Peter Hendricks, Ph.D.

Professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Peter Hendricks, PhD, is Professor and Director of Research in the Department of Health Behavior, School of Public Health, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). A clinical psychologist by training, Dr. Hendricks earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and received his PhD from the University of South Florida studying tobacco dependence and interventions for smoking cessation. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship on drug abuse treatment and services research at the University of California, San Francisco before joining UAB in 2010.

Dr. Hendricks’ research centers on the development of novel and potentially more effective treatments for substance use disorders and comorbid conditions, with specific areas of focus on tobacco, cocaine, cannabis, opiate, and polysubstance dependence in vulnerable populations, including individuals in the criminal justice system. He has been an active researcher in the psychedelic field since 2014, publishing population studies suggesting psychedelics may be effective in preventing and treating substance use, criminal recidivism, and psychological distress, among other outcomes, as well as a number of systemic reviews and theoretical pieces. He is currently Principal Investigator of a pilot trial of psilocybin-facilitated psychotherapy in the treatment cocaine dependence, psilocybin-facilitated psychotherapy in the treatment of fibromyalgia, and low doses or “microdoses” of psilocybin in the treatment of demoralization. Dr. Hendricks is also site PI of a NIDA-funded study of psilocybin for smoking cessation.

Psychedelic substances, which primarily act as serotonin 2A receptor agonists, are rapidly moving into the mainstream as clinical research programs and legalization/decriminalization measures accelerate in the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe. Psychedelic substances undergoing research in preclinical and clinical studies include psilocybin, ayahuasca, DMT, 5-MeO-DMT, LSD, and mescaline/peyote. Patients and clinicians are increasingly optimistic about the potential efficacy of psychedelic drugs as an alternative or supplement to traditionally manufactured pharmaceuticals to treat depression, anxiety, addiction, demoralization, and other mental health conditions. Preliminary clinical studies indicate that, when administered responsibly, psychedelic agents may be safe and effective therapeutics with intriguing effects on the CNS, brain function, and inflammation.