LSD Has Arrived!
MAPS March Email News Update
Dear MAPS Members, Supporters, & Friends,
MAPS is jumping with exciting news. Heres a sample of whats going on:
- LSD Ready for Swiss Study; First Subject has been Enrolled
- Report on Craker Senate Lobby CampaignAnd What YOU Can Do to Help!
- Psychologists and Psychiatrists Wanted for Psychedelic Emergency Work at Boom Festival
- Two Volunteers Needed for MAPS Table at Conference on Clinical Research with Marijuana
- New MDMA/PTSD Study Planned for Canada
- Swiss LSD Protocol Submitted to FDA For Review
- Second Session Completed in MDMA/Cancer-Anxiety
- Stealing Time by Sue Stevens, Book about MDMA-Therapy and Confronting Cancer Diagnosis
- New Edition of Stanislav Grofs LSD Psychotherapy Available March 31
- MAPS Launches Direct Mail Campaign to MPP Members
- MAPS Receives $246,000 Unexpected Donations
- MAPS Receives Pledge of $34,437 for Year-End Matching Grant
- Goodbye (Sort of) from Troy Dayton, MAPS Director of Development
- Introducing Jalene Otto MAPS New Membership and Sales Coordinator
- MAPS At World Psychedelic Forum Next Week
*** MAPS needs your generosity to empower staff, scientists, and volunteers to carry out pioneering research and educational projects. To donate, learn about the benefits of MAPS membership, or purchase merchandise, visit: www.maps.org/donate ***
The LSD that will be used in Peter Gassers Swiss LSD/end-of-life anxiety study arrived on February 26th. The first subject has completed the screening process and has been enrolled into the study. The first dose will probably be administered sometime in the next month. This LSD psychotherapy study is fully approved, and the LSD has been analyzed for purity, encapsulated, and is ready to be administered. When this first dose of LSD is administered another historic landmark worthy of celebration will have been achieved–what will become the first LSD psychotherapy study in over thirty-five years.
So far, the month of March has held a few exciting developments for Professor Craker’s bid to grow research marijuana at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Lauren Anderson Payne, MAPS’ Government Relations Coordinator in Washington, DC, has been gaining unprecedented access to a couple of Senatorial offices! Much of this new interest is thanks in no small part to Americans for Safe Access and the Marijuana Policy Project’s combined grassroots efforts in VT & CA.
Were also working hard to come up with a behind-the-scenes plan that will help push DEA to rule, definitively, after almost seven years of delay. DEA has been almost totally silent since their own Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner held that it is in the public interest to license Professor Craker’s proposed facility. Thats a year of inaction from an agency that promotes itself as a get it done organization (for more info, see their press release regarding Spike TV’s new series, DEA, set for release on April 2).
The American College of Physicians (ACP) recently came out in favor of easing the federal ban on medical marijuana, although their paper on the subject has one significant glitch–it supports the current process for obtaining federal research-grade cannabis. Nonetheless, it is an important step forward. In response to the American College of Physicians’ recent position paper supporting an ease of the ban on medical marijuana, David Murray, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s chief scientist, said, The science should be kept open. There should be more research. We should continue to investigate.
MAPS has been invited to help out with the psychedelic harm reduction program at the Boom Festival in Portugal. This work will be similar to the work that we assist the Black Rock Rangers in doing at Sanctuary during the Burning Man Festival in Nevada each summer. At these and similar festivals there are often thousands of people experimenting with psychedelics, some for the first time, and many with inadequate preparation. Its not uncommon for some people who are ill equipped to deal with the powerful psychological energies that are unleashed to find themselves in very uncomfortable states of mind or dangerous situations. Compassionate guidance during these experiences can mean the difference between an unproductive experience with negative consequences, or a positive (though difficult) experience.
MAPS is looking for two volunteers to help out with the Fifth National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics. This conference on medical marijuana, which is sponsored by Patients Out of Time (P.O.T.), will be held in Asilomar, California at the Asilomar Conference Center on April 4th and 5th. International experts will discuss the latest research at the event. Were looking for two volunteers who can come to the conference, set up tables, sell books and MAPS memberships, and talk to people about MAPS. The volunteers will be provided with free tickets to the event and, of course, our immense gratitude.
Last month I discussed a meeting MAPS President Rick Doblin, Ph.D. had with representatives from the Heffter Research Institute and others to discuss the possibility of doing collaborative clinical ayahausca research in Canada. Further meetings between Doblin, clinical psychologist Andrew Feldmar, Ph.D., psychiatrist Ingrid Pacey, M.D., and MAPS Board of Directors John Gilmore and Ashawna Hailey shifted the focus of the Canadian research agenda to explore the possibility of doing a new MDMA/PTSD study there instead.
Both John and Ashawna felt that there is much promise now with the MDMA/PTSD studies, and because there was some concern that we might dissipate our energies too much by doing too many things at once, they decided that it was best to focus on starting a new MDMA/PTSD study with a team in Vancouver. Opening up a new country to psychedelic research is really important, everyone agreed, and this might be easier with an MDMA study than an ayahausca study because there hasnt been any previous ayahausca research in a therapeutic context. This will turn out to be a challenging project, as there hasnt been any clinical psychedelic psychotherapy research in Canada since the early 1970s.
For those who were excited about the ayahausca research, this project hasnt been abandoned, but rather postponed. It looks as though Canada may be approving the religious use of ayahausca in the near future, so it may be possible for new research to be developed within that area.
Andrew Feldmar, the Canadian clinical psychologist, who is part of the Vancouver team planning the new MDMA/PTSD study with MAPS, made news last year when he was actually stopped at the Canadian/American border on his way into the US. Customs refused to let Dr. Feldmar into the country, because they Google-d him, and found out hed written favorably about his use of psychedelics many years before. The absurdity of this action hasnt gone unnoticed by media, and Feldmar is fighting back by trying to do research. Dr. Feldmar appeared in a hilarious segment of the Colbert Report.
On February 29th MAPS submitted the Swiss LSD proposal–which is fully approved in Switzerland–to the FDA in the US. MAPS already has an open IND for MDMA and another IND for psilocybin, and this will open one now with LSD as well. (An IND is a Investigational New Drug Application, which is a request for authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to administer an investigational drug or biological product to humans.) In order to convince the FDA that the substance that one is investigating is safe and effective a series of studies culminating in two large scale Phase 3 studies, which involves testing the drug in hundreds of subjects, in multiple locations, with different treatment teams need to be run.
MAPS plan–at least with the MDMA project, and also possibly with the LSD research–is to do one of the large phase III studies in the U.S., in around 10-15 locations, and then do the other one throughout Europe, also in around 10-15 locations. Then we plan to cross-submit the data to the FDA and the European Medicines Agency, because both agencies say that of the two large scale phase III studies, one can be abroad, but the other one needs to be domestic. By doing our research in this way, in global collaboration, we can be maximally efficient, and also utilize the unique resources that are available in each region of the world. So, in order to prepare the grounds for the phase II trials we must get the FDA and the European Medicines Agency to accept the data. This means that the protocols have to be reviewed and approved by both agencies if we want them to be used for arguments to make these drugs into medicines.
Vanja Palmers–a Swiss citizen who has been involved with MAPS from its beginning– donated the funds for the LSD purchase and analysis. Thank you so much Vanja, for helping to initiate the first LSD psychotherapy research in over thirty-five years.
As previously reported in a special email news update that was sent out on February 24, the first experimental session in the MDMA/cancer-anxiety study took place on February 23. The study is designed to administer two experimental sessions to each cancer patient. The second experimental session took place on March 8th. There were no safety concerns and the subject was able to do some deep emotional work. Based on the subjects progress addressing his anxieties associated with his diagnosis of advanced-stage cancer, all the many years of work to start this study seem like a small price to pay.
Sue Stevens has recently written a deeply moving book called Stealing Time, which documents her love affair with a man who died at twenty-six of cancer, and who participated in MDMA-asssisted therapy. Before he died, he had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Chemotherapy and alternative therapy didnt help, and he had been given less than a year to live. In desperation they tried MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, with amazing results that enhanced their lives together and reduced his pain. One of their therapeutic sessions was aired on CBS newsmagazine 48 Hours and on MTV.
Sue wrote me saying, With his cancer, at the time of the therapy, he was at the end of his given life expectancy. He wasnt doing well at all. After the therapy however, he was a different guy. He was no longer a man dying of cancer; he, instead, was a man living with it. It was all in the perspective… but we didn’t get that before our therapy night. Mind over matter. After therapy, he went on to live another three and a half years of such a happy, quality life. Cancer or not, it was the absolute best. To find out more about Sues book please visit her Website at: www.MDMAHealing.com
MAPS second paperback edition of Stanislav Grofs classic book on psychedelic psychotherapy–LSD Psychotherapy–will be available on March 31 in the MAPS Webstore. After a long period of being out of print, this edition will contain a new introduction by Albert Hofmann (PDF), a new essay by MAPS Director of Operations Valerie Mojeiko, MAPS Research Specialist Ilsa Jerome, Ph.D., and MAPS President Rick Doblin Ph.D. about the psychedelic research renaissance (PDF), and Dr. Grofs acceptance speech for Vaclav Havels Vision 97 award (PDF). The publication of this important book was made possible by generous donations from Kevin Herbert, John Buchanan, and the Helios Foundation.
In an attempt to boost our membership, we just began a direct mail campaign, and sent out information about MAPS to five thousand members of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), as our previous test mailing with MPP members did really well. MAPS is seeking to build its membership base, so please forward this update to anyone who you think might be interested in what were doing.
MAPS Board of Director Ashawna Hailey donated $150,000 to MAPS for unrestricted use and Peter Lewis donated $96,000 for unrestricted use. Neither of these generous donations were solicited and both were completely unexpected. Ashawna said that hes very excited about MAPS MDMA /PTSD research and wanted to promote it further.
Thanks to Kevin Herbert, and all the people who donated as part of the end-of-the year matching gift program, an additional $88,874 was raised.
All gifts between $50 and $500 made from December 6th to January 26th were matched dollar for dollar. A MAPS member who wishes to remain anonymous pledged to match the first $10,000 and Kevin Herbert agreed to match anything above that. We expected that there would be between $12,000 and $20,000 that would need to be matched. Instead we were overcome with joy and gratitude when we realized that MAPS members made $44,437 in donations that qualified for the match! This was way beyond our wildest dreams. Thank you to all who donated!
We especially want to thank Kevin Herbert for going above and beyond the call of duty in responding to this match. $34,437 was way more than the $2000-$10,000 he was expecting to match, and we would have totally understood if he was not able to match the whole amount. We would have had to find someone after the fact to help us keep our commitment to match the gifts. But Kevin was so touched by the fact that he inspired such an outpouring of support through this offer that he decided to respond in kind with the largest pledge he has ever made. He will spread the payment of his gift over two years. Approximately $8,000 will go toward the printing of the new edition of Stan Grof’s classic, LSD Psychotherapy, $18,000 will go toward sponsoring one of the twelve subjects to undergo legal LSD-assisted psychotherapy in over thirty-five years, and the rest will be unrestricted.
These gifts are coming at a crucial juncture and they are allowing the psychedelic research renaissance to proceed.
From Troy: As of next week, I will be transitioning out of my current half-time role as Director of Development and into a development consultant role at MAPS. My current half-time position as Senior Development Officer at the Marijuana Policy Project will become my full-time job. The practical effect of this for you is that since I will no longer be writing the appeals and the thank you notes, and talking on a regular basis with supporters, we probably won’t be in communication as much. However, I will still be helping to shape and advise on our development efforts to expand on the tremendous turn around in fundraising we created this year. And of course, I will still attend many MAPS functions (including Burning Man).
I have learned so much from MAPS members and staff this year and have truly fallen in love with the psychedelic community. I look forward to continuing to change the world with you in a different capacity.
We will always be companions on the road to cognitive liberty, regardless of our ever-evolving roles.
Be well, be free,
Were happy to announce that Jalene Otto is now working for MAPS as our Membership and Sales Coordinator. Jalene has been with MAPS now for a few months in an administrative capacity. She studied philosophy and sociology at Cabrillo College and the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Jalene said, I believe the most fundamental aspect of being human is that of choice. I also feel that to understand a large collection of people and ideas we must first understand our most basic selves. I believe that psychedelics can open those doorways to understanding, and with that understanding serve to better our compassion for things as they are now, thus freeing us to prepare for things as they are becoming. I’m also a mom and it’s a good window into the self when I see my 6 year old son, Laine, mirror my words and actions. There has never been a joy like that of watching him come into his own understandings and moral quandaries.
Were looking forward to seeing any MAPS members who will be coming to Switzerland for the World Psychedelic Forum, which will be held from March 21 to 24 at the Congress Center in Basel. Stan Grof M.D., Michael Mithoefer, M.D., Annie Mithoefer, R.N. Sameet Kumar, Ph.D., Valerie Mojeiko, B.A, and Rick Doblin, Ph.D. will all be there as speakers, and they look forward to seeing any of the MAPS members who will be attending.
For those who will be attending the conference in Switzerland, you can help us celebrate the beginning of the new Swiss LSD psychotherapy study, and all the other exciting new developments that MAPS is making throughout the world.
These are thrilling times for those of us at MAPS, as were facing a range of extraordinary opportunities. Please consider making a donation to MAPS today, so that these exciting opportunities can be seized and psychedelics can take their proper place as medicines.
Onward and Upward,
David Jay Brown, M.A.,
MAPS Guest Editor