MAPS News March 2009 – Which is safer: MDMA or peanuts?
Dear MAPS Supporters and Friends,
We are witnessing a change in our culture as result of the work that MAPS does and our members support. This week, military.com, an online news media outlet wrote an enthusiastic article about our MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder research. Military.com has ten million members who potentially have read the article! On February 11, the editorial board at New Scientist posed a mental exercise to their readers: Which is safer to give to a perfect stranger, MDMA or Peanuts? You should give them ecstasy, of course. A much larger percentage of people suffer a fatal acute reaction to peanuts than to MDMA. The editorialist went onto call for a rational debate about the true damage caused by illegal drugs – which pales into insignificance compared with the havoc wreaked by legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco. Until then, we have no chance of developing a rational drug policy.
Meanwhile, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is hampering MAPS abilities to do scientific research with marijuana. One ardent MAPS supporter has taken the initiative to campaign on our behalf. We hope that you will help us by going to www.scienceoverpolitics.org and send a message to the Obama administration and your two senators to end the anti-science ideology promoted by DEA.
There are many important items in this months MAPS news, but a couple logistical items require particular attention:
1. Save the date: April 16-18 2010. MAPS is having a conference in the San Francisco Bay Area. We will bring together researchers from all around the world to present their latest findings. We will be offering continuing medical education and continuing education credits to attendees. More details below.
2. MAPS HAS A NEW MAILING ADDRESS! Please delete the Love Creek, Ben Lomond address from your address book. The new address is:
309 Cedar Street, #2323
Santa Cruz, CA, 95060
3. We have a great gift of the month for current members who give $25 or more and new members who give $35 or more. Artist Michael Garfield has supplied us with 25 beautiful 11 x 17 signed glossy prints of his awesome piece Garden of Eden. This is beautiful artwork order quickly while supplies last!
Randolph Hencken MA
Here’s a sample of what is happening this month at MAPS:
- MAPS Receives 5-year, $150,000 a Year Pledge from Ashawna Hailey, Totaling $750,000!
- MAPS Raises Over $170,000 in the Past Month
- Prof. Craker’s Legal Team Prepares for March 11 Deadline In DEA Medical Marijuana Production Lawsuit
- Participate in MAPS’ Marijuana Legal Struggle at scienceoverpolitics.org
- WAMM Delegates Head to Israel to Assist Marijuana Production Facility
- MAPS Helps the Production of Wammovie
- MAPS Conference April 16-18, 2010. Save the Date!
- Seeking Donation of Frequent Flyer Miles and Large Vacation House or Small Retreat Center for MAPS International MDMA/PTSD Therapist Training Seminar
- Donate to MAPS this Month and Print by Artist Michael Garfield!
- Participants Needed for a Research Study on Psychedelic Mushrooms (Psilocybin) and Spirituality
- Horizons: Perspectives on Psychedelics NYC Sept 25-27
- Diabasis Seeks Networking for Spiritual Emergencies
- Military Families Learn About MDMA/PTSD Therapy from Military.com Article
- MAPS Releases New Version of Psychedelic Emergency Video
- New MAPS Podcast with David Jay Brown Available
- New Books from MAPS: Ayahuasca Religions and LSD: My Problem Child, 4th English Edition
- Inner Traditions Releases LSD: Doorway to the Numinous by Stan Grof, a New Edition of Realms of the Human Unconscious
- MAPS Clinical Research Team Visits Swiss LSD and Swiss MDMA Sites
- Ibogaine Outcome Study Now Fully Funded—Empowered to Enroll Remaining Subjects
- MAPS’ US MDMA/PTSD Research Team Prepares Paper for Publication
- MAPS New Mailing Address—We Are Moving!
New Media and Information
* * * Dues-paying MAPS members are empowering staff, scientists, and volunteers to carry out pioneering research and educational projects. To donate, learn about the benefits of MAPS membership, or purchase books, clothes, art, and other merchandise, visit: store.maps.org/ * * *
Ashawna Hailey, a member of MAPS’ Board of Directors, has made a 5-year, $150,000 a year pledge, for a total of $750,000, and has already donated the initial $150,000 in February 2009. This long-term commitment from Ashawna, coming during these very challenging financial times, is a tremendous vote of confidence in our MDMA/PTSD drug development program. Ashawna’s pledge, just like MDMA itself, has transformed into hope and excitement our fear and uncertainty about our ability to expand our research at this time of global contraction. Words fail to express our gratitude to Ashawna.
During this time of terrible financial havoc, MAPS has been incredibly fortunate to receive substantial contributions from several individuals. We wish to thank Peter Lewis for an unrestricted grant of $35,000. Kevin Herbert generously donated $9,000 restricted to our Swiss LSD/end-of-life anxiety study and Robert Barnhart provided us with $10,000 for MAPS’ second edition of Albert Hofmann’s LSD: My Problem Child (see item below).
At the ibogaine conference in Boston, Doug Greene, co-founder of Cures Not Wars and long-time drug policy reformer, wrote a check for $1000 for our Ibogaine research Doug’s gift started the ball rolling for other donations for the ibogaine project. Robert Barnhart provided us with a matching grant of $15,000 for the ibogaine study, which amazingly was matched in full two days later by an anonymous donor!
The anonymous donor also pledged $85,000 for our planned Jordanian MDMA/PTSD study. We also received a $4,000 donation for our U.S. MDMA/PTSD study from another anonymous patron.
Thank you to all of the above people. We also wish to acknowledge the hundreds of supporters who have given us other monetary gifts that sustain our ongoing research projects and operating expenses. MAPS is still a membership-based organization with 1700+ members and growing. It is the generosity of all of us combined that will lead to a world where psychedelic psychotherapy and medical marijuana are available legally by prescription.
MAPS’ and Professor Lyle Craker’s legal team are working hard to persuade DEA to issue Prof. Craker a license to grow marijuana for federally-approved, MAPS -funded research. It feels like we’re closer than we’ve been at any time in the last several decades.
On January 14, 2009, after doing nothing for almost two years and with just six days left in office, Bush holdovers at the DEA published in the Federal Register a final ruling denying Prof. Craker a license to grow marijuana. DEA’s final ruling rejected Administrative Law Judge Ellen Bittner’s February 12, 2007, recommendation that it would be in the public interest for DEA to license Prof. Craker.
On January 30, 2009 our legal team filed a motion to reconsider based on new evidence included in DEA’s final ruling. On February 6, 2009, 16 members of the United States Congress sent a letter to new Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to have DEA amend or withdraw the Final Order in this matter to permit President Obama’s new Deputy Attorney General and DEA appointees to review Prof. Craker’s merits, once they are in office. On February 9, 2009, DEA Deputy Administrator Michelle Leonhart, agreed to extend to March 11, 2009, the deadline for a response from our legal team.
The legal team is preparing a supplemental filing to our motion to reconsider for the March 11 deadline. After the legal filing on March 11, DEA has 15 days to reply. At the present moment, the effective date for the final ruling to become effective is April 1, but this may be extended if DEA grants our motion to reconsider and schedules additional hearings or sets a timetable for additional written submissions. If not extended, DEA will be sued in the DC Circuit Federal Court of Appeals.
In related news, Attorney General Eric Holder has reprimanded DEA for conducting raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in states where medical marijuana is legal. Medical Marijuana supporters can now celebrate the end of an era when federal raids by DEA agents were arresting citizens who were abiding by state laws. There is definitely a sea change in politics and culture as seen in this February 27th front-page article of the San Francisco Chronicle. Not only does the article discuss the end of the raids, it also discusses Dr. Craker’s legal case.
An ambitious MAPS supporter has created a website to help generate support for DEA licensing of Dr. Lyle Craker’s MAPS-sponsored medical marijuana production facility. Please visit www.scienceoverpolitics.org, where you can send a personal text message about this issue to President Obama, and your two US senators. Please share the website with your contacts who are concerned about science prevailing over anti-drug ideology.
Today Val Corral and Mimi Peleg of Wo/Mens Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) went to Israel, funded by MAPS, to consult with Yohai Golan about distribution and research at a medical marijuana production facility that Golan founded and MAPS helped to fund. MAPS President Rick Doblin PhD will be joining Val and Mimi in Israel later this week.
The Israeli Ministry of Health has licensed Golan to produce enough marijuana to distribute to 500 Ministry-approved patients for several years, so long as the facility does not charge for the marijuana. MAPS donated $15,000 as a matching grant to Golan’s facility last year. Golan has since made alliances with investors who have put up hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund the production facility for the next several years. The Ministry of Health is considering proposals to allow the sale of marijuana to Ministry-approved patients, in order to create a sustainable model.
MAPS is acting as the fiscal sponsor for an upcoming documentary film project about Wo/men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM). Donations to MAPS can now be restricted to Wammovie. Wammovie is a feature length documentary film that will show the human drama of facing disease, the end of life and a person’s right to choose how they deal with both. This film is based on footage and interviews collected over the past four years of volunteer work with a collective of patients and caregivers called the Wo/men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM). More information about Wammovie is available here.
From April 16-18, 2010, we will be hosting a major international conference on psychedelic research and therapy in the San Francisco Bay Area at an upscale Silicon Valley Hotel. The conference will bring psychedelic researchers and other experts from around the world to present the state of the art of psychedelic science. MAPS will offer Continuing Education credits for medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses and social workers, but anyone with an interest in psychedelic research and psychedelic therapy is welcome and encouraged to attend.
The conference will take place April 16 through the 18th with a picnic in and/or bike ride around Golden Gate Park on Monday, April 19. We have chosen these dates to commemorate the 66th anniversary of Albert Hofmann’s discovery of the psychedelic properties of LSD, from April 16-19, 1943.
MAPS is also organizing a smaller 4-day seminar just for the psychedelic researchers from around the world, which will take place the week after the larger conference, from Tuesday, April 20 Friday, April 23.
MAPS’ conference coincides with the 6th National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics organized by Patients Out of Time (POT) POT is a leading medical marijuana patient advocacy organization that hosts a bi-annual conference. The 2010 POT conference will take place in Rhode Island. MAPS is working with POT to arrange for an acclaimed speaker who will appear via video at both conferences simultaneously.
A soon-to-be-announced Silicon Valley Hotel has been chosen for the MAPS conference for the reasonable prices, comfortable meeting and sleeping rooms, and convenient access by airplane, automobile, and public transit. The Silicon Valley region has been integral to the vitality of our organization, as many of our donors live in the area and MAPS headquarters are nearby in Santa Cruz County.
Watch for more information on how to reserve your place at the conference soon–we hope to see you there!
In the second half of June, 2009, MAPS is planning to host a weeklong retreat for MAPS-sponsored MDMA/PTSD co-therapist teams from around the world, bringing together about 20 people. This retreat–the first of its kind–will inform the development of our MDMA/PTSD treatment manual and our therapist-training program. Our co-therapist teams from active studies in the US, Switzerland, and Israel will have an opportunity to share their work; as we help prepare our new teams from Canada, Jordan and Spain. Developing the most effective therapeutic method and learning how to teach it will be our most important challenge in creating a legal context for MDMA. We will need to generate excellent results with twenty to thirty teams in our Phase 3 multi-site studies in order to develop the data to persuade FDA and European Medicines Agency (EMEA) that MDMA should be approved as a prescription medicine—this means we have lots of training ahead of us.
MAPS staff will broadcast a daily blog and podcasts directly from the event to keep our members and other interested parties informed of the valuable information that comes out of this meeting.
We are also seeking a donation of a retreat center or large vacation house to host this event for one week in the second half of June.
Here are our needs for the location:
- Must be able to accommodate 20 people overnight, with an area for 16 people to gather for discussion and presentations
- Must have access to adequate kitchen facilities (we will bring our own catering team)
- Must be within 2 hours of a major airport
- Prefer a beautiful and private retreat-like setting with lots of natural light and vistas, away from the distractions of everyday life
- Nice to have wireless internet access
- Nice to have a large screen television or projector and dvd player for watching therapy tapes, but we can bring our own if not (must have electricity)
This month we are giving away artist Michael Garfield’s Garden of Eden. Each print is signed on 11×17″ high-quality raised ink on glossy stock. We will give away a print to any current member who makes a donation of $25 or more, or any new member who donates $35 or more.
Michael is intent on demonstrating that everything is equally art, science, and spiritual practice – to revive cultural and individual investment in the renaissance thinking that finds equal value in thinking and feeling, description and experience. Working as a scientific illustrator and essayist by day, and a live electronic musician and performance painter by night, Michael divides his attentions between exploring and celebrating the vast complex vibratory spectacle that is our musical universe. He currently writes for hplusmagazine.com, coloradomusicboard.com, realitysandwich.com, and myspace.com/causeandeffectmagazine, and moderates the Visionary Music group at evolver.net. Links to his painting gallery, free live and studio recordings, and earlier writings can be found at myspace.com/michaelgarfield.
Doctorial Student Kevin Bunch needs help with his dissertation research on spirituality and psilocybin. Participants must be over the age of 18 and have taken psilocybin mushrooms. Your participation will be anonymous and would consist of filling out a brief online questionnaire that will take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete The full study announcement can be found at https://maps.org/volunteer.html and also at: (www.mushroomstudy.com).
Save these dates: September 25th, 26th & 27th, 2009, for Horizons: Perspectives on Psychedelics at Judson Memorial Church.
Horizons is a annual forum for learning about psychedelics. Its goal is to open a fresh dialogue about psychedelics and rethink their role in medicine, culture, history, spirituality and art.
On March 4, 2009, Militray.com published a piece about our MDMA-Assisted Therapy for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is incredibly exciting that positive press about our research is reaching the military audience, which is disproportionately effected by PTSD. The author quoted a soldier in our US Pilot study:
I think it’s especially helpful for Soldiers, or someone who comes from a hard or tough background, because this is just the opposite, the Ranger said. It’s a soft, compassionate loving drug. You lie down, listen to some relaxing music and can really connect with your emotions.
The former Ranger told the reporter that he is confident that the Veterans Affairs will explore MDMA-Assisted psychotherapy as a treatment option as long as word of the treatment’s success continues to spread.
We are pleased to announce the release of the newest version of MAPS’ psychedelic emergency video. The newest version is available on Youtube and is a concise educational drama about how to help someone who is having a difficult psychedelic experience.
According to US Government Statistics, approximately 600,000 new users try LSD each year in the US alone. Similar numbers are surely found in other nations. Many of these new users are unprepared and uninformed about how to handle difficult psychedelic experiences. Please help MAPS spread this video far and wide by sharing it with your family, friends and colleagues. MAPS would like everyone to be prepared to help someone having a psychedelic induced crisis by knowing four basic principals of psychedelic emergency services:
- Create a safe space.
- Sitting, not guiding.
- Talk through, not down.
- Difficult is not necessarily bad.
We have just released our Spring 2009 podcast. This episode has an interview with author and MAPS’ guest editor David Jay Brown, MA. David is the guest editor of the upcoming spring MAPS Bulletin, which is a special edition about ecology and psychedelics. In the podcast, David discusses articles written by Ralph Metzner, Dennis McKenna, Daniel Pinchbeck, and numerous others.
David has been a guest editor on past Bulletins including our special edition psychedelics and technology issue. David has recently released a new book, Detox with Oral Chelation: Protecting Yourself from Lead, Mercury, & Other Environmental Toxins. David also has a forthcoming book Renaissance of the Mind, which is a collection of interviews about psychedelics.
The MAPS Bulletin is sent out to all of our dues-paying members. If you are not yet a member and would like to receive a copy of the Bulletin please become a member today.
MAPS is pleased to announce the release of our most recent MAPS-published books, Ayahuasca Religions: A Comprehensive Bibliography and Critical Essays and a new edition of Albert Hofmann’s biography, LSD: My Problem Child.
Ayahuasca Religions: A Comprehensive Bibliography and Critical Essays is a scholarly review of literature on Ayahuasca-using religions. Authors Beatriz Caiuby Labate, Isabel Santana de Ros, and Rafael Guimares dos Santos do an excellent job of providing a succinct and intellectually rigorous account of contemporary Ayahuasca research. This book is a must have for anyone interested in the religious use of Ayahuasca.
The fourth English edition of LSD My Problem Child includes a posthumous forward by Hofmann of a text that he wrote and was read at his funeral.
MAPS publishes books of this nature as part of our educational mission. This new book is also available as a membership premium gift to members who donate $50 or more.
We are now accepting orders for both of these books, and we begin shipping on Friday, March 13.
17. Inner Traditions Releases LSD: Doorway to the Numinous by Stan Grof, a New Edition of Realms of the Human Unconscious
MAPS supporters should be excited to know that Inner Traditions has has published, LSD: Doorway to the Numinous: The Groundbreaking Psychedelic Research into Realms of the Human Unconscious, by Psychedelic Pioneer Stanislav Grof MD.
This new edition of Realms of the Human Unconscious explores a revolutionary understanding of the human psyche that has emerged from the author’s research and experiences in non-ordinary states of consciousness induced by LSD and other psychedelic substances.
Stanislav Grof MD, is a psychiatrist with more than fifty years of experience in research of non-ordinary states of consciousness. Currently, he is Professor of Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), conducts professional training programs in holotropic breathwork and transpersonal psychology, writes books, and gives lectures and seminars worldwide. He is one of the founders and chief theoreticians of transpersonal psychology and the founding president of the International Transpersonal Association (ITA).
MAPS Clinical research team members Valerie Mojeiko and Joshua Sonstroem are currently out “in the field” meeting with MAPS researchers around the world on a several week- monitoring trip. Valerie currently writes from Switzerland where they have just finished a visit with our MDMA/PTSD therapy site under the direction of psychiatrist Peter Oehen, MD and are currently working with psychiatrist Peter Gasser, MD at our LSD/end-of-life anxiety study.
“I am amazed at how many regulations there are and how difficult it is to conduct this type of research accordingly,” said Valerie, “Only with careful attention to detail are we able to succeed in keeping up with the regulations–the researchers in Switzerland have put much effort into this endeavor.” These visits to the research sites not only keep our research compliant with International Council on Harmonization/Good Clinical Practice (international ethical and scientific quality standard for pharmaceutical research) (ICH/GCP) guidelines, but also serve as a way to communicate between research teams and identify training or resource needs and other opportunities. “It is great to see the data firsthand and to hear stories from the researchers of the people who were helped by this therapy–I’m glad to be a part of this research,” said Valerie.
A MAPS-sponsored ibogaine outcome study is being conducted by John Harrison, PsyD Candidate at California Institute for Integral Studies, at the Pangea Biomedics Ibogaine Association in Playas de Tijuana, Mexico. Within the last two weeks, MAPS has raised $31,000 for this study, enabling it to be completed!
The study has enrolled the 12th subject out of 30. This prospective study investigating the efficacy of ibogaine in the treatment of opiate addiction is the only such study in the world examining the long-term (one-year post-treatment) effects of ibogaine treatment with patients suffering from opiate addiction.
John is heartened by, and grateful for the commitment of [the subjects] to stay connected and make such a vital contribution to this innovative research.
John attended the Boston ibogaine conference, where he presented information about his study design and very preliminary findings, and engaged in question and answers with forum attendees. The forum included many prominent members of the ibogaine movement including organizer Dana Beal, the inimitable Patrick Kroupa, Dr. Carl Anderson, Rocky Caravelli, and many others. MAPS President Rick Doblin PhD closed the conference with an inspiring talk calling on researchers to share information and also an appeal to support this ground-breaking study. Video of Rick’s and John’s presentation are available to be viewed online.
MAPS’ US MDMA/PTSD researchers, including Michael Mithoefer MD, Annie Mithoefer BSN, Mark Wagner PhD, Ilsa Jerome PhD, and Rick Doblin PhD, are preparing a paper about our U.S. pilot study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder, which has obtained impressive results The first draft of the paper is close to being sent out to friendly reviewers for initial scrutiny. We will submit the paper to a scientific journal after we respond to the critiques from colleagues and experts. The team is working diligently on the paper to ensure that we provide the eventual reviewers with a compelling submission. MAPS is very excited about the paper; now that we have run the data analysis our research results are really impressive.
Attention: Please remove MAPS’ Ben Lomond address from your address book. Our new mailing address is:
309 Cedar St. #2323
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
After three years in our out-of-the way location in the Santa Cruz mountain town of Ben Lomond, MAPS is moving to a larger office in the city of Santa Cruz. Please do not send mail to the Ben Lomond address, as we will not be able to receive it!
You should also visit MAPS on youtube and myspace and facebook.
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