Research Updates Part 4 – Summer 2010

Summer 2010 Vol. 20, No. 2 MAPS Research Update

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Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century Conference a Huge Success

MAPS would like to thank its many members, colleagues, volunteers, and other friends for making Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century a huge success. The April conference drew more than 1200 scientists, therapists, medical professionals, and others from all over the world, many of whom received Continuing Medical Education (CME) or Continuing Education (CE) credit for their participation. It was the largest conference in the U.S. to focus specifically on psychedelics in 40 years–without a doubt a historic moment in the return of psychedelics to mainstream science and medicine. Renowned scientists shared the methods and results of the latest clinical and experimental studies into the physiological and psychologi-cal effects of psychedelics, therapists collaborated on innovative techniques for using psychedelics for treating a wide array of illnesses, and other scholars discussed what they know about the changing place of psychedelics in human culture. The main-stream media clearly recognized the significance of the confer-ence, which received enthusiastic coverage from The New York Times, BBC, CBS, CNN, NPR, Scientific American, and many other local, national, and international media outlets. These and other media reports can be found on the MAPS website at:

Thanks to many generous donations from our members, MAPS is making videos of a large number of the presentations from the conference available for free viewing on the MAPS website.

MAPS is thrilled to announce that we will be hosting another conference with the Heffter Research Institute, the Council on Spiritual Practices, and the Beckley Foundation on psychedelic science in April 2013. We have chosen to wait until 2013 to give researchers a chance to conduct more new studies and publish more results before presenting their latest findings to our audience. In the meantime, MAPS will continue to strengthen the bonds that unite the ever-growing psychedelic science community by hosting an array of events over the course of the next years, including a 25th anniversary celebration in 2011. We will provide a more in-depth and personal account of the conference in the year-end MAPS Bulletin.

New Ibogaine for Opiate Addiction Outcome Study Ready to Begin

MAPS is embarking on a new study investigating long-term outcomes of ibogaine-assisted therapy for people with opiate addiction. Our previous ibogaine pilot study led by John Harrison, Psy.D. candidate, concluded in December 2009, with sufficient suggestions of efficacy and safety to justify expanding our research to a new, more rigorous protocol. The new study is lead by MAPS Deputy Director Valerie Mojeiko, and co-lead by University of California, San Diego’s Thomas Kingsley Brown, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies’ (CIIS) faculty member Meg Jordan, Ph.D., R.N., and CIIS graduate student Rishi Karim Gargour, M.A. The study follows patients at Pangea Biomedics, an ibogaine treatment center operated by Clare Wilkins in Playas de Tijuana, Mexico. CIIS’ Human Research Review Committee (HRRC) is overseeing the safety of the project. The protocol will enroll 20 subjects, but if more funding is obtained an additional 10 subjects will be added. The study received HRRC approval on August 6, 2010, and will begin enrollment on August 23, 2010.

The new study investigates the effectiveness of ibogaine-assisted therapy in catalyzing opiate abstinence or reduced opiate use, and improving associated behaviors over 12 months following therapy. We will further investigate the correlation between lifestyle changes and the subjective intensity of the psychedelic ibogaine experience, and observe the severity of withdrawal symptoms associated with opiate detoxification. Subjects denied treatment due to medical problems found during admission (which happens about six times a year) will be asked to enroll in a control group for comparison with the treatment group. We have applied lessons learned from our Mexican pilot study by reducing the number of visits each subject will have with researchers and eliminating some measurements of craving and pain. We are considering adding urine or hair tests to verify if a subject is opiate-free.

Our ibogaine study was mentioned in Popular Science, which can be found on MAPS’ website at: