Article: Mercury News: Santa Cruz nonprofit that advocates for psychedelics as medicine to host open house

A brief article about the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies and the work it is doing to support psychedelic research.

One day, with a prescription, Americans might be able to “turn on” with a hallucinogenic drug in a clinic that essentially is a day spa for psychedelic treatment.

A self-described nonprofit pharmaceutical company in Santa Cruz – which is holding an open house at their Mission Street offices today – has been working towards this vision for nearly 25 years.

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies works with scientists, doctors and regulators around the world to design research seeking to establish the safety and efficacy of psychedelic-assisted therapy.

“It is a lot of effort to get such research going; you have oversight by the Food and Drug Association and need a Drug Enforcement Agency license, and (there’s) the stigma of working with psychedelics,” said Ilsa Jerome, one of the association’s clinical research associates.

But these government gatekeepers have begun to listen.

“Basic and clinical research in humans has steadily increased since the 1990s,” said Franz Vollenweider, a Zurich-based scientist who has worked with MAPS. “Now, we are discovering that psychedelics might be useful in the treatment of major depression, anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder.”

MAPS-supported studies seeking prescription status for MDMA, known by its street name ecstasy, showed both short- and long-term alleviation of post traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

Combat veterans will receive treatment in the next U.S. study of ecstasy therapy. MAPS has already begun training therapists for the large-scale clinical testing of ecstasy, the next phase in the drug development process.

Resembling a mash-up of a grass roots citizen movement, a scientific research institute, and a counterculture production company, MAPS sometimes turns to unusual methods of covering its annual budget of slightly over $1 million – including the “psychedelic garage sale” today. The open house will feature displays of “visionary” art, books and videos on psychedelics and handmade jewelry.