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Media > Newsletter: August 20, 2004



Greetings, MAPS members and friends! It continues to be a busy and productive summer as we move forward on projects in progress and on those still in the "visionary" stage...

1. MAPS launches lawsuits against DEA/HHS/NIH/NIDA for obstructing MAPS' medical marijuana research efforts
2. Harvard Medical School IRB reviewing MDMA/cancer anxiety protocol
3. Latest MDMA Literature Review Update is posted
4. Dr. John Halpern hopeful to win NIDA grant for MDMA risk study
5. MDMA/PTSD study progressing smoothly
6. Baltimore Sun reports on MDMA psychotherapy research and MAPS
7. MAPS returns to Burning Man!
8. Warming up the presses to reprint two MAPS-published books (and the latest MAPS Bulletin)
9. Raffle for next MindStates conference, Oaxaca, Mexico, Sept. 15-21
10. MAPS fundraiser and party set for Oct 1 in NYC

And the details:

1. MAPS launches lawsuits against DEA/HHS/NIH/NIDA for obstructing MAPS' medical marijuana research efforts

In the 18 years since it was founded (in 1986), MAPS has never been involved in a lawsuit, either as plaintiff or defendant. As of July 21, 2004, this is no longer the case. On that day, MAPS, Prof. Lyle Craker, and WoMan's Alliance for Medical Marijuana founder Valerie Corral filed lawsuits against DEA and against Health & Human Services/National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Drug Abuse for obstructing medical marijuana research. The lawsuit accuses these federal agencies of "unreasonable delay" under the Administrative Procedures Act for 1) failing to rule in over three years on Prof. Craker's application for a license to establish a MAPS-sponsored medical marijuana production facility at UMass Amherst, and 2) failing to rule on Chemic Laboratories' request to import 10 grams of marijuana from the Dutch Office of Medicinal Cannabis for MAPS and CaNORML-sponsored vaporizer research, submitted over a year ago, and 3) failing to rule on Chemic Laboratories' request to purchase 10 grams of marijuana from NIDA for MAPS and CaNORML-sponsored vaporizer research,also submitted over a year ago. A number of newspapers have favorably covered the case, as well as the scientific journal Nature. For copies of the lawsuits, links to media articles and more information, go to http://www.maps.org/mmj

2. Harvard Medical School IRB reviewing MDMA/cancer anxiety protocol

The McLean Hospital Institutional Review Board (IRB) is currently reviewing the MAPS-sponsored MDMA/cancer anxiety protocol, to be conducted by Dr. John Halpern. On August 16, we submitted a lengthy reply to the questions we were asked to address after the IRB reviewed the protocol for the first time at its July 28 meeting. We believe we can successfully address all the issues that were raised. The protocol will be reviewed again at the IRB meeting to be held at the end of August. To read the protocol, go to http://www.maps.org/mdma and look under the "Clinical Research" section.

3. Latest MDMA Literature Review Update is posted

The second major update of the MAPS MDMA Literature Review was posted on July 16, 2004. This was prepared for the McLean IRB's review of the MDMA/cancer anxiety protocol, and covers MDMA research from January 2003 to July 2004. The risk/benefit ratio still seems quite favorable for clinical research exploring the therapeutic use of MDMA.

The MDMA Lit Review page is at http://www.maps.org/research/mdma/protocol/litreview.html. The MDMA literature database and archive is also now supported and housed within MAPS web bibliography (http://www.maps.org/wwwpb) and selectable by choosing "MDMA Literature" on the pulldown menu.

Reports now added to the MDMA literature database include studies in Ecstasy users, a host of new rodent studies, including some that question assumptions about MDMA neurotoxicity, and a few studies of Ecstasy user demographics. Summaries for two human trials of MDMA are now posted alongside the abstract and text of two recently published human studies of MDMA. One study (Lamers et al. 2003) examined the effects of 75 mg MDMA on skills such as attention, reaction time, visual search and other skills related to driving a car, and the other study Farre et al. 2004 looked at what happened when a second dose of 100 mg MDMA was given a day after an initial 100 mg dose.

To check out the latest additions, you can click on "What's New" at the top of the Bibliography page, or you can go to http://www.maps.org/w3pbu.pl, select the type of information you want to check up on and the time period (as in "the most recent in this week" or "the most recent in the past three months".

4. Dr. John Halpern hopeful to win NIDA grant for MDMA risk study

Harvard researcher Dr. John Halpern is hopeful to receive a two million dollar grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to conduct an MDMA neurocognitive study that MAPS helped to start. Dr. Halpern scored in the upper 15% of applications and is likely to receive funding, but we won't know for sure until October. This study, focusing on neurocognitive changes in MDMA users, is part of MAPS' efforts to be at the forefront of research into both the risks and the benefits of MDMA. A paper reporting on preliminary findings was published in the August issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence, along with a commentary on the paper by Lyvers and Haskings, and a final reply by Halpern et al. To read these articles, go to http://www.maps.org/w3pb and search for the authors names.

If Dr. Halpern does receive this NIDA grant, it will be the record for MAPS' leveraging its own funds to obtain outside funding (in both cases from the US government). In addition to providing the crucial link to the subject population, MAPS has donated a total of $12,546.20 toward Dr. Halpern's MDMA neurocognitive research project (which doesn't count staff and volunteer time). If this yields a $2 million grant, it will represent slightly more than $159 dollars obtained for every $1 dollar MAPS invested. MAPS' previous record was a donation totaling $10,000 to Dr. Donald Abrams for medical marijuana research, which eventually, after 5 1/2 years and much staff time, yielded a $1 million grant, also from NIDA, for the first study of the medical use of marijuana in over 15 years. This represented $100 dollars obtained for every $1 MAPS invested.

5. MDMA/PTSD study progressing smoothly

Dr. Michael Mithoefer's MDMA/PTSD study is going very well, with six subjects already enrolled. On August 10 the Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) reviewed the study's data and procedures, and determined that the study should proceed as designed. Also on August 10, the IRB sent a monitor to review the study procedures, with the monitor finding a few things needed to be more formalized but overall was quite satisfied.

6. Baltimore Sun reports on MDMA psychotherapy research and MAPS

On Sunday, July 25, the Baltimore Sun ran a front page article about MDMA psychotherapy research and MAPS, ending with a quote from George Ricaurte about how MDMA could become an FDA-approved prescription drug! You can read the article at http://www.maps.org/media/baltsun72504.html. A correction to the article was published later that week and can be read here.

7. MAPS returns to Burning Man!

MAPS staffers and volunteers are returning to Burning Man this year to help provide psychedelic emergency services for participants. We are bringing an excellent team this year, including Michael and Annie Mithoefer, the co-therapists for the MDMA/PTSD study. We will report on our efforts in a future edition of the Bulletin. A report on last year's Burning Man project can be found at http://www.maps.org/news-letters/v13n2-html/v13n2_bman.html.

8. Warming up the presses

We are about to send the new edition of Myron Stolaroff's The Secret Chief, titled The Secret Chief Revealed, to the printers. We expect to have the book available in September. We're finally able to use The Secret Chief's real name, Leo Zeff, and have included photos, contributions from two of his children and testimonials from some of the people he trained and treated. Also on the way is a new edition of Karl Jansen's Ketamine: Dreams and Realities, with a new introduction by Karl, which should be out shortly after The Secret Chief Revealed.

Also in the wrap-up phase is the autumn edition of the MAPS Bulletin, a special themed issue on the topic of Kids and Psychedelics. We will send this to press in the next week or so and you should receive it near the end of September.

9. Win a trip to Mind States Oaxaca!

WIN! a trip to the Mind States Oaxaca seminar in Oaxaca City, Mexico, to be held September 15-21, 2004. Winner(s) plane fare (up to $800) and attendance fee ($1,200), including breakfasts & lunches and resort room costs, are all covered. Seminar presenters include:

Deirdre Barrett
Bruce Damer
Erik Davis
Alex Grey
Allyson Grey
Zena Grey
Jon Hanna
Manuel Jimnez (tentative)
Jonathan Ott
Daniel Siebert
Ann Shulgin
Sasha Shulgin
Allan Synder
Martha Toledo

More information about this seminar can be found at http://www.mindstates.org. Raffle tickets are $20.00 each, made payable to 'MAPS/Mind States Raffle' and sent to: MAPS/Mind States Raffle, POB 19820, Sacramento, CA 95819. Or pay electronically with a credit card at http://www.mindstates.org/mapsraffle.html.

Please include a contact phone number (and email address, if you have one) along with your entry. Enter as many times as you want. Odds of winning per entry are one in one hundred or better; see web page for more details.

In 2002, MAPS sent 3 lucky winners to the Mind States Jamaica seminar in Negril. A portion of proceeds from this raffle acts as a donation to MAPS. Entries must be received by September 1. Winner(s) announced September 2.

10. MAPS fundraiser and party set for Oct 1 in NYC

We are delighted to announce a MAPS benefit dinner to be followed by a separate all-night dance party to be held on Friday October 1 at visionary artist Alex Grey's soon-to-be-opened Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (http://www.sacredmirrors.org). The dinner event will be from 6:30PM until 10PM and will include speakers, a tour of the gallery led by Alex Grey, and a group photo by Dean Chamberlain (http://www.deanchamberlain.co). Speaking at the dinner will be Alex Grey, Dr. Michael Mithoefer (MDMA/PTSD), Dr. John Halpern (MDMA/Cancer Anxiety), Dr. Charles Grob (psilocybin/cancer anxiety), Valerie Mojeiko (ibogaine outcome study), Brandy Doyle (Rites of Passage project & Burning Man psychedelic emergency services), and Rick Doblin (MAPS strategic overview).

At 10PM, doors open for The Body Electric, an all-night dance celebration featuring live electronic music, visiting and local DJs, and a chance to dance in the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors.

Tickets for the dinner start at $100 per person, and include a free ticket to the dance (two free dance tickets for current MAPS members). The dance is $20 for current MAPS members with a limited number of $15 tickets available for low-income/student members. Non-members can attend the dance for free by signing up for a MAPS membership.

Reservations are required, and space is limited. More information will be sent via email in the next few days about the event, including instructions for RSVP and payment.

Thanks for all your continued support! If you have replies to this message, please send them to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Best wishes,
Brandy

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