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Media > Newsletter: September 12, 2008



MAPS News September 2008: MDMA Therapy Gets Results--PTSD Treatment Providers Take Notice


Dear MAPS Members, Supporters, and Friends,

It has been a productive and fun month for MAPS staff and associates. MAPS President Rick Doblin ventured to Portugal to help a psychedelic emergency services outreach team at the Boom festival. While there he laid the foundation for starting an MDMA/PTSD pilot study in Portugal. MAPS researcher Michael Mithoefer had a paper accepted to the leading conference on PTSD. Our guest editor David Jay Brown finished the summer edition of the MAPS Bulletin in time for him to take his first trip to Burning Man, where he reported profound experiences. Director of Operations Valerie Mojeiko, a seasoned psychedelic emergency outreach coordinator, officially became a Black Rock City Ranger. The night the Man burnt, acting like a skilled lion tamer, Valerie prevented anxious burners from rushing prematurely into dangerous flames. Hundreds of desert goers attended the psychedelic lecture series that MAPS hosted. They heard talks by myself and notable figures and researchers active in the psychedelic renaissance. Details about all of these items are found below.

Things will get even busier as we transition into fall. Over the next several months we will be preparing a paper on the completion of our MDMA/PTSD pilot study for journal publication. We are expecting to have full approval and to commence our Canadian MDMA/PTSD study. The study we are coordinating in Israel will treat more patients. The MDMA/PTSD treatment manual we have been working on will be finalized. Approval is in sight for our ibogaine outcome study. These are just some of the many research projects that keep all of us at MAPS very busy.

We cant do this work without you! As a nonprofit organization we rely on the goodwill of our members to keep our research and educational projects funded. Can you chip in and donate to us today?

We are hosting a soire at a Victorian mansion in San Francisco on October 11th to encourage new membership and to spend some time with current members. Details about the event are included in this email. I hope that I get to meet you at the soire.

Here is a sample of what's currently going on at MAPS this month:

  1. Boom Festival Sets the Standard for Psychedelic Emergency Services
  2. MAPS Flagship MDMA/PTSD Research to be Presented at International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Conference
  3. Possible MDMA/PTSD Pilot Study in Portugal Explored
  4. Canadian MDMA/PTSD Study Protocol Submitted to IRB
  5. MAPS Ibogaine Outcome Study Submitted to IRB
  6. Horizons Perspectives on Psychedelics Forum Sept. 19-21, New York
  7. Bioneers Annual Conference to Feature Psychedelic Research Panel
  8. Women's Visionary Congress at Wilbur Hot Springs, October 10th to 12th
  9. Come Join MAPS at Our Post-Burning Man Soire at Historic Haight-Ashbury Mansion Saturday Oct 11
  10. Psychedelic Renaissance Making Headlines in Popular Press
  11. MAPS Psychedelic Lecture Series from Burning Man---Now Available Online
  12. Burning Man: Feedback Requested from Participants in Entheon Village
  13. Burning Man: MAPS Director of Operations Becomes a BRC Ranger
  14. Calling all Graphic Artists: Will You Design the New MAPS Logo?
  15. MAPS Love Creek Headquarters Seeks Intern
  16. MAPS Members Win a Piece of History in New Member Sign Up Challenge
  17. Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Generously Donate to Dr. Donald Abrams Marijuana/Opiates Pain Study
  18. MAPS Summer Bulletin on the Way
* * * 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, visit: store.maps.org/ * * *

1. Boom Festival Sets the Standard for Psychedelic Emergency Services:

Boom is the best example of coordinated psychedelic emergency services that I have ever seen at any festival. MAPS President Rick Doblin sang praises for the festival and its chief organizer Diogo Ruivo. Boom is a weeklong festival that began as a psy-trance event in 1997 with 3500 attendees. Located on a lakeside in Portugal, this year more than 25,000 people descended upon the land to enjoy music, art, culture, and knowledge; 10,000 more people were turned away because the land couldnt host any more participants.

Since Portugal has decriminalized the personal possession of drugs, the Boom organizers are able to implement harm reduction methods without fear. This is not the case for event organizers in the United States. Vice presidential candidate Democrat Joe Biden, sponsored the RAVE Act and maneuvered it into law. This law makes organizers of events subject to criminal prosecution if they knowingly permit drug use to take place at their events. The Rave Act has helped criminalize harm reduction methods at festivals and other music events.

Sadly, as opposed to Portugals harm reduction approach, in the US we have a harm maximization approach, Rick said.

The Boom organizers provided a psychedelic emergency facility that was large and visible to everyone at the festival. Next to the facility a team from Spain called Energy Control had an onsite drug testing facility using thin-layer chromotography. The team was able to test most of the drugs that were sold at the event, and they created a slideshow that identified what drugs were being sold and what the drugs really contained. The slides were projected on the side of the tent, visible to passers by. Sylvia Thyssen and Jon Hanna of Erowid provided information about various drugs.

Two years ago MAPS helped the Boom Festival organizers provide psychedelic emergency service teams at Boom, but the teams felt burnt-out and frustrated because of insufficient facilities and resources. In March, 2008, Diogo Ruivo came to the World Psychedelic Forum in Basel to meet with Rick Doblin, MAPS Director of Operations Valerie Mojeiko, and Harm Reduction Coordinators Sandra Karpetas and Svea Nielsen to discuss the lessons learned from the 2006 event.

Diogo and his team did a tremendous job of putting lessons learned into practice. They deserve tremendous credit for creating what now is a world model for how to handle psychedelic emergency services at festivals like this. They are leaders to be recognized in preparing for a post-prohibition world, said Rick.

The Boom festival happens every two years. The next one will take place in 2010.

2. MAPS Flagship MDMA/PTSD Research to be Presented at International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Conference:

The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS), the largest organization in the world for researchers and therapists working with PTSD patients, has accepted a paper by MAPS-sponsored researcher Michael Mithoefer MD about his pioneering study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in 21 subjects with treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The 24th annual conference will take place in Chicago from November 13th through 15th.

The opportunity to offer a seminar at the ISTSS annual conference is a great accomplishment for Michael and the entire MAPS community. Last year, an application from Michael to present a poster about our PTSD research was rejected. The acceptance of the paper this year, now that his study has generated a clear safety record and compelling evidence of efficacy, demonstrates that information about MDMA-assisted psychotherapy is of interest to the organized, international community of PTSD researchers

Mithoefer is very pleased that his paper has been accepted rather than just a poster. It will not only be more satisfying, I think it suggests a greater degree of interest in what we're doing, he said.

3. Possible MDMA/PTSD Pilot Study in Portugal Explored:

From August 13th to 18th MAPS President Rick Doblin PhD was at the Boom Festival in Portugal working with Booms KosmiCare psychedelic emergency team lead by Portuguese psychologist David Lameiras. While there, Doblin met with Lameiras, his wife Juliana Estevez who is also a psychologist, and Manuela Maciel, another Portuguese psychologist, about the possibility of conducting an MDMA/PTSD study in Portugal. They expressed interest in investigating further whether it might be possible to start a Portuguese MDMA/PTSD study. They will gather information from psychiatrists, physicians, and bureaucrats, to determine whether it makes sense to develop a study in Portugal. This preliminary Phase 2 pilot study would be conducted concurrently with our other MDMA/PTSD pilot investigations around the world. MAPS is working to build teams of trained therapists prior to the launching, in several years, of our large-scale, multi-site Phase 3 studies.

4. Canadian MDMA/PTSD Study Protocol Submitted to IRB:

On September 3, MAPS submitted an MDMA/PTSD protocol to a Canadian Institutional Review Board (IRB). This is a defining moment in our effort to initiate an MDMA/PTSD pilot study in Canada. More so, it will be the first psychedelic research since the early 1970s in Canada.

On September 10, the IRB conducted the initial review of the protocol. We expect to hear from the IRB within the next several days.

We are pleased to have the skilled Dr. Ingrid Pacey and Andrew Feldmr MA as the co-therapist team presiding over this research. The investigation is designed as a twelve person pilot study, and we are using the same outcome measures as our US MDMA/PTSD study. We are using congruent metrics in all of the studies that we sponsor so that the data can be compiled into a meta-analysis. We are hoping to have the Canadian study fully approved within 3-4 months. The estimated budget for the study is $150,000, all of which remains to be raised.

5. MAPS Ibogaine Outcome Study Submitted to IRB:

John Harrison, PsyD candidate, submitted an updated protocol for a MAPS-sponsored study investigating ibogaine treatment outcomes at the Ibogaine Association in Playas De Tijuana, Mexico to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). The protocol was submitted for the September review. If the IRB approves the protocol, John will be able to begin to administer the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) to 30 clients on a monthly basis for one year after ibogaine treatment in order to better understand the short and longer-term outcomes of ibogaine treatment for opiate addiction. We expect to have a decision from the IRB to report in next months email news.

6. Horizons Perspectives 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 at: www.horizonsnyc.org.

MAPS is seeking volunteers to table on our behalf at the event. Please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) if you are interested.

7. Bioneers Annual Conference to Feature Psychedelic Research Panel:

MAPS President Rick Doblin and Director of Operations and Clinical Research Associate Valerie Mojeiko will be presenting at the Bioneers Conference in San Rafael, California on October 19. The MAPS panel titled Studying the Healing Potential of Psychedelics will also feature noted consciousness explorer Ralph Metzner.

The Bioneers conference hosts a range of presentations related to social and scientific innovations. Nearly 10,000 people are expected to attend to discuss and learn about practical environmental solutions and innovative social strategies for restoring Earths imperiled ecosystems and healing human communities. The conference takes place from October 17-19, and the MAPS panel is on Sunday at 2:45 PM.

MAPS will have a table at this event, as part of our educational outreach and membership development efforts, with our tables at festivals and conferences funded by a $5,000 donation from Seth Hollub. Bioneers has paid most of the expenses for this particular tripincluding transportation, entrance fees, and lodging for Mojeiko and Doblin, and a complimentary exhibitors space.

8. Women's Visionary Congress at Wilbur Hot Springs, October 10th to 12th

The Second Annual Women's Visionary Congress will take place at Wilbur Hot Springs in Wilbur Springs, California from October 10-12, 2008. The Women's Visionary Congress is a gathering of healers, activists, researchers and artists who study the traditional and contemporary uses of entheogens. The WVC welcomes interested women and men to join us at the beautiful Wilbur Hot Springs for a healing soak and a series of conversations with visionary women. The theme of this year's WVC gathering is "Descending the Mountaintop: Visionary Insights in Action."

Speakers at the 2008 Women's Visionary Congress include Ann and Sasha Shulgin, Nicki Scully, Val Corral, Carolyn (Mountain Girl) Garcia, Allyson Grey, Debby Goldsberry, Sandra Harner, Mariavittoria Mangini, Angel Raich, Jane Straight, Cindy Palmer, and a special research panel featuring MAPS researcher Ilsa Jerome, June May Ruse and Annie Mithoefer, co-therapist for the MAPS-sponsored MDMA/PTSD study. The event will include a special legal update from the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project and a full moon discussion circle on October 13th.

Tickets are $425, which includes all meals, camping and access to the hot springs. Rooms at the Wilbur Hot Springs Hotel are also available. For ticket information please contact Sarah at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), call 831-252-0023, or visit www.visionarycongress.org.

9. Come Join MAPS at Our Post-Burning Man Soire at Historic Haight-Ashbury Mansion Saturday, Oct 11:

At Burning Man, we gathered the email addresses of over 400 people during MAPS popular Lecture Series at Entheon Village. MAPS is hosting a soire to connect with new and old MAPS members we met at Burning Man, and anyone else who will be in the Bay area and wishes to be a part of the MAPS community. We have timed it to take place the night before the illustrious SF Burning Man Decompression Heat the Street Faire.
  • Date: Saturday, October 11
  • Time: 8:00 PM - 2:00 AM
  • Place: William Westerfeld House, Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco
  • Dress: Playa wear, period costumes, or cocktail attire, please!
  • Food: Hors Doeuvres and live entertainment
  • Drink: Cash bar (two drink tickets gifted with donation)
  • Space: Space is limited to the first 150 members. This event will sell out.
  • Register: The latest we will be able to respond to an RSVP is Friday, October 10 at 2PM
This soire is open to current members when you renew your membership at $50 or greater and to new members who support us at least at the integral level of $50 or more.

If you wish to come to the soire, please make your $50 or greater donation here and then type San Francisco Soiree in the comment field on the payment page.

The soire will be held at the historic William Westerfeld House in the Haight-Ashbury District of San Francisco. Built in 1889, the 28-room Victorian Mansion was featured in Tom Wolfes Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, and was frequented by members of the Grateful Dead and Big Brother and the Holding Company. Kenneth Lager filmed My Demon Brother with Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan, and Manson family member Bobby Beausoleil at the house in 1967. Jim Siegel purchased the home in 1986 and has fully restored it. Jim has kindly offered the house to us to raise funds for our on-going research projects.

We are currently seeking a team of volunteers to help run this event. If you would like to volunteer in exchange for a discounted ticket, please email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

10. "Psychedelic Renaissance" Making Headlines in Popular Press:

Since our last email update several notable media outlets have published articles about psychedelic therapy and the psychedelic renaissance. The MAPS Media Archive is available at this URL: http://www.maps.org/media.

In the past month MAPS president Rick Doblin was featured in an interview with the New Scientist (Permalink); the UK Guardian printed an editorial by MAPS-sponsored researcher Andrew Feldmr MA (permalink), and a feature on clinical trials by MAPS, Dr. Roland Griffith and Dr. Charles Grob (permalink); The Times Online featured Amanda Fielding of the Beckley Foundation in Arran Frood's article "Can illegal drugs help depression?" (permalink); and ABC News featured Michael Mithoefer's MDMA/PTSD research in the article "Hurdles keep street drugs out of medicine chest."(permalink).

11. MAPS Psychedelic Lecture Series at Burning Man---Now Available Online:

From Thursday August 28th through Saturday August 30th, MAPS hosted a psychedelic lecture series in Entheon Village at Burning Man. Hundreds of Black Rock City Citizens attended talks by Sasha and Ann Shulgin, Daniel Pinchbeck, Alex and Allyson Grey, Rick Doblin, Charles Shaw, Andrew Sewell, Amanda Neidpath, Sameet Kumar, Matt Johnson, Alicia Danforth, Troy Dayton, Valerie Mojeiko, and Randolph Hencken. Psychologist and longtime MAPS member Neal Goldsmith, PhD superbly hosted the lecture series.

MAPS wishes to thank Kurt Albershardt and Jonathan Appleseed for recording some of the talks and uploading them online to share with anyone who is interested. We encourage you to check out Jonathan Appleseeds Healing the Nations Psychedelic Harm Reduction Blog".

Many of the lectures can be listened to through the MAPS website.

12. Burning Man: Feedback Requested from Participants in Entheon Village:

MAPS created a questionnaire for Entheon Village participants at Burning Man 2008 as a donation to the Village. The questionnaire has been sent out by Entheon Village, but if you did not receive it and you DID camp with Entheon Village, or if you received it and havent filled it out yet, please take 5-10 minutes to fill it out at this URL. If you camped with the Entheon community, your input is important for future incarnations of the village.

13. Burning Man: MAPS Director of Operations Becomes a BRC Ranger:

For the past three years, MAPS Director of Operations Valerie Mojeiko has spearheaded our primary psychedelic harm reduction projectwhich was coordinating with the Burning Man organization to provide psychedelic emergency services to the participants. This year Mojeiko--along with a small cadre of dedicated MAPS associates--joined the ranks of the Black Rock City Rangers (Burning Mans non-confrontational mediators) to provide mental health and other Rangerly services to the Burning Man community in 2008. Mojeiko is happy to be a part of the Ranger team.

14. Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Generously Donate to Dr. Donald Abrams Marijuana/Opiates Pain Study:

As weve previously reported, MAPS is assisting Dr. Donald Abrams recruit subjects for one of only two studies currently underway in the US in which marijuana is being administered to patients. MAPS is covering the expenses for the travel and lodging costs of patients participating in Dr. Donald Abrams investigation of pain management with vaporized medical marijuana and opioid medications.

MAPS is grateful for the generous donations of a total of $8500 by three California medical marijuana dispensaries and Oaksterdam University.

Our sincere gratitude is extended to Aundre Speciale from Capitol Wellness Collective in Sacramento for their gift of $4500, Steve DeAngelo from Harborside Health Center in Oakland for their gift of $2000, Oaksterdam University in Oakland for their gift of $1000, and Mike Nolin of the Green Door for their gift of $1000.

Prospective participants for this research study should call (415) 476-9554, ext. 315, or email Paul Couey at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information.

15. Calling all Graphic Artists: Will You Design the New MAPS Logo?:

In the beginning of 2009, MAPS will unveil a new logo and a new website. David Bronner, of Dr. Bronners Magic All-One soap products is generously funding the updating, revamping, and renewing of our on-line website. He has provided us the services of Cosmic Egg Studios.

We would like to invite our community to participate in the creation of our new logo. Here is the deal. We need a logo that can be reproduced in all sizes from very small to very large. The logo can be colorful, but also must still appear sharp when reproduced in Black and White. The logo should try to convey these key descriptors, science, caring, emotional healing. The design should only be subtly psychedelic, as we need to convey our professional strengths and our dedication to following through on our research projects.

If we choose to use your design, or a similar adaptation thereof, we will give you public credit in our bulletin, on our website, and in our email announcement. You will receive a t-shirt and a sweatshirt with the logo printed on it, and a collection of MAPS published books.

We would like to utilize all the designs given to us in some fashion. If you enter this contest you will need to sign a waiver releasing the rights of your design to us. Please send designs to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or mail them to our headquarters at: 10424 Love Creek Rd, Ben Lomond, CA 95005.

Designs should be submitted no later than Thursday September 25.

16. MAPS Love Creek Headquarters Seeks Intern:

The MAPS office, located 9 miles outside of Santa Cruz, California is seeking a dedicated, organized, and responsible student intern to help with office and administrative duties supporting MAPS research and educational missions. This is an unpaid part-time internship; we are happy to help you earn course credit. If you would like to become a part of our team, please submit a resume and one-page cover letter explaining your interest in MAPS mission to: //';l[1]='a';l[2]='/';l[3]='<';l[4]=' 103';l[5]=' 114';l[6]=' 111';l[7]=' 46';l[8]=' 115';l[9]=' 112';l[10]=' 97';l[11]=' 109';l[12]=' 64';l[13]=' 101';l[14]=' 105';l[15]=' 114';l[16]=' 101';l[17]=' 108';l[18]=' 97';l[19]=' 86';l[20]='>';l[21]='\"';l[22]=' 103';l[23]=' 114';l[24]=' 111';l[25]=' 46';l[26]=' 115';l[27]=' 112';l[28]=' 97';l[29]=' 109';l[30]=' 64';l[31]=' 101';l[32]=' 105';l[33]=' 114';l[34]=' 101';l[35]=' 108';l[36]=' 97';l[37]=' 86';l[38]=':';l[39]='o';l[40]='t';l[41]='l';l[42]='i';l[43]='a';l[44]='m';l[45]='\"';l[46]='=';l[47]='f';l[48]='e';l[49]='r';l[50]='h';l[51]='a ';l[52]='<'; for (var i = l.length-1; i >= 0; i=i-1){ if (l[i].substring(0, 1) == ' ') output += "&#"+unescape(l[i].substring(1))+";"; else output += unescape(l[i]); } document.getElementById('eeEncEmail_DTMTlgv6vy').innerHTML = output; //]]> "> .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

17. MAPS Members Win a Piece of History in New Member Sign Up Challenge:

Congratulations to MAPS members Briony and David! These are just two of the many MAPS members who signed their friends up as new members and were entered into our raffle to win authentic autographed glassware from Alexander Sasha Shulgins laboratory. Brionys name was randomly selected from all of the entrants. David signed up the most new members. He opted to receive a piece of glassware when given the choice between glassware and dinner with Rick Doblin he shared that he will get to meet Rick at the Horizons conference, but may never get another chance to own an iconic piece of psychedelic history.
MAPS Summer Bulletin on the Way

18. The latest MAPS Bulletins are arriving in MAPS members mailboxes. This edition features a moving piece by the late Albert Hofmann, To be read at my funeral.

Members will also find updates and insights from MAPS President Rick Doblin, Director of Operations Valerie Mojeiko, researchers Michael Mithoefer MD, Peter Oehen MD, Peter Gasser MD, and other articles about psychedelic and medical marijuana research.

Not a member? You can read our bulletin online, but I bet youd rather have a hard copy. Please become a member and support our burgeoning research and educational projects. We have membership categories for all income levels, basic memberships start at just $35! But if you can afford to donate more, we encourage you to do so.
In closing,

You can understand just how busy we are now that you have read though all of the various items. Please make a generous contribution today! We need to be funded in order for us to continue to get psychedelic therapy results noticed by mainstream professionals like the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and the mainstream press. The more ground we cover, the more the mainstream accepts us, the sooner we will pass through the regulatory hurdles for turning psychedelics into prescription medicines.

I look forward to sharing with you our progress and plans in next months email update.


Enthusiastically yours,

Randolph Hencken, MA BS
MAPS Communications and Marketing Director
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