MAPS Email Newsletter:
MAPS Receives $2 Million from Colorado
for Medical Marijuana Research
MDMA Studies Continue to Progress
December 18, 2014
Dear friends and supporters,
MAPS has been awarded $2 million from the state of Colorado for our study of marijuana for PTSD in U.S. veterans
Yesterday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment awarded MAPS a $2 million grant for our planned study of marijuana for PTSD in 76 U.S. veterans, fully funding our planned study. We are now waiting to receive marijuana from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the sole supplier of marijuana for federally regulated research in the U.S.
“As the very first public funding that MAPS has ever received in our 28½ year history, the award clearly shows that attitudes are improving about research into the therapeutic benefits of Schedule I drugs,” said MAPS Founder and Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D.
Meanwhile, our international series of Phase 2 pilot studies of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is picking up steam. We’re also working on two new studies exploring MDMA’s use in therapy for additional indications. Government funding is still not available for psychedelic therapy research, so we still need your help to complete these studies.
Your year-end donation helps us make psychedelics and marijuana into prescription medicines, create safe spaces to talk about their beneficial uses, bring an end to the War on Drugs, and develop sustainable business models to make these treatments widely available. Your gift goes a long way.
In the December 2014 edition of the MAPS Email Newsletter, you’ll also find:
- The first subject is enrolled in our new Canadian study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD
- The Winter 2014 MAPS Bulletin is now online, featuring our Annual Financial Report, research news, and much more
- MAPS hosts a 5-day training for international MDMA researchers in the UK
- Two more subjects are treated on our ongoing study of MDMA-assisted therapy for social anxiety in autistic adults in Los Angeles, Calif.
- Get 25-40% select items in the MAPS Store Winter Sale, continuing through January 5
Please consider making a tax-deductible year-end gift today. If you have any questions about your gifts this year, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. From all of us at MAPS, thank you for making our work possible.
MAPS Director of Communications and Marketing
Medical Marijuana Research
MDMA-Assisted Therapy for Anxiety Associated with Life-Threatening Illness
Treating PTSD with MDMA-Assisted Therapy
MDMA-Assisted Therapy for Social Anxiety in Autistic Adults
WATCH: MAPS Founder Rick Doblin Ph.D., and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD investigators Dr. Michael Mithoefer and Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N., talk about current research and plans for the future at the opening of the new satellite office at Sofia University in Palo Alto, Calif.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA RESEARCH
On December 17, 2014, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (DPHE) awarded MAPS a $2 million grant for our planned study of marijuana for symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in 76 U.S. veterans. Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Scientific Advisory Council recommended that MAPS receive the grant on November 24. MAPS was chosen to receive the largest of eight grants awarded by DPHE at Wednesday’s meeting. All of the other grantees are major research universities. “As the very first public funding that MAPS has ever received in our 28½ year history, the award clearly shows that attitudes are improving about research into the therapeutic benefits of Schedule I drugs,” said Rick Doblin, Ph.D., MAPS Founder and Executive Director. “It’s a big step forward for cannabis science and medicine.” Despite the award and prior Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Public Health Service (PHS) approval, the study still faces obstacles, most importantly the lack of information from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) about when they will be able to provide the marijuana for the study. Learn more…
MDMA-ASSISTED PSYCHOTHERAPY FOR ANXIETY ASSOCIATED WITH LIFE-THREATENING ILLNESS
READ: Building Congressional Support for Psychedelic and Medical Marijuana Research in Washington, D.C., by Tony Macie in the Winter 2014 MAPS Bulletin.
On December 15, 2014, the Research Advisory Panel of California (RAP-C) approved the protocol and informed consent documents for our upcoming study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with life-threatening illness. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the protocol on November 13. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2 study, to be conducted in Marin, Calif., and led by Phil Wolfson, M.D., will gather preliminary data about the safety and efficacy of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety in 18 subjects diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) on September 16. The final step before we can begin screening subjects will be to obtain the Schedule I license from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which we do not anticipate to be a major hurdle. Thank you to the over 600 people who helped support this study by attending our sold-out screening of Dying to Know, a new film by Gay Dillingham about Timothy Leary and Ram Dass’ life and friendship. View the study protocol…
$582,000 estimated study cost • $121,500 raised • $460,500 still needed
TREATING PTSD WITH MDMA-ASSISTED PSYCHOTHERAPY
On December 3, 2014, the first subject was enrolled in our Canadian study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, led by Principal Investigator Ingrid Pacey, M.D., in Vancouver, BC. Goals for this study include (1) gathering evidence about the safety and effectiveness of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in subjects with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD from a skilled co-therapist team, (2) gathering information about the range of outcomes from different co-therapist teams for the design of our Phase 3 studies, and (3) initiating the first Canadian research into the potential benefits of psychedelic psychotherapy in over 40 years. “We began this journey in 2009, when we approached Health Canada about doing a Canadian MDMA/PTSD study,” recalls Dr. Pacey. “Our team has grown since then, with our new co-therapists Donna Dryer, M.D., and Richard Yensen, Ph.D., and our steady study coordinator Deborah Kraus. We are excited and amazed that we have finally enrolled our first subject. It has taken all of us plus many others to get here.” Learn more…
$419,000 estimated study cost • $50,000 raised + $3,500 raised by partners • $365,500
NOW ONLINE: The Winter 2014 MAPS Bulletin, featuring our Annual Financial Report, research updates, all-new articles, media, and more.
On December 1, 2014, the 16th subject was enrolled in our ongoing Boulder, Colorado, study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in 23 subjects with PTSD from sexual assault, violent crime, war, natural disasters, or any other cause, taking place in Boulder, Colorado. The 13th and 14th subjects were treated on October 24 and November 9, respectively. Elizabeth Matthews, who participated in the Boulder study, shares her story in an article for the new Winter 2014 MAPS Bulletin. “I appreciate the tremendous amount of resources summoned by MAPS and donors for the treatment of mental illness,” Elizabeth writes. “My psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy was a bridge to a new way of perceiving my world and myself.” Read Elizabeth’s story | Learn more…
$711,000 estimated study cost • $310,000 raised • $401,000 still needed
On November 16, 2014, the 21st subject was enrolled in our ongoing study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for 24 U.S. veterans, firefighters, and police officers with treatment-resistant PTSD. A regularly scheduled site monitoring visit was also completed from November 13-16 by MAPS Clinical Research Associate Ben Shechet. Led by Principal Investigator Michael Mithoefer, M.D., and Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N., this Phase 2 pilot study is comparing three different doses of MDMA combined with psychotherapy for military veterans and first responders for whom other treatments have failed. “Soon after going through MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, I stopped taking all my prescription medications, which I had been taking (unsuccessfully) for my PTSD symptoms,” Iraq veteran and former study subject Tony Macie writes in his Winter 2014 MAPS Bulletin article. “This catapulted me into learning how to take care of myself without medications.” Dr. Mithoefer will be discussing ongoing research into MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD at the upcoming American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada, from May 16-20, 2015. Learn more…
$1,382,000 estimated study cost • This study has been fully funded
Learn about including MAPS in your will or trust.
From December 6-11, 2014, MAPS held a five-day training in Buckinghamshire, UK, for researchers who will be involved in upcoming clinical studies of the therapeutic use of MDMA. The training included 30 people from Australia, Brazil, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. The training was primarily organized for the Cardiff University team that will be conducting an upcoming fMRI study of the acute effects of MDMA on the brains of UK veterans with PTSD as they read a trauma script (study funded by MAPS, the Beckley Foundation, and Anton Bilton). Training participants came from a variety of backgrounds, including neuroscientists, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and others. The purpose of the training was to provide researchers with the background knowledge needed to conduct future studies of MDMA-assisted therapies for PTSD, couples counseling, life-threatening illness anxiety, and hospice care; and to develop a model for training the many new therapists who will be needed for our Phase 3 studies of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. The training was led by Michael Mithoefer, M.D., and Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N., at the gorgeous Tyringham Hall, the use of which was generously donated by Anton Bilton. “Beyond the important therapeutic training we’re all so passionate about, living together for five days has really created a sense of a community,” reported MAPS Research and Advocacy Coordinator Natalie Ginsberg. “Everyone here believes so deeply in the work and it’s been really special having researchers with such different backgrounds engaging in conversation.”
Learn about treating PTSD with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy at mdmaptsd.org.
MDMA-ASSISTED THERAPY FOR SOCIAL ANXIETY IN AUTISTIC ADULTS
On November 8 and Dec
ember 6, 2014, the fourth and fifth of 12 total subjects were treated in our ongoing study of MDMA-assisted therapy for social anxiety in adults on the autism spectrum. A regularly scheduled site monitoring visit was also completed from November 10-13 by MAPS Clinical Research Scientist Berra Yazar-Klosinski, Ph.D. This exploratory pilot study, led by Principal Investigator Charles Grob, M.D., and Co-Investigator Alicia Danforth, Ph.D., is exploring whether MDMA combined with therapy can enhance functional skills and quality of life in autistic adults with social anxiety. “Our research team is inspired to see how many individuals with social anxiety have found the courage to contact us with inquiries about enrollment,” reported the researchers. “We have nearly 100 entries in the screening log already. The first five participants have successfully completed treatment sessions with no clinically significant adverse effects, and the early findings are encouraging. We will be able to share outcomes sooner than we expected if enrollment remains steady.” Learn more | Donate to this study
$320,000 estimated study cost • $1,000 raised + $15,000 raised by partners • $304,000 still needed
NOW ONLINE: Our 2014 Annual Financial Report is part of our commitment to transparency and clear communication.
In November 2014, 198 people gave $28,994 to support MAPS. We express our deep gratitude for all these contributions, which make our research, education, and harm reduction services possible. Many thanks to Max & Elena Talan who gave $10,000 as a match to encourage gifts to our Legalizing Psychedelic Therapy crowdfunding campaign. Their gift was enormously helpful, and the additional $10,000 in gifts they inspired provided vital energy for our campaign in its final weeks. We also thank Mack Fuhrer for his $2,000 donation, Lucinda Ziesing and Ulrich Buddemeier for their donations of $1,000 each, and Donald Mack for his $1,500 donation (his fourth gift this year). We also received $2,000 from Google as a matching gift for Paul Eastham’s $2,000 gift in September. In addition, 192 people gave gifts under $1,000 for a total of $12,330—thank you all! Eight of these 192 supporters gave to our fiscally sponsored projects: Bluelight, Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council, Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance, and Weed the People. If your employer has a matching gift program, ask them to match your donation—it’s a great way to increase your gift to MAPS and spread the word about our work!
FEATURED The New York Times/AP: Colorado Funds Medical Marijuana Research, a First | view
Kristen Wyatt | December 17, 2014
FEATURED The Washington Post: Can Psychedelic Trips Cure PTSD and Other Maladies? | view
Tom Shroder | November 17, 2014
FEATURED The Lancet: MAPS: The Trip of a Lifetime | view
Tania Glyde | November 15, 2014
Rolling Stone: PTSD and Pot: The Fight to Get Veterans Some Weed | view
Thor Benson | December 9, 2014
BookTV on CSPAN2: Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal | view
Tom Shroder | November 16, 2014
Tucson Weekly: Fired UA Marijuana Researcher on List for Colorado Funds | view
Mari Herreras | November 25, 2014
HuffPost Live: Can ‘Magic Mushrooms’ Treat Depression? | view
Josh Zepps | December 11, 2014
Santa Cruz Sentinel: New Documentary ‘Dying to Know’ Explores Death Through Eyes of Timothy Leary and Ram Dass | view
Wallace Baine | December 10, 2014
Explore MAPS in the Media for more psychedelic and medical marijuana research news.
The new 20oz vacuum-insulated Klean Kanteen™ bottle features the MAPS logo, and stays cool to the touch while keeping liquids hot for six hours.
$30 | Now available
These 100% organic cotton unisex tees are screen-printed by hand in Santa Cruz, Calif., by local artist Clay Chollar. Available in dark blue in limited sizes and quantities. These are selling fast.
$30 | Now available
All purchases from the MAPS Store support psychedelic and medical marijuana research and education.
Signed editions of PiHKAL and TiHKAL by Alexander “Sasha” and Ann Shulgin are available for 25% off during the MAPS Store Winter Sale. Sasha and Ann lovingly donated a limited number of these psychedelic literature classics before Sasha’s death in June 2014 to help raise funds for psychedelic research.
$500 | Now available
View our Event Calendar for more upcoming events.
MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD researcher Michael Mit
hoefer, M.D., will present at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting in Toronto, taking place from May 16-20, 2015. On Monday, May 18, Dr. Mithoefer will present results and discuss the implications of MAPS’ ongoing Phase 2 MDMA-assisted psychotherapy PTSD research program.
Looking for more ways to get involved? Check out our Student Resources page!