MAPS in the Media: News Reports Appearing in 2006

December 28, 2006. Nature featured an article describing MAPS-sponsored efforts to initiate research with LSD and psilocybin to treat cluster headaches, a rare and painful condition that is difficult to treat.

December 14, 2006. In response to the sensationalistic and inaccurate recent news coverage of prospective Ecstasy user studies by Dutch researcher Dr. Maartje M. de Win, MAPS President Rick Doblin, Ph.D. wrote this open letter to Dr. de Win voicing his concerns, and MAPS Clinical Research Associate Ilsa Jerome, Ph.D., wrote a special report evaluating the media's claims and how they relate (or not) to the actual data.

December 11, 2006. Today's BBC News features an article describing Dr. Francisco Moreno's Heffter- and MAPS-sponsored research at the Univ. of Arizona-Tucson evaluating psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy as treatment for individuals suffering from treatment-resistant Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Dr. Moreno recently published his findings in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

December 8, 2006. While in Thailand to testify in a medical MDMA trial, MAPS President Rick Doblin took the opportunity to do an interview with The Nation, Thailand's largest English-language daily newspaper. In the interview, Doblin speculates on the possibility of conducting MDMA/PTSD research with tsunami victims and discusses MAPS' international psychedelic research agenda.

December 7, 2006. The Chronicle of Higher Education published the article "Researchers Explore New Visions for Hallucinogens." This article describes the current renaissance in psychedelic research, particularly Dr. Francisco Moreno's recently-published Heffter- and MAPS-sponsored study evaluating psilocybin as treatment for OCD. The article also discusses the recent psilocybin/mystical experience study at John Hopkins, and Dr. Charles Grob's ongoing Heffter' sponsored study at UCLA evaluating psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy as treatment for individuals with anxiety disorders secondary to advanced-stage cancer.

December 6, 2006. Prague's largest English daily, The Prague Post, reported today in "Long, Strange Trip" on MAPS-sponsored long-term follow-up research with Czechoslovak patients that were treated with LSD as part of a government-sponsored program between 1956-1974. A proposed MAPS-sponsored LSD-assisted psychotherapy study in Switzerland could soon become the first LSD research in the world in 35 years.

December 4, 2006. "Safer Deals: the Pastor" was published in Crawford, Texas' Lone Star Iconoclast this week, describing some of the unusual alliances that have been formed between religious groups and secular activists in order to help medical marijuana research gain credibility. MAPS isn't mentioned explicitly but Professor Lyle Craker's DEA lawsuit for a MAPS-sponsored marijuana production facility is mentioned.

December 2, 2006. The norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv published an interview of John Halpern and Pål Johansen about the rapidly evolving field of clinical research investigating the therapeutic use of hallucinogens and MDMA. The interview was conducted related to Dr. Halperns visit to Norway where he hold workshops and guest lectures. Dr. Halpern got excellent feedback from the workshops, to read more visit the organizers webpage

December 1, 2006. "This American Life" on National Public Radio features a story about a former heroin addict who has been treating people addicted to heroin with the psychedelic drug ibogaine. MAPS is currently sponsoring an IRB-approved long-term observational case study of ibogaine treatments at the Iboga Therapy House in Vancouver, Canada.

  The Chicago-based magazine Conscious Choice published a series of articles this week about MAPS, psychedelic therapy, and Entheon Village, the Burning Man theme camp that hosted MAPS' 20th anniversary gathering last summer.

~"Psychedelic Therapy: MAPS Founder Rick Doblin riffs on Burning Man, applied psychedelics, the culture of harm reduction, and America's 40-year long bad trip" is a thoughtful interview with MAPS President Rick Doblin, Ph.D.
~"Chicago's Entheon Village reinvents counterculture with art, community, and activism" discusses MAPS' 20th Anniversary celebration at this year's Burning Man Festival.
~"Strangers in the White Tent: Or, how Burning Man totally flipped my wig" is a well-written account from long-time MAPS member Dan Simborg.

November 29, 2006. Of particular applicability to MAPS' medical marijuana drug development efforts is Brian Vastag's new article, "US marijuana laws clamping the lid on pot research," published in Nature Medicine, which speaks to the difficulties faced by marijuana researchers.

November 27, 2006. Interview on NYPR: Take note that MAPS researchers John Halpern and Michael Mitthoefer were featured on a New York Public Radio show on November 27th, 2006 about Therapeutic or Psychedelic Psychotherapy. The archived show can be heard here (or download by right clicking on the preceeding link and selecting 'save target as').

November 19, 2006. The LA Times ran "Mushrooms Take a Trip Back to the Lab," on the front page of its Sunday edition. The article describes MAPS-initiated research at Harvard/Mclean Hospital evaluating psilocybin as treatment for cluster headache, Dr. Charles Grob's psilocybin/end-of-life anxiety pilot study at UCLA, and the recent Johns Hopkins study demonstrating that psilocybin induces mystical experiences. MAPS is in the early stages of protocol design for a study evaluating psyilocybin-assisted psychotherapy as a potential treatment for end-of-life anxiety. Unfortunately, although the article is mostly accurate, Times Staff writer Denise Gellene misleadingly prefaces her article by stating, "Nothing scientists have learned so far indicates that recreational use of mushrooms is safe," a far cry from the truth.

October 31, 2006. Working with Difficult Psychedelic Experiences

MAPS' first educational video, a practical introduction to the principles of psychedelic therapy, is now available for viewing online. This 20-minute educational video teaches psychedelic drug users how to minimize psychological risks and explore the therapeutic applications of psychedelics. Narrated by Donna Dryer, M.D., the video demonstrates examples of when and how to help a friend, peer, or loved one make the most out of a difficult experience with psychedelics.

October 25, 2006. MAPS President Rick Doblin, Ph.D. Presents at the First Arab-Israeli Joint Conference on Drug Policy

October 18, 2006. New research from the University of Cincinnati suggests that MDMA can increase the survival of dopamine cells in the brain during fetal development, which are critical in the regulation of voluntary movement, potentially leading to better therapies for neurological diseases like Parkinson's. The press release mentioned MAPS-sponsored research evaluating MDMA-assisted therapy as a treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Forbes Magazine also reported on this research, along with a report on new research from Ohio State University validating other findings that the active ingredients in marijuana may slow the prorgression of Alzheimer's disease.

October 16, 2006. The Globe and Mail published an editorial entitiled, "The LSD Treatment", describing a study just published in the journal Social History of Medicine about a long-term follow-up study on Dr. Humphrey Osmond's research treating alcoholics with LSD-assisted therapy.

October 2, 2006. Bestselling author Sam Harris ("Letter to a Christian Nation," "The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason") revealed in an LA Times article that his "deep-seated thinking about religion" originated from an experience while on MDMA in 1986.

September 18, 2006. Nicholas Powers' "The Ecstasy of Exile" explores the racial politics of Burning Man and describes his use of MDMA there. Not directly about MAPS, but raises some compelling issues.

September 13, 2006. The science journal Nature reported today on MAPS-initiated research at Harvard/Maclean Hospital investigating the efficacy of LSD and psilocybin to treat cluster headache. Click here to read "Dropping acid may help headaches."

September 12, 2006. The Washington Post published the article, "Marijuana Aids Therapy," describing a study just published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, finding that marijuana can improve the effectiveness of drug therapy for hepatitis C, a potentially deadly viral infection that affects more than 3 million Americans. "The work adds to a growing literature supporting the notion that in some circumstances pot can offer medical benefits," wrote Post reporter Rick Weiss.

September 9, 2006. Norways largest week magazine Ny Tid, feature an article under the section "A new time; about developments that change the world" covering Dr. Halperns workshops. The article stressed the enormous therapeutic potential of almost all the MAPS sponsored research, and critically discusses the supression and schedulling history of this research. To read more about Dr. Halperns workshop visit the organizers webpage

September 2, 2006. The San Francisco Chronicle published an article about a structure built by MAPS Patron Member Vanja Palmers that served as a meditation Zendo in Entheon Village during MAPS' 20th anniversary gathering at Burning Man. Palmers donated the structure -- made entirely from recycled materials -- to MAPS for use at future conferences and events.

August 20, 2006. VG, one of the largest Norwegian newspapers, published a very positive piece on MDMA psychotherapy research that includes interviews with Charles Grob, M.D., and Pål-Ørjan Johansen, Ph.D. (View PDF of article).

August 18, 2006. The Guardian reports on Merck's official history of MDMA, as recounted in a recently published paper in the journal Addiction.

August 16, 2006. Health Reporter Jim Ritter published in the Chicago Sun-Times today "Pain Sufferer Turns to 'Shrooms'." The article describes the use of psilocybin as a treatment for cluster headaches and MAPS-initiated research at Harvard/McLean Hospital investigating LSD and psilocybin as treatment for subjects with cluster headache, a rare and dehabilitating condition.

August 9, 2006. British Columbia's The Tyee published "Psychedelics Could Treat Addiction, Says Vancouver Official," reporting that Vancouver's top drug policy official and B.C. public health physicians believe addicts might be treated by giving them psychedelic drugs, and they hope the city will lead in exploring the controversial approach. Last month, MAPS received "conditional approval" from a Canadian IRB for a long-term observational case study examining changes in substance use in 20 consecutive people seeking ibogaine-based addiction treatment for opiate dependence at Iboga Therapy House.

August 8, 2006. As reported in the science journal Nature, National Institute of Mental Health-sponsored researchers published a study today in the Archives of General Psychiatry finding that ketamine shows breakthrough potential as a treatment for depression. In the study, 17 people suffering from major depression who had failed to respond to treatment with standard antidepressant drugs or more drastic methods were treated with ketamine. The results showed that 71% felt better the day after taking ketamine, and 35% still felt better a week later, while none improved when dosed with a placebo.

August 3, 2006. The Austin Chronicle published a brief article describing Prof. Craker's DEA lawsuit for refusing to license a MAPS-sponsored marijuana production facility. "...Marijuana-law-reform advocates are anxiously awaiting a ruling from a Drug Enforcement Administration administrative-law judge on whether the National Institute on Drug Abuse will be allowed to maintain a monopoly on growing and distributing pot for use in clinical research," the Chronicle reported.

August 2, 2006. Peter Jenning's hour-long 2004 primetime special Ecstasy Rising has been posted on YouTube. Ecstasy Rising has to be seen to be believed: the mainstream media acknowledging the government's fraudulent claims about Ecstasy and openly discussing the history of its therapeutic applications. Click here to watch.

July 11, 2006. A NIDA-funded research team from John Hopkins University published the first modern-day continuation of the Good Friday Experiment, finding that psilocybin is likely to induce spiritual experiences in most subjects. A former NIDA director and a former deputy director of ONDCP supported the results of the study, but the current NIDA director issued a statement distancing NIDA from the study. Read about this amazing psychedelic research development as reported by the Economist, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, and ABC News, which features a salient quote from MAPS President Rick Doblin.

Later the same week, National Public Radio"s Weekend America aired two related stories: one detailing the implications of the John Hopkins study, and another desribing Dr. Charles Grob's research investigating psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy as a treatment for subjects with advanced stage cancer suffering from clinical anxiety. Click here to listen. The Boston Globe's Science section also published "Psychedelic mushrooms earn serious 2d look from science".

June 22, 2006. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, USA (PCUSA) voted on June 21 to support access to medical marijuana for people who have a doctor's recommendation. The Presbyterian Church, USA, is the seventh major denomination to take a position in support of medical marijuana. The others are the United Methodist Church, Episcopal Church, United Church of Christ, Union for Reform Judaism, Progressive National Baptist Convention and Unitarian Universalist Association. No denomination has come out officially against medical marijuana. Read more here.

May 28, 2006. The Boston Sunday Globe published "Weed Control," an article describing the proposed medical marijuana growing facility at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, the current government monopoly on marijuana grown for research and the MAPS-supported lawsuit filed against the DEA to end this monopoly. The piece describes MAPS' involvement in developing the proposed facility and features quotes from MAPS' president Rick Doblin. The article, with multiple graphics, was the lead article in the Ideas section which most everyone reads since it contains the editorials, the op-eds and other feature articles.

May 24, 2006. Click here to read "The Electric Kool-Aid Medicine Test," an interview by Terrance McNally published by AlterNet in which psychedelic researcher Dr. Charles Grob explains how psychedelic drugs have the potential to alter modern medicine.

May 21, 2006. The New York Times published a letter to the editor from Jerry Epstein of the Drug Policy Forum of Texas, in which he cites the federal governement's obstruction of Dr. Lyle Craker's proposed MAPS-sponsored medical marijuana production facility as an example of its "insane policy against the medical use of marijuana". Click here to read the full text of Epstein's letter.

May 16, 2006. Australian Democrats MP Sandra Kanck made a controversial and groundbreaking speech before the Australian Parliament last week advocating harm-reduction drug education and the therapeutic use of MDMA. Read the full text of her speech here, in which she cites MAPS-sponsored research investigating MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as a treatment for individuals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The Advertiser also reported on MAPS President Rick Doblin's offer of support as she encountered the inevitable political backlash. As evidenced by an article published today in The Australian, however, MP Kanck is standing by her statements and receiving "widespread support."

May 15, 2006. The Boston Globe published "A Good Death", an article that discussess the resurgence of interest in studying MDMA and psychedelic drugs to help people with cancer deal with anxiety and pain. The piece describes research MAPS helped design and locate funding for that will look at the potential therapeutic benefits of MDMA in people who are anxious as a result of advanced stage cancer. The latest MAPS Bulletin contains an article about the woman described in this article who used MDMA to treat cancer-related pain and anxiety. A PDF of the this piece is now available..

May 5, 2006. The LA Times published "Puffing is the Best Medicine", an opinion piece by Lester Grinspoon supporting smoking as an effective means of taking medical marijuana in response to a recent statement on this topic from the FDA.

April 29, 2006. The New York Times reports Mexico Passes Law Making Possession of Some Drugs Legal. Mexican lawmakers defied US pressure in passing a bill that makes it legal to possess small amounts of marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, heroin, and psychedelics such as LSD, MDMA/Ecstasy, peyote, and psilocybin muchrooms. President Vicente Fox had proposed the law in January 2004 in the hopes of slowing down Mexico's rapid growth in drug addiction.

April 27, 2006. Following the FDA's abrupt and poorly documented statement on April 20th, a critical backlash has ensued. The Economist published "Reefer Madness: Marijuana is medically useful, whether politicians like it or not" on the heels of editorials in the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune admonishing the FDA for its transparent politicization of science.

April 21, 2006.  The FDA issued a statement indicating that marijuana had no currently accepted medical uses. Stories in the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Associated Press reported on this statement and responses to it within and outside the medical community. Prof. Lyle Craker is quoted discussing his lawsuit against the DEA for refusing to issue him a license for a marijuana production facility. NIDA's marijuana was criticized for poor quality, but not for the more comprehensive lack of an "adequate and uninterrupted" supply that is the basis of Prof. Craker's lawsuit. FDA's statement wasn't that marijuana had no medical uses. Rather, what the statement actually means is that due to a lack of research data from large Phase III studies, which won't take place until NIDA's marijuana monopoly is broken, FDA will consider marijuana to have no currently accepted medical uses. This statment points yet again to the need for large-scale, privately-funded Phase III studies with smoked and vaporized marijuana, which DEA is blocking by refusing to issue Prof. Craker his license.

April 17, 2006. The University of Pennsylvania published "Psychedelic Psychotherapy: The Ethics of Medicine for the Soul."

April 15, 2006. Sue Blackmore interviewed Torsten Passie about psychedelic healing for the NewScientist.

April 14, 2006. A recently published editorial in the Lancet supports research into the potential therapeutic benefits of psychedelic drugs and calls for a new legal structure that makes this research easier and less burdensome to conduct. The Lancet editorial was likely inspired by a commentary published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. This editorial was then covered by the British newspaper, the Guardian.

April 7, 2006. The Daily Nexus published Activists Assemble for Cannabis Conference, announcing The Fourth National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics at Santa Barbara City College, which features lectures from doctors, health care researchers and patients, as well as talk show-host and medical marijuana advocate Montel Williams.

April 5, 2006. BBC News International publishes "The Trip of a Lifetime," which describes the resurgence of interest in psychedelics in the medical community and Dr. Charles Grob's pilot study using psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy as a treatment for subjects with advanced-stage cancer suffering from clinical anxiety disorders.

April 4, 2006. UK Newspaper The Guardian published "The strange case of the man who took 40,000 ecstasy pills in nine years," reporting on what London University doctors believe is the largest amount of ecstasy consumed by a single person.

  Tribune Media Services published "Psychedelic 'cookies' are a mushrooming problem," an op-ed written by a registered pharmacist who mentions the LSD/Psilocybin Cluster Headache study at Harvard Medical School and who would rather consume her mushrooms "at a nice restaurant, smothered in Marsala sauce."

  BBC Radio 4's weekly program All in the Mind aired a program about LSD, current psychedelic research, and the possible role of these kinds of drugs in modern psychiatry.

February 21, 2006. As reported by the Associated Press, the Washington Post, and the New York Times, on Tuesday morning, February 21, 2006, the US Supreme Court unanimously approved the religious use of ayahuasca by the Uniao do Vegetal (UDV).

February 18, 2006.  The Weekend Australian published LSD faces an acid test as a pain killer, an article about proposed MAPS-sponsored cluster headache research.

February 17, 2006.  British weekly The Scientist published Growing pot for science, an article that covers Dr. Lyle Crakers DEA lawsuit for a MAPS-sponsored medical marijuana production facility.

February 4, 2006. Australian newspaper The Age published "Tripping the light fantasmic," a positive and in-depth article covering the history of LSD from the perspective of its infamous father, Albert Hofmann.

January 25, 2006. An article in the New Zealand Herald about posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans mentions the use of MDMA for PTSD but makes some incorrect claims. A letter to the editor from Rick Doblin corrects the mistakes. This article demonstrates that there is a widely perceived need for more effective treatments for PTSD and that the MDMA research is increasingly accepted as a necessary and not very controversial effort.

January 16, 2006. Wired News published LSD: The Geek's Wonder Drug?, an article that covers the LSD Conference in Basel, the history of LSD, and the therapeutic potential of LSD and other currently-illegal substances.

January 13, 2006.  Reuters published an article about Albert Hofmann's 100th birthday, noting that he attributes his longevity to daily egg breakfast rather than his infamous discovery, LSD.

January 12, 2006. The Times Union in Albany, New York published an article anounncing Albert Hofmann's 100th birthday and includes an interview with Roger Walsh, providing his description of what a LSD trip might be like and its potentital to benefit the user.

   The China Daily published "UK psychiatrists mull use of LSD as treatment," reviewing the current state of psychedelic and MDMA drug research around the world.

January 11, 2006. UK Newspaper The Guardian published "Psychiatrist calls for end to 30-year taboo over use of LSD as a medical treatment," reporting on Dr. Ben Sessa's assessment of LSD and its therapeutic potential.

January 7, 2006. The New York Times published a sincere portrait of Albert Hofmann as his 100th Birthday approaches, marked by an International LSD Symposium in honor of the father and his infamous problem child.