Meet the Researchers: New Clinical Study Explores MDMA-Assisted Therapy to Treat Social Anxiety in Autistic Adults

November 15, 2014

Brad Burge, MAPS Director of Communications and Marketing
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MAPS Hosts Lecture, Reception, and Dinner November 13 and 15 in Los Angeles

Culver City, Calif.—On November 13, 2014, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) will present a lecture and reception in at the Veterans Memorial Building in Culver City highlighting new research exploring MDMA-assisted therapy as a treatment for social anxiety in adults on the autism spectrum. An intimate fundraising dinner will be held on November 15 in West Hollywood (time, location, and ticket information below).

This novel clinical study is now ongoing at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, and is led by Principal Investigators Charles Grob, M.D., and Alicia Danforth, Ph.D. Grob and Danforth will discuss the study and its goals. Joining the researchers will be MAPS Founder and Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D. MAPS is sponsoring this collaborative study in associated with the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Stanford University.

In this study, researchers are administering MDMA combined with therapy to a small sample of autistic adults with social anxiety in a controlled clinical setting. Adults on the autism spectrum often face social adaptability challenges and greater anxiety, depression, and victimization than typically developing adults. Conventional medications can be ineffective for autistic adults, and new approaches are needed. Case reports have found that many autistic adults who had used MDMA reported reductions in anxiety and increased confidence in their social interaction abilities.

Charles Grob, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine, received the first Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for clinical research with MDMA, studied long-term ayahuasca use in Brazil, and examined the effects of psilocybin in advanced-stage cancer patients with severe anxiety. Alicia Danforth, Ph.D., recently completed her dissertation with a study of adults on the autism spectrum who used MDMA and/or Ecstasy. Rick Doblin, Ph.D., founded MAPS in 1986 and is a highly regarded public speaker and expert on psychedelic research policy, funding, and advocacy.

MAPS is a non-profit research and educational organization developing novel approaches to treat some of the world’s most challenging mental health issues. MAPS also sponsors research on MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD and anxiety associated with advanced-stage illness.

Event: MDMA Therapy: Novel Approaches to Treating Social Anxiety in Autistic Adults
Date and Time: Thursday, November 13 / Lecture: 7:00 PM-9:00 PM / Reception: 9:00 PM
Place: Veterans Memorial Building, 4117 Overland Ave, Culver City, CA 90230
Cost: Lecture: $15 / Reception: $50. Limited number of discounted lecture tickets available for students, veterans, and active duty U.S. military personnel.
Tickets: Online here or call (831) 429-6362.

The fundraising dinner and reception, Turning on a Light: Understanding Psychedelic Therapy, will take place on Saturday, November 15 at Petit Ermitage (8822 Cynthia Street, West Hollywood). Single tickets are $150 or $250 for a party of two. Tickets available online here or by phone at (831) 429-6362.