MAPS In The Media – Summer 2011

Summer 2011 Vol. 21, No. 2 Research Edition

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Never before has psychedelic and medical marijuana research received such positive, prominent attention in the mainstream media. From O and ELLE to National Geographic, and Stars and Stripes, MAPS is gaining some unprecedented—but not unexpected—allies.

In January, the new documentary “Drugged: High on Ecstasy” premiered on the National Geographic Channel. Through computer-generated imagery, interviews with Ecstasy users, and conversations with scientific and medical experts, it uncovers how the drug works and what it does to the mind and body. The film explores the potential benefits of MDMA as a therapeutic tool through fascinating interviews with MAPS Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D., and Sue Stevens, who found that MDMA helped her partner cope with the psychological and physical pain of terminal cancer. The film concludes with a call for a sober and rational approach through more research into MDMA’s risks and benefits.

The March 2011 edition of O, The Oprah Magazine included a magnificent cover article on MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. In a thoroughly researched and well-balanced portrait, Sarah, who suffered from PTSD for 20 years as the result of childhood trauma, gives us an honest look at her experience as a patient in MAPS’ flagship study of MDMAassisted psychotherapy for PTSD. Article author Jessica Winter even gives us a first-hand account of her own experience of MDMA therapy. In a complementary interview, she discusses how an article in The Boston Globe (“A Good Death,” May 15, 2006) about Marilyn Howell’s experience with MDMA-assisted therapy for her dying daughter inspired her own research.

In April, ELLE magazine reviewed the origins of MDMA’s therapeutic uses in marriage and family therapy, and specifically discussed MAPS’ role in helping psychedelic therapy return to mainstream medicine, in a cover article entitled “That Lovin’ Feeling.” The article includes an earnest interview with Rick Doblin, Ph.D., and discusses why—despite the possibility that MDMA-assisted therapy could also help couples reestablish lost connections—MAPS has chosen to focus on helping individuals overcome their traumatic pasts.

On July 18, MAPS’ proposed study of marijuana for veterans with PTSD made the headlines when The New York Times announced, “Marijuana May Be Studied for Combat Disorder.” With so many veterans returning from abroad suffering from anxiety, nightmares, and sleepless nights—and with few effective therapies available—the need for research into alternative treatments is pressing. The study was also featured on, Stars and Stripes, and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. These are not unlikely allies; they simply highlight the rapidly expanding community of patients, veterans, and public health organizations committed to developing effective treatments through science. For even more psychedelic and medical marijuana research headlines, visit MAPS in the Media.