MAPS Email Newsletter:
Five Subjects Treated in MDMA Studies;
Medical Marijuana Researcher Fired
July 12, 2014
Medical marijuana researcher Dr. Sue Sisley fired by the University of Arizona; study will continue.
Even as we fight to clear the political haze still obstructing medical marijuana research, the path to prescription approval of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is getting clearer and clearer.
On June 30, the University of Arizona abruptly fired Dr. Sue Sisley, the lead investigator of our planned study of marijuana for symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in 70 U.S. veterans. On July 10, the university offered to replace Dr. Sisley; the following day MAPS Founder Rick Doblin responded that MAPS stands behind Dr. Sisley in her appeal to the university and (if her appeal is unsuccessful) wherever the study is ultimately conducted.
Our international MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD research program continues to make unprecedented strides, with five more subjects treated in our studies in South Carolina, Colorado, and Israel. With two completed and four ongoing Phase 2 studies, we’re well on our way to making MDMA-assisted psychotherapy a legal treatment for PTSD.
In the July 2014 edition of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) Email Newsletter, you’ll also learn:
- The first two subjects are enrolled in our new study of MDMA-assisted therapy for social anxiety in adults on the autism spectrum
- An animated infographic from Reset.me explores “How Psychedelics Are Saving Lives“
- An Arizona veteran launches an online petition to reinstate Dr. Sue Sisley at the University of Arizona
- MAPS Canada receives formal approval to receive tax-deductible contributions from Canadian citizens
- Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal, the much-anticipated new book by award-winning journalist Tom Shroder, is now available for pre-order in the MAPS Store
Remember: your support makes all of our work (including this newsletter) possible. We are now living in the most exciting time in history for research into the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana. Thank you for being part of the change.
MAPS Director of Communications and Marketing
- Boulder: Three More Subjects Treated; Study Size Increased to 23 Subjects
- U.S. Veterans: 19th Subject Enrolled and Treated
- Israel: Fourth Subject Treated
- Social Anxiety in Autistic Adults: First Two Subjects Enrolled
- University of Arizona Fires Medical Marijuana Researcher Dr. Sue Sisley
- Zendo Project Volunteers See
king Tickets for Burning Man 2014
- We’re Working Together to Transform Medicine
- The New York Times, Science, USA Today, CNN, and more…
- Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal by Tom Shroder (pre-order)
- Evolver Learning Labs: The Cannabis Health Revolution with Martin Lee: Begins July 23
- Float Conference: August 9-10, 2014, Portland, OR
- World Ayahuasca Conference: September 25-27, Ibiza, Spain
- MAPS Canada Receives Charity Status in Canada
Treating PTSD with MDMA-Assisted Therapy
MDMA-Assisted Therapy for Social Anxiety in Autistic Adults
Medical Marijuana Research
Psychedelic Harm Reduction
New in the MAPS Store
A fun, informative new video by VideoIgniter.com and Reset.me highlights worldwide research into the therapeutic uses of psychedelics and marijuana. Watch now…
TREATING PTSD WITH MDMA-ASSISTED PSYCHOTHERAPY
From June 20-24, 2014, the sixth, seventh, and eighth subjects were treated in our ongoing study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in Boulder, Colorado. Our application to increase the study size from 17 to 23 subjects was approved by the Institutional Review Board on May 6, and passed the Food and Drug Administration’s 30-day review period on June 1. We have increased the size of this study in order to get a better sense of the range of outcomes from different co-therapist teams—important data for calculating the size of our Phase 3 studies—and to compare the effectiveness of different doses of MDMA combined with psychotherapy for treating PTSD. This study is investigating the safety and effectiveness of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for subjects with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD resulting from sexual assault, violent crime, war, or any other cause. “I feel so blessed to have been in this study,” reported one female participant in an email. “I feel like I have access to much more of myself and the part of me that is healthy has become stronger.” Learn more…
$711,000 estimated study cost • $213,000 raised • $498,000 still needed
The MAPS Bulletin Spring 2013 Special Edition on Psychedelics and Education is available online.
On June 17, 2014, the 19th subject was treated in our ongoing study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in 24 U.S. veterans, firefighters, and police officers with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD. This subject was enrolled on June 12. Data from this study will be combined with data from our two completed and three other ongoing Phase 2 studies of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, and used to design future Phase 3 studies. This study is led by Principal Investigator Michael Mithoefer, M.D., and co-therapist Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N., in Charleston, South Carolina. Virgil Huston, an Iraq veteran who participated in the study, wrote to MAPS after he had completed treatment. He wrote: “As a patient who has a bit of survivor’s guilt since I know many others who need this treatment as badly as I did, I have trouble accepting 2021 as the earliest date this can become widely available. Maybe you guys are the realistic ones, but keeping this away from people until then just doesn’t pass the logic test.” Download the study protocol | Learn more…
$1,376,000 estimated study cost • $1,274,000 raised • $102,000 still needed
On June 15, 2014, the fourth subject was treated in our ongoing Israeli study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for 10 subjects with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD. The first subject was treated in April 2013. This study is being conducted at the Beer Yaakov Mental Hospital in Israel and led by Principal Investigator Moshe Kotler, M.D. Recent and ongoing violence in Israel has called renewed attention to the importance of conducting research for PTSD in Israel. In an email to MAPS Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Israeli study coordinator Dafna Bornstein-Lavi reported, “Again I’m under the table in Beer Yaakov with missiles flying over my head.” Learn more…
$493,000 estimated study cost • $83,000 raised • $410,000 still needed
Learn more about MDMA-assisted psychotherapy on or at mdmaptsd.org.
MDMA-ASSISTED THERAPY FOR SOCIAL ANXIETY IN AUTISTIC ADULTS
On May 17 and June 20, 2014, the first and second subjects were enrolled in our new study of MDMA-assisted therapy for social anxiety in adults on the autism spectrum. The first treatments are scheduled to take place in July. Based on the known effects of MDMA, as well as individual reports, this exploratory study in 12 subjects will focus on enhancing functional skills and quality of life in autistic adults with social anxiety. The study is led by Principal Investigator Charles Grob, M.D., and Co-Investigator Alicia Danforth, Ph.D., 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
Al Jazeera America examines the firing of University of Arizona medical marijuana researcher Dr. Sue Sisley.
On June 30, 2014, the University of Arizona fired Dr. Sue Sisley, the Principal Investigator (PI) of our planned study of marijuana for symptoms of PTSD in 70 U.S. veterans. The University of Arizona offered no explanation for their decision, informing Dr. Sisley that her academic appointment would be terminated as of September 26. On July 10, Caroline Garcia, Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Arizona, told MAPS Executive Director Rick Doblin that the university supports the study and proposed an alternate PI. On July 11, Doblin sent a letter to Garcia stating that MAPS will stand behind Dr. Sisley in her appeal and wherever the study is ultimately conducted.
Dr. Sisley is now appealing her dismissal with legal representation by Jason Flores-Williams. Unless Dr. Sisley is reinstated, she cannot conduct the study at the University of Arizona and will need to find a new location. The controversy surrounding the University of Arizona’s decision has received widespread media attention including the Los Angeles Times, Reuters, AZ Central, USA Today, and CNN, and an upcoming report in The New York Times.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services approved the study in March 2014, marking the first time in over 22 years that MAPS-sponsored researchers studying the benefits of whole plant marijuana for a specific medical condition were approved to purchase marijuana from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which maintains a monopoly on the supply of marijuana available for research in the U.S. The study also has approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Institutional Review Board at the University of Arizona.
The University of Arizona firing of Dr. Sisley doesn’t yet delay the study from starting since NIDA has informed MAPS in writing that it cannot provide the marijuana we need containing the cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD) until about January 2015. MAPS and Dr. Sisley still have about six months to resolve the issue of where the
study will be conducted. Sign the petition on Change.org
PSYCHEDELIC HARM REDUCTION
Do you have extra tickets for Burning Man 2014, or know someone who does? The Zendo Project will be providing psychedelic harm reduction services at Burning Man 2014, and 27 volunteers are still in need of tickets. This group includes our core builders, and mental health and medical professionals. Trained volunteers offer compassionate support to individuals having a difficult psychedelic experience, in order to reduce the number of drug-related hospitalizations and arrests. Since 2012, Zendo Project volunteers have donated 6,248 hours of their time to assist 462 guests—please help us get to the playa this year! If you can help, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn about our current Funding Priorities.
View our GuideStar non-profit report for mission objectives, financials, and more.
In June 2014, 172 donors gave a total of $516,267 to support MAPS’ groundbreaking psychedelic research and education programs. Board Member Joby Pritzker gave $200,000 in general support, and The Libra Foundation gave $200,000 to support our MDMA-assisted psychotherapy study with veterans with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD. Adam Wiggins gave $60,000 in general support, and George Goldsmith and Katya Malievskaia gave $25,000 for our MDMA-assisted psychotherapy studies. Thanks to June and Lee Stein for their $10,000 contribution for general support, and to Hilary Silver for his unrestricted gift of $5,000. Many thanks to AB Resources for $2,000 for our study of medical marijuana for treating PTSD in 70 veterans. We are grateful to the Muster Foundation for a gift of $1,000 to support Anya Loizaga-Velder’s travel to the World Ayahuasca Conference. We offer many, many thanks to the 158 donors who gave between $1 and $700 dollars for our work, and to the six donors who supported our fiscal sponsor partners: Ayahuasca Association, Bluelight, Global Ibogaine Therapist Alliance (GITA), and the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council. Thank you to all of our donors, volunteers, researchers, and staff for working together to transform medicine!
FEATURED PRESS RELEASE: Letter from Rick Doblin to University of Arizona in Support of Dr. Sue Sisley | view
MAPS | July 11, 2014s
FEATURED Al Jazeera America: University of Arizona Marijuana Researcher Fired Before Landmark Study | watch
Jacob Ward | July 9, 2014
FEATURED The New York Times: Obituary for Richard Rockefeller | view
The David Rockefeller Family | June 27, 2014
FEATURED Reset.me: How Psychedelics Are Saving Lives | watch
Amber Lyon | May 1, 2014
CNN: 5 Things You May Not Know About Post-traumatic Stress | view
Sara Cheshire | July 9, 2014
Science: Can Ecstasy Treat the Agony of PTSD? | view
Kai Kupferschmidt | July 3, 2014
Reuters: Arizona Psychiatry Professor Says Fired Over Marijuana Research | view
David Schwartz | July 1, 2014
USA Today: Marijuana Study Backed By Feds Delayed After Researcher’s Firing | view
Jolie Lee | July 7, 2014
Los Angeles Times: Pot Researcher Abruptly Fired by University of Arizona | view
Evan Halper | July 1, 2014
HuffPost Live: Professor Says University Fired Her Over Medical Marijuana Study | view
Alyona Minkovski | July 1, 2014
Arizona Capitol Times: UA Marijuana Researcher Fired, Claims Political Motivation | view
Evan Wyloge | July 1, 2014
The Huffington Post: 30 Members Of Congress Demand Increased Access To Marijuana For Research | view
Matt Ferner | June 17, 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.
“Tom Shroder weaves together three compelling stories with such mastery that Acid Test reads like a first-rate novel. The book is that much more intriguing and consequential though because the stories are true and the subject matter—the healing of post-traumatic stress—of great currency and importance. We need to know how to treat the trauma that afflicts most of the world or we’re in deep trouble.”
Release date: September 9, 2014
$27.95 | Now available for pre-order
All purchases from the MAPS Store support psychedelic and medical marijuana research and education.
Over five sessions, Smoke Signals author and Project CBD Director Martin Lee and his guests will share with you the most important practical information about medical marijuana, its potential risks and rewards, and how to use it for maximum benefit. Learn more…
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. Learn more…
View our Event Calendar for more upcoming events.
On June 16, 2014, MAPS Canada, Inc., formally received approval for Canadian citizens to now make tax-deductible contributions to MAPS Canada, the first and only Canadian organization dedicated to psychedelic research and education. It took approximately four years for MAPS Canada to obtain tax deduction eligibility due to various regulatory and administrative obstacles. We are currently developing a system for processing contributions to MAPS Canada online. For now, Canadian citizens can make a tax-deductible donation to MAPS Canada by sending a check made out to MAPS Canada to MAPS Canada, c/o Mark Haden, 3155 W. 6th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6K 1X5. Approval letter from the Canada Revenue Agency | Learn more…
Looking for more ways to get involved? Check out our Student Resources page!