This story originally aired on April 27, 2019.
How does a research study get funded? The most common way is to apply for a grant from the government. But what if what you’re studying is so controversial that government funders won't touch it? That’s where people like Cody Swift come in.
Swift is the director of the Riverstyx foundation, a Kirkland-based organization that provides grants for some of today’s more unconventional studies. With an interest in consciousness and how psychedelics affect it, he looked for research in this field. That’s when he found the Johns Hopkins University study.
Johns Hopkins was giving psychedelics to cancer patients and examining their outlook on death. The only problem — they were unable to find funding until Swift offered his help.
Studies like these can’t receive federal money and look for private foundations such as Riverstyx. Aside from being illegal, psychedelics such as LSD are listed as Schedule I drugs, with no medical benefits. Johns Hopkins and other universities are trying to disprove this by observing how psychedelics affect clergymen, cancer patients and alcoholism.