Progress to-date is bringing us closer to realizing active clinical research with MDMA, psilocybin
and LSD to be sponsored by MAPS. If all continues according to plan, 2004 will bring us to that
exciting turning-point, and I very much look forward to offering MAPS members a more detailed
report in the ensuing months.
MAPS support has enabled us to draft and complete a protocol for exploring whether MDMA is
clinically beneficial to subjects with advanced cancer who are suffering from anxiety associated
with their diagnosis. As currently designed, eight subjects will receive MDMA-assisted psycho-
therapy and four will receive placebo. Final revisions to this first pilot Phase II protocol are currently
being made; we hope to have submitted the protocol for its first IRB review by June. Our ambition
is to expand this research work beyond the initially proposed small-N pilot study, but first we
need to refine our therapeutic approach, determine appropriate dosing, and gather preliminary
information about the safety and efficacy of our treatment in advanced cancer patients.
Most people know of tension headache and migraine;
Our other exciting news to report is the addition of a post-doc fellow in our laboratory: Dr. Andrew
Sewell, who will start work this fall. Dr. Sewell is one of only about 100 physicians in the U.S. to
complete a dual-residency in psychiatry and neurology. Dr. Sewell and I have an important
opportunity to explore whether or not LSD and/or psilocybin offers prophylaxis against cluster
headache. There are some medications that do help stop this type of headaches, but they are not
fully effective for many and there are no medications on the market that can actually prevent the
cycling course of cluster-type headaches. Most people know of tension headache and migraine;
cluster headache is more rare and can be extremely severe, lasting weeks to even months at a time!
Recently, MAPS was approached by a cluster headache patient advocate who has collected
anecdotal information on dozens of individuals reporting very positive results from their personal
experimentation with LSD and psilocybin. Furthermore, MAPS has received a donation of $50,000
from David and Marsha Weil toward clinical research into this reported treatment.
cluster headache is more rare and can be extremely severe,
lasting weeks to even months at a time!
Over this summer, Dr. Sewell and I plan to write up a case series for publication in a medical journal
to call greater attention to what these individuals report. We plan to start the protocol design and
drafting process for a study on cluster headache later this fall, as well. Success on all these fronts
will mean that we are finally able to perform clinical research that will investigate, over a five to
ten year period, whether MDMA, LSD, and psilocybin have an important and credible role in the
current pharmacopeia for the specific issues that we are investigating.
While officially no research has been approved yet at my institution, these projects are actively in
the works. Especially with your help, we could soon convert these efforts into clinical research. On
behalf of everyone involved in these projects, I cannot thank the MAPS membership enough.