This is an auspicious time for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a non-profit membership organization primarily devoted to assisting researchers design, secure approval, fund, conduct and report on psychedelic research. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently opened the door to very limited human studies with LSD (one study has been approved but is not yet funded) and DMT (page 7). There is also a good chance the FDA will permit research with MDMA, for which MAPS holds an FDA Drug Master File (page 2). Even the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is preparing to conduct research with the psychoactive African root ibogaine, for the treatment of drug abuse (page 5). Adding to the public discourse is the recent publication of PIHKAL-A Chemical Love Story, by Sasha and Ann Shulgin. In this autobiographical love story, the Shulgins chronicle the benefits that a resumption of psychedelic research could yield in scientific knowledge, and in the accelerated development of sorely needed medicines and catalysts for personal growth.
In Europe, the Swiss government recently permitted four psychiatrists to resume their use of LSD and MDMA in psychotherapy. Scientific studies with MDMA will begin there soon. In Russia, an application for MDMA research will soon be made to the Pharmacological Committee of the Ministry of Health by a MAPS- affiliated psychiatrist, Dr. Evgeny Krupitsky, who currently treats alcoholics with ketamine (page 2). In other countries, notably Mexico and Israel, would-be MDMA researchers are waiting to see if the MDMA protocol submitted to the FDA will be approved. Official approval in their countries is more likely if the FDA approves studies in the US.
Securing FDA approval for the prescription use of MDMA continues to be MAPS’ main task. If human studies are approved, MAPS will take a leadership role in raising funds for research – a role which would require MAPS to grow substantially beyond its current membership of several hundred and average annual budget of around $45,000 (page 4). Ultimately, it is hoped that MAPS-supported research will catalyze currently shy foundations and profit-seeking pharmaceutical companies into conducting their own psychedelic research. Until that happens, the people who support MAPS, and the experts MAPS can mobilize, are making a vital contribution to the future of psychedelic research. The aim and purpose of our research, to generate scientific knowledge so that risks and benefits can be accurately weighed, can only be realized with your support. To all current and future members who share both the vision and willingness to work to realize these goals, welcome to MAPS. It looks to be an incredible adventure.