Ask MAPS

Due to the high number of inquiries we receive, we ask that you review this FAQ. It is very likely that the answer you are searching for is provided below. If the information you are searching for is not included below, send us a message. We thank you in advance for your patience in receiving a response from us.

If you are in a crisis or if you or any other person may be in danger or experiencing a medical or mental health emergency, immediately call 911 (USA) or your local emergency resources.

Content, materials, products or services described in this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  

Clinical Trials

Q: How do I get involved with the MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD clinical trials?

A: MAPS has launched Phase 3 research into MDMA-assisted therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at multiple study sites in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. Participants in MAPS trials represent people from diverse backgrounds with historical roots of PTSD originating from various traumas including, but not limited to, interpersonal or sexual violence, childhood abuse and/or neglect, vehicular accidents, combat, and other causes. The Phase 3 trials are expected to be completed in 2022, meaning that the FDA could approve the treatment as early as 2023. Clinical trials are highly regulated; there are currently limited opportunities to enroll as a study participant. Our study recruitment website is accepting applications for select study sites.  

  • Application to the second Phase 3 clinical study: mdmaptsd.org 
  • Phase 3 trial listing and specifics on study enrollment and clinical sites: clinicaltrials.gov 
  • Study protocol, timeline, and site locations: maps.org/phase3 

Please note: Qualified participants must live within range of each of the clinical sites for the Phase 3 trials of MDMA-assisted therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Clinical trials are highly regulated by the FDA and we are unable to override the distance criteria or make any exceptions.  

If you do not qualify for the Phase 3 trial but you are interested in being a study participant in other trials with psychedelics or alternative treatments, you can visit 

Additionally, here is some information on emerging research and alternative treatments for PTSD from 

Since 1986, MAPS has been conducting research to create safe, legal, qualified access to psychedelic therapies for people who may benefit. As we conduct trials to inform our application for approval from the FDA, we continue to train therapists, educate our community, and build the foundation for accessible treatments once they are approved. The best way to receive announcements and updates would be by subscribing to the MAPS Email Newsletter. If you are already signed up for the MAPS Email Newsletter and want to receive updates specifically about current and upcoming studies, please visit maps.org/updates to change your subscription preferences.   

Q: My zip code is not within range of any trials that are accepting applications for now. I’m willing travel, can you make an exception?

A: Clinical trials are highly regulated by the FDA and we are unable to override the distance criteria. Qualified participants must live within range of a clinical site for the Phase 3 trials of MDMA-assisted therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Phase 3 trials are expected to be completed in 2022, meaning that the FDA could approve the treatment as early as 2023. 

You may try searching for other clinical trials at clinicaltrials.gov. This site lists most upcoming, ongoing, and completed clinical trials in the US and 200 other countries, and you can search by condition, treatment method, and location. You may also find a few psychedelic-specific trials at the psychedelic.support research page.     

Q: Can I have an update on my application for the Phase 3 trials?

A: If you’d like an update on your application status, you would need to get in contact with the clinical site you applied to. Each participant is screened individually by the study site to consider concurrent conditions and medications to determine eligibility. Specific criteria questions are better suited for the individual clinical trial site. You can find the sites’ contact information at the bottom of this page. They receive a high volume of emails, so response times may vary. The site will contact the next person on the application list when another participant spot becomes available. 

Q: How do I apply for the expanded access program?

A: On December 20, 2019, the FDA notified MAPS that it may proceed with its expanded access protocol, which will allow 50 patients to receive MDMA-assisted therapy following the MAPS treatment protocol

The purpose of the expanded access program is to allow early access to potentially beneficial investigational therapies for people facing a serious or life-threatening condition for whom currently available treatments have not worked, and who are unable to participate in Phase 3 clinical trials. 

The expanded access protocol differs from MAPS’ ongoing Phase 3 clinical trials in that it is limited to treatment-resistant patients with moderate to severe treatment-resistant PTSD. Other differences are that the FDA is requiring at least one therapist of each therapy pair to have a medical or clinical doctorate degree (M.D., Ph.D., or equivalent), there i
s no control group, and patients are responsible for the costs of their own treatment. 

The expanded access program has not launched yet. We are currently working on selecting 10 qualified treatment sites from the 120+ applications we received. They will be announced in the next few months. Once the program begins, participants can apply to the individual expanded access sites. We will announce the website in our MAPS Email Newsletter when the applications open. 

Q: I’d like to participate in the MDMA Therapy Training Program.

A: Thank you for your interest in MDMA-Assisted Therapy and the MDMA Therapy Training Program!  

Please sign up online to receive updates on training opportunities and application procedures as they become available.

Phase 3 trials researching MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are currently underway in the United States (US), Canada, and Israel, with additional trials planned in the United Kingdom and European Union. The results of the Phase 3 studies will support a New Drug Application (NDA) to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to make MDMA-assisted psychotherapy into a legal prescription medicine, anticipated to take place in 2023. This data, as well as data from trials conducted in the European Union, will also support an application for approval with the European Medicines Agency (EMA). These trials are sponsored by Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a 501(c)3 non-profit, founded in 1986, and organized by the Sponsor Delegate, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of MAPS, founded in 2014. Global development of this modality is ongoing, with efforts from community organizers, researchers, universities, institutions, therapists, doctors, government officials, donors, and many others, as well as MAPS and MAPS PBC staff. 

Please read further for upcoming training opportunities.

CLICK HERE TO APPLY

We hope this information has been useful to you! Please sign up to receive updates via the MDMA Therapy Training Email Newsletter. 

Please let us know if you have any questions! Thank you for your interest! 


 

Getting Involved with MAPS

Q: How can I work for MAPS?

Thank you for your interest in employment at MAPS!  

You can view current job listings at MAPS, as well as the current research-related positions at MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC). If you are interested in applying to a position, please complete the specified form on Bamboo and attach your resume and/or CV to the application. 

After you read the full job description, any follow-up questions can be directed to jobs@maps.org or jobs@mapsbcorp.com respectively.

Additionally, MAPS and Zendo Project offer volunteer opportunities for events, webinars, psychedelic harm reduction, and more. Please fill out the volunteer application form for more information on how to get engaged with the MAPS community. 

 

Q: Do you have internships available?

We are not currently actively seeking interns.

Please check back regularly for new postings, and sign up for the Email Newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for announcements about new positions.

Thank you for your interest!

Q: Do you have volunteer opportunities? 

Thank you so much for offering your support!    

Please visit the MAPS volunteer page for future opportunities and let us know if you have any further questions. You can also view current job listings at MAPS, as well as the current research-related positions at MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC). 

Also, The Zendo Project provides a supportive environment and specialized care designed to transform difficult psychedelic experiences into valuable learning opportunities, and even potentially offer healing and growth. In turn, our work reduces the number of drug-related hospitalizations and arrests. Check out the website for more information including the 4 Principles of Psychedelic Harm Reduction, the Training Manual and videos, and how to sign up for volunteer opportunities.  

Lastly, you may find more opportunities to engage with the community through local networking groups like the Sociedelic or a Psychedelic Club. You can find a map with many other psychedelic network groups and harm reduction groups around the world at psychedelic.community


 

Q: How do I interview a MAPS staff member for an article, podcast, documentary, etc?

To submit a media request, please complete this quick form. If you are on a tight deadline, please submit the form then call 831-429-MDMA (6362) x 303; your message will be addressed as quickly as possible M-F 8am-6pm Pacific. 

Please understand that we receive a large number of media requests and are simply not able to accommodate all of them. We will, however, do our best to provide a response to every inquiry as soon as we can. If you are able to include your questions in the form, it is more likely that we can respond.  

Q: Can you promote my work on your website or social media?

Please submit your request for promotional support at maps.org/request. Please note, MAPS appreciates the opportunity to learn more about our community and their projects, though we are unable to respond to all requests due to the high volume of inquiries, which occasionally contain content that does not align with our mission or propose expedited timelines that affect our ability to sustainability address our organization’s current priorities. 

Q: Advice for undergraduate students 

Thank you for reaching out. I’m happy to hear of your interest in psychedelic science! We have detailed information on how to get involved on our website: maps.org/resources/students    

Many of our staff members have a history of volunteering with MAPS, The Zendo Project, drug policy reform organizations, and other psychedelic-related organizations. Here are a few ways you can get involved in the psychedelic field and contribute to ending the War on Drugs:  

While psychedelic research and therapy are the most common interests for students, there are many opportunities to get involved in the psychedelic renaissance– the field needs people with diverse backgrounds, interests, and skills! If you browse through MAPS’ staff page, our team members have a diverse background of thought and skill in the psychedelic field.

If you are interested in pharmacology or drug development sciences, 2021, The University of Wisconsin-Madison launched a Master of Science Program in Psychoactive Pharmaceutical Investigation. This MS program prepares recent graduates and working professionals for a career in the research, development, and clinical applications of psychedelics as therapeutic agents.

If you’d like to train to become a psychedelic therapist, here a few graduate schools that offer programs related to transpersonal, depth, or integral psychology, which are very applicable to psychedelic science:  

People often ask how to become a therapist, more specifically a psychedelic therapist, and/or which graduate program they should pursue. There are many articles on the internet about this but a general reply is: if you want to focus on clinical work directly with people, consider a Master’s, if you want to focus on research, writing and publishing, consider a Doctorate. You might also consider the time commitment and cost of each option. MAPS contracts both mental health therapists and psychologists as well as psychiatrists, nurses, and general practice doctors.   

It is also important to note that one does not necessarily need to achieve a college or graduate degree to have a successful career in the psychedelic field. It takes some creativity and an open mind, and the psychedelic field will benefit from all individuals with diverse backgrounds, skills, and talents.

Wishing you the best of luck on your journey!


 

Preparation, Integration, and Counseling

Q: Can you refer me to a licensed professional for psychedelic integration services?

For these mental health provider directories, please note that these licensed professionals do not directly provide psychedelic therapy.

  • Psychedelic Support curates evidence-based educational courses on psychedelic science and a directory of licensed mental health providers. Their network of therapists, counselors, holistic doctors, MDs, and integration consultants offer online and in-person services for transformational preparation, psychedelic/plant medicine integration, psychological and physical health, and personal growth.

Policy

Q: Medicalization, decriminalization, and legalization? What does it all mean?

MAPS has taken a novel and multi-pronged approach to its mission of developing and supporting medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana.

Medicalization describes the lengthy process of studying currently-illegal substances to determine if they hold benefit for specific conditions, then conducting clinical trials to determine safety and efficacy, then finally submitting a New Drug Application to the FDA. This is MAPS’ primary approach, but not its only one. 

Legalization affirmatively permits and regulates certain actions in a jurisdiction. Criminal sanctions may or may not be maintained by a legalizing jurisdiction for certain actions; other actions may be regulated or require licensing. Medicalization, over-the-counter oversight, state medical use, and state adult use are just some examples of legalization frameworks used for substances commonly ingested by people. 

Decriminalization removes some or all criminal penalties for an activity from the law of the jurisdiction. It is often used to describe situations in which some governments still decide to implement civil penalties (which would not be considered full decrim) or mandatory education/treatment as alternative (which then technically still is not full decrim because while helpful for very few, still punishment for most). 

 It may still allow for penalties such as fines, mandatory education, or (in the worst cases) forced treatment. Remember, a single jurisdiction is probably subject to multiple layers of law which may be quite different from one another (i.e. a U.S. city is governed by city, county, state and federal controlled substances laws).

Lowest Law Enforcement Priority policies maintain most prohibition laws but declare that law enforcement must deprioritize the enforcement of those laws. These policies are useful in U.S. cities where state or Federal law controls city law, and most of the city-wide psychedelic decriminalization measures adopted since 2019 fall into this category.

MAPS sponsors and guides the conduct of research, including clinical trials to develop psychedelics and marijuana into regulatorily approved medicines. MAPS has also supported holistic drug policy reform since its inception in 1986. As the pace of both psychedelic research and reform efforts in areas of social justice, criminalization, drug policy, and psychedelic regulation hasten, we
recommend reading our 2019 Statement: Considerations for the Regulation and Decriminalization of Psychedelic Substances for more on these topics.

 

Q: Does MAPS support the decriminalization of psychedelics?

Although MAPS is a public charity with limited ability to engage in political action, MAPS has worked toward ending the War on Drugs since our founding in 1986 including through supporting decriminalization of the personal possession and use of drugs. We work with fellow advocates to educate lawmakers, community members, and the public about sensible approaches to drug policy. We have responded to inquiries from legislators and advocates about a dozen bills across the United States; most recently, we have advised on California’s Senate Bill 519, the broadest psychedelic drug policy reform a state legislature has ever seriously considered.

 

Q: Does MAPS support legalization of psychedelics?

MAPS-sponsored clinical trials of MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD is just one legalization approach for a single criminalized substance with an identifiable history of human use. As a general policy, MAPS is supportive of compassion over criminalization for people who use drugs, psychedelic or otherwise. Specific policy proposals are evaluated in context to determine our ability to support them. MAPS’ capacity for supporting implementation is greater than its capacity for supporting campaigns, both because of its status as a public charity as well as the small size of our team. For this reason, we focus on building coalition and resources with community organizations to make tangible policy changes in high-impact jurisdictions.

Q: What is MAPS’ position on threshold limits as part of decriminalization efforts?

In short, threshold limits are a complicated and nuanced policy area and are more or less useful depending on how the law is written, the context in which laws are being enforced, and every individual drug user’s circumstances. For that reason, MAPS believes decriminalization without threshold limits is a good starting place and the next best option is a set of threshold limits that will provide decriminalization for the vast majority of people.

The downside of threshold limits is that they can lead to arrests for people possessing above the permissible amount of a drug. However, not having limits does not mean that people can possess unlimited amounts. Without specified limits, there is an unknown line (an implicit threshold limit) above which law enforcement, prosecutors, and/or courts could determine that the behavior was no longer “personal use and possession” and instead prosecute said possession as distribution, intent to distribute, or manufacturing. Without limits, people who grow, use, and share these substances would be left guessing about how law enforcement might classify them rather than having those numbers clarified in the law.

 

Q: Is MAPS a non-profit or for-profit?

MAPS was founded in 1986 a non-profit organization governed by its board of directors, bylaws, mission, and principles. MAPS is qualified as exempt from federal income tax as a public charity under Sections 501(c)(3) and 501(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code. Since our founding, MAPS donors have given more than $110 million in support of psychedelic research, medical marijuana research, education, and advocacy. MAPS has earned the Guidestar Platinum Seal of Transparency.

Founded in 2014, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MAPS. MAPS PBC catalyzes healing and well-being through psychedelic drug development, therapist training programs, and sales of prescription psychedelics while prioritizing public benefit above profit. MAPS PBC does not have private investors, so any proceeds from this work will be reinvested in research, education, advocacy, and therapy access for historically marginalized people.

Questions related to psychedelic research on health conditions

Q: Depression

MAPS’ research is currently focusing on the effects of MDMA and marijuana on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Once the FDA approves the use of MDMA in therapy, the door will be opened to study more substances and their effects on many conditions like depression. However, research on the effects of psychedelic-assisted therapy as a treatment for depression has been conducted by other research institutions. I’ve included educational material and resources down below:

MAPS’ resources:

Additional resources:

Q: Cluster Headaches

MAPS’ resources:

There is a longstanding and complex relationship between serotonergic drugs, especially ergot derivatives, and migraines, and also several authors, including the late Oliver Sacks, have noted similarities between migraine auras and psychedelic drug effects. Some of the first drugs used to treat migraines were ergolines. Triptans have replaced ergolines but historically Cafergot, a combination of caffeine and ergotamine tartrate, was historically used to treat migraine.    

Most of the research and work relating psychedelic compounds and migraine relate specifically to cluster headaches, an especially painful and rare form of migraine. It is less certain but possible that 5HT2A agonists can treat migraine for some people, though that is less studied. Interestingly, psychedelics (or at least psilocybin) may provoke mild headache as well.  You may try searching for clinical trials on psychedelics and cluster headaches at clinicaltrials.gov.    

There is an organization, ClusterBusters, formed by cluster headache sufferers and interested in supporting research into the use of psilocybin, psilocybin mushrooms, LSD and non-psychedelic 5HT2A compounds as treatment for cluster headaches. Back in the mid-2000s, they funded research conducted by the late R. Andrew Sewell and John Halpern on this topic – Sewell coauthored other papers on this topic as well.  


 

Q: Chronic Pain

Research on the therapeutic potential of psychedelic-assisted therapy for chronic pain conditions has been limited. I’ve included educational material and resources down below:

MAPS’ resources:

Additional resources:


 

Q: Addiction

Many researchers have conducted studies on the therapeutic potential of psychedelic-assisted therapy in the treatment of alcohol and substance use disorders. I’ve provided some educational material for you to explore down below.

MAPS’ resources:

Additional resources:


 

Q: Palliative Care

There have been studies that have shown that the use of psychedelic-assisted therapy can greatly reduce the anxiety, depression, anger, and fear that individuals facing a life-threatening illness may face.

MAPS’ resources:

Additional resources:

 


 

Q: Schizophrenia

There have been very limited studies on the relationship between psychedelics and schizophrenia. As psychedelic research is integrated more into mainstream psychiatry, especially as we get closer to making MDMA a medicine, we can expect there to be more efforts to research the therapeutic potential and relationship between psychedelics and schizophrenia.

MAPS resources:

Additional resources:


 

Q: Neurotoxicity

At this point, we have conclusive new evidence that MDMA does not have any neurotoxic effects in the Central Nervous System. There are some adverse effects at the neuromuscular junction of skeletal muscle in the Peripheral Nervous System, this is associated with the infiltration of immune cells like neutrophils into the muscle tissue, basically, an inflammatory process that we also see some regeneration after 1 week in rats. This was not observed in dogs.

MAPS’ resources:

  • MAPS’ Investigator’s Brochure (2021)
    • “This Investigator’s Brochure (IB) provides information on the pharmacology, safety, and efficacy of MDMA. The information presented in this IB summarizes results from published research studies of MDMA conducted by groups outside of the sponsor, sponsor collected data, and published studies and case reports of people who use Ecstasy, material represented as containing MDMA” (pg. 11).
  • MDMA Neurotoxicity Commentary (MAPS News Archives; 1998)

Additional resources:

  • Usona Institute’s Investigator’s Brochure for Psilocybin (2020)
    • “This Investigator’s Brochure (IB) describes the physical, chemical, and pharmacological characteristics of psilocybin, its effects in non-clinical and clinical studies, and the safety profile of psilocybin administered under supportive conditions within the clinical research setting” (pg. 9).
  • PubMed search results for psychedelic and neurotoxicity
    • Click here for articles on psychedelics and neurotoxicity. Once you click on a paper you are interested in, you can click on the link labeled “DOI” to be directed to the original publication, which is likely to include further links to news stories about the paper.

Questions related to Psychedelics

Q: Psilocybin

MAPS’ resources: 

Additional resources: 


 

Q: Ibogaine

Please note: MAPS cannot provide legal, medical, or mental health advice, nor do we advise on the use of any prohibited substance or on ibogaine treatment centers.

MAPS’ resources:

Additional resources:

  • Pubmed search results on “Ibogaine”
    • Once you click on a paper you are interested in, you can click on the link labeled “DOI” to be directed to the original publication, which is likely to include further links to news stories about the paper.
  • gov
    • Search for opportunities to be a participant in ibogaine research
  • Inner Vision Ibogaine Coaching
    • “Preparation and Integration for Iboga and Ibogaine treatment that supports individuals in creating a unique healing dynamic”
  • Pangea Biomedics
    • “Pangea is a team of therapists, caregivers, and medical professionals dedicated to the advancement of clinical research & holistic therapy utilising iboga and orthomolecular medicine”
  • The Chacruna Institute of Psychedelic Plant Medicines
    • “We provide public education and cultural understanding about psychedelic plant medicines and promote a bridge between the ceremonial use of sacred plants and psychedelic science.”
  • The International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research, and Service (ICEERS)
    • “ICEERS is dedicated to transforming society’s relationship with psychoactive plants. We do so by engaging with some of the fundamental issues resulting from the globalization of ayahuasca, iboga, and other ethnobotanicals”


 

Q: Ayahuasca

Please note:  MAPS cannot provide legal, medical, or mental health advice, nor do we advise on the use of any prohibited substance or on ayahuasca retreat centers.

MAPS’ resources:

In the store:

Additional resources:

Q: Ketamine

Presently, esketamine, an entiomer of ketamine, is the only psychedelic substance that has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of treatment-resistant depression. There are clinics and clinicians who provide ketamine-assisted therapy in the United States (view KRIYA Ketamine Research Institute for more info). Researchers continue to investigate the therapeutic properties of ketamine as a treatment option for other mental health conditions.

MAPS’ resources:

Additional resources:


 

Q: LSD

MAPS’ resources:

In the store:

Additional resources:

  • Pubmed search results on “LSD-assisted therapy”
    • Once you click on a paper you are interested in, you can click on the link labeled “DOI” to be directed to the original publication, which is likely to include further links to news stories about the paper.
  • Clinicaltrials.gov
    • Search for opportunities to be a participant in LSD research
  • Imperial Centre for Psychedelic Research
    • “Led by Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, the Centre focuses on two main research themes: the use of psychedelics in mental health care; and as tools to probe the brain’s basis of consciousness. It will also investigate their potential for treating other conditions, including anorexia.”
  • The Beckley Foundation
    • “The Beckley Foundation pioneers psychedelic research to drive evidence-based drug policy reform, founded and directed by Amanda Feilding as a UK-based think-tank and NGO.”
  • Heffter Research Institute
    • “The Heffter Research Institute promotes research of the highest scientific quality with the classic hallucinogens and related compounds (sometimes called psychedelics) in order to contribute to a greater understanding of the mind leading to the improvement of the human condition, and to alleviate suffering.”
  • Erowid holds a plethora of research-based information on just about every substance

Q: Microdosing

MAPS has not conducted any trials on microdosing with psychedelics. There has been limited research on microdosing psyche
delics.

MAPS’ resources:

Additional resources:


 

Q: DMT

MAPS’ resources:

Additional resources:

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