychedelic compounds and related drugs. 

“We plan to continue being on the forefront of this field with innovation and development of novel therapies through our research and educational programs on psychoactive agents,” Hutson said.

The Usona Institute, a nonprofit medical research organization that supports work on consciousness-expanding medicine, also aims to be a center for psychedelic science and education. It broke ground earlier this month on a new campus in Fitchburg. 

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