Greetings MAPS Members and Friends,
Here is the latest news from MAPS:
1. US MDMA/PTSD Study: Almost at the halfway mark!
2. IRB Grants Permission for Videotaping of MDMA Psychotherapy Sessions
3. UMass Amherst Legal Documents Filed
4. 40K Grant for Medical Marijuana Work
5. Ecstasydata.org to close on August 1
6. New Bulletin to the printers
7. LSD: My Problem Child to be re-printed in English as well as translated into Chinese
8. Only 7 signed Albert Hofmann portraits left!
9. MAPS staffer Julia Onnie-Hay Explores Amazonian Shamanism in Peru
10. Upcoming psychedelics conferences
11. Up to $5,000 Grant Awarded to Iboga Therapy House
12. Ibogaine Association Clinic Re-opened After Death of Patient
13. Seeking donations for the Next MAPS Auction
14. Help spread the word: Post a MAPS Banner on Your Website
15. Beware of Fraudulent Emails
16. Dr. Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin in the Hospital: Send a Card!
Dr. Michael Mithoefer’s MAPS-sponsored MDMA/PTSD study has completed both experimental sessions with the 10th subject out of an eventual 20. We are almost at the halfway mark with promising data so far. Preliminary data analysis will be conducted in about two months, after the 10th subject has completed the final follow-up. This data will then be reviewed by MAPS Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB). This data will be reported in summary form once the DSMB completes its review, probably about a week after the data is submitted to them.
The IRB for Dr. Mithoefer’s MDMA/PTSD study has now approved the use of videotaping of experimental sessions, primarily to facilitate the development of our treatment manual. These tapes can be used to help train other therapists and create a formal methodology for conducting MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD (although the lessons can be generalized somewhat for practicing MDMA-assisted therapy in people with other conditions). On June 1, MAPS applied for a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to pay for the development of an MDMA therapy treatment manual. The IRB had already given the research team permission to record audio if a patient gives consent. The sessions during Stage II, the open-label continuation of the study, will also be videotaped, as will the remaining ten people’s sessions in Stage I, per subjects’ consent.
On Tuesday, July 26, 2005, lawyers representing Prof. Lyle Craker filed a List of Witnesses along with summaries of their testimony and associated documents with the DEA Administrative Law Judge, in the lawsuit against the DEA for obstructing medical marijuana research. Prof. Craker is suing the DEA for refusing to issue him a license for a MAPS-sponsored production facility to grow marijuana for federally-approved research. The hearing will take place August 22-26, 2005, with testimony presented by witnesses for both sides.
At present, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has a monopoly on the supply of marijuana that can legally be used in research. NIDA has flatly refused to sell any of this marijuana to two FDA-approved protocols that MAPS was working to sponsor, and for over the last two years has been sitting on an application to purchase 10 grams from an analytical lab seeking to conduct MAPS and CaNORML-sponsored marijuana vaporizer research.
Lawyers for the DEA also filed a List of Witnesses which included several more witnesses, showing that DEA will spare no expense in trying to prove that blocking medical marijuana research is somehow in the public interest.
On July 1, 2005, MAPS was awarded $40,000 from the Marijuana Policy Project for use on projects related to medical marijuana. Half of this grant was requested for and allocated to expenses related to Prof. Craker’s UMass Amherst lawsuit and half is for operational costs for all of MAPS’ marijuana-related projects.
Unless funds are found by the end of this week, the pill-testing program Ecstasydata.org will be forced to shut down, at least temporarily. Ecstasydata.org is an independent laboratory program which allows people to send in pills to be analyzed with a GC/MS test, with the results posted on the web. The site was born from MAPS’ initial small ecstasy pill-testing project which was greatly expanded by DanceSafe, and is now co-sponsored by Erowid, Dancesafe, and MAPS. Ecstasy pills listed on the site commonly contain caffeine, methamphetamine, DXM, pseudoephedrine, and MDA, as well as or instead of MDMA. The site aimed to reduce harm for users, and to dispel common myths about street-ecstasy’s contents, in particular, the one about ecstasy containing heroin. Ironically, after nearly 10 years of proving this rumor false, the first MDMA/fentanyl combination was recently found, just as funds for the program were running out (a sign that the program should continue). Because this is so unheard of, the pill is being retested, because it is suspected that the outer surface may have contained the opiate residue from being stored with other drugs. An article in Australia’s Herald Sun reported that a pill-testing study there found many pills to be counterfeit, and to contain ingredients such as horse tranquilizers, morphine, speed, and nerve-numbing agents.
The MAPS Bulletin has just been sent to the printers, and should be in members’ mailboxes by the third week of August. This special issue focuses on Israel, where MAPS researchers, members and staff traveled last spring for a conference on psychedelics co-sponsored by MAPS and the Israeli Ministry of Health. The purpose of this trip was to help build support for a MAPS-sponsored Israeli MDMA/PTSD pilot study, which has been approved by the local ethics committee at Beer Yaakov Medical Caneter, and is now working its way through the Israeli national ethics committee and, if approved, will then be submitted to the Israeli Ministry of Health.
MAPS is publishing a new English edition of Albert Hofmann’s autobiographical LSD: My Problem Child. Honoring a request from Dr. Hofmann, MAPS has been investigating the possibility of translating the text into both Chinese and Russian. The original German text was translated to English in 1980, and this English edition is now out of print, with plans to be re-printed by MAPS later this year. Fortunately, we discovered that a Russian translation already exists and we were given it to post online, and have now hired a Chinese translator. Unfortunately, we will not be able to publish these books in traditional book form in either Russia or China, since vague laws exist in both countries prohibiting the promotion of illegal drugs. We hope to have the Chinese translation online well before January 11, 2006, when Albert Hofmann will celebrate his 100th birthday. Thank you to everyone who recommended a Chinese translator for this project!
There are only 7 of the 50 signed Albert Hofmann prints by Dean Chamberlain left, at $2000 each. The image is 11″x14″ and is printed on fine-art matte paper and signed by both Albert and Dean. This edition of prints was created to help fund MAPS-sponsored LSD and Psilocybin research as well as to commemorate Albert’s 100th birthday next year. 50% of the profits from the sale of these prints will go towards this research, with a minimum of $25,000. Dean Chamberlain developed his light painting technique, which involves working with his camera and subject in completely dark spaces, in 1977. These images are created entirely in the camera, with no computer manipulation. Using extremely long exposures in sessions that often extend to four or five hours, he moves through the composition space with a flashlight and colored gels, illuminating each individual element, not so much photographing a moment but painting with light through time and space. Dean considers this portrait of Albert to be one of his best photographs. Get yours today!
MAPS staffer Julia Onnie-Hay recently returned to the Sarasota office from Iquitos, Peru, where she represented MAPS and reached out to new members at the Soga del Alma Amazonian Shamanism conference. The weeklong event, with special guests Dennis McKenna, Luis Edwardo Luna, Peter Gorman, and Alan Shoemaker, was for people all over the world who are interested in ayahuasca and shamanic healing. MAPS assisted the conference organizers by processing credit cards, and was compensated with this generous opportunity for a staff member to attend the event. Julia delivered a talk about MAPS and our research efforts.
In less than a month, I (MAPS Staffer Valerie Mojeiko) will be heading to Psytopia, a 7-day all-inclusive psychedelic festival of the mind, held at the Hedonism III resort in Jamaica, that is a charity event for MAPS, NORML, The Drug Policy Alliance, The Albert Hofmann Foundation and the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors. There will be speakers, musicians from around the globe, and a variety of unusual events (laser shows, snorkeling, and circus school to name a few) organized by Alex Pearlstein and the Coalition for Cosmic Consciousness. Come surround yourself with like-minded individuals who have come to learn, share and experience an amazing array of the possibilities this world has to offer, August 17-25. Tickets are still available at: Psytopia.org
Also coming up: The speakers list is getting better every day for the conference which is to take place January 13-15, 2006 in Basel, Switzerland: LSD Problem Child and Wonder Drug–An International Symposium on the Occasion of the 100th Birthday of Albert Hofmann. Presented by the Gaia Media Foundation, this will be a symposium to honor the best known and most controversial discovery of this outstanding scientist. Experts will present an in-depth review of all aspects of the unique phenomenon of LSD, the three letters that changed the world: informing and discussing history, experiences, implications, risks and potentials of this potent psychoactive substance. MAPS will be represented by Rick Doblin, Valerie Mojeiko. Dr. John Halpern, Dr. Andrew Sewell, Dr. Charles Grob, and Dr. Michael and Annie Mithoefer, most of whom are also speakers. This is a conference not to be missed.
MAPS awarded a grant of up to $5000 to the Iboga Therapy House (ITH) for assistance in setting up a new for-profit ibogaine clinic in Vancouver, BC, Canada. The ITH was forced to shut down in August of last year when they unexpectedly stopped receiving funding that enabled them to offer treatments for free. In the year of the clinics operation, they treated 31 people with drug addiction free-of-cost while funded entirely by marijuana seed entrepreneur Marc Emery. The grant will primarily go to paying a salary for Program Director Sandra Karpetas, while she builds a new business and therapeutic structure for the clinic. They plan to start treating people by the end of this year.
In the last Bulletin, I reported that the Ibogaine Association, a small clinic in Tijuana, Mexico had unexpectedly shut down on January 21, 2005, causing data collection to come to a halt for MAPS ibogaine outcome study. The cause for this sudden closure was a patient who died after taking ibogaine. At the time the Bulletin went to press, the autopsy report had not yet been released from the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office, and so MAPS postponed releasing this information until the cause of death was known. On June 6, 2005, we received a copy of the autopsy report. It stated that the patient died of natural causes, a heart attack, unrelated to ibogaine administration. This patient was not in good health at the time of treatment, and suffered from fibromyalgia and chronic opiate pain medication dependency, which probably contributed to this patient’s death. The clinic closed briefly after the incident, and then re-opened several weeks later after making several staff and procedural changes. An additional MD from Mexico and a Naturopathic Doctor from the US have been added to the staff in order to increase the presence of medical personnel, and more emergency medical equipment is now in place in case of future need. At this time, MAPS has not made a decision on whether to resume ibogaine research at the Ibogaine Association or to focus our efforts on the Iboga Therapy House in Vancouver. Go to the MAPS ibogaine page to track developments on this project.
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Dr. Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin, chemist and co-author of PiHKAL and TiHKAL, is currently hospitalized. Below is a message forwarded from his wife, Ann:
Sasha went into the hospital on Tuesday, the 26th, with bacterial pneumonia of the right lung. Today, Thursday, the pulmonary specialist said he’s gradually improving, so we are reasonably certain he has turned the corner and is on his way to recovery. He has had no pain at all, thank heaven. He will be in the hospital for at least another week, so if you want to send a card, the address is:
John Muir Hospital
1601 Ygnacio Valley Rd.
Walnut Creek, CA 94598
Sasha can’t have visitors or talk on the phone for a while, yet, cards would be great. Please send healing thoughts to him.
That concludes this month’s email news update. Please reply to this email with any address changes. Thank you for supporting MAPS!
Valerie Mojeiko, MAPS