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Media > Newsletter: January 17, 2008

MAPS January Email News Update

Dear MAPS Members, Supporters, & Friends,

Happy new year! We have a lot of exciting work in store for you in 2008 -- although were starting the year with some sad news.

Anita Hofmann and Laura Huxley both passed away in December 2007. Both in their nineties, these two courageous women were a huge inspiration to many of us in the psychedelic community. Anita, the wife of Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann, administered a glass of milk to him as a possible antidote for the worlds first LSD experience in 1943. Laura, the widow of British novelist Aldous Huxley, administered LSD to him, at his request, as he was dying in 1963. They will both be missed.

As MAPS' psychedelic research agenda continues to move forward, and historic landmarks are reached--such as the approval for the first LSD psychotherapy study in 35 years, which MAPS achieved last month--it's extremely gratifying to announce that MAPS has received a number of substantial donations totaling over $340,000 this past month to help further our research.

Im looking for submissions to the MAPS Bulletin for the Spring about the relationship between technology and psychedelics. Please send 500-2500 word articles on the subject, as well as short anecdotes about your experience with technology and psychedelics to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

This is a thrilling time to be involved with MAPS. Together, we are building a global renaissance in psychedelic research and--for the first time in decades--the future of these remarkable substances looks very bright. Were also making progress in medical marijuana research, but not enough, due to DEA obstruction.

If you value the key role that MAPS is playing in this process, and its creative and persistent approach to drug development and drug policy reform, please consider supporting our work by making a tax-deductible donation.

**** If you donate between $50 and $500 to MAPS by January 25th, your contribution will be matched dollar for dollar by a generous donor. ****

Please also visit the MAPS Webstore, where you can find awe-inspiring art and thought-provoking books to fill all of your bibliophilic needs.

MAPS is starting the new year off with lots of exciting news. Heres a sample of whats happening:

1. Seven Major MAPS Supporters Commit Over $340,000 in Much-Needed Year-End Support!
2. IRB Conducts Annual Review of US MDMA/PTSD study: Approved
3. FDA Removes Clinical Hold on MAPS-Sponsored Psilocybin/Melanoma Psychotherapy Study
4. Swiss TV News Story and Article Reports on Approval of LSD Study
5. Albert Hofmann Celebrates his 102nd Birthday on January 11th
6. Laura Huxley Dies of Cancer at the Age of 96
7. NORML Names MAPS Lawsuit Against the DEA as Number 2 in the Top Ten Events That Shaped Marijuana Policy in 2007
8. Positive Article About Medical Marijuana Production Facility in Yediot Ahronot, Israel's Largest Circulated Newspaper, Followed by Several Positive TV News interviews with Ministry of Health officials
9. Mountain Girl Gives MAPS Acid Test Graduation Certificate at Psyche-delicatessan
10. Four new art pieces and a long-awaited book debut in the MAPS Webstore

*** Your financial support is crucial to empower staff, scientists, and volunteers to carry out pioneering research and educational projects. To donate, learn about the benefits of MAPS membership, or purchase merchandise, visit the MAPS Webstore ***

1. Seven Major MAPS Supporters Commit Over $340,000 in Much-Needed Year-End Support!

Robert J. Barnhart generously pledged $75,000 to Peter Gassers LSD/end-of-life anxiety study, and another $25,000 for MAPS operational expenses. Robert has been supporting MAPS mission since the very beginning in 1986. Even before that, he helped support the 19841986 lawsuit against the DEA seeking to block the criminalization of the medical use of MDMA. Robert has previously supported our efforts to conduct research into the therapeutic use of MDMA, and this major step up in his support was particularly motivated by the renewal of LSD research.

Board of Directors member John Gilmore generously donated $150,000 to MAPS for unrestricted use--which is the hardest money for MAPS to raise. Johns donation gives us the base of support that permits us to do everything else.

An anonymous donor pledged $50,000 to be allocated as follows: $25,000 to our Israeli medical marijuana production project, $5000 to the U.S. MDMA/PTSD study, and $20,000 to MAPS direct mail membership drive. This same donor has already donated $34,000 to the Israeli medical marijuana project. For a range of reasons, some people prefer that MAPS not make their major gifts public, and we are always happy to honor that request.

A longtime MAPS member, Tim Butcher has donated $5000, and pledged $1000 a month for the next year, which will go towards the U.S. MDMD/PTSD study. Richard Wolfe, the host of MAPS 2007 Final Frontier benefit, donated $5,000, another supporter contributed $10,000 for operational expenses and another donated $8,500 in unrestricted funds.

We are exceptionally grateful for these generous donations that allow MAPS mission to move forward. Although Ive just described out largest donors, each and every MAPS member plays a pivotal role in MAPS success.

I was profoundly touched by a donation of ten stamps that we received from federal prisoner Harry Eldridge, who believed in our mission and gave what he could. If we all just give what we can, well have enough (the Stone Soup view of philanthropy!).

2. IRB Conducts Annual Review of US MDMA/PTSD study: Approved

Dr. Michael Mithoefers MDMA/PTSD study was reviewed by our IRB, as part of its annual continuing review process. Our study was permitted to continue without changes , from January 3, 2008 to January 2, 2009, into what will be the concluding year of the study. This January, the study will enroll the final subjects #20 and #21. The treatment phase for our initial 20 subjects will be completed by June, 2008.

$110,000 is still needed to complete MAPS' most important study. The preliminary results are exceptional! Hopefully, these results will pave the way to funding from major foundations for future studies. In the meantime, this research depends on pioneers like you.

3. FDA Removes Clinical Hold on MAPS-Sponsored Psilocybin/Melanoma Psychotherapy Study

In November, we reported that MAPS and Dr. Sameet Kumar submitted a protocol to the FDA in September for a new U.S. study evaluating psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for subjects with end-of-life anxiety secondary to advanced-stage melanoma. On October 18, we learned that the study received clearance from the FDA, though with a Clinical Hold due to a request from the FDA for analytical data about the stability of the psilocybin. When the stability study was conducted in November, the results showed the psilocybin remained pure. The FDA has accepted our analytical data and on December 18th removed the Clinical Hold.

Were still involved in the IRB protocol review process which needs to be completed before well be able to initiate the study.

Through the gracious collaborative efforts of Dr. George Greer, we learned that the American Cancer Society is accepting grant applications for research into palliative care for cancer patients, including emotional aspects of cancer. Dr. Sameet Kumar is going to be applying for this American Cancer Society grant, with Letters of Intent due by February 1st. The researchers for this study have already generously offered to volunteer their time, which will reduce overall costs significantly, with the estimated budget for this study being about $50,000.

4. Swiss TV News Story and Article Covers Approval of LSD Study

On December 19, 2007 the national television station in Switzerland broadcast a four-minute segment about the approval of MAPS and Dr. Peter Gassers LSD/end-of-life anxiety study, as part of their evening news program. According to Dr. Gasser the news segment gave a good impression and the feedback to the TV news broadcast was thoroughly positive. Albert Hofmann was interviewed for this news segment on the night before his wife Anita died. Speaking to newspaper reporters that same day, he said, My wish has come true. I didnt think Id live to find out that LSD had finally taken its place in medicine.

This television broadcast appears to be part of a recent trend in the media, as there has been quite a bit of extremely positive media coverage of our work in recent months. We reported last month about the powerful Washington Post Sunday Magazine article which extensively discussed our MDMA/PTSD research. What made this article so effective was the interviews with patients who had been treated in the study . The TV news segment, and newspaper articles about the approval of Peter Gassers LSD study, were similarly high-profile in Switzerland. In Israel, the leading newspaper recently published a positive article about the medical marijuana production facility that MAPS is assisting there, and there were several positive television news segments. It is extremely gratifying to learn that in all of these places the public reception to our research has been positive, with no backlash of which we are yet aware.

5. Albert Hofmann Celebrates his 102nd Birthday on January 11th

Albert Hofmann--the Swiss chemist who discovered LSD and psilocybin--turned 102 on January 11th. There to celebrate his birthday with him was Rick Doblin, Peter Gasser, Vanja Palmers, Dieter Hagenbach, and others. The gathering was particularly poignant, and there was sadness due to Anitas recent death at the age of 94 on December 20, 2007. However, Albert was glad that he has lived to see the day when LSD medical research has finally been renewed.

Albert and Anita were together for almost 75 years. On that historic day in 1943, when Albert bicycled home from his Sandoz lab in Basel after ingesting 250 micrograms of LSD, it was Anita who cared for him and was by his side. Many people in the psychedelic community like to attribute Alberts long life to his LSD experiences. However, Rick Doblin suspects that, its probably more likely due to his lifelong love affair with Anita and to good genes. Anita herself had one unpleasant experience with LSD and didnt repeat it.

As Rick reported, To be able to celebrate the renewal of LSD psychotherapy research for the first time in more than 35 years with Albert on his 102nd birthday was an exceptionally meaningful moment in my life. I felt that all the work of MAPS for the last 21 years culminated in that moment, and that the fewer than five thousand total MAPS members over the years, who had made the moment possible, were paying their respects to Albert on behalf of the millions of people who have benefited from LSD.

Albert Hofmanns birthday synchronistically falls on the same day--January 11th--that the late writer, prankster-philosopher, and psychedelic explorer Robert Anton Wilson died. Wilson was another big influence for many us in the psychedelic community, and he passed away a year ago. Thank the stars that he left behind so much of himself--thirty-six books--for us to learn from and enjoy for many years to come.

6. Laura Huxley Dies of Cancer at the Age of 96

Writer and psychedelic investigator Laura Huxley died of cancer at the age of 96 on December 13th. She is best known for her memoir, This Timeless Moment, about Aldouss final struggles with cancer, and how she assisted him during his dying process by administering LSD at his request. In addition to authoring five books, Laura was also a concert violinist, a filmmaker, a psychotherapist, and the founder of a charityChildren: Our Ultimate Investment. Laura lectured on the human potential movement, and was, in her words, a restrained investigator of LSD. When I interviewed Laura, and asked her what kind of advice she would give to young people, she replied, I would tell them: Respect your body. Focus your mind. Love your heart. Support and cooperate with anyone who wants to do the same. Laura s work was a big inspiration to many of us in the psychedelic community and we will miss her wise, noble, and graceful spirit. We wish her a peaceful journey.

7. NORML Names MAPS Lawsuit Against the DEA as Number 2 in the Top Ten Events That Shaped Marijuana Policy in 2007

In their December 27th review of the year, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) cited as the second most influential event that shaped marijuana policy in 2007 the ruling by DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner, that it would be in the public interest for DEA to stop protecting the U.S. governments monopoly on marijuana production, which it uses to obstruct research aimed at developing marijuana into an FDA-approved prescription medicine. DEA ALJ Bittner recommended that the DEA issue a license to Prof. Lyle Craker, UMass Amherst, to grow marijuana for federally-approved research. Prof. Craker would be growing the marijuana under contract for MAPS. The DEA has yet to issue a final ruling in response to ALJ Bittners recommendation.

Like NORML, we also believe that this victory is very important. Number one on the NORMLs list this year was DEA Steps Up Attacks Against California Medi-Pot Patients, Dispensaries. If we can persuade DEA to accept DEA ALJ Bittners recommendation, and Prof. Craker finally gets a license to produce marijuana, we predict it will be number one next year on NORMLs top ten list.

MAPS is right now working on a lobbying campaign in the Senate to try and encourage senators to sign on to a letter to the DEA, by Senators Kennedy and Kerry, urging the DEA to accept Judge Bittners ruling. Lauren Anderson Payne is organizing this effort as MAPS full-time lobbyist in Washington. Anyone who would like more information about participating in this effort should contact Lauren at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

8. Positive Article About Medical Marijuana Production Facility in Yediot Ahronot, Israel's Largest Circulated Newspaper, Followed by Several Positive TV News interviews with Ministry of Health officials

Israel's largest circulated newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, published a positive article in their December 29th issue about the medical marijuana production facility in Israel that MAPS is assisting with technical advice and funding. The article was followed by several TV News interviews with Ministry of Health officials that also went well. Israel is seeking to establish a public healthcare system of compassionate access to medical marijuana that can become a model for the world. There has been a lot of public support for the Ministry of Healths program. The eventual goal of this project is to enable marijuana to be prescribed by physicians, and paid for as a prescription medicine by the Israeli national insurance companies.

9. Mountain Girl Gives MAPS Acid Test Graduation Certificate at Psyche-delicatessan

On December 14th Valerie Mojeiko, Josh Sonstroem, and Troy Dayton organized and hosted the latest of a series of unique dinner parties to raise funds for MAPS research--known as the Psyche-delicatessan. Twelve MAPS members attended the $350 a plate dinner (prepared by MAPS chef extraordinaire Josh Sonstroem of Dogstar Catering) with honored guest Carolyn Garcia, a.k.a. Mountain Girl--one of the original Merry Pranksters and ex-wife of the late musician Jerry Garcia. The event--which was held at the MAPS headquarters in Ben Lomond, California--was a huge success. Everyone had a terrific time, we raised over $4500 for MAPS research, and it was a special privilege to be with Mountain Girl. At the dinner, Mountain Girl presented MAPS with a Acid Test Graduation Certificate, which was a symbolic act--uniting the past with the present--and representing how the cultural threads of psychedelic history are coming together. Stay tuned for more exciting Psyche-delicatessan events to come.

10. Four new art pieces and a long-awaited book debut in the MAPS Webstore

Kevin Barron generously donated three different signed and numbered prints from a recent series of beautiful works that he produced, and they are for sale in the MAPS Webstore. The pieces are titled Viracocha, Buddha and Chrysanthemum, and Chill Pill, and all of the profits from these prints will go for MAPS operations and research. Thank you for this generous contribution Kevin!

The original of Focus by visionary artist Michael Brown is available exclusively through MAPS. Focus graced the cover of our special MAPS Bulletin on Psychedelics and Self Discovery. Proceeds will be split 50/50 between MAPS and the artist.

The long-awaited edition of Psychedelic Medicine: New Evidence for Hallucinogenic Substances as Treatments is back in the MAPS Webstore, after quickly selling out last month. Recently published by Praeger Publishers at a price of $200, this beautifully produced, two-volume set--which was edited by Michael J. Winkelman and Thomas B. Roberts--includes contributions from Charles Grob, Michael Mithoefer, and other experts on how psychedelics may be used to help treat numerous medical disorders. As a book distributor, MAPS is able to obtain titles such as this at wholesale and sell them at retail, with profits going to support our operational expenses. When you buy your books through MAPS (rather than through other online retail outlets), you help fund our mission.

These are very exciting times for those of us at MAPS. After years of seemingly endless red tape and frustrating bureaucratic government blockades, many of the seeds that weve planted around the world are finally beginning to germinate, and our research is really starting to fall into place for 2008. MAPS is facing a time of incredible opportunity, as well as unprecedented challenges. Please consider making a donation to MAPS today, so that these opportunities can be seized and these challenges overcome.

Onward and Upward,

David Jay Brown, M.A.,
MAPS Guest Editor

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