|Media > Newsletter: August 8, 2008
News August 2008 - What do Israel, Jordan, and Burning Man Have in
members and enthusiasts,
I would like to introduce myself as the newest addition to the MAPS
staff. Like many of you, psychedelics have had an incredibly positive
impact on my life. I chose to work for MAPS because I am one hundred
percent behind MAPS mission. Our world will be better off
when the medicines that have benefited me are legally and safely
available to all those who seek them.
MAPS embodies many of the principles and values that I hold dear,
because I am an avid drug policy reform activist. MAPS has positioned
itself as a credible leader in the drug reform movement. More
so, MAPS is filling a niche that will prove to be an integral role in
disarming the war on drugs. We are poking a hole in the dogma that
maintains the governments bullheaded stance on drug control
each time our research proves that psychedelics and marijuana deserve
to become prescription medicines.
Over the coming years I hope to become friends with many of you. One of
my goals here is to increase our membership base and revenue, so we can
fund the strategic projects that will lead to the reintegration of
psychedelic medicines and marijuana into our society. I will be seeking
your help to accomplish these goals.
We can work together to reach out to those who are not yet supporting
us. We can work together to find new and creative means of raising
funds. We can work together to accelerate MAPS toward our goal of
opening legal psychedelic therapy clinics around the world and
legitimizing the medical use of marijuana.
It is such an honor for me to join the MAPS team! I hope that you will
appreciate hearing from me each month in these email updates. I welcome
any comments, questions, or suggestions that you take the time to share
With great aspirations,
Randy Hencken, MA, BS
Marketing Director, MAPS
There's alot of exciting things happening this month at MAPS.
Here is a
sample of what's going on:
* * * Dues-paying MAPS members are empowering staff,
scientists, and volunteers to carry out pioneering research and
educational projects. To donate, learn about the benefits of MAPS
membership, or purchase books, clothes, art, and other merchandise,
* * *
- Final Experimental
Treatment Session Conducted in MAPS Flagship US MDMA/PTSD
- Israeli MDMA/PTSD Research Team
Meets with MAPS President Rick Doblin,
PhD to Review Progress, Plan Expansion
- Possible Jordanian
MDMA/PTSD Study Explored
- MDMA/PTSD Treatment
Manual Revision in the Works
- MAPS Supports
Dr. Donald Abrams
Production Facilities Multiply
the Date! MAPS Fundraiser: Post-Burning Man Cocktail Party
Scheduled for October 11 in San Francisco
Psychedelics Forum Sept. 19-21, New York
Visionary Congress at Wilbur Hot Springs, October 10th to 12th
Last Chance to Enter Raffle for Sasha
Shulgins Legendary Glassware
- Ecstasy Rising
DVD for Sale at the MAPS Online Store
- Volunteer Opportunity:
MAPS Seeks Research Assistant and Co-Author For
Long-Term Follow-Up to our US MDMA/PTSD Study
- Volunteer Opportunity:
Do you speak Hebrew, German or Spanish?
from the Drug
War Dark Age: LSD and Other Psychedelic
Medicines Make a Comeback" on Alternet
- MAPS Member of the
Month: British Indie Rock/Electronica Band
Maps finds MAPS on YouTUBE
- MAPS Welcomes Andrew,
Our Summer Intern
- www.maps.organizational Planning
- Burning Man: Camping in
Entheon Village at Filling Up
scheduled for MAPS Psychedelic Lecture
Series at Entheon Village
1. Final Experimental
Treatment Session Conducted in MAPS
Flagship US MDMA/PTSD Study:
MAPS members can now celebrate the final administration of MDMA in our
US MDMA/PTSD pilot study, conducted
by Michael Mithoefer, MD and Annie Mithoefer, BSN. On July 18, the 21st
subject participated in her third and final experimental session. The
subject will continue to participate in non-drug psychotherapy sessions
and will have her final follow-up evaluations around September 18,
officially ending this study. Then the data will be analyzed and a
paper will be written for publication in a scientific journal and for
presentation to the FDA. A separate study that evaluates patient
outcomes one year after treatment will begin shortly.
I'm tremendously gratified to be bringing the study to a
close with very promising results, Michael reflected about
MDMA/PTSD pilot study.
Annie and I also find that it's a bittersweet time, because
we've so enjoyed getting to know and working with the people who have
volunteered to participate in the study. We have tremendous
appreciation and respect for their willingness to help us do this study
and their courage, determination andcommitmentto
their own deep healing.
We can now report that there were no drug-related Serious Adverse
Events (SAEs), demonstrating that MDMA can be safely used under proper
circumstances. The preliminary data analysis has demonstrated efficacy
with this method of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. These results provide
evidence supporting the conclusion that further large- scale studies
are warranted. Our massive challenge over the next 5-7 years is to
conduct Phase 3 studies that will lead to an era when MDMA-assisted
psychotherapy is approved by the FDA.
MAPS is seeking $50,000 for data analysis, writing a paper about the
results, refining our treatment manual, and developing our therapist
training program, all of which we are planning to complete during the
remaining months of 2008.
2. Israeli MDMA/PTSD
Research Team Meets with MAPS President Rick Doblin,
PhD to Review Progress, Plan Expansion
On July 27, MAPS President Rick Doblin, PhD went to Beer Yaakov Mental
Health Center, near Tel Aviv, to meet with the Israeli
studys (PDF) principal investigator Moshe Kotler,
psychiatrist of the Israeli Defense Forces, and co-therapists Sergio
Marchevsky, MD, Rakefet Rodrigez, MD and Marina Kupchik, MD. Rick
also spent half a day reviewing the records of the study with Einev
Sagy, Beer Yaakovs Clinical Research Associate.
The Israeli MDMA/PTSD team has now completed the treatment of two
subjects and is in the midst of treating a third. Enrollment of new
subjects is going to accelerate since weve decided to expand
the inclusion criteria to subjects with PTSD from all causes instead of
only war and terrorism-related PTSD. Our eventual Phase 3 studies will
include subjects with PTSD from any cause, so we want our Israeli team
to gain experience working with a variety of subjects with PTSD.
On July 28, Doblin participated in a meeting with Dr. Talma Hendler at
Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, which Dr. Marina Kupchik had arranged.
Dr. Hendler is interested in conducting functional magnetic resonance
imaging (fMRI) research in our MDMA/PTSD subjects before and after
treatment, to see if any brain changes can be associated with treatment
outcomes. Dr. Hendler and associates presented information about brain
changes associated with PTSD and about their research methodology. One
subject in our Israeli MDMA/PTSD study has already had an fMRI scan in
a pilot test. Based on the information presented, we are going forward
to expand our Israeli MDMA/PTSD protocol to include an fMRI study.
This new study is somewhat similar to our MDMA/PTSD
Switzerland (PDF), in which subjects go to the University of
and after the MDMA/PTSD treatments so that Dr. Franz Vollenweider and
associates can administer an electroencephalogram (EEG), and take heart
rate variability and startle reflex measurements. If we can identify
physiological measurements that are associated with therapeutic
outcomes, we will be able to make the most convincing case about the
efficacy of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in treating PTSD, and we will
be able to publish our results in the most respected scientific
3. Possible Jordanian
MDMA/PTSD Study Explored
While in the Middle East, MAPS President Rick Doblin, PhD went to
Amman, Jordan for a meeting with a Royal Jordanian Military
psychiatrist to discuss the possibility of MAPS sponsoring a small
MDMA/PTSD pilot study in Jordan. The meeting went well and further
discussions and exchange of information will take place over the coming
months as this opportunity is explored in more detail.
By focusing on healing trauma in both soldiers and civilians in the US,
Switzerland, Israel, Canada, Jordan, Spain and other countries,
were hoping that MAPS can gain essential data for our MDMA
drug development effort and can also contribute in a small way toward
the healing of larger conflicts.
Manual Revision in the Works
June May Ruse, PhD, clinical psychologist and lead author of
MAPS MDMA/PTSD treatment manual, worked with Dr. Michael and
Annie Mithoefer in Charleston, South Carolina during the first week in
August on the next version of the MDMA/PTSD treatment manual
Michael Mithoefer reports, Annie and June and I are having a
very productive time watching sessions, editing parts of the manual and
the adherence measures and having a lot of discussion about how to do
the training. This whole process of watching sessions together and
discussing them and beginning to narrow down what to use in training is
really valuable and really time consuming. We're making a good start
but we have a long way to go still.
The treatment manual is being updated to refine the description of our
standardized methodology for conducting MDMA/PTSD therapy and research.
Standardization is an essential element in the drug development process
and psychotherapy research.
The treatment manual will contain the key elements of the MDMA-assisted
psychotherapy process for treating PTSD and will become the core of our
therapist-training program. We need to develop a standardized treatment
methodology with standardized adherence measures for use by trained
raters. The raters will evaluate therapist adherence to the method
described in the manual, both to ensure that our treatment approach is
being used by all of our different co-therapist teams and also so that
we can apply for grants from the National
Institute of Mental Health
(NIMH). We know it may be a long-shot that we will ever
federal funding for MDMA/PTSD research. However, its
worthwhile to submit grant applications to the NIMH to help educate
NIMH and its grant reviewers, and for us to learn from their comments
5. MAPS Supports Dr.
Donald Abrams Medical Marijuana
MAPS has funded several patients transportation and lodging
expenses in order to participate in Dr.
medical marijuana research at University of California, San
Francisco. Abrams is investigating the effects
of vaporized medical marijuana in
conjunction with opioid medications for chronic pain patients
(study info PDF).
One of the patients reported to us after his treatment that he found
the vaporized marijuana reduced his need to take narcotics.
I am back in New York now, the patient wrote,
when I was in the study I did not need to take my Dilaudid
[a narcotic medication] which I usually take every morning and
sometimes during the day. I attribute this to the marijuana I took when
I was in the study.
The patients full report can be found on the
Prospective participants should call (415) 476-9554 ext. 315,
for more information
(PDF) on enrolling in the
study. If accepted, they can contact MAPS at (831) 336-4325
to request funding for transportation and lodging.
6. Israeli Medical
Cannabis Production Facilities Multiply
On July 28, MAPS President Rick Doblin, PhD met with Dr. Yehuda Baruch,
the Ministry of Health official who oversees Israels
compassionate medical cannabis program. The purpose of the
meeting was to discuss how MAPS could further assist the Ministry of
Health in expanding the compassionate use of cannabis to additional
patients, and to explore opportunities to help catalyze medical
cannabis research in Israel.
MAPS has previously donated over $50,000 to a legal medical cannabis
production facility in Israel founded by Tsachi Cohen, the first of
three facilities currently approved to grow cannabis for free
distribution to Ministry-approved patients. Since sales are not
permitted at this time, subsidies are required to cover costs of
production. MAPS has also donated $5000 to the Ministry itself to help
in the processing of applications from physicians seeking legal access
to cannabis for their patients. MAPS support of medical
cannabis in Israel was made possible by generous donations to MAPS by
David Bronner, of Dr.
All-One soaps and other products. David
possibility of additional donations to MAPS to support medical cannabis
in Israel, and has asked Rick to explore the situation and make
Dr. Baruch and Doblin discussed the possibility of MAPS supporting an
educational campaign informing Israeli physicians of the potential
availability of cannabis for their patients. The two also discussed
possible MAPS support for an additional facility in the initial stages
of production. From Dr. Baruchs perspective, working to
increase the number of approved patients isnt a crucial goal
compared to securing the supply of free cannabis for the current
On July 28, Doblin inspected a newly-licensed facility being run by
Yohai Golan. This facility is just beginning to produce a relatively
small amount of cannabis that will be sufficient to supply about 30
patients. On August 3, Doblin and Golan had a productive meeting with
officials from the Israeli Cancer Association to discuss informing
physicians about the compassionate access program. They also discussed
conducting research into the use of cannabis in treating nausea, pain,
appetite loss, depression, and anxiety in cancer patients.
On August 4, Doblin met with Tsachi Cohen and associates to discuss the
status of their operation. They further discussed the possibility of
conducting an analysis of survey information already gathered from
patients to whom he has provided cannabis, but not yet analyzed.
7. Save the Date!
Fundraiser: Post-Burning Man Cocktail Party
Scheduled for October 11 in San Francisco
We will be hosting a dinner and cocktail party in the Haight-Ashbury
District of San Francisco on Saturday, October 11. This will be a
perfect chance to reconnect with the community that gathers on the
Playa and those who were there in spirit. The party is the night before
San Franciscos Burning Man Decompression,
the perfect time for a visit to the SF Bay Area (not to mention the
beautiful weather in the city that time of year).
Save the date now, and we will release more details next month. Whether
we see you at Burning
Man or not; we hope to see you there!
on Psychedelics Forum Sept. 19-21, New York
The second annual Horizons conference is scheduled for September 19-21
at the Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Speakers include MAPS
president Rick Doblin PhD, Alex and Allyson Grey, Roland Griffiths PhD,
David Nichols, PhD, John Halpern MD, Sasha and Ann Shulgin, Daniel
Pinchbeck, and others. More information
and tickets can be found on their website.
9. Women's Visionary
Congress at Wilbur Hot Springs, October 10th to 12th
This announcement comes from former MAPS staff member Sarah Hufford and
MAPS member Annie Harrison:
We are pleased to announce that the 2008 Women's Visionary Congress
(WVC) will take place this year at Wilbur Hot Springs
from October 10th
to 12th. Strong community support for last year's Women's Visionary
Congress (listen to the talks from last year here)
suggests that this should be an annual gathering and we invite
you to participate. Price for this year's WVC is $425 which includes
events, delicious food, camping and the powerful healing waters of Wilbur's natural hot
mineral springs. Those
who need financial assistance may apply for scholarships by sending an
email to ah-at-well.com
The 2008 Women's Congress will feature a talk by Ann and Sasha Shulgin.
We are honored that they can join us. To purchase tickets, email Sarah
or call (831) 252-0023. A limited number of
rooms at the Wilbur Hotel are also available. Please contact Sarah for
details or consult www.visionarycongress.org
information and updates about the gathering.
Carolyn Garcia, Mariavittoria Mangini, and Annie Harrison now manage
the WVC. The Women's Visionary Congress supports women healers,
scholars, educators and artists who support the expansion of
consciousness. The WVC organizers wish to thank MAPS for serving as our
nonprofit sponsor in 2007 and for supporting the Women's Entheogen Fund.
10. Last Chance to
Raffle for Sasha
Shulgins Legendary Glassware
August 15 is the last day of our membership drive with the incentive to
win an autographed piece of Alexander Sasha
Shulgins glassware, complete with a certificate of
a magnificent artifact from one of the worlds
foremost psychedelic researchers.
Participants receive one raffle ticket for each new member who is
referred to us. The raffle date is less than one week away. Now is the
your friends the gift of MAPS membership. Members receive our
tri-annual bulletin with informative articles by contemporary writers
and incredible psychedelic artwork. Members who donate more than $50
get to choose one of many MAPS-published
If all that isnt enough, we have one more incentive. If you
are the person who signs up the most new members, we will fly you to
Boston to have dinner with MAPS founder and President Rick Doblin, PhD
where he will personally thank you for your efforts.
11. Ecstasy Rising
for Sale at the MAPS Online Store
The late news reporter Peter Jennings one-hour documentary
on MDMA, including interviews with MAPS President Rick Doblin, PhD and
legendary chemist Alexander Sasha Shulgin,
originally aired on ABC in 2004, is available
for purchase for just $10
in the MAPS online
store. The video is a probing and entertaining
documentary about MDMA and societys relationship with MDMA
that debunks some anti-ecstasy educational campaigns. Also included on
the DVD is Jennings discussion of his documentary on
CNNs Larry King Live, and the ABC World News Tonight story
on MAPS US MDMA/PTSD study that aired the same day as the
Ecstasy Rising documentary.
Opportunity: MAPS Seeks Research Assistant and Co-Author For
Long-Term Follow-Up to our US MDMA/PTSD Study:
We are seeking a student or other volunteer to work with the Mithoefers
on a one year follow up study to our flagship MDMA/PTSD study.
Applicants may be motivated graduates or undergraduates in fields
related to our research (i.e. psychology, psychiatry, medical fields,
social sciences, etc.). This is a voluntary position. The volunteer
be rewarded with the prestige of co-authoring a paper that will appear
in a scientific journal, and an invaluable learning experience.
The project will require administering a series of questionnaires to
the 21 subjects who participated in the original MDMA/PTSD study as
well as helping our independent rater schedule the re-administration of
our primary outcome measure, the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale
(CAPS). The volunteer will speak, email, and exchange documents with
the subjects on a periodic basis to gather relevant information for
understanding the long-term effects of MDMA/PTSD psychotherapy.
This project will begin by the end of this summer, and will continue a
little over one year. The final data will be collected in September
2009, and the papers should be completed shortly thereafter.
Applicants should send a contact Curriculum Vita
resume, and a cover
letter that demonstrates professional writing abilities to valerie-at-www.maps.org
- Ideal candidates are self-motivated,
highly organized, proficient writers, and have a basic understanding of
the competitive journal writing process.
- Candidates should have competent
communication skills, since they will be directly working with subjects
from the MDMA/PTSD study.
- Candidates must be able to enter data
into a database.
- A basic knowledge of statistics is
helpful, but not necessary.
- Candidates can be located anywhere, but
should be able to travel to Charleston, South Carolina 2-3 times over
the course of the year.
- MAPS will pay for travel and study
- Candidates must have reliable access to
- Candidates must be able to manage
highly sensitive and confidential materials.
Opportunity: Do you speak Hebrew, German or Spanish?
Now that MAPS has all these great projects around the world, we also
have lots of information in foreign languages. We can use help from our
community to translate materials from Hebrew, German, and Spanish. If
you are fluent in one of the languages and able to volunteer some time
we would love to hear from you. This could also be a great opportunity
for a student to receive school credit as an internship. Qualified
volunteers should contactvalerie-at-www.maps.org.
14. "Emerging from
the Drug War Dark Age: LSD and Other Psychedelic
Medicines Make a Comeback" on Alternet:
Charles Shaw published an insightful
article on psychedelic research
and MAPS on Alternet last month.
Charles wrote: More than anyone else in his field, Doblin is
all too familiar with what he refers to as the 40-year-long
bad trip that researchers like him have faced in dealing
with the fallout from the introduction of LSD and other psychedelic
compounds to the Western psyche in the mid 1960s. This 40-year
intellectual Dark Age, Doblin says, has been characterized by
enormous fear and misinformation and a vested interest in
exaggerated stories about drugs to keep prohibition
15. MAPS Member of
Month: British Indie Rock/Electronica Band
Maps finds MAPS on YouTUBE:
British alternative-electronica-indie band Maps
singer James Chapman proudly
displays his MAPS membership in a short online
video. James and the
band list the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies as
one of their influences along with Modest Mouse, The Postal Service,
The Beach Boys, Tiesto, Eliot Smith, Kraftwerk, Yo La Tengo, and
several other great musicians.
We had no idea there was another MAPS out there!
We think it would be great if MAPS members would contact Maps and thank
them for spreading the word about MAPS. If you have a Myspace page you
can add Maps
as a friend and send them a message (add MAPS too
You could also share their YouTUBE video
with your friends in your
MAPS Welcomes Andrew, Our Summer Intern:
Andrew, a neurochemistry student at Pitzer College, is
us here at the Love Creek office this summer. He is hard at work
transcribing audiotapes of the experimental sessions from our MDMA/PTSD
pilot study. He is a moderator of the popular online drug
He was inspired to join our efforts
conversation with a friend of his parents who happens to be a MAPS
member. Andrew has been a welcome addition to the office, and he is
enthusiastic and knowledgeable about our work.
Planning Meetings Completed:
MAPS President Rick Doblin, PhD visited the Love Creek
office this past
month to review http://www.maps.organizational goals and accomplishments from the
prior six months and to develop goals for the upcoming six months.
The MAPS staff outlined tasks and objectives for the second half of the
year that we will use to guide our actions and evaluate our
performance. As we continue to strive for excellence, we plan to
increase our productivity, fine-tune our abilities to sponsor practical
and groundbreaking research, increase our support base, and enjoy our
MAPS is in the second year of implementation of an organizational
management tool known as Success Sheets. They are
one of several tools shown to us by consultants at The Management
Center. The Management Center has provided invaluable advice and
support over the past year, as a gift from one of our donors,
philanthropist Peter Lewis.
We all feel privileged to be a part of a great team doing delicate,
difficult, and important work, and to have so much support out there to
help us accomplish our goals.
Camping in Entheon Village at Filling Up:
Space is quickly vanishing for camping with MAPS Staff and
individuals in Entheon
Village at Burning Man 2008.
Registration and fee information can be found at this URL: http://www.entheonvillage.com/content/view/57/118/.
19. Burning Man:
Speakers scheduled for MAPS Psychedelic Lecture
Series at Entheon Village:
The schedule of speakers for MAPS psychedelic
at Entheon Village/Burning Man has been finalized and is listed
There are many great sessions to attend including talks by MAPS
president Rick Doblin PhD, Alexander Sasha and
Ann Shulgin, MAPS Clinical Research Associate Valerie Mojeiko, Daniel
Pinchbeck, and Me (Randolph Hencken MA).
Be sure to head over to the
Entheon Village website and print the
schedule so you may plan your Burning Man accordingly.
see you on the Playa!
If youve read this far, you should know
the answer to the
riddle by now.
Q: What do Israel,
Jordan, and Burning Man have in common?
A: All of these places
were or will be visited by MAPS staff this
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