Join the Psychedelic Movement Today
Career opportunities, call for suggestions, study recruitment, and more
February 26, 2021
Dear friends and supporters,
Calling all fans of MAPS! We need your support in developing the perfect name for our brand new membership program. Complete our short survey to submit your suggestion. The person who submits the winning name of the membership program will receive a special prize! We can’t wait to see the psychedelic and creative names that our growing community develops.
We are currently seeking research volunteers for Phase 3 clinical trials of MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD. Trials are recruiting in Charleston, South Carolina; Boulder, Colorado; Fort Collins, Colorado; Boston, Massachusetts; Los Angeles, California; New York, New York; Madison, Wisconsin; and San Francisco, California. Volunteers will help contribute to scientific knowledge and will help us better understand if MDMA-assisted therapy works for treatment of PTSD. MAPS conducts clinical trials under the guidance and regulations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in collaboration with federal regulators, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). To learn more about our clinical trials or apply to be a study participant, visit our website.
On February 19, 2021, California State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced Senate Bill 519 to decriminalize certain psychedelics in the interest of public health and safety and to address some harms of the War on Drugs. The bill was drafted with substantial input by MAPS’ Policy and Advocacy team. The bill would decriminalize MDMA, LSD, DMT, psilocybin, psilocyn, ibogaine, and mescaline and create a commission to recommend frameworks for legal psychedelic use. Peyote, an endangered plant, is excluded to protect traditional Native American spiritual practices. Substance analysis, a proven overdose prevention tool also known as “drug-checking,” would be decriminalized; criminal records related to use and possession of these substances would be expunged.
For many years, MAPS has operated with a fiscal year starting on June 1 of each year and ending on May 31 the following year. To make things easier to process internally and report on externally, MAPS is moving toward a new fiscal year structure that matches the calendar year. Starting in 2021, our new fiscal year structure will represent a starting date of January 1 and an ending date of December 31. Due to this change, our previous fiscal year is considered a “stub” year, which represents the shortened duration of the time period for June 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. The report on the shortened fiscal year that recently ended will be available in the coming months. View an archive of our financial reports here.
During Black History Month and beyond, we celebrate and reflect on the many transformative contributions that Black people have made to the fields of psychedelic science, medicine, and therapy. In honor of Black History Month, our team has compiled a list of educational resources pertaining to justice, race, and equity in psychedelics. Acknowledging that we have a long way to go, we commit to doing the work for collective liberation.
As we transition into a new year and integrate our success from last year, MAPS is increasingly thankful for the consistent level of support from our community as we continue to advance research into the therapeutic and medical potential of psychedelics.
We’re seeking qualified candidates for job opportunities with MAPS, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), or MAPS Europe. Careers with MAPS include the Director of Sales and Major Gifts, and Chief of Staff to the Deputy Director. MAPS PBC is hiring a Temporary Clinical Data Scientist and a Clinical Research Associate Contractor.
In a new video recorded at the World Economic Forum, Rick Doblin, Ph.D., MAPS Founder and Executive Director, speaks about the coming “golden decade” for psychedelic therapy.
Thank you for reading the latest psychedelic research news. We hope you have a fantastic winter!
MAPS Web and Email Marketing Associate
Treating PTSD with MDMA-Assisted Therapy
Phase 3 Trials of MDMA-Assisted Therapy for PTSD: Seeking Research Volunteers
We are currently seeking research volunteers for our second Phase 3 clinical trial of MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD. Volunteers will help contribute to scientific knowledge and will help us better understand if MDMA-assisted therapy works for treatment of PTSD. MAPS conducts clinical trials under the guidance and regulations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in collaboration with federal regulators, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). To learn more about our clinical trials or apply to be a study participant, visit our website.
We are recruiting participants in the following locations:
- Los Angeles, California, United States
- San Francisco, California, United States (Private Practice)
- San Francisco, California, United States (Institution)
- Charleston, South Carolina, United States
- Boulder, Colorado, United States
- Fort Collins, Colorado, United States
- New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
- Boston, Massachusetts, United States
- New York, New York, United States (Institution)
- New York, New York, United States (Private Practice)
- Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Not yet recruiting:
- Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
- Be’er Ya’akov, Israel
- Tel Aviv, Israel
An Open-Label, Phase 2, Multicenter Feasibility Study of Manualized MDMA-Assisted Therapy with an Optional fMRI Sub-Study Assessing Changes in Brain Activity in Subjects with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Taking place in the United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal, Norway, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands, this open-label Phase 2 study of MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD will serve as the lead-in to the planned Phase 3 study in Europe providing an opportunity for clinical supervision of therapy teams to complete their training, and to validate assumptions made for statistical power calculations supporting the planned Phase 3 clinical trial. We still have major fundraising to do for our EMA research effort. If anyone has suggestions for possible donors in Europe, we’d greatly appreciate suggestions or connections sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
This study will also provide cross-cultural validation data on the updated version of the Primary Outcome measure, the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5), which will be used in the Phase 3 study. In addition, the study will gather supportive data on the safety and effectiveness of manualized MDMA-assisted therapy. This study will be the first multi-center study of MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD in Europe and will explore reproducibility of findings from FDA-regulated Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials to confirm the Phase 3 study design.
Study sites in the Czech Republic, Norway and the Netherlands are currently screening participants, and the second Netherlands site is expected to begin screening in March 2021. The sites in the United Kingdom and Germany require further permissions before they can begin screening, most likely in mid-2021, and the study set-up in Portugal is still at an early stage. Data gathered in European trials is hoped to provide support for a planned Marketing Authorization Application for potential approval by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). We are working on the regulatory submission for this study. • Learn More
Phase 2 Study at the Bronx, New York Veterans Affairs Medical Center
The Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved MAPS’ protocol for a Phase 2, open-label randomized controlled comparative study on the effectiveness of MDMA-assisted therapy in U.S. Veterans with chronic PTSD. Led by esteemed PTSD researcher Rachel Yehuda, Ph.D., Director at the Mental Health Patient Care Center, James J. Peters VA Medical Center, and Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, the study is moving through the investigator-initiated research program of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). On August 25, 2020, the FDA agreed to proceed with the protocol. The study will enroll 60 veterans and will collect further information on whether there is a difference in two versus three sessions of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for safety and therapeutic outcome. This study will also act as a training ground for VA clinicians and therapists on the MAPS modality, and will include blood collection samples for later analysis of hormones, molecules, and other biological markers that may be related to having or recovering from PTSD. Dr. Yehuda and her team plan to conduct this trial at the VA pending DEA approval.
MDMA Therapy Training Program Update: February 2021
The MDMA Therapy Training Program will be delivering trainings entirely online in 2021. We are excited about the possibility of expanding access to training with the shift to online education. Our program staff are developing an updated online program, and are continuing to engage in a training curriculum design initiative to support the growth and continued quality of the program. To better support training thousands of future therapists, we are also developing training protocols for new supervisors and trainers, some of whom are contributing their expertise to the curriculum design initiative.
MAPS’ Health Equity Plan was announced last fall and we are excited to work closely together to carry out the proposed initiatives to bolster health equity in our programs. One key focus of MAPS’ Health Equity Plan is to expand opportunities for training therapists, supervisors, and trainers from communities who experience high rates of trauma and insufficient access to care. This year the MDMA Therapy Training Program will launch a scholarship program with the goal of providing funding to train therapy providers from historically marginalized communities. MAPS is committed to developing a network of MDMA therapists, supervisors, and trainers who are reflective of the diverse demographics of the countries where we expect MDMA to be approved as a medicine. For more information, please see the article Prioritizing Public Benefit Means Healing for All: Announcing MAPS’ Health Equity Plan in the MAPS Autumn Bulletin, by MAPS staff Natalie Lyla Ginsberg, M.S.W., Ismail Lourido Ali, J.D., Ritika Aggarwal, M.F.T. Candidate, and Fede Menapace, M.B.A.
MAPS recently hosted a workshop series for therapists who attended the 2019 MDMA Therapy Training for Communities of Color, which will culminate in the creation of an organizer toolkit to support therapists and organizers building therapeutic networks in communities of color. Trainees from this cohort have contributed their expertise to these workshop sessions on topics such as harm reduction, psychedelics and somatic practice, ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, and community integration.
The MAPS Bulletin issue also featured an article written by Shannon Carlin, M.A., M.F.T., MAPS PBC Director and Head of Training and Supervision, and Sarah Scheld, M.A., MAPS PBC Training and Supervision Associate, titled Developing Ethical Guidelines in Psychedelic Psychotherapy. The article describes in detail the process of developing the MAPS Code of Ethics for Psychedelic Psychotherapy, with a particular focus on the ethics of sexual boundaries. To better support participant safety and ethical care, the training program is also currently developing a Participant’s Bill of Rights.
We look forward to re-opening enrollment for the MDMA Therapy Training Program. To receive updates on upcoming trainings and training program admissions, sign up for the MDMA Therapy Training Program Newsletter.• Learn More
January 2021 Giving Report: MAPS Raises Over $750,000 for Psychedelic Research and Education
In January 2021, MAPS raised $750,808 in donations and pledges from over 1,100 supporters. Of this amount: $747,805 is for general support; $2,370 is for MDMA-related projects; $383 for psychedelic harm reduction and peer support; and $250 is for ibogaine research.
We extend a special thank you to our monthly donors who contributed a total of $18,542 in January. Your support is vital in making MAPS’ programs sustainable.
In addition to the funds raised in January, MAPS gained support from 19 individuals in the form of a planned gift or bequest to MAPS. These planned gifts were made with the help of FreeWill, a free online tool that allows US-based individuals to plan a legacy gift for the non-profit of their choosing.
MAPS is honored to support a number of like-minded organizations by providing a fiscal sponsorship so that contributions for their social benefit projects may be tax-deductible as allowed by law. An additional $10,329 was raised by organizations that MAPS fiscally sponsors including: How We Heal ($10,000); Bluelight ($160); Somatic Center Portland ($100); The Psychedelic Renaissance ($22); ICEERS ($20); MAPS Canada ($20); Empyrean Temple ($5); and Kaphi ($2).
We extend a warm welcome to Enthea, the newest member of MAPS’ fiscal sponsorship family. Enthea is a non-profit, third party administrator (TPA) that provides health insurance benefit riders and single case agreement (SCA) services for psychedelic healthcare. Support Enthea today at maps.org/donate/enthea.
We appreciate donations of any size and are particularly grateful to the following supporters for their generous contributions of $1,000 or more
- NoVo Foundation ($500,000)
- George Sarlo ($100,000)
- Richard and Lisa Perry ($25,000)
- Balter Charitable Fund ($20,000)
- Luca Todesco ($17,774)
- Amanda Eilian ($10,000)
- James Lamberg ($10,000)
- Hamilton and Traci Hill ($5,159)
- Mathew Roth ($5,000)
- LJ Miller and Annette Furst ($2,500)
- Thomas and Alexandra Laursen ($2,000)
- Rollkit.net in partnership with RollSafe.org ($1,479)
- Anonymous ($1,412)
- Anonymous ($1,083)
- Jiri Techet ($1,000)
- MUDWTR ($1,000)
- Peace Fund ($1,000)
- Anonymous ($1,000)
- Anonymous ($1,000)
Fiscal Sponsorship Grantees
- Anonymous ($10,000) – How We Heal
MAPS relies on the generosity of individual donors to achieve its mission. Psychedelic science is again being conducted under federal guidelines, but no funding for psychedelic therapy research is yet available from governments or major foundations.
Together, we can legalize psychedelic medicine.
Donate now at maps.org/donate. Learn how to include MAPS in your will or estate plans.
MAPS, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), and MAPS Europe are currently hiring!
- Associate Director of Clinical Operations
- Associate Director of Quality Assurance
- Clinical Supervision Program Manager
- Clinical Program Manager
- Regulatory Publishing Specialist
- Senior HR Manager – Temporary
- Temporary Clinical Data Scientist
- Independent Rater
Psychedelic Peer Support
On Sunday, February 21, at 12:00 PM (PST), Sara Gael, M.A., MAPS Harm Reduction Officer, spoke with DoubleBlind in a 90-minute webinar about the Zendo Project and principles of trip sitting, or providing psychedelic peerSupport. As an expert in psychedelic harm reduction, Sara will present considerations for transforming potentially difficult psychedelic experiences into opportunities for learning and growth.
Filter Magazine reports on the new priorities established by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) for its first 100 days under President Joe Biden. The ONDCP “identifies ‘Enhancing evidence-based harm reduction efforts’ and ‘Confronting racial equity issues related to drug policy’ among its ‘five key policy priorities to address substance use disorder in America.'”
We are excited to announce that video recordings from the Zendo Project: Beyond The Festival webinar series are now available for sale! Learn more about psychedelic peer support, harm reduction, and creating communities of compassionate care by browsing our offerings of educational content.
On February 8, 2021, MAPS and Fireside Project announced a collaboration on a free national support line to help those having difficult psychedelic experiences or those wanting to make sense of past psychedelic experiences. Inspired by his experiences volunteering at the Zendo Project, Joshua White founded Fireside Project, which will operate the world’s first ever peer support line specifically aimed at helping people navigate psychedelic experiences.
When Fireside Project’s Psychedelic Peer Support Line goes live on April 14, 2021, volunteers who have completed Fireside Project’s intensive 36-hour training will begin providing support by phone, text message, and live chat to people during and after their psychedelic experiences.
Policy and Advocacy
MAPS Policy and Advocacy Team Appear on Virtual Speaking Engagements
MAPS Policy and Advocacy Director Natalie Lyla Ginsberg, M.S.W., and Policy and Advocacy Counsel Ismail Ali, J.D., participated in their first virtual public speaking engagements of the year in the first week of January to discuss therapeutic applications of psychedelics and the implications for existing drug policy approaches. Ali joined a panel for The Clarity Project, a citizen’s initiative group seeking to create patient access to psilocybin in Hawaii, and presented a Psychedelic Renaissance Talk Story. Ginsberg joined a panel for the event Drug Policy: From Illegal to Medical organized by The Psychedelic Society in the United Kingdom. Member of Parliament Crispin Blunt was also a panelist — Blunt has served as Minister for Prisons, Probation and Youth Justice and is the first Conservative to Co-chair the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Drug Policy Reform.
Ginsberg and Ali also contributed to an article published in a special edition of ACS Pharmacology and Translational Science on psychedelics. Entitled “Ethical Concerns about Psilocybin Intellectual Property,” the article presents to readers the overlay of one modern intellectual property instrument, the patent, onto pre-existing practices with naturally occurring psilocybin, and characterizes the manner in which patents related to psilocybin have been pursued in this context as often a “story of extraction, cultural appropriation, bioprospecting, and colonization” in tension with series of international treaties and conventions for the protection of indigenous people and traditional knowledge and culture. As presented, this circumstance, then, begs questions about how economic rewards and legal protections ought to be distributed amongst relevant parties (e.g. communities who have stewarded traditional practices with naturally occurring psilocybin for generations, and researchers and others who have taken advantage of legal and commercial protections of patents for manipulations and modern applications of the substance).
MAPS in the Media
MAPS in the Media:
- Statement: California State Legislator Introduces Bill to Decriminalize Psychedelics
- January 19, 2021
- MAPS and Fireside Project Announce Collaboration to Expand Access to Psychedelic Peer Support
- February 7, 2021
- Inverse: Why Psychedelics Are a More ‘Compassionate’ Way to Treat Trauma
- February 14, 2021
- NBC: New California Bill Would Decriminalize Psychedelics, Expunge Criminal Records
- February 18, 2021
- Rolling Stone: Will the Federal Government Finally Embrace the Psychedelic Revolution?
- February 15, 2021
Proudly show your support for psychedelic science and harm reduction by shopping for MAPS and Zendo Project apparel and accessories in the MAPS Store! Featuring t-shirts, eco-fleece hoodies, tank tops, baby onesies, water bottles, laptop cases, and more.• Buy Now
Browse our Event Calendar page for more opportunities.
Sacred Plants in the Americas II: Global Psychedelic Summit, April 23-24, 2021, Online
This global virtual summit will bring together Indigenous leaders from throughout North, Central and South America as well as researchers, practitioners, community builders and other experts from around the world. We will discuss the potential benefits and harms of the globalization of psychedelic plant medicines and explore how we can offer reciprocity to honor the Indigenous cultures and traditions that these medicines come from. It is vital that members of the psychedelic community help support Indigenous groups and the traditional spiritual and ecological knowledge they preserve and practice. • Learn More
Polaris Insight Center: Trainings for Clinicians, December 2020 – June 2021, San Francisco, California
Polaris Insight Center provides didactic, experiential, and residential trainings in ketamine-assisted therapy. These programs are designed to provide interested physicians, psychologists, therapists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals with principles and procedures of KAP and how to use ketamine in combination with psychotherapy in a clinical setting. • Learn More
CryptoPsychedelic Summit Flashback, March 7, and April 11, 2021, Online
On February 3, 2018, the world-bridging CryptoPsychedelic Summit brought leaders in blockchain and psychedelic science together to the gorgeous beaches of Tulum, Mexico. Three years later, we’ll be streaming for the first time the 2018 Tulum videos and bringing back panelists to reflect on what remains true and what’s changed. This event takes place in 3 parts, featuring all 6 panels from Tulum and 3 live reflection + Q&A sessions. • Learn More
Participate in Psychedelic Research
MDMA Studies Sponsored by MAPS
MAPS sponsors clinical trials around the world that offer volunteers the opportunity to participate in our research studies. Our studies have strict enrollment criteria based on the goal of the study and the condition the study is investigating.
Phase 3 MDMA/PTSD trial participant enrollment is now open. Please bookmark our Participate in Research page and check it frequently for updates.
Enhancing Prolonged Exposure Therapy for PTSD with Oxytocin
Oxytocin is a neuromodulator that is important for bonding and trust. Recent studies suggest that one way in which MDMA exerts its effects on mood is by bolstering the body’s levels of oxytocin. Oxytocin is inexpensive, easy to dispense (via nasal spray), and has such an impressive safety profile that it can be self-administered without supervision. Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy is one of the most widely used evidence-based treatments for PTSD, but requires more fine tuning. Specifically, it can be difficult for some to complete this course of treatment because it involves actively revisiting their trauma. Accumulating data suggest that oxytocin offers a promising pharmacological approach towards achieving this goal. Therefore, the primary objective of our Phase II study is to examine the ability of oxytocin (vs. placebo) combined with PE therapy to reduce PTSD symptom severity, increase PE therapy retention rates, and improve the clinical outcomes of PE therapy.
To accomplish these objectives, the VA Office of Research and Development has partnered with UCSF and MUSC. This study is currently recruiting 188 U.S. veterans with PTSD to participate in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Intranasal oxytocin (40IU) or placebo will be self-administered directly prior to each PE therapy session. Participation in this study is not limited to specific geographical regions. All visits will be conducted via telehealth video calls, so veterans from all across the United States are able to participate. Findings from this study will provide critical new information regarding the efficacy of oxytocin to augment psychosocial treatment for PTSD.
Medium: I Am Enough: How Psychedelics Help Me Befriend the Negative Voices in My Head
Writer Mina Samuels writes her account of how two medicine journeys helped her to have more compassion for herself in a new Medium post in Happy Brain Club.
Thank you to Dr. Bronner’s for their company’s support of the MAPS Newsletter!