MAPS Email Newsletter:
Over 100,000 Signatures on Petition
to Support Medical Marijuana Research;
International MDMA Studies Progress
August 7, 2014
Through a combination of scientific data and true personal stories, word is finally spreading about research into the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana. Psychedelic therapy research is advancing steadily, and while medical marijuana research remains clouded in politics, there are signs of hope.
In the last month, two more subjects have enrolled and one more has been treated in our ongoing Phase 2 trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “The Boulder study is at its halfway point and the results have been encouraging and significant,” reports Marcela Ot’alora, Principal Investigator of our ongoing study in Colorado.” We have witnessed people change in ways they did not think possible.”
The public outcry supporting medical marijuana researcher Dr. Sue Sisley after her dismissal from the University of Arizona continues making national headlines. The online petition launched by Arizona veteran Ricardo Pereyda has gathered over 105,000 signatures in support of MAPS and Dr. Sisley’s efforts to initiate medical marijuana research for veterans with PTSD in Arizona. On July 28, the University of Arizona denied Dr. Sisley’s appeal for reinstatement; MAPS and Dr. Sisley are now seeking a new location for our FDA-approved study within Arizona.
Here are a few highlights from the August 2014 edition of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) Email Newsletter:
- Dr. Sue Sisley talks to CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta about her efforts to start medical marijuana research in Arizona
- The third subject is enrolled in our new study of MDMA-assisted therapy for social anxiety in adults on the autism spectrum
- Dr. Ben Sessa announces an upcoming brain imaging study in the UK, funded in part by MAPS, exploring the effects of MDMA on PTSD without therapy
- Our Department of Generosity and Gratitude offers thanks to our 164 contributors last month
- Prominent physician and educator Dr. Andrew Weil writes a letter to the University of Arizona expressing his support for Dr. Sue Sisley’s marijuana research
This month, we also celebrate reaching 100,000 Likes on Facebook—a number that speaks for itself. Thank you for your oustanding support, and don’t forget to also follow us on Twitter, YouTube, and reddit.
One last thing—keep an eye out soon for our new online crowdfunding campaign: Legalizing Psychedelic Therapy. With your help, this campaign will keep our work in the spotlight and help raise the funds necessary to develop psychedelics and marijuana into legal prescription treatments. We’re excited to share it with you.
MAPS Director of Communications and Marketing
- Boulder: 10th Subject Treated, Two More Subjects Enrolled
- Canada: New Co-Investigators Participate in Therapist Training
- UK Brain Imaging Study to Explore MDMA’s Effects on PTSD without Therapy
- Social Anxiety in Autistic Adults: Third Subject Enrolled
- Petition Receives Over 100,000 Signatures (and Counting) for Medical Marijuana Research in Arizona
- From the Department of Generosity and Gratitude
- Are You an Academic Clinical Researcher? Here’s How You Can Help
- CNN, NBC News, Military Times, NPR, and more…
- Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal by Tom Shroder
- Ayahuasca Shamanism in the Amazon and Beyond by Beatriz Labate and Clancy Cavnar (eds.)
- Float Conference: August 9-10, 2014, Portland, OR
- World Ayahuasca Conference: September 25-27, Ibiza, Spain
- Students for Sensible Drug Policy Conference & Lobby Day: September 26-29, Arlington, VA
- Horizons: Perspectives on Psychedelics: October 10-12, New York, NY
- NYU Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Study Seeks Consultant and Research Assistants
Treating PTSD with MDMA-Assisted Psychotherap
MDMA-Assisted Therapy for Social Anxiety in Autistic Adults
Medical Marijuana Research
New in the MAPS Store
CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta speaks with Dr. Sue Sisley, the marijuana researcher recently fired by the University of Arizona, about why she was fired and what it could mean for MAPS’ FDA-approved study of marijuana for symptoms of PTSD in 70 U.S. veterans.Watch now…
TREATING PTSD WITH MDMA-ASSISTED PSYCHOTHERAPY
On July 6, 2014, the 10th subject was treated in our ongoing study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in Boulder, Colorado. This subject was enrolled on June 13. The 11th subject was enrolled on July 23. This study will enroll 23 subjects with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD from sexual assault, violent crime, war, or any other cause. We are currently preparing a new study amendment proposing greater variability in dosing options for subjects’ unblinded sessions, giving subjects randomly assigned to the medium dose (100 mg) condition the option of selecting either a medium or full (125 mg) dose for their third experimental session. “The Boulder study is at its halfway point and the results have been encouraging and significant," reports study Principal Investigator Marcela Ot’alora. "We have witnessed people change in ways they did not think possible. I am continuously amazed by our participants’ willingness to embark on a journey they know little about, while having their world disrupted and ultimately doing tremendous work.” Learn more…
$711,000 estimated study cost • $213,000 raised • $498,000 still needed
We have reached 100,000 likes (and counting) on Facebook—thank you for your support!
From August 1-5, 2014, Michael Mithoefer, M.D., and Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N., led a two-and-a-half day training in Vancouver, BC, for the newly added co-investigators in our upcoming Canadian study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, Donna Dryer, M.D., and Richard Yensen, Ph.D. Also participating in the training were Phil Wolfson, M.D., Julane Andries, Cody Swift, Linnae Ponté, and Shannon Petitt who will each be co-conducting experimental sessions in our upcoming study of MDMA-assisted psy
chotherapy for anxiety associated with advanced-stage illness. On July 22, 2014, MAPS Director of Clinical Research Amy Emerson and Clinical Research Scientist Berra Yazar-Klosinski, Ph.D., conducted the Canadian PTSD study initiation visit via remote teleconference to prepare study staff and trial documentation to begin screening and enrolling subjects. MAPS is sponsoring this study in association with MAPS Canada, the first and only Canadian organization dedicated to psychedelic research and education, now able to receive tax-deductible contributions in Canada. Learn more…
$419,000 estimated study cost • $44,000 raised + $3,500 raised by partners • $371,500 still needed
"Hooking up with the neuroimaging expertise of Robin Carhart-Harris, Ph.D., and Dr. David Nutt at Imperial College London and Richard Wises’ fMRI department at Cardiff University we designed a study that looks primarily at the neurobiological mechanisms behind MDMA’s effects on the core features of PTSD. There have already been neuroimaging studies on patients with PTSD and on healthy people taking MDMA, but ours will be the first time fMRI has looked specifically at patients with PTSD under the direct effect of MDMA. This study will be funded by MAPS, Beckley Foundation, and an anonymous donor. There is no therapeutic component to the study, but subjects will be able to request therapeutic support if they feel it is necessary since for most of their MDMA experience they will not be in the scanner. This study will also explore MDMA’s potential beneficial effects without delivering formal therapy." —Dr. Ben Sessa MBBS (MD) BSc MRCPsych, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in Substance Misuse and Psychedelic Researcher, Bristol and Cardiff, UK. Learn more…
Learn more about MDMA-assisted psychotherapy on or at mdmaptsd.org.
MDMA-ASSISTED THERAPY FOR SOCIAL ANXIETY IN AUTISTIC ADULTS
On July 18, 2014, the third subject was enrolled in our new study of MDMA-assisted therapy for social anxiety in adults on the autism spectrum. The first treatment sessions are now scheduled to take place in August. This exploratory pilot study in 12 subjects will focus on enhancing functional skills and quality of life in autistic adults with social anxiety. "We’re looking for something to facilitate positive, ongoing change," Principal Investigator Charles Grob, M.D., told the Los Angeles Daily News on August 2. "You can’t take an autistic person and make them un-autistic, but you can treat the overwhelming social anxiety." This study is being conducted in affiliation with the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute. Learn more…
$340,000 estimated study cost • $1,000 raised + $15,000 raised by partners • $324,000 still needed
Learn more at mdma-autism.org.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA RESEARCH
A petition launched on Change.org by Arizona veteran Ricardo Pereyda has gathered over 105,000 signatures in support of MAPS and Dr. Sue Sisley’s efforts to initiate medical marijuana research in Arizona. Launched on July 10, the petition reached 100,000 signatures in just 21 days. Sign the petition…
The public outcry against Dr. Sisley’s dismissal from the University of Arizona has reached a national audience. On June 27, the University of Arizona notified Dr. Sisley that her university appointments would be terminated as of September 26. On July 28, the University of Arizona expectedly denied Dr. Sisley’s appeal for reinstatement, forcing Dr. Sisley to seek a new location for the study. On July 30, the University of Arizona proposed a replacement investigator, ignoring MAPS’ repeated public statements that we will stand behind Dr. Sisley wherever the study is ultimately conducted.
MAPS and Dr. Sisley are seeking a new location for the study within Arizona with reinstatement at the University of Arizona no longer a possibility. Multiple universities outside Arizona have already offered to host the study.
On July 22, Dr. Andrew Weil, founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, wrote a letter to University of Arizona President Dr. Ann Weaver Hart expressing his support for Dr. Sisley’s work. "Dr. Sisley has passionately chosen her professional obligation to patients over political pressure; she has chosen science over dogma; and has chosen integrity over censorship. This is the type of individual any University should want on their faculty."
Dr. Sisley has been working with MAPS since 2010 to initiate a study of the safety and effectiveness of whole plant marijuana, smoked or vaporized, in 70 U.S. veterans with chronic, treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- CNN with Sanjay Gupta: University Drops Marijuana Researcher
- NBC: Pot Researcher Firing Unleashes Rising Veteran Backlash
- FOX 10 Phoenix: Vets Rally Behind Pot Researcher Set To Be Fired By the UofA
- Military Times: Pot-for-PTSD Researcher Denied Reinstatement
View our GuideStar non-profit report for mission objectives, financials, and more.
In July 2014, 164 people from 35 U.S. states, 3 Canadian provinces, Australia, Hungary, and the United Kingdom gave a total of $112,961 to MAPS. Special thanks to Board member John Gilmore for doubling his gift this year to $60,000, and for his ongoing thoughtfulness and encouragement. Philip Jensen of the Yavanna Foundation made a much appreciated and unexpected gift of $10,000, and contributed good ideas about the importance of sustainable business, nonprofits, and government. Surna, Inc., gave $5,000 for our efforts to obtain approval for our study of marijuana for PTSD in veterans and to end federal obstruction of medical marijuana research; and Clare Pierson — Peter Humphrey gave $5,000 in memory of Dr. Richard Rockefeller. Bonobo Man contributed $3,500, and much warmth and goodwill, and Aditya Prasad gave $1,000, and shared his great video on mindfulness and awareness. Many thanks to Anonymous for $1,000 in support of the Zendo Harm Reduction project at Black Rock City, and to the 153 households who contributed $5 to $700 dollars—123 of you give monthly! In addition, four people gave a total of $20,003 to our Fiscally Sponsored projects: Bluelight, Otic Way (at Burning Man), and Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council. Our gratitude goes to all of you who have contributed generously to help discover the potential benefits and risks of psychedelics ahnd marijuana. By giving a gift, you join a movement that changing how we think about medicine, consciousness, and human rights. Thank you.
Learn about our Funding Priorities.
As our clinical program continues moving forward, we have decided to partner with Medrio, a leading clinical trial data management service. Medrio has agreed to give us free access in exchange for referrals to university or pharmaceutical industry researchers who might benefit from the software. To learn about this system for yourself and help us cover costs, take a free tour of Medrio and request a free test database to explore. Take the tour…
FEATURED PRESS RELEASE: Dr. Sue Sisley Seeks New Study Location; UA Denies Appeal for Reinstatement | view
MAPS | July 29, 2014
FEATURED PRESS RELEASE: Petition to Reinstate Medical Marijuana Researcher Receives Over 100,000 Signatures | view
MAPS | July 31, 2014
FEATURED CNN with Sanjay Gupta: University Drops Marijuana Researcher | watch
CNN with Sanjay Gupta | July 12, 2014
FEATURED NBC News: Pot Researcher Firing Unleashes Rising Veteran Backlash | view
Bill Briggs | July 29, 2014
Tucson Weekly: Reefer Research Madness | view
Mari Herreras | July 17, 2014
Military Times: Pot-for-PTSD Researcher Denied Reinstatement | view
Patricia Kime | July 29, 2014
Associated Press: Professor Aims to Resume Research on Pot and PTSD | view
Astrid Galvan | July 20, 2014
Arizona Public Media: Medical Marijuana for PTSD Study May Move From UA | view
Zachary Ziegler | July 29, 2014
CBS 5 Arizona: Valley Veterans Rally To Support Marijuana Researcher | watch
Jason Barry | July 22, 2014
FOX 10 Phoenix: Vets Rally Behind Pot Researcher Set To Be Fired By the UofA | watch
Steve Krafft | July 22, 2014
Los Angeles Daily News: UCLA Medical Researcher Studies Using Hallucinogenics, Ecstasy To Treat Autism | view
Sandy Mazza | August 2, 2014
Medscape: Psychiatrist Fired as ‘Payback’ for Marijuana Research? | view
Deborah Brauser | July 21, 2014
Vox: The Case for Medical LSD, Mushrooms, and Ecstasy | view
German Lopez | August 3, 2014
reddit: MDMA-Assisted Therapy Study Participant CJ Hardin Hosts Q&A on reddit | view
CJ Hardin | July 25, 2014
USA TODAY: Studies Ask Whether MDMA Ca
n Cure PTSD | view
Rachel Chason | July 11, 2014
Charleston City Paper: Iraq Nearly Broke James Hardin. Ecstasy Is Helping Him Rebuild. | view
Paul Bowers | July 16, 2014
Explore MAPS in the Media for more psychedelic and medical marijuana research news.
by Tom Shroder
Hardcover | 432 pages | Blue Rider Press
Anchoring Acid Test are the stories of three men: Rick Doblin, the founder of MAPS, who has been fighting government prohibition of psychedelics for more than thirty years; Michael Mithoefer, a former emergency-room physician, now a psychiatrist at the forefront of psychedelic therapy research; and study subject Nick Blackston, a former Marine who has suffered mental anguish from the effects of brutal combat experiences in Iraq.
“Acid Test [is] a book that should start a long-overdue national conversation, and someday may help to end a lot of unnecessary suffering.”
“[Acid Test] explores the therapeutic possibilities of LSD and Ecstasy (MDMA), and, more broadly, the potential of the human mind…Shroder both informs readers about the drugs’ shadowy pasts and provides insight into the future of mental health.”
Review by Dr. Ben Sessa, psychiatrist and MDMA researcher
Release date: September 9, 2014
$27.95 | Now available for pre-order
Edited by Beatriz Labate, Ph.D., and Clancy Cavnar, Psy.D.
Softcover | 320 pages, 38 illus. | Oxford University Press
"This book presents the encounter between Amazonian and modern worlds through the account of the recent phenomenon of expansion of shamanistic rituals based on the consumption of ayahuasca. Reinvention and transformation of religious traditions, ethnic and ecological tourism, debates on intellectual property and on legalization of psychoactive substances feature among the fascinating topics which make up this collection, brilliantly created by Beatriz Labate and Clancy Cavnar."
Join us for the launch of this new book:
$35 | Now available
All purchases from the MAPS Store support psychedelic and medical marijuana research and education.
Join us as the world’s leading experts on float tanks gather for the Float Conference, the world’s largest float tank event. The conference will feature exciting new research and presentations from leaders in floatation therapy, and will offer an amazing opportunity to connect with the floatation community and explore the fascinating world that is float tanks. Learn more…
The World Ayahuasca Conference 2014, organized by the ICEERS Foundation, aims to be a multidisciplinary event that brings together leading scientists, legal experts, practitioners. environmentalists and other experts involved in the ayahuasca field, facilitating the interchange of experience and knowledge, and the birth of new synergies and collaborations through the
formal presentations and round tables, workshops and debates, as well as the informal events of the conference. MAPS Founder and Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D., will moderate a panel on "The Challenges of Globalization: Sustainability" about the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council’s research on the impact of ayahuasca tourism on the sustainability of ayahuasca culture. Tickets available now…
Every other fall, the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) network comes together for three days to celebrate, learn, connect, and advocate at the SSDP Conference and Lobby Days. This year, SSDP2014 will bring more than 400 student members, alumni, and supporters to Arlington, VA (near Washington, DC) for their largest-ever gathering. Register now…
Horizons: Perspectives on Psychedelics is an annual conference about psychedelics held in New York City at Judson Memorial Church. Its goal is to open a fresh dialogue on psychedelics’ role in medicine, culture, history, spirituality, and creativity. This will be the 8th annual Horizons conference. Tickets available now…
View our Event Calendar for more upcoming events.
Researchers at New York University are seeking to hire a Grounded Theory Consultant and two graduate student Research Assistants (paid, part-time) to join their qualitative research team. This is unique opportunity to get involved with research of the highest scientific quality with psilocybin. This is a qualitative study interviewing patients with life-threatening cancer who are receiving psilocybin as part of a Phase 2 clinical study at New York University. For a list of qualifications or questions, write to Alexander Belser, Co-Principal Investigator, Fellow, Department of Applied Psychology, New York University at email@example.com. Learn more about the research…
Looking for more ways to get involved? Check out our Student Resources page!