Glowing mushrooms release psilocybin to a brain


Advancing research in the emerging field of psychedelic compounds

Members of the University of Wisconsin–Madison Transdisciplinary Center for Research in Psychoactive Substances are engaged in research that cuts across multiple disciplines and engages with science and society. Center members work together and individually to better understand the psychoactive substances in the lab, clinical settings, and in within the humanities.

Members of the Center are engaged in Phase 1-3 clinical trials of psychedelic and psychoactive compounds.  Some of these trials are part of multi-site Phase 2 and 3 trials making their way toward New Drug Applications with the FDA.  Other early stage studies are exploratory, often mechanistic studies of these agents in humans as well as animal models.

Members also currently engage in cultural, legal, economic, and historical research and this body of scholarship comes from departments and divisions across the UW campus.

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Active Clinical Studies

CoPE: Consciousness and Psilocybin Effects on Well-Being (IIT)

Sponsor: Tiny Blue Dot Foundation

Goal: Identify a method to deliver psilocybin intravenously during sleep in health young adults, and assess the effects on EEG. If interested in participating, complete our REDCap survey to see if you are eligible and be contacted by the study team:

For any questions, contact the study team at:

PI: Charles Raison, MD

HOUDI-1: Phase I Safety Trial of Psilocybin in Patients with Opioid Use Disorder (IIT)

Sponsor: Heffter Research Institute

Goal: Conduct a single arm feasibility study of 2 guided psilocybin sessions in addition to opioid agonist therapy (OAT) with buprenorphine/naloxone in a sample of 10 adult subjects with OUDs.

PI: Randall Brown, MD, PhD

PRIMUS: Phase I Safety Trial of Psilocybin in Patients with Methamphetamine Use Disorder (IIT)

Sponsor: Revive Therapeutics

Goal: Conduct a single arm feasibility study of 2 guided psilocybin sessions in a sample of 10 adult subjects with Methamphetamine Use Disorder
Status: Recruiting

PI: Christopher Nicholas, PhD

POIESIS: Psychedelic Outcomes; Interaction of Environment, Self-Identity, and Success

Sponsor: Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF)

Goal: To understand whether racial and ethnic self-identities are predictive of reactions to the psychedelic dosing environment and to assess whether the inclusion of culturally-adaptive features increase racial and ethnic minority participation and improve experience in psychedelic research studies.

PI: Cody Wenthur, PharmD, PhD

Learn more about this study »

Previous Clinical Studies

RECAP-Pilot: Phase I Trial Psilocybin with Midazolam (IIT)

Sponsor: Michael and Mary Shannon

Goal: Under the supervision of an anesthesiologist, administer boluses of midazolam to normal volunteers who have also received psilocybin to determine the safety of the combination. The follow-up study will use a similar dual regimen to assess whether the ability to recall the psychedelic experience is requisite for the anti-depressive effects reported for psilocybin.

PI: Christopher Nicholas, PhD

MAPP2: MDMA as an Adjunct for the Treatment of PTSD (Phase 3 registration trial)

Sponsor: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)

Goal: This multi-site double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized Phase 3 study assesses the efficacy and safety of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-assisted psychotherapy versus psychotherapy with placebo in participants diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

co-PIs: Christopher Nicholas, PhD and Randall Brown, MD, PhD

PSIL201: Psilocybin as Treatment for Major Depressive Disorder (Phase 2 registration trial)

Sponsor: Usona Institute

Goal: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the potential efficacy of a single 25 mg oral dose of psilocybin for MDD compared to the active placebo in otherwise medically-healthy participants, assessed as the difference between groups in changes in depressive symptoms from Baseline to Day 8 post-dose.

PI: Randall Brown, MD, PhD

Pre-Clinical Biomedical Research

Deconvoluting Polypharmacologic Contributions of Rapidly-Acting Antidepressants

National Institute of Mental Health (R01MH122742)

Goal: To track emergent circuit- and behavioral-level effects arising from the simultaneous actions of ketamine and hydroxynorketamine as a means to develop improved multi-target antidepressants with rapid mechanisms of action.

PI: Cody Wenthur, PharmD, PhD

Learn more about this study »

Pro-Neuroplastic Mechanisms Underlying Therapeutic Actions of Psychoactive Agents

Goal: To measure and manipulate acute stress-associated hormonal release arising from psychedelic administration in animal models across different environmental contexts, and assesses the impact of this stress associated signaling on both functional changes in neuronal connectivity and behavioral measures of anxiety, learning, and reward.

PIs: Cody Wenthur, PharmD, PhD and Matthew Banks, PhD

Learn more about this study »

Psychedelic Scholarship - History and Humanities

Accessing the History of Health, Pharmacy, and Medicines at UWSoP/AIHP (2022-2025)

Sponsor: National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

Goal: The goal of this three-year NEH-funded project is to improve the description of and the accessibility to the Kremers Reference Files historical collection, the AIHP/UWSoP ephemera collection, and the AIHP/UWSoP artifact collection. These activities will allow great access to psychoactive historical materials.

UW Participant: Lucas Richert

Contested Cannabis: A History of Marijuana in Wisconsin and the Wider World

Sponsor: Wisconsin Humanities (2020-2021)

Goal: This project developed an online digital exhibit that explores and explains the history of cannabis, hemp, and marijuana in Wisconsin and across the United States through five themes: Taxonomy; Hemp Agriculture; Pharmacy & Medicine; Propaganda & Education; and De/Criminalization.

UW Participant: Lucas Richert, Gabriel Carter

Art, Music, and Land Activism Across Psychedelic Cultures: From the Huichol People (Wixaritari) to Clinical Trials

Sponsor: Arts Alliance at Research Universities

Goal: This series of talks held in October 2020 offered a nuanced picture of the interconnected issues surrounding psychedelic ritual/therapy, art/music, and land/equity, in the context of both research universities and indigenous cultural practices. The series of talks began by highlighting the relationship between the Huichol (Wixáritari) peyote ritual, their art and music traditions, and the fight for land and equity to sustain their culture. The second portion of the session featured talks focusing on dimensions of art/music and land/equity within the context of psychedelic clinical trials.

UW Speakers: Amanda Pratt, Anny Ortiz, Alberto Vargas, Cody Wenthur

Cannabis: Global Histories

Sponsor: Wellcome Trust (2018-2021)

Goal: This network gathered together authors and scholars from the new wave of cannabis histories that has emerged in recent decades. The result was a landmark and transdisciplinary volume.

UW Participant: Lucas Richert

Learn more about this study »

Pharmaceutical Development Resources

  • The University of Wisconsin–Madison offers formulation development and validation services through the Zeeh Pharmaceutical Experiment Station.
  • UW Madison offers multiple dosing suites for early and late-stage clinical testing of psychoactive compounds.  This includes rooms in the Clinical Research Unit at UW Health Hospital, with nursing and medical staff experienced in Phase I clinical trials that include advanced services such as pharmacokinetic sampling and clinical monitoring as appropriate.
  • Study monitoring and auditing services are available through the UW–Madison CTSA, as well as an in-house Data Safety and Monitoring Committee.Contact:
    Paul Hutson, PharmD
    TCRPS Director
    Email Paul
    (608) 263-2496

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Interested in Participating in a Clinical Study?

At this time, we do not have active studies directed toward the treatment of depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Please note our Active Clinical Studies are listed in the tabs to the left.

At this time, we do not have active studies directed toward the treatment of depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Other sites that may be testing psychoactive-assisted therapy for depression, anxiety, or PTSD may be found at

If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial of psilocybin for the treatment of opioid use disorder or methamphetamine use disorder, please send an email indicating your interest to:

A new clinical study of administering IV psilocybin to healthy young adults while asleep (the CoPE trial) has recently been opened.  Please note the contact information under the Active Clinical Studies tab.