Day by day, more doors are opening for research into the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana. Excitement is growing as we approach the end of Phase 2 of our international MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) research program.
This month, we’re excited to announce that all 23 subjects have been enrolled in our ongoing study of in Boulder, Colorado, and that the eighth subject out of 10 has been enrolled in our ongoing Israeli study (assuming that all of these subjects complete the study). Our studies in South Carolina (primarily in U.S. veterans) and Canada (open to subjects with PTSD from any cause) are also on track to end this year.
The scientific community is taking notice—last month, SAGE Publications announced that the paper describing the results of our first completed pilot study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD by Michael Mithoefer, M.D., and colleagues has been awarded the 2015 Journal of Psychopharmacology Prize for receiving the highest level of citations of all original research articles published in the journal in 2011.
A feature article in the September 2015 issue of Marie Claire investigates the past and present of MDMA research, interviewing three study participants about how MDMA-assisted psychotherapy transformed their life and relationships with PTSD. On September 13, Brenda, who participated in our Boulder study, told NPR: “Now, life is good. Spending 35+ years suicidal was something I don’t wish on anyone. After six months in that study, I am not suicidal. I want to live.” Then, on September 16, The Huffington Post asked, “Is American medicine on the brink of a psychedelic revolution? It’s seeming more and more likely.”
In the September 2015 edition of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) Email Newsletter, you’ll also learn:
- The fifth subject is enrolled in our ongoing study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with life-threatening illness in Marin, Calif.
- Our ongoing study of MDMA-assisted therapy for social anxiety in autistic adults enrolls its ninth subject
- Researchers meet at Johns Hopkins University to prepare one of the two sites for our upcoming study of marijuana for symptoms of PTSD in 76 U.S. veterans
- On September 25, MAPS hosts a free event celebrating the opening of our new office in Santa Cruz, Calif., and tickets are still available for our October 10 benefit dinner in New York City during the Horizons: Perspectives on Psychedelics conference
None of these achievements would be possible without your tax-deductible donations. Thanks to your support of our mission, we are getting closer to making psychedelics and marijuana safely and legally available not just as treatments for mental illness, but also for personal growth, creativity, spirituality, and more.
MAPS Director of Communications and Marketing
- Boulder: Two More Subjects Treated; Enrollment Completed; Subject Speaks on NPR
- Israel: Eighth Subject Enrolled
- Pilot Study Publication Receives 2015 Journal of Psychopharmacology Prize for Most Citations
- MAPS Announces Collaboration with PatientsLikeMe
- Marin: Subject Five Enrolled
- Social Anxiety in Autistic Adults: Subject Nine Enrolled
- Medical Marijuana for PTSD: Pre-Study Visit Complete at Johns Hopkins; Phoenix Site Identified; Sue Sisley Presents Lecture at Walter Reed
- Zendo Project Report: Burning Man 2015
- August Giving Report: Why Give to MAPS?
- Canadian Medical Association Journal: Psychedelic Medicine Is a Re-emerging Therapeutic Paradigm
- Rolling Stone, Marie Claire, NPR, Los Angeles Times, and more…
- Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal by Tom Shroder NOW IN PAPERBACK
- Modern Consciousness Research and the Understanding of Art by Stanislav Grof, M.D. NEW!
- MAPS Office Grand Opening: September 25, 2015, Santa Cruz, CA
- Raising the Bar: Dinner and Discussion for Psychedelic Medicine: October 10, 2015, New York, NY
- Workshop: Trauma, the Body, and Psychedelic Medicine: October 10, 2015, Denver, Colorado
- Visionary Convergence: September 25-27, 2015, Los Angeles, CA
- Drogas, Política y Cultura: October 5-6, 2015, Guadalajara, Mexico
- Horizons: Perspectives on Psychedelics: October 9-11, 2015, New York, NY
- Science and Nonduality: October 22-25, 2015, San Jose, CA
- Psychedelic Science 2017: April 19-24, 2017, Oakland, CA
- Sublime Visions: Explorers of the Edge of Consciousness
- From Shock to Awe Indiegogo Campaign Launches
Treating PTSD with MDMA-Assisted Therapy
MDMA-Assisted Therapy for Anxiety Associated with Life-Threatening Illness
MDMA-Assisted Therapy for Social Anxiety in Autistic Adults
Medical Marijuana for PTSD
Psychedelic Harm Reduction
NOTE ON PROGRESS REPORTS: For all of our clinical studies, to more accurately reflect current progress we are now reporting the number of study subjects who have completed treatment and are counted as fully enrolled in the study instead of the total number of subjects that have been enrolled, which may include subjects enrolled but not included in the final analysis due to dropouts or not meeting inclusion/exclusion criteria for factors identified after enrollment.
TREATING PTSD WITH MDMA-ASSISTED PSYCHOTHERAPY
On August 21 and 31, 2015, subjects 20 and 21 out of 23 were treated in our ongoing study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for subjects with PTSD from sexual assault, violent crime, war, natural disasters, or any other cause, taking place in Boulder, Colorado. Potential subjects 22 and 23 were enrolled on August 17 and 20. We expect that the final subject will be treated in October 2015. Primary outcome data is anticipated to be available in December 2015, and the final results prepared for publication in late 2016.
The September 2015 issue of Marie Claire includes an in-depth feature article about the experiences of three women who benefited from MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, including two from this study. On September 13, NPR broadcast a special report including an interview with Brenda, a woman who overcame PTSD after participating in this study. Brenda shares how her life and relationships have changed after she received MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, and journalist Kelley McMillan speaks about what she learned during her investigative report on MDMA research. "Now, life is good,” Brenda told NPR. "Spending 35+ years suicidal was something I don’t wish on anyone. After six months in that study, I am not suicidal. I want to live.” Learn more…
$771,000 estimated study cost • $719,000 raised • $52,000 still needed
Learn about our Funding Priorities.
On September 4, 2015, the eighth subject was enrolled in our ongoing Israeli study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. Led by Principal Investigator Moshe Kotler, M.D., this Phase 2 study will treat up to 10 subjects with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD from any cause. "The preliminary results are encouraging, and enrollment has picked up late in the study due to increased recruitment efforts,” said Berra Yazar-Klosinski, Ph.D., MAPS Clinical Research Scientist. "This study is part of our efforts to reach participants where trauma is endemic.” This study is actively seeking Israeli participants. Learn more…
$509,000 estimated study cost • $87,000 raised • $422,000 still needed
On August 4, 2015, SAGE Publications and the peer-reviewed Journal of Psychopharmacology announced that the scientific publication describing the results of our first completed pilot study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD had received the 2015 Journal of Psychopharmacology Prize for receiving the highest level of citations of all original research articles published in the journal in 2011. The paper, "The safety and efficacy of ±3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine-assisted psychotherapy in subjects with chronic, treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder: the first randomized controlled pilot study” was co-authored by Michael Mithoefer, M.D., Mark Wagner, Ph.D., Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N., Lisa Jerome, Ph.D., and Rick Doblin, Ph.D. Read the paper | Learn more at mdmaptsd.org…
In order to provide opportunities for our study participants to connect with and support each other, as well as other individuals with PTSD, MAPS is partnering with PatientsLikeMe, an online community where people can meet others who are undergoing similar challenges, as well as track their treatments and talk about symptom management. PatientsLikeMe has a user base of over 350,000 members who are dedicated to helping each other, as well as contributing their health data toward new research. We hope that this partnership will help provide continued support and community for study participants on their road to recovery from PTSD. Learn more…
MDMA-ASSISTED PSYCHOTHERAPY FOR ANXIETY ASSOCIATED WITH LIFE-THREATENING ILLNESS
On September 1, 2015, subject five was enrolled in our ongoing study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with life-threatening illness. Led by Principal Investigator Phil Wolfson, M.D., with co-therapist Julane Andries, LMFT, in Marin, Calif., this study will treat 18 subjects suffering from anxiety related to a life-threatening disease that is either ongoing or in remission with a possibility of recurrence. "We’re very excited to see the results from the first group of participants in this study,” says Ben Shechet, Clinical Research Associate for MAPS Public Benefit Corporation. "The reports from the study therapists regarding these subjects’ experimental sessions have been extremely positive, and we look forward to seeing how those experiences will be reflected in the data now coming in." Learn more…
$627,000 est. study cost • $194,000 raised • $433,000 still needed
MDMA-ASSISTED THERAPY FOR SOCIAL ANXIETY IN AUTISTIC ADULTS
On September 9, 2015, potential subject nine of 12 was enrolled in our ongoing study of MDMA-assisted therapy for social anxiety in 12 adults on the autism spectrum. One subject chose to leave the study, and is counted as a drop-out. Sponsored by MAPS, this is a collaborative study between MAPS and the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, with blood plasma biomarker analysis being conducted by researchers at Stanford University. “No Serious Adverse Events have occurred, and the study has received 228 screening inquiries from across the United States and several other countries,” reports study Co-Investigator Alicia Danforth, Ph.D. “One of the key factors contributing to this study running smoothly since the launch was early and ongoing consultation with members of the autism community.” Learn more at mdma-autism.org…
$336,000 estimated study cost • $1,000 raised + $15,000 raised by partners • $320,000 still needed
MEDICAL MARIJUANA FOR PTSD
On September 14, 2015, researchers and study staff completed an all-day pre-study visit at the Johns Hopkins University Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit (BPRU) to prepare for our upcoming study of smoked marijuana for symptoms of PTSD in U.S. veterans. The study team reviewed the clinical trial protocol, standardized the methods used at both study sites, and inspected the site facilities. The Institutional Review Board at Johns Hopkins will meet on September 22 to review our responses to their recommendations for changes to our study protocol.
On September 4, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration inspected the proposed Phoenix, Arizona, study site which will be led by Co-Investigator/Site Principal Investigator (PI) Sue Sisley, M.D. Half of the study’s 76 subjects will be treated at the Phoenix site, with the other half treated at Johns Hopkins by Co-Investigator/Site PI Ryan Vandrey, Ph.D. On September 15, Dr. Sisley presented a clinical lecture at the 5th Annual Pain Care Skills Training event at Walter Reed National Military Center about our upcoming study. "The military has historically been a leader in adopting new medical practices far ahead of the larger medical community,” said Sisley. "It’s an honor to be able to help educate these highly dedicated medical professionals about medical cannabis and PTSD.” Learn more…
PSYCHEDELIC HARM REDUCTION
For the fourth year, the Zendo Project offered psychedelic harm reduction services at Burning Man in Black Rock City, Nevada. During the event, 170 volunteers contributed a combined 1,700 hours the the project and were able to assist 161 guests going through difficult or overwhelming experiences, psychedelic-related or otherwise. MAPS staff and volunteers organized a four hour harm reduction training, open to the Burning Man community, which provided tools and techniques for supporting someone having a difficult psychedelic journey. Due to generous contributions of donors through the Zendo Project’s recent Indiegogo campaign, the project was able to invest in two new structures which will be utilized for harm reduction services for years to come. Now with two locations across the playa from each other, the two Zendo Project spaces successfully provided peer-to-peer counseling, a safe space to rest, water, and electrolytes to Burning Man’s approximately 70,000 attendees. Learn more…
In August 2015, 210 individuals gave $51,182 to support MAPS’ psychedelic research and education projects. Our special thanks goes to Dan Mottsman who gave $1,000, and two anonymous donors who gave $41,250 in total. Since our founding in 1986, MAPS has disbursed over $23 million to developing psychedelics and marijuana into prescription medicines for some of the most hard-to-treat illnesses and to educating the public honestly about the risks and benefits of these substances. Every dollar has come from private donors committed to our mission. The pharmaceutical industry, government agencies that support research, and major foundations have not yet supported our work, so the continued expansion of psychedelic research still relies on the generosity of individual donors and family foundations. Why give?
Learn about including MAPS in your will or trust.
On September 8, 2015, the Canadian Medical Association Journal published a scientific paper analyzing current psychedelic therapy research. The paper, "Psychedelic medicine: A re-emerging therapeutic paradigm” co-authored by Ken Tupper, Ph.D., Evan Wood, M.D., Ph.D., Richard Yensen, Ph.D., and Matthew Johnson, Ph.D., cites several recent studies in which the use of psychedelics combined with therapy has been shown to be promising, including MAPS’ studies of LSD- and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with life-threatening illness; MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in the U.S., Canada, and Israel for PTSD; MDMA-assisted therapy for social anxiety in autistic adults; as well as other studies of psilocybin-assisted therapy for anxiety, alcohol dependence, and nicotine addiction; and more. The publication generated a wave of media interest in p
sychedelic therapy research, with widespread exposure in Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, CBS News, Psychiatry Advisor, and many more. "The re-emerging paradigm of psychedelic medicine may open clinical doors and therapeutic doors long closed," said lead author Evan Wood, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia, in a press release. "Continued medical research and scientific inquiry into psychedelic drugs may offer new ways to treat mental illness and addiction in patients who do not benefit from currently available treatments." Listen to the Canadian Medical Association Journal podcast with study co-author Matthew Johnson | Read the press release…
FEATURED Rolling Stone: Meet the People Who Want to Make It Safer to Take Drugs at Festivals | view
Kristen Gwynne | August 7, 2015
FEATURED Marie Claire: Is Ecstasy the Key to Treating Women with PTSD? | view
Kelley McMillan | August 17, 2015
FEATURED NPR: From Club to Clinic: How MDMA Could Help Cope With Trauma | view
NPR Staff | September 13, 2015
Los Angeles Times: Psychedelic Drugs May Be Ready for a Medical Comeback | view
Melissa Healy | September 8, 2015
Newsweek: Psychedelics Promise a "Paradigm Shift” in Treating Mental Illness | view
Douglas Main | September 8, 2015
CBS News: Psychedelic Drugs as Treatment for Anxiety, Addiction | view
Alan Mozes | September 9, 2015
Mic: Meet the Iraq War Veteran Who Says Ecstasy-Assisted Therapy Saved His Life | view
Tom McKay | September 10, 2015
Psychiatry Advisor: Psychedelics Promising for Anxiety, Depression, Addiction, and PTSD | view
Laura Stiles | September 9, 2015
Military Times: Kevlar for the Mind: Marijuana for PTSD Needs More Study | view
Bret A. Moore | August 29, 2015
The Tim Ferriss Show: Are Psychedelic Drugs the Next Medical Breakthrough? | view
Tim Ferriss | September 14, 2015
Vox: Meet Ibogaine, the Psychedelic Drug that Could Help End Heroin Addiction | view
German Lopez | September 14, 2015
Drug Policy Alliance: Using Psychedelics Shouldn’t Be a Crime | view
Jag Davies | September 15, 2015
Explore MAPS in the Media for more psychedelic and medical marijuana research news.
200 pages | Published by MAPS | Released July 19, 2015
"In this unique illustrated volume, we marvel at the startling correlations between the healer’s insights and the artist’s visions. Both have given powerful expression to the apocalyptic violence and destructiveness seething beneath the surface of 20th century mass-mind mentality. In the recognition of these powerful unconscious processes, there is great hope that humanity may find a way back to a saner and healthier balance.” —Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., psychotherapist and author of The Unfolding Self, The Well of Remembrance, and The Roots of War and Domination.
$29.95 | Now available
Celebrate the grand opening of MAPS’ new office in Santa Cruz. Our brand new office is just a few doors down from our old building, but with more space and greater capacity to support the continued expansion of our work. Join MAPS staff members and the Santa Cruz community for an evening featuring live music, refreshments, visionary art, and conversations. Admission is free and open to the public. RSVP on Facebook…
Join MAPS Founder and Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D., and MAPS staff and supporters in the West Village, NYC for an intimate dinner party and discussion focusing on the path toward legalizing psychedelic therapy. Enjoy good food, fine wine, warm hospitality, and connect with others who are curious and excited about psychedelic science. Share your views and help shape the public discourse about the role of psychedelics in medicine, therapy, and healing. Learn more | Buy tickets…
This one-day workshop is an introduction to healing PTSD using somatic psychotherapy and MDMA, lead by Trauma Dynamics Executive Director Saj Razvi, M.A., L.P.C., whose experience comes in part from his role as a sub-investigator for MAPS’ clinical study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treatment-resistant PTSD. Trauma Dynamics is an experiential, strategic, somatic protocol that draws from current research on neurophysiology, memory systems, mindfulness, and traumatic transference theory. Learn more | Buy tickets…
PlantTeachers presents Visionary Convergence 2015, a conference and community gathering about ayahuasca, psilocybin mushrooms, iboga, peyote, cannabis, San Pedro cactus, and other entheogenic, medicinal, and visionary plants. Join visionaries, doctors, researchers, spiritual teachers, healers, therapists, filmmakers, and artists for lectures and presentations, forums, dialogues, visionary art gallery, live painting, and more. MAPS Clinical Research Scientist Berra Yazar-Klosinski, Ph.D., will give a presentation on the "Clinical Development of Plant Medicines and Plant-Derived Semi-Synthetic Compounds.” Register now…
This conference is a joint initiative of the Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS) in Guadalajara, the Brazilian Platform for Drug Policy (PBPD), and the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies on Psychoactive (NEIP) in Brazil. The conference—entirely in Spanish and Portuguese with no translation offered—will focus on traditional and contemporary uses of drugs in indigenous, mestizo, and urban communities in Mexico and Brazil. Includes a keynote address in Spanish from Brad Burge of MAPS on "Psychedelic Science and Medicine in the 21st Century.” Registration is free. Learn more…
Horizons: Perspectives on Psychedelics is an annual forum that examines the role of psychedelics in science, healing, culture and spirituality. In recent years, a growing community of scientists, doctors, artists, activists, seekers, and scholars have orchestrated a renaissance in psychedelic thought and practice. Horizons brings together many of the brightest minds and the boldest voices of this movement to share their research, insights, and dreams for the future. Register…
Science and Nonduality provides a forum where preeminent scientists, philosophers, teachers, artists and the international community gather to explore the new paradigm emerging in spirituality, that is both grounded in cutting-edge science and consistent with the ancient wisdom of nonduality—the deep understanding of the interconnectedness of life. MAPS Founder and Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D., will speak at 11:00am on Sunday, October 25. Register…
Mark your calendars—it’s official! Psychedelic Science is coming back to the San Francisco Bay Area. The conference will return to the Oakland Marriott City Center in California from April 19-24, 2017. The conference will feature the latest findings in the psychedelic research community and is expected to sell out early. We are incredibly excited to start coordinating this monumental event. We will announce ticket sales, as well as opportunities to participate, closer to the date. For past conference information, speaker videos, and more from Psychedelic Science 2013, visit psychedelicscience.org.
Looking for more ways to get involved? Check out our Student Resources page!
Sublime Visions is a collection of fine art photographs, portraits, stories and personal conversations with the leading professionals who have paved the way, or are currently making advances in the field of psychedelics as therapeutic medicines.
Sublime Visions’ mission is to unveil the humanistic side of psychedelic medicines; to be an approachable and identifiable source of information that builds greater awareness of advances in the reputable use of psychedelics in medicine, art and education. MAPS serves as non-profit fiscal sponsor for Sublime Visions. Learn how you can help…
From Shock to Awe, a feature-length documentary that will chronicle the journeys of military veterans as they seek relief from PTSD with the help of ayahuasca, MDMA, and cannabis, launched its Indiegogo campaign on September 14. MAPS serves as non-profit fiscal sponsor, enabling donors to make tax-deductible donations to the campaign. The campaign is asking for support to begin filming veterans as they try to navigate Veterans Affairs, struggle to connect with their loved ones through the fog of pharmaceuticals, and experience healing breakthroughs, whether in therapists’ offices or ceremonial healing circles. Learn more…