MAPS in the Media – Summer 2014

Summer 2014: Vol. 24 No. 2 Research Edition

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LSD, Reconsidered for Therapy by Benedict Carey

March 3, 2014. The New York Times announces the publication of the results from MAPS’ completed Swiss study of LSD-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with advanced-stage illness. The study, published online in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, is the first study of the therapeutic use of LSD in humans in over 40 years. The results indicate that LSD-assisted psychotherapy can be safely administered and justify further research. “It’s a proof of concept,” MAPS Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D., explains. “It shows that this kind of trial can be done safely, and that it’s very much worth doing.”

Exploring Therapeutic Effects of MDMA on Post-Traumatic Stress by Alan Zarembo

March 15, 2014. The Los Angeles Times puts the spotlight on how international researchers and independent therapists are finding benefits in MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treating PTSD. Through interviews with therapists, veterans, and researchers, the article takes a skeptical stance while underscoring the importance of further research. “I feel like I found meaning again,” says U.S. Army veteran Tim Amoroso, who used MDMA on his own and found that it helped his PTSD symptoms. “My life wasn’t as bad as I thought it was.”

LSD Therapy Lowers Anxiety, Study Finds by Alexandra Sifferlin

March 4, 2014. TIME covers the publication of study results in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease indicating that LSD-assisted psychotherapy can help reduce anxiety associated with life-threatening disease. The MAPS-sponsored study was conducted in Switzerland by Dr. Peter Gasser and found that anxiety levels improved by 20% in volunteers who received a full dose of LSD.

High Hopes by Kai Kupferschmidt

July 4, 2014. Science catalogues the reemergence of international research into the therapeutic use of psy- chedelics. The article details work conducted by MAPS to develop psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy into prescription treatment options for a variety of medical conditions, highlighting clinical research into LSD-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with advanced-stage illness, ibogaine-assisted therapy for opiate addic- tion, and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. “I believe in people’s basic human right to use molecules to explore their consciousness,” says MAPS Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D.

Iraq nearly broke James Hardin. Ecstasy is helping him rebuild. by Paul Bowers

July 16, 2014. Charleston City Paper writes about U.S. Army veteran James Hardin’s experiences in MAPS’ MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD study in South Carolina. The story recounts Hardin’s time in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and how he eventually turned to alcohol to numb himself. After his initial session in the study, Hardin says he felt an immediate difference. “It gave me that safety that I had not felt,” he says. Now that he has completed treatment, Hardin says, “I still know that I’m different than many people, but it’s more of a conscious decision at this point to do exactly what I want to do and be who I want to be.”