As MDMA and psilocybin have recently received FDA breakthrough therapy designation for the treatment of PTSD and depression, and we advance towards regulation and mainstreaming of psychedelics, we are especially happy to present this MAPS Bulletin Special Edition, “Women and Psychedelics.” Unfortunately, women’s role in the field of psychedelic science, and in psychedelic culture in general, has been historically severely diminished and misrepresented. Women have frequently been central to clinical experiments and to healing as therapists, sitters, and caretakers in diverse contexts, but often have not figured as authors of research papers, or had their presence even acknowledged. However, the winds of change are in motion.
We are proud to unite here an amazing group of female researchers, therapists, healers, community leaders, and drug reform activists to help rewrite this narrative and call our attention to the need to reshape gender balance in the field of psychedelics. This edition covers an array of relevant topics in psychedelic science and culture, such as the role of women in ceremonial practices of indigenous traditions; the hidden history of women in early psychedelic research; women’s leadership in the drug reform movement, in training and integration programs, and in initiating community-based harm reduction initiatives. Contributors also reflect on the influence of the therapist’s gender in MDMA-assisted psychotherapy and the special needs of women, transgender people and gender-diverse populations in psychedelic healing. They argue that psychedelic-assisted therapy has incredible potential for the treatment of these populations.
This special edition presents MAPS’ pioneering and unique MDMA-assisted psychotherapy code of ethics, and further expands into ethical considerations for psychedelic work with women. This publication also risks navigating into controversial waters, addressing other topics generally left off the menu, such as sexual abuse, consent, accountability, and community building in the underground field of psychedelics. Finally, equity and access for people of color to psychedelic medicines is included; first step solutions to address health disparities are offered. We hope that this edition contributes to making both psychedelic therapy and underground psychedelic communities safer for women, genderqueer individuals, and people of color. We also hope that this effort helps honor our special contribution as women, and recognize the feminine as essential to the health, welfare, and spirituality of our communities. In sum, if you want to know more about what women bring to the field of psychedelic science that has been missing, read on and find out!
Bia Labate, Ph.D.
Public Education and Culture Specialist, MAPS