It Takes Money to Feed your Head

Wired News
March 17, 2005,1294,66924,00.html

It Takes Money to Feed your Head

by Kristen Philipkoski

An organization that supports psychedelic drug research is hosting an eBay auction featuring ecstasy icon Alexander Shulgin’s lab glassware, LSD blotter paper art and a week of “tanning, dancing and trancing” on Ibiza, among other mind-bending items.

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, or MAPS, launched the eBay auction, which runs until March 21. The group aims to raise money for administrative expenses, which have increased thanks to the group’s recent successes, said Rick Doblin, MAPS president and founder.

MAPS helped gain approval from the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration for a clinical trial testing MDMA, or ecstasy, as a post-traumatic stress disorder therapy, and is awaiting final approval from the DEA to study the drug as a psychological aid for terminal cancer patients. The group hopes to set up similar trials in Israel, Spain, Switzerland and locations in the United States, a move that requires much wrangling with government agencies. MAPS has also sued the DEA for having a monopoly on growing marijuana that meets federal requirements for research.

“We have financial needs that are greater than ever because we’re getting approved more, and we’re building a community,” Doblin said.

The money will go toward operational costs like stamps, office equipment and salaries, he said, as well as events where psychedelic researchers and former ravers can gather and share stories.

The items up for auction are a cornucopia of psychedelic drug memorabilia, including various beakers and other glassware from the Northern California laboratory of psychedelic drug icon Alexander Shulgin.

Also up for bid is art using a unique medium: LSD blotter paper (minus the LSD). Stevee Postman created a psychedelic (what else?) brain and eyeball image for the 60th anniversary of LSD in 2003. The work, donated by Jon Hanna, organizer of the Mind States conference, is signed by LSD creator Albert Hoffman, who is now 99.

Blotter-art collector Thom Lyttle donated several other blotter prints, including one signed by psychedelic drug and dolphin guru John C. Lilly, and a geisha print tagged by Timothey Leary. Annie Sprinkle donated a blotter print entitled LSD Tit Print, which she signed twice — once with a pen and once with an ink-dipped breast.

Tom Robbins fans, prepare for a bidding war: The author donated a copy of Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates, which he not only signed but marked with the outline of his hand, and included a hand-written poem.

One final highlight should be up for bid soon: a guitar donated by The Cure and signed by all five members of the band.

You can visit the Ebay Auction page, or the MAPS auction page. You can also read more about world-wide research with psychedelics and MAPS-supported medical marijunana research.

Wired News published “You Need Money to Feed Your Head”, a short article discussing the MAPS auction that will run from March 14 to March 21, 2005.