MAPS Email Newsletter:
Can Psychedelic Therapy Change the Way We Die?
FDA Approves New MDMA Study; LSD Results Published
November 15, 2014
Dear friends and supporters,
Sooner or later, we will all face death. That’s why—just as we’re working to make psychedelic therapy a legal option for those wanting to live healthier and happier lives—we are also working to help those at the end of their lives embrace the change with peace, acceptance, and support.
This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the protocol for our upcoming study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with life-threatening illness, to take place in Marin, Calif. Also this week, the results of a new qualitative study of outcomes from our completed Swiss study of LSD-assisted psychotherapy, also for subjects experiencing anxiety about death, were published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. The results show sustained reductions in anxiety and increased quality of life 12 months after treatment.
In the November 2014 edition of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) Email Newsletter, you’ll also learn:
- 25 medical marijuana dispensaries and retail stores around the country are participating in Medical Marijuana Research Month! Learn more at maps.org/mmrm.
- The fifteenth subject is enrolled in our ongoing study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Boulder, Colorado.
- The fifth subject is enrolled in our ongoing study of MDMA-assisted therapy for social anxiety in autistic adults in Los Angeles, Calif.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services formally rejects a request from 30 members of Congress to end the obstructive review process for medical marijuana research
PLUS: Our new website is here, with a cleaner look, faster load times, and larger images to make it easier to explore our 2,000+ pages of information about psychedelic and medical marijuana research. Please pardon the dust, as some pages are still under construction.
Remember to spread the word, since achieving our mission relies on the continued expansion of public education about our work. Please help us complete the research needed to make psychedelics and marijuana into safe and legal tools for healthier living, more comfortable dying, and all the adventures we have in between.
MAPS Director of Communications and Marketing
MDMA-Assisted Therapy for Anxiety Associated with Life-Threatening Illness
LSD-Assisted Therapy for Anxiety Associated with Life-Threatening Illness
Treating PTSD with MDMA-Assisted Therapy
MDMA-Assisted Therapy for Social Anxiety in Autistic Adults
Medical Marijuana Research
WATCH: Acid Test author Tom Shroder and retired Marine Nicholas Blackston talk about MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD at the Horizons conference in New York City on October 12, 2014.
MDMA-ASSISTED PSYCHOTHERAPY FOR ANXIETY ASSOCIATED WITH LIFE-THREATENING ILLNESS
On November 13, 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the protocol for our upcoming study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with life-threatening illness. 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. On November 19, the Research Advisory Panel of California (RAP-C) is scheduled to review our responses to their request for several changes to the protocol and Informed Consent form, as California is the only U.S. state with a separate review process for Schedule I drug research. The study will also require approval from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration before we can begin screening subjects. Read April Short’s October 31 article about the study, and her November 6 Reset.me article, “Psychedelics Could Change the Way We Die.” View the study protocol…
$582,000 estimated study cost • $121,500 raised • $460,500 still needed
LSD-ASSISTED PSYCHOTHERAPY FOR ANXIETY
RESULTS PUBLISHED: Qualitative study of LSD-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with life-threatening disease
On November 11, 2014, the peer-reviewed Journal of Psychopharmacology published a paper describing the results of a qualitative study of subjects in our completed Swiss Phase 2 pilot study of LSD-assisted psychotherapy for 12 subjects with anxiety associated with advanced-stage illness. A March 2014 paper in the Journal of Mental and Nervous Disease about our completed pilot study found positive trends in the reduction of anxiety following two LSD-assisted psychotherapy sessions, and indicated that LSD-assisted psychotherapy can be safely administered in these subjects. The long-term results, showed lasting reductions in anxiety and increases in quality life for participants one year after receiving two LSD-assisted psychotherapy sessions. “I was very very sad, I cried, never desperate, but a lot of sad things came up,” one subject recalled of their experience in the study. “And that resolved later on and became lightness. But at the beginning, at first I did not go ‘in’ for long, but then I dove away.” Download the new paper | Learn more…
This study has been fully funded
Learn about including MAPS in your will or trust.
TREATING PTSD WITH MDMA-ASSISTED PSYCHOTHERAPY
On September 30, 2014, the 15th subject was enrolled in our ongoing 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. As of November 12, 11 subjects have completed their primary endpoint interviews, including the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) and other assessments, after receiving two experimental sessions. “A good way to describe it is that I felt like I was in a cave, trying to get
out, but I didn’t have any light,” James, a study participant, recently told the CU Independent. “So I was just feeling around the walls, getting turned around, and getting even more lost. But with the MDMA sessions, it was like the therapist was my guide and the MDMA was a flashlight. With those resources, I could get out of the cave I’d been lost in for so long.” Read “MDMA and the War Against PTSD” | Learn more…
$711,000 estimated study cost • $309,000 raised • $402,000 still needed
Learn about treating PTSD with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy at mdmaptsd.org.
MDMA-ASSISTED THERAPY FOR SOCIAL ANXIETY IN AUTISTIC ADULTS
On October 24, 2014, the fifth subject of 12 was enrolled in our ongoing study of MDMA-assisted therapy for social anxiety in adults on the autism spectrum. This exploratory pilot study is exploring whether MDMA combined with therapy can enhance functional skills and quality of life in autistic adults with social anxiety. “When the study began, we were optimistic that individuals with social phobias would find the courage to call the hotline, send an e-mail, or contact us through other means,” reports co-Principal Investigator Alicia Danforth, Ph.D. “We are happy to report that we already have received over 80 screening inquiries from men and women from all over the United States and several from overseas. We are on track to enroll at least one more participant by the end of the year, which will keep us on schedule.” Learn more | Donate to this study
$320,000 estimated study cost • $1,000 raised + $15,000 raised by partners • $304,000 still needed still needed
Learn more at mdma-autism.org.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA RESEARCH
Medical Marijuana Research Month is a chance for customers at dispensaries and marijuana retail stores nationwide to make a donation during the month of November to support MAPS’ research on whole plant marijuana a legal prescription treatment for PTSD. Twenty-five dispensaries and retail locations around the country have already signed up to help us raise funds for medical marijuana research. Visit one of our participating locations during the month of November and help complete vital medical marijuana research for veterans and many others searching for a safer, more effective treatment for PTSD. Do you manage or own a dispensary or retail establishment that would like to participate? Complete our Enrollment Form. Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
On September 22, 2014, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell formally rejected a request from 30 members of Congress requesting that HHS end the obstructive Public Health Service (PHS) review process for privately funded medical marijuana research. A 1999 HHS Guidance requires an additional review process for federally regulated research with marijuana, but not for any Schedule I drug. This additional review process makes it difficult or impossible for scientists in the U.S. to gain approval for whole-plant medical marijuana drug development research. On June 17, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and 29 other Congressional representatives sent a letter to HHS requesting that the PHS review process be eliminated. MAPS is now working with Rep. Blumenauer’s office to prepare a letter to Sec. Burwell responding to her rejection letter, which ignores the substance of the 30 Congressional representatives’ concerns and fails to justify the problematic PHS review process for medical marijuana research. Learn more…
The MAPS Bulletin: Summer 2014 Research Edition is available online.
Our work is made poss
ible by contributions of time, money, and intention from many people around the world. We are exceptionally grateful to the 202 people who gave to MAPS for the first time this month. Thank you for enrolling in the cause!
In October 2014, 446 people contributed $68,440 to MAPS. Two new business donations supported our medical marijuana research and policy work—our gratitude goes to Dixie Brands for their gift of $15,000 and Funk Sac for $10,000. Devera & Michael Witkin generously increased their annual gift to $5,000, Sahajia Sarkisian gave $2,000 in general support, and the following individuals each gave $1,000 in general support: Mary Jane Otte, Jerry Greenfield, Giancarlo Canavesio, Florence Kuhlmann, Greg Alto, and Alexander Banach. Many of these gifts are one of many given over the year. Our gratitude also goes to those who donated $500: Matt Hite, Richard Ebanks, Andrew Tatarsky, Gary Bacon, Jedra Charitable Foundation, Jessie Shaw, Khris Loux, Niraj Shah, Nolan Williams, Robert Bienstock, and Neal Marshall Goldsmith. We received many of these gifts at our events in Palo Alto and New York City. In addition, we thank the nine individuals who gave $1,605 to our fiscally sponsored projects: Bluelight, Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council, and Global Ibogaine Therapist Alliance.
This month, we also share our gratitude for the following “In Memory” and “In Honor” gifts:
- Marian S. Pillsbury gave a personal gift in memory of Dr. Richard Rockefeller.
- Jonathan Feyer gave in memory of Will Zahn, writing: “In the spiraling, formless nebula that predated the universe, a single atom, the universal catalyst, sparked the initial combustion that created all life. That atom was named Will Zahn.”
- Larry and Margaret Hale gave a donation with the note: “This is in Honor of Michael Mithoefer’s studies and GREAT success stories.”
- Christine Knowles gave in honor of Dr. John Mack.
Thank you to every one who gave this month to support MAPS’ work to create safe contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana. Our work is ever increasing, and some of our goals are in sight.
Learn about our Funding Priorities.
FEATURED PRESS RELEASE: New Clinical Study Explores MDMA-Assisted Therapy to Treat Social Anxiety in Autistic Adults | view
MAPS | November 15, 2014
FEATURED VIDEO: Tom Shroder & Nicholas Blackston at Horizons 2014 | view
Tom Shroder & Nicholas Blackston | October 12, 2014
FEATURED CNN: This Is Life with Lisa Ling, “Jungle Fix” | view
Lisa Ling | October 27, 2014
FEATURED CNN: Could Ayahuasca Be the Next Medical Marijuana? | view
Tricia Escobedo | October 31, 2014
The Washington Post: How the Drug War Blocked Research Into a Promising Experimental PTSD Therapy | view
Max Ehrenfreund | November 11, 2014
AlterNet: The Illegal Drug That Could Help Ease Anxiety About Death | view
April M. Short | October
Reset.me: Psychedelics Could Change the Way We Die | view
April M. Short | November 6, 2014
Reason: Psychedelic Science | view
Kevin Franciotti | November 2, 2014
CU Independent: MDMA and the War Against PTSD | view
CU Independent | November 7, 2014
Vice: Ketamine May Help Treat Bipolar Disorder | view
Max Cherney | October 30, 2014, 2014
Reset.me: 5 Veterans Who Use Illegal Drugs To Treat Their PTSD | view
April M. Short | November 11, 2014
Explore MAPS in the Media for more psychedelic and medical marijuana research news.
30% OFF UNTIL JANUARY 5
60 minutes | Mangusta Productions | Released 2013
Neurons to Nirvana is a richly illustrated feature documentary about the resurgence of psychedelics as medicine. Through interviews with the world’s foremost researchers, writers, psychologists and pioneers in psychedelic psychotherapy, the film takes a close look at five powerful psychoactive substances—LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, ayahuasca, and cannabis—to explore their history and medicinal potential.
30% OFF UNTIL JANUARY 5
Softcover | 358 pages | Park Street Press (2000)
From 1990 to 1995, Dr. Rick Strassman conducted U.S. government-funded clinical research at the University of New Mexico in which he injected 60 volunteers with DMT, one of the most powerful psychedelics known. His detailed account of those sessions is an extraordinarily riveting inquiry into the nature of the human mind and the therapeutic potential of psychedelics.
All purchases from the MAPS Store support psychedelic and medical marijuana research and education.
View our Event Calendar for more upcoming events.
Now in its 10th year, the Entheogenesis Australis Symposium will present over 20 lectures and discussion panels featuring an array of renowned international speakers. The symposium’s aim is to bring together diverse and engaging scientific and cultural perspectives on exploring consciousness through psychoactive substances. Speakers will include ayahuasca researcher Beatriz Labate, Ph.D., MAPS-sponsored ibogaine research Geoff Noller, Ph.D., and many more. Learn more…
Looking for more ways to get involved? Check out our Student Resources page!