Getting results: Could MDMA combined
with psychotherapy cure PTSD?
If you’ve been following the latest news from the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), you know that designing and conducting legal, government-approved studies using controversial chemical tools isn’t always easy.
This month, our MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD research program saw one delay due to zoning regulations, and one rejection from an Australian Ethics Committee. Neither of these obstacles is insurmountable, but getting approval to conduct psychedelic research is a byzantine process, and I’m reminded of the diligence and perseverance our work requires.
There’s also plenty of good news in the August 2012 edition of the MAPS Email Newsletter—here are a few highlights:
- The 10th subject starts treatment in our ongoing study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for veterans with PTSD
- Our FDA-approved (and NIDA-blocked) protocol of smoked or vaporized marijuana for veterans with PTSD is submitted for review to an Institutional Review Board
- The last follow-up interview takes place in our now-completed study of LSD-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety in Switzerland
- MAPS supports an impressive selection of upcoming conferences and events, from Burning Man to the U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress
- Psychiatrist Ben Sessa, M.D., writes for the prominent UK medical journal The Lancet about psychedelics in the field of mental health treatment
Keep an eye out this month for a special announcement about Psychedelic Science 2013, our next major international collaborative psychedelic research conference taking place April 18-22, 2013, in Oakland, California. Psychedelic Science 2013 is presented by MAPS along with our colleagues the Heffter Research Institute, the Beckley Foundation, and the Council on Spiritual Practices.
With your support, psychedelic science has made tremendous strides—and I know that the best is yet to come.
With persistence and gratitude,
MAPS Director of Communications
- U.S. Veterans Study: Tenth Subject Starts Treatment
- U.S. Boulder (Intern) Study: DEA Inspects Site, Delays Study Initiation
- Australia: Ethics Committee Confirms Rejection of Study Protocol
- Marijuana for PTSD: Protocol Submitted to Institutional Review Board
- LSD-Assisted Therapy for Anxiety: Last Follow-Up Interviews Complete
- Ibogaine for Addiction: First Two Subjects Enrolled in New Zealand Study
- New in the MAPS Store: What the Dormouse Said by John Markoff
- New in the MAPS Store: Smoke Signals by Martin Lee (releases August 14)
- Seeking Auction Items for Psychedelic Science 2013
- Seeking Business Support for Psychedelic Science 2013
- The Guardian: MDMA on Trial in the UK
- The Lancet: Shaping the Renaissance of Psychedelic Research
- The Conversation: Human Testing of Illicit Drugs: The Highs and Lows
- Boom Festival 2012: A Safe Place for Difficult Experiences
- PSYCHEDELIC SCIENCE 2013: April 18-22, 2013, Oakland, CA
- Palenque Norte Speaker Series at Burning Man 2012: August 28-31, Black Rock City, NV
chedemia: September 27-30, Philadelphia, PA
- Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research: October 6-7, Amsterdam
- Horizons: Perspectives on Psychedelics: October 12-14, New York City
- Science and Nonduality Conference: October 24-28, 2012, San Rafael, CA
- U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress: November 8-11, San Diego, CA
- Study of Ecstasy (or MDMA) Experiences of Adults on the Autism/Asperger’s Spectrum
- MAPS Welcomes New Communications and Clinical Staff
MDMA-Assisted Therapy for PTSD Research:
MDMA-Assisted Therapy for PTSD Research
Learn more about treating PTSD with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy on or at mdmaptsd.org.
On July 27, 2012, the tenth of 24 subjects received her first MDMA-assisted psychotherapy session in our ongoing study in U.S. veterans, firefighters, and police officers with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD. Preliminary results are promising. We’re hoping that once completed, this study will allow the Veterans Administration/Department of Defense to justify funding their own studies into MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for veterans and active duty service members with PTSD. View the timeline…
$320,000 needed / $925,000 raised
On July 31, 2012, an inspector from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the scheduled inspection of the site for our planned study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in Boulder, Colorado. The inspection is required before the DEA will grant a Schedule I license to the study physician,required before we can initiate the study. The DEA contacted the local zoning office, which informed lead study investigator Marcela Ot’alora, L.P.C., that a new business license is required for the building where the psychotherapy sessions will be conducted, delaying initiation by one or two months. View the timeline…
$330,000 needed / $125,000 raised
On July 13, 2012, the Ethics Committee reviewed our responses to its initial rejection of the protocol for our proposed Australian study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, to be co-sponsored by the Australian non-profit Psychedelic Research in Science and Medicine (PRISM) and MAPS. In their letter, the Ethics Committee reiterated their decision to reject the study. PRISM and MAPS will continue working to initiate MDMA-assisted psychotherapy research in Australia. Learn more…
$50,000 needed / additional funds provided by co-sponsor
Looking for more ways to get involved? Check out the non-MAPS sponsored studies on our Participate in Research page!
UMass-Amherst professor Lyle Craker, Ph.D., and
MAPS founder Rick Doblin, Ph.D., discuss strategy
for Craker’s federal lawsuit against the DEA for
blocking medical marijuana research.
On July 30, 2012, MAPS and Sue Sisley, M.D., submitted the FDA-cleared protocol for our planned study of marijuana for veterans with PTSD for review by the University of Arizona Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB review is scheduled for August 28. MAPS also submitted a detailed cover letter explaining our rationale for various elements of the protocol design. View the timeline…
$10,000 needed for protocol development / $10,000 raised
On August 8, 2012, the last long-term fol
low-up interview was conducted in our recently completed study of LSD-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with advanced-stage illness in Switzerland. All twelve subjects have now completed the follow-up portion of this study, and the results are being prepared for publication. MAPS Lead Clinical Research Associate Berra Yazar-Klosinski, Ph.D., will visit Switzerland in September for the final monitoring visit. Learn more…
This study has been fully funded
On July 16, 2012, the first two participants were enrolled in our recently initiated observational study of ibogaine treatment for addiction in New Zealand. Both of these individuals are suffering from methadone dependence and are receiving treatment at independent ibogaine clinics in New Zealand. This study is the second in our international series of observational studies of the safety and efficacy of ibogaine treatment for addiction, building on our nearly completed study in Mexico, where the final one-year follow-up evaluation will happen in September 2012. Learn more…
Mexico: : $7,000 needed / $34,000 raised
New Zealand: $15,000 raised / additional funds provided by co-sponsor
All purchases made through the MAPS Store support psychedelic and medical marijuana research and education.
|What the Dormouse Said
by John Markoff
|Smoke Signals (releases August 14)
by Martin Lee
|The New York Times journalist John Markoff’s landmark book uncovers the culture and consciousness behind the first PCs.
What the Dormouse Said tells the story of the birth of the personal computer, a history where military hardware, anti-military software, and psychedelics are tangled together in the Northern California counterculture.
|Martin Lee, bestselling author of Acid Dreams, tells a panoramic, character-driven saga examining the medical, recreational, scientific, and economic dimensions of the world’s most controversial plant.
“A ripping read, thoroughly researched, Smoke Signals will help inform the current debate and hopefully hasten the demise of prohibition.”
Explore MAPS in the Media for more psychedelic and medical marijuana research news.
UK psychiatrist Ben Sessa writes for The Lancet
about the promise of psychedelic research
Professor David Nutt, M.D., of Imperial College London writes for The Guardian about his current research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure the effects of MDMA on the brain activity of healthy volunteers. (July 19, 2012)
Psychiatrist Ben Sessa, M.D. writes for the prominent medical journal The Lancet (pdf) about the promising future of psychedelics in the field of mental health treatment. (July 21, 2012)
MAPS supports psychedelic harm reduction
services at Boom Festival 2012 in Portugal
The Conversation reports on past and current research into the safety and effects of drugs such as LSD, MDMA, psilocybin, and marijuana in human subjects. The article addresses the political, scientific, and ethical challenges involved in the science of controversial compounds. (August 3, 2012)
An international team of volunteers ranging from psychiatrists to medical writers provided psychedelic harm reduction services at the Kosmicare tent at Boom Festival 2012. MAPS has supported psychedelic emergency services at Boom since 2002, and this year Kosmicare is a collaboration between Boom, MAPS, and government agencies. MAPS Founder Rick Doblin, Ph.D., shares his experience with Kosmicare and other psychedelic harm reduction initiatives.
MAPS, together with our partners the Heffter Research Institute, The Beckley Foundation, and the Council on Spiritual Practices, invites you to take part in Psychedelic Science 2013, an international psychedelic research conference taking place April 18-22, 2013 at the Oakland Marriott City Center and Oakland Convention Center in Oakland, CA.
These four leading psychedelic research organizations will gather researchers, therapists, students, and the intellectually curious over five days to share the latest research on MDMA, LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca, ibogaine, and more. The field has grown tremendously since our 2010 Psychedelic Science conference, and Psychedelic Science 2013 will offer even more chances to connect and learn.
See maps.org/conference for more information.
MAPS Founder Rick Doblin, Ph.D., will be a featured presenter at the Palenque Norte Speaker Series at Burning Man 2012, focusing on psychedelic medicines and altered states of consciousness. Other presenters include Alex Grey, Daniel Pinchbeck, Paul Stamets, and more.
Michael Mithoefer, M.D., will share the latest results from our ongoing study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for U.S. veterans with PTSD, and MAPS will host an exhibit booth with additional information about our research program.
Alicia Danforth, a Clinical Psychology student at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology is conducting dissertation research to document the experiences of autistic or Aspergian adults who have tried the drug Ecstasy (or MDMA). You are invited to participate in a confidential online survey if you are on the autism spectrum, whether or not you have ever tried Ecstasy. The estimated time to complete the five surveys is 45 minutes-1 hour. Some participants may be invited to participate in an optional anonymous interview. You also have the option to enroll as a non-participant if you are curious to see the study materials. All participants who complete the surveys will receive a summary report of the key research findings next year. For more information about the study requirements, enrollment, and researcher contact information, please visit the study website: www.danforthresearch.com.
Our team is growing to meet the expanding needs of our psychedelic and medical marijuana research and education programs. We are excited to welcome Sarah Jordan as our new Publications Associate. Sarah comes to MAPS with a combination of experience in graphic design, production, and marketing from City on a Hill Press, Connections Magazine, the Santa Cruz Homeless Garden Project, and the Firelight Foundation. She is also a yoga instructor with an interest in physiology, neuroscience, and spirituality. Sarah will be joining the Communications Department to manage our various print publications, from the triannual MAPS Bulletin to educational brochures. We are also happy to announce the addition of Colin Hennigan as our new Clinical Study Assistant. Colin will be using his significant research and technical writing experience to support our clinical staff with data management, developing and maintaining quality control of clinical documents.