Canadian Study: Update on Canadian MDMA/PTSD and Ayahuasca Study

There is good news from our friends north of the U.S. border. We have obtained approval in Canada for our MDMA/PTSD study from both Health Canada (in March 2009) and a Canadian Institutional Review Board (in May 2009). However, when Principal Investigator Ingrid Pacey, M.D. applied for a license to import the MDMA, she was told that theres a Canadian law which states that, because MDMA is a controlled substance, we cannot start the study without affiliation with a Canadian institution. In the United States, with Michael Mithoefer M.D.s study, we were fortunately able to proceed without an institutional affiliation other than MAPS.

On March 6, 2010, Dr. Pacey informed Health Canada in writing that we had obtained institutional affiliation with the Center for Addiction Research (CARBC) in British Columbia, associated with the University of Victoria. MAPS is currently waiting on Health Canada for their approval of our institutional affiliation, and for the licensing of Dr. Pacey and our pharmacist, so that we can import the MDMA from Switzerland for the study and finally begin.

MAPS is currently forming a new non-profit corporation in Canada–MAPS Canada– that will allow Canadians to give tax-deductible donations that help to fund MAPS-sponsored psychedelic research. MAPS currently has an association with Tides Canada, which acts as MAPS Canadian fiscal sponsor until weve established MAPS Canada. It will be more efficient when were able to have our own organizational tax deductible status in Canada, just like we do in the U.S. So far, the Board of Directors for MAPS Canada consists of Mark Haden, Philippe Lucas, Kirk Tousaw, Robert Barnhart, Valerie Mojeiko, and Rick Doblin, Ph.D.. Were seeking one additional Canadian so that the Board will be majority Canadian.

The formation of this new organizational branch of MAPS grew out of the successful fund-raising event that MAPS had in Vancouver, British Columbia on October 24, 2009. MAPS Canada will be involved with both helping to support the MDMA/PTSD study in Vancouver, and also an ayahuasca study in the treatment of addiction, being conducted by Philippe Lucas.

This will be our first Ayahuasca study, which will be using natural plant extractions. We will explore whether Ayahuasca administered within a spiritual context can be helpful in treating people who have problems with addiction. Philippe Lucas, who is leading the study, will be speaking about this research at the Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century conference. In fact, there will be an entire track of presentations about Ayahuasca at the conference, with talks by Philippe Lucas, Stephen Beyer, and many others.