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Capstone Challenge Over Halfway Complete

July 31, 2020

Dear friends and supporters,

The ongoing Capstone Challenge is the most important fundraising initiative in MAPS’ 34-year history as a non-profit research and educational organization. MAPS has until September 10 to raise $10 million in donations and multi-year pledges in order to unlock a $10 million challenge pledge. All tax-deductible donations support the completion of FDA-regulated Phase 3 clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We are incredibly thankful for the MAPS supporters who are helping us make quick progress toward this goal.

Donate Now

On the July 21, 2020, episode of The goop Podcast, Gwyneth Paltrow was joined by MAPS Founder and Executive Director, Rick Doblin, Ph.D., in a discussion about the promising results from clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD.

On May 22, 2020, MAPS submitted a public comment to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in response to new rules proposed by DEA to govern their review and approval/rejection process for applications seeking permission to cultivate and provide marijuana for medical research and FDA drug development efforts. These proposed new rules mark the next chapter and are a potentially major step forward in our continued struggle to end the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) monopoly on the supply of research-grade marijuana and help Professor Lyle Craker, Ph.D., obtain a DEA license to grow marijuana for clinical trials. Read the public comment here.

We are currently seeking research volunteers for Phase 3 clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. Volunteers will help contribute to scientific knowledge and will help us better understand if MDMA-assisted psychotherapy works for the treatment of PTSD. MAPS conducts clinical trials under the guidance and regulations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in collaboration with federal regulators, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). To learn more about our clinical trials or apply to be a study participant, visit our website.

Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection, from Soul to Psychedelics, the new book authored by psychiatrist and psychedelic researcher Julie Holland, M.D., explores the science of connection as revealed in human experiences from the spiritual to the psychedelic. The key is oxytocin—a neurotransmitter and hormone produced in our bodies that allows us to trust and bond. It fosters attachment between mothers and infants, romantic partners, friends, and even with our pets. There are many ways to reach this state of mental and physical wellbeing that modern medicine has overlooked. The implications for our happiness and health are profound.

In this month’s edition of the MAPS Newsletter, you’ll also learn: 

    • MAPS therapist Marcela Ot’alora discusses ketamine and healing trauma on an episode of The Lex Files podcast
    • We’re hiring at MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC) and MAPS Europe
    • A signed Ram Dass art print by Martina Hoffmann is for sale in the MAPS Store

    Thank You, Brad

    After more than 10 years at MAPS, Brad Burge, our Director of Strategic Communications, is moving on to a new chapter. Brad played a pivotal role in the cultural and scientific mainstreaming of psychedelic-assisted therapy and has been an active voice denouncing the war on drugs. Brad has been an invaluable asset in reaching new audiences with our message of healing and justice.

    Brad joined MAPS in 2009 and became a full-time employee in 2011 as the sole member of the communications team. Since Brad’s arrival to MAPS, our small 8-person team has grown into a roughly 100-person international organization on the cusp of making MDMA into a medicine for PTSD.

    When he first started, far fewer knew about the work we do, and many were far more skeptical about it than today. Brad created much of the foundational content we rely on today to frame the work we do while dancing a delicate line between FDA regulations, fundraising needs, and advocating for the potential benefits of non-ordinary states of consciousness.

    One of Brad’s key contributions was the development of the Psychedelic Science conferences. He played a key role in MAPS’ first Psychedelic Science conference in 2010 and the following expansion of that in 2013. He was then conference director for the world’s largest psychedelic conference to date, bringing more than 3,500 people together in Oakland, California, for Psychedelic Science 2017. Many of our supporters will remember meeting him at these events.

    We are so grateful that Brad shared his unique gifts with MAPS for the past decade. We are confident his words, passion, and dedication to the field will continue. We hope to honor his contribution to the cause and make him proud. Thank you, Brad. Onward and upwards!

    Follow MAPS on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and reddit.

    Thank you for being with us during this incredible moment in our history!

    With appreciation,

    Amy Mastrine
    MAPS Web and Email Marketing Associate

    Treating PTSD with MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy

    Phase 3 Trials of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for PTSD

    We are currently seeking research volunteers for Phase 3 clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. Volunteers will help contribute to scientific knowledge and will help us better understand if MDMA-assisted psychotherapy works for the treatment of PTSD. MAPS conducts clinical trials under the guidance and regulations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in collaboration with federal regulators, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). To learn more about our clinical trials or apply to be a study participant, visit our website.

    An Open-Label, Multi-Site Phase 2 Study of the Safety and Feasibility of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for Eating Disorders

    MAPS will conduct a Phase 2, open-label, multi-site study for MDMA as an adjunct to psychotherapy for anorexia nervosa restricting subtype (AN-R) and binge eating disorder (BED). This study will explore the safety and feasibility of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy and adjunctive caregiver involvement in the treatment of individuals with AN-R and BED. The addition of a supportive caregiver as a treatment ally with every participant reflects this most recent development in science and practice. Supportive caregivers enrolled in the study will receive non-drug psychotherapy support. The study will enroll 12 participants who meet the Diagnostic Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders Edition 5 (DSM-5) criteria for Anorexia Nervosa (AN-R), and 6 participants who meet DSM-5 criteria for BED, for a total of 36 participants (12 AN-R, 6 BED, and 18 caregivers).

    The study will take place at three study sites. The study site in Vancouver, Canada, will include six Binge Eating Disorder (BED) participants, with Qualified Investigator Christian Schütz overseeing the study. The study sites in Toronto, Canada, and Denver, Colorado, will each include six Anorexia Nervosa (AN-R) participants, with Michael Verbora overseeing as Qualified Investigator in Toronto, and co-Clinical Investigators Adele Lafrance and Mike Rollin overseeing the site in Denver.

    A Phase 1 Open-Label Study of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) Tolerability and Pharmacokinetics in Subjects with Moderate Hepatic Impairment Compared to Matched Control Subjects with Normal Hepatic Function

    MAPS is sponsoring a Phase 1, open-label study of MDMA’s effect on hepatic impairment (liver disease) at the University of California San Francisco. Principal Investigators are Janel Long-Boyle, Pharm.D., Ph.D. and Robert M. Grant, M.D., M.P.H. While the study site is prepared, this study has not yet enrolled any participants and enrollment is on hold due to COVID-19. The primary objective of this study is to evaluate the effect of moderate hepatic impairment on the pharmacokinetics of oral MDMA and its active metabolite 3,4-methylene-dioxyamphetamine (MDA). The secondary objective of this study is to evaluate the effect of moderate hepatic impairment on the safety and tolerability of oral MDMA.

    MDMA Therapy Training Program Update: July 2020

    Best wishes from the Training and Supervision Department at MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC)!

    We hope that you, your loved ones, and communities are taking care of your nervous systems and of each other, as current events continue to unfold around the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial justice movement in the United States.

    MAPS PBC Trainers Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N., and Michael Mithoefer, M.D., recently completed the first live online training for the MDMA Therapy Training Program with support from MDMA Therapy Training Program staff. They delivered the online training across two weekends in June to the seventy-student cohort in the CIIS Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research (CPTR) program. Michael Mithoefer and Annie Mithoefer provided a second online training to over twenty-five clinicians in July. MAPS PBC Trainers Marcela Ot’alora, G, L.P.C., and Bruce Poulter, M.P.H., plan to provide an online training for Naropa University in September and October.

    The Training Team is excited to learn from our online trainings as we progress with training design and program development. The MDMA Therapy Training Program is carrying out an educational design project to further develop the training pedagogy and competency framework to support the growth and continued quality of the program over the coming years. Additionally, the training program continues to support clinical supervision of active MDMA-assisted psychotherapy studies, as many study sessions are continuing with safety practices in place for COVID-19.

    Sign up for the Training Program Newsletter to receive updates on upcoming trainings.Learn More

    Support MAPS

    June 2020 Giving Report: Capstone Challenge Continues; MAPS Raises Nearly $2.5 Million

    In June 2020, we raised $2,497,852 in donations and pledges from over 2,500 supporters. Of that amount, $2.2 million was pledged toward our $30 million Capstone Campaign to complete FDA-regulated Phase 3 clinical trials and make MDMA a medicine. 

    We have been offered an all-or-nothing, 90-day, $10 million challenge grant to help complete the $30 million Capstone Campaign. The conditions of the challenge require MAPS to raise $10 million in donations and multi-year pledges in order to unlock the $10 million in challenge funds. The challenge grant is funded by Tim Ferriss, James Bailey (Founder and Managing Partner, Bail Capital), Peter Rahal (Founder, RxBar), Blake Mycoskie (Founder and Chief Shoe Giver, TOMS), and John A. Griffin (Founder, Blue Ridge Capital), who each offered $1 million, with $5 million from The Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation. We have until September 10, 2020, to raise $10 million and unlock the $10 million challenge pledge. 

    Since the campaign launch on June 12, we’ve already raised over $5.6 million from over 2,180 donors. Special thanks to the supporters listed under Phase 3 (Capstone Challenge) who have already pledged $1,000 or more towards the $10 million challenge. Visit for more information. 

    Support in June also included $248,057 for general support, $760 for MDMA-related projects, $30 for the Zendo Project, and $250 for ibogaine research. An additional $15,206 was raised by organizations that MAPS fiscally sponsors including the Bay Area Healers Resilience Fund ($19,704), VETS ($2,150), Expanded Access Clinics ($300), Better Living Through Chemistry ($250), Brooklyn Psychedelic Society ($250), MAPS Canada ($30), ICEERS ($10), Bluelight ($10), and Kaphi ($2). 

    The positive outcome of the interim analysis in March 2020 indicates that with sufficient funding, we have an excellent chance of generating additional promising safety and efficacy data and potentially receiving FDA approval for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD by the end of 2022. 

    We appreciate donations of any size and are particularly grateful to the following supporters for their generous contributions of $1,000 or more: 

    Capstone Campaign – Phase 3 

    • Anonymous ($750,000) 
    • George Goldsmith and Katya Malievskaia ($300,000) 
    • Will Sterling ($250,000) 
    • Inkinen Family DAF ($135,000) 
    • Evolve Foundation ($100,000) 
    • Kevin Ryan and Pascaline Servan-Schreiber ($100,000) 
    • The Simon Family ($100,000) 
    • Michael Sobeck ($100,000) 
    • Mind Medicine Australia ($40,000) 
    • Rollo ($25,000) 
    • Anonymous ($20,000) 
    • Justin Mares ($15,000) 
    • Robert Anton Patterson ($10,000) 
    • Luke Whiting ($10,000) 
    • David Walker ($6,666.66) 
    • Anonymous ($6,666.66) 
    • Karen Legotte Langdon ($5,150) 
    • Philip Daniel Dracht and Heather Barrett Huffman-Dracht ($5,000) 
    • John and Riley Pfeiffer ($5,000) 
    • Jim O’Shaughnessy ($5,000) 
    • Carter Thomas ($5,000) 
    • Anonymous ($5,000) 
    • James Seagraves ($3,000) 
    • Andrew Ryan ($2,500) 
    • James Do ($1,545) 
    • Payam Panbechi ($1,234) 
    • Jonas Larsen ($1,181) 
    • Debora Birnbaum ($1,030) 
    • David Bradley ($1,030) 
    • Juan Cappello ($1,030) 
    • Erin Cowan ($1,030) 
    • William Phipps Mcgrail ($1,030) 
    • Kevin and Jilliane Wiley ($1,030) 
    • Anonymous ($1,030) 
    • Pearl Baker-Katz ($1,000) 
    • Michael Good ($1,000) 
    • Google, Inc. ($1,000) 
    • Connor Grooms ($1,000) 
    • Angela Gu ($1,000) 
    • Vince Pecoraro ($1,000) 
    • Fabrice Penot ($1,000) 
    • Jerod Scott ($1,000) 
    • Tomer Shekel ($1,000)
    • Wes Thompson ($1,000) 
    • Watson Law Office ($1,000) 
    • Sonia Weiss Pick ($1,000) 
    • Nicholas Whalen ($1,000) 
    • Laura Wiginton ($1,000) 
    • Anonymous ($1,000) 


    • Evolve Foundation ($200,000) 
    • Anonymous ($9,387) 
    • Foster Family Giving Fund ($2,500) 
    • Buckmaster Foundation ($2,000) 
    • Michael Bestvina ($1,500) 
    • SPORE ($1,317) 
    • Jahaziel Lara Hernandez ($1,000) 
    • MUD\WTR ($1,000) 
    • Jiri Techet ($1,000) 
    • Anonymous ($1,000)

    Fiscal Sponsor Grantees 

    • The Omidyar Group – Bay Area Healers Resilience Fund ($6,000) 
    • Bruce Linton – VETS ($2,000) 
    • Anonymous – Bay Area Healers Resilience Fund ($2,000) 
    • Katrina Gordon – Bay Area Healers Resilience Fund ($1,500) 
    • Nick Sullivan – Bay Area Healers Resilience Fund ($1,500) 
    • Banker Fund for Goodness – Bay Area Healers Resilience Fund ($1,000) 
    • Matt GA – Bay Area Healers Resilience Fund ($1,000) 
    • Charles Johnston – Bay Area Healers Resilience Fund ($1,000) 
    • Anonymous – Bay Area Healers Resilience Fund ($1,000) 

    MAPS relies on the generosity of individual donors to achieve its mission. Psychedelic science is again being conducted under federal guidelines, but no funding for psychedelic psychotherapy research is yet available from governments or major foundations.

    Together, we can legalize psychedelic medicine.
    Donate now at Learn how to include MAPS in your will or estate plans.

    We're Hiring!

    MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC) and MAPS Europe are currently hiring!

    MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC):

    MAPS Europe:

    You can support MAPS by referring qualified candidates to these positions.


    MAPS in the Media:

    MAPS Store

    Signed Ram Dass Art Print by Martina Hoffmann

    This art print of a portrait of Ram Dass by Martina Hoffmann was beautifully reproduced as a fine art print after the original oil painting was created in September 2010. This print is made with archival colours on 25” x 24” Hahnemühle Photo Rag, 300g archival paper and coated with a special archival print shield. Each print in this edition of 50 is numbered and hand-signed by artist Martina Hoffmann and Ram Dass. A certificate of authenticity, signed by the artist, will be issued for each individual limited-edition print. During his lifetime, Ram Dass was gifted with 25 of 50 limited edition prints by Martina Hoffmann. With this commemorative portrait, we forever wish to honour and express our gratitude to a truly beloved spiritual elder. Learn More

    Psychedelic Mysteries of the Feminine by Maria Papaspyroum, Chiara Baldini, and David Luke

    Women have been shamans since time immemorial, not only because women have innate intuitive gifts, but also because the female body is wired to more easily experience altered states, such as during the process of birth. Whether female or male, the altered states produced by psychedelics and ecstatic trance expand our minds to tap into and enhance our feminine states of consciousness as well as reconnect us to the web of life. In this book, we discover the transformative powers of feminine consciousness and altered states as revealed by contributors both female and male, including revered scholars, visionary artists, anthropologists, modern shamans, witches, psychotherapists, and policy makers. Buy Now


    Browse our Event Calendar page for more opportunities.

    Polaris Insight Center: Trainings for Clinicians, July - November 2020, San Francisco, California

    Polaris Insight Center provides didactic, experiential, and residential trainings in ketamine-assisted therapy. These programs are designed to provide interested physicians, psychologists, therapists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals with principles and procedures of KAP and how to use ketamine in combination with psychotherapy in a clinical setting. Learn More

    Understanding Ketamine, August 1-2, 2020, Online

    Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic also classified as a psychedelic. In the last decade it has become frequently sought as a treatment for depression and mood disorders. This training is designed for therapists, psychologists, physicians, and other healthcare professionals who want to better understand the basics of ketamine and how they can ensure the best clinical outcomes for patients. Learn More

    Canada and Psychedelics Research Conference 2020, September 20, 2020, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    This conference is aimed at creating an interdisciplinary space for Canadian academics who are interested in research relating to psychedelic compounds. Our primary goal is to foster dialogue between distinct disciplinary and methodological approaches to psychedelic research, and to help facilitate a greater Canada-wide psychedelic research community. Learn More

    Psychedelic Psychotherapy Forum, October 14-18, 2020, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

    az psychedelics conf

    Now in its fifth iteration, the 2020 Psychedelic Psychotherapy Forum // Vision & Visionaries is Canada’s premiere conference, facilitating dialogue and shared learnings about psychedelic-assisted therapies and research, including the ethical, cultural, indigenous and spiritual use of plant medicines and psychedelic substances for personal and collective healing and transformation. Our forum and workshops offer continuing education credits for health practitioners including psychologists, clinical counsellors, psychotherapists, nurses, and family physicians. Learn More

    The Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research, September 24-26, 2020, Online

    az psychedelics conf

    This is the fourth edition of the Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research (ICPR). The ICPR 2020 conference takes place from Friday, April 24 to Sunday, April 26, 2020, in the beautiful city of Haarlem, The Netherlands. ICPR 2020 is an academic conference focused on high quality scientific and scholarly research into psychedelics. Many academic disciplines have important contributions to make within the field of psychedelic studies. ICPR aims to bridge and connect these disciplines, and to facilitate a dialogue between the diverse academic fields and researchers involved in the study of psychedelics. • Learn More

    International Summit on Psychedelic Therapies for Mental Illness, November 16-19, 2020, Melbourne, Australia

    Mind Medicine Australia is holding a two-day International Summit on Psychedelic Therapies for Mental Illness. This global event will bring together clinicians, scientists, academics, mental and public health professionals, philanthropists, government, law and policy makers, business, industry, investors, and other interested stakeholders. • Learn More

    Participate in Psychedelic Research

    MDMA Studies Sponsored by MAPS

    MAPS sponsors clinical trials around the world that offer volunteers the opportunity to participate in our research studies. Our studies have strict enrollment criteria based on the goal of the study and the condition the study is investigating.

    Phase 3 trial participant enrollment is now open. Please bookmark our Participate in Research page and check it frequently for updates.

    Spanish Psychedelic Questionnaire

    Have you had an experience with psychedelics? Are you a native Spanish-speaker? Please help us understand your experiences with psychedelics among Spanish-speaking people and the short- and long-term effects of such experiences. • Take the Survey

    Thank you to Dr. Bronner’s for their company’s support of the MAPS Newsletter!