Faculty Expert Profile

Matthew Johnson

  • Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


  • Johns Hopkins Medicine
  • Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit

Languages spoken

  • English

Matthew W. Johnson is an expert on psychedelics, other drugs, and addiction. He has conducted research in behavioral pharmacology for more than 20 years and with psychedelics for more than 15 years. Johnson published psychedelic risk and safety guidelines in 2008, helping to resurrect human psychedelic research. He published the first research on psychedelic treatment of tobacco addiction in 2014, and the largest study of psilocybin in treating cancer distress in 2016. His 2018 review of psilocybin abuse liability recommended placement in Schedule-IV upon potential medical approval. He has personally guided more than 100 psychedelic sessions.

Johnson also conducts behavioral economic research on drug use, addiction, and sexual risk. He conducted seminal research indicating delay discounting, or the devaluation of future consequences, is a fundamental behavioral process underlying addiction. He has applied other economic concepts, such as demand analysis, to understand drug use and other risk behavior, including current research informing the Food and Drug Administration on tobacco regulation.

Johnson has published studies on nearly all psychoactive drugs classes, and is the 2019 President of the Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse Division of the American Psychological Association. He is also President-Elect of the International Society for Research on Psychedelics, playing a lead role in founding this organization. His work has been featured in 60 Minutes and by other national media outlets.

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