Oprah Talks to Scientist Roland Griffiths About the Power of Psychedelics


"What occurred was this incredible opening, awakening, to the preciousness of life," says the professor of learning about his terminal cancer diagnosis.

In the face of life's profound ironies, sometimes the most extraordinary transformations occur. Enter Roland Griffiths, PhD, a renowned scientist and visionary who has dedicated his life to exploring the depths of psychedelics and their potential to heal. But little did he know that he would soon embark on a personal odyssey that would test his own beliefs and illuminate the essence of existence.

Griffiths, with his gentle demeanor and contagious smile, has devoted decades to investigating how consciousness-expanding substances like psilocybin influence the human mind. His pioneering work led to the establishment of the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Fuelled by his own transformative encounter with meditation, he sought to unravel the profound connections between altered brain states, spirituality, and our understanding of the world.

"When we conducted our initial studies, carefully screening and preparing participants, we discovered something remarkable," Griffiths shared with Oprah during their recent conversation. "Under our controlled conditions, individuals experiencing psychedelics had encounters that completely shifted their perception and worldview."

Little did he anticipate that fate had its own profound lesson in store for him. Following a routine colonoscopy, Griffiths received a devastating diagnosis—stage four colon cancer. In an ironic twist of destiny, the very scientist who dedicated his life to studying the human mind's intricacies now faced his own mortality. Yet, he was about to experience firsthand what his terminally ill patients had described all along. 

"I cannot fully urticulate it. What occured was this incredible opening, awakening, to the preciousness of life" Griffiths revealed. And it immediately became something to celebrate.

Griffiths found himself overwhelmed by an overwhelming sense of gratitude, even in the face of impending death. His journey granted him a profound understanding of the interconnectedness of humanity. Embracing the inevitability of his own passing, he now passionately spreads a powerful message—that it is indeed possible to live joyfully while embracing the knowledge of our eventual fate.

Driven by his newfound purpose, Griffiths has set out to establish the Roland R. Griffiths, PhD, Professorship Fund—a noble initiative aimed at raising funds to support world-class research on psychedelic substances. Through this endowment, he seeks to unlock a deeper comprehension of well-being, spirituality, and human flourishing for generations to come.

Join Oprah as she engages in a thought-provoking conversation with Griffiths.