Originally appeared at: http://santacruz.patch.com/articles/medical-cannabis-and-psychedelic-drug-research-help-to-revolutionize-modern-medicine It’s no accident that Tom Wolfe’s classic book about the Merry Pranksters and the origins of Western psychedelic culture, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Trip, begins in Santa Cruz. Our beautiful seaside town has such a strong psychedelic culture established here that it’s influenced virtually every aspect of our city’s lifestyle—inspiring alternative forms of spirituality, art, medicine and education, as well as unique fashion styles, increased ecological awareness and enhanced political progressiveness. Santa Cruz has been the home to numerous well-known psychedelic researchers, writers, artists, musicians and many unique, psychedelically inspired cultural institutions that are having a significant influence on the rest of the world were founded here. For example, Santa Cruz is the home of the oldest and most successful medical marijuana organization in the country, the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM), and it’s where the world’s premier psychedelic medical research organization, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), is centered. The Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) WAMM was not only the first medical marijuana collective established in Santa Cruz, it was the first medical marijuana collective established in California and the United States, as well as the first medical marijuana collective to receive nonprofit status from the U.S. government. Founded in 1993 by Valerie and Michael Corral and a handful of seriously ill patients, WAMM has grown into a politically powerful collective membership of 250 patients who suffer from a variety of serious illnesses. WAMM is considered by many people to be the “gold standard” of medical cannabis collectives, and it serves as a model for other collectives around the world. WAMM is internationally recognized for its unique alliance that allows patients to cultivate their medicine together, in order to avoid the high price of cannabis in both the black market and dispensaries, as well as to provide essential physical, emotional and spiritual support for one another. WAMM focuses on providing hope, building community and offering a safe, organic supply of medical marijuana for the treatment of terminal and chronic illness on a donation basis. WAMM is a vital part of the Santa Cruz public health system, and it acts as a legitimate city agent, functioning in compliance with HS11362.5, and acting in accordance with Santa Cruz City Ordinance SC 2000-06 & 2000-12. WAMM’s financial support is entirely dependent upon donations and funding. To find out more about WAMM see: wamm.org The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) MAPS is a membership-based, IRS-approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit research and educational organization that is working to develop psychedelic drugs and marijuana into legal prescription medicines. The organization was founded in 1986 by Rick Doblin, and it is based here in Santa Cruz. MAPS helps scientific researchers design, fund and obtain regulatory approval for studies into the safety and effectiveness of cannabis and psychedelic drugs. MAPS works closely with government regulatory agencies throughout the world, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMEA), to ensure that all of its sponsored research protocols conform to ethical and procedural guidelines for clinical drug research. Some of MAPS’ research efforts include studying MDMA for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder; LSD and psilocybin for the treatment of anxiety and depression associated with end-of-life issues; ibogaine for the treatment of opiate addiction; and alternative delivery systems for medical cannabis, such as vaporizers and water pipes. MAPS states that its ultimate goal is to establish a network of therapeutic clinics where these treatments can be provided under the guidance of licensed physicians and therapists. To find out more about MAPS see: maps.org An article about some of the world’s leading cannabis and psychedelic research organizations which are based in Santa Cruz such as The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and The Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM).