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Media > Newsletter: October 10, 2006

Hello, Greetings from MAPS!

Here's the news for October:

1. Autumn MAPS Bulletin Online, On The Way
2. MDMA/PTSD Study Preparations Continue in Israel; Doblin to Speak at Joint Arab-Israeli Conference
3. Anticipation Builds as Prof. Craker Awaits Judge's Recommendation in DEA Lawsuit for Marijuana Production Facility
4. First Subject Enrolls in MAPS-Sponsored Swiss MDMA/PTSD Study
5. Proposed MAPS-Sponsored LSD/End-of-Life Study Makes Important Progress
6. US MDMA/PTSD Study Continues, Approaches Milestone
7. MAPS Assists Follow-up of LSD Psychotherapy Conducted Behind Iron Curtain
8. Date for Alex Grey "Hofmann" Portrait Auction: November 12-19
9. MAPS Merchandise in the MAPS Online Store; Assistance Needed
10. Job Opportunity: Clinical MDMA Research Program in San Francisco Seeks Nurse

***MAPS needs your generosity 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 MAPS merchandise, visit the MAPS Online Store***

1. Autumn MAPS Bulletin Online, On The Way

The Autumn 2006 Bulletin is now available online. MAPS members will receive this issue in the mail in the next week or two.

If you would like to help distribute the Bulletin in your business or community, or would like one or more copies to give to potential new MAPS members, please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) -- the Bulletin is both MAPS' primary educational tool and an excellent resource for attracting the attention of new supporters. Let us know if you want to help us branch out.

2. MDMA/PTSD Study Preparations Continue in Israel; Doblin to Speak at Joint Arab-Israeli Conference

Dr. Moshe Kotler's MAPS-sponsored government-approved MDMA-assisted psychotherapy study in Israel is preparing for initiation. This study will enroll subjects with war- and terrorism-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). MAPS President Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Clinical Research Associate Valerie Mojeiko, and volunteer clinical research expert Amy Emerson will visit in late October, to help researchers prepare the study to fit the strict guidelines necessary for the data generated to be eligible for consideration by the FDA and the European Medicines Agency.

On October 25, Doblin and Lester Grinspoon, M.D., will join Israeli and Palestinian drug policy experts in Jerusalem to talk at the first Arab-Israeli Joint Conference on Peace and Drug Policy, sponsored by the Ale-Yarok ("Green-Leaf") Party. The conference will focus on issues related to the cultural impacts of marijuana, its regulation, and its medical uses and research.

3. Anticipation Builds as Prof. Craker Awaits Judge's Recommendation in DEA Lawsuit for MAPS-Sponsored Marijuana Production Facility

MAPS and medical marijuana reform advocates nationwide are eagerly awaiting a recommendation from DEA Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Mary Ellen Bittner any day now -- sometime in the next month or two -- in Prof. Craker's MAPS-supported lawsuit against the DEA for refusing to license a privately-funded medical marijuana production facility at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. This MAPS-funded facility would create the necessary independence of supply to justify the time and expense for MAPS to sponsor clinical research evaluating the risks and benefits of marijuana as a potential FDA-approved prescription medicine.

In the meantime, we are focusing our attention on preparing to pressure the DEA to accept Judge Bittner's recommendation if she actually recommends that the DEA should issue a Schedule I license to Prof. Craker. Towards this end, MAPS is working with David Ostrow, M.D., who is funded by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), to lobby the American Medical Association (AMA) to pass a two-fold resolution at this November's annual meeting. We have been working with certain key state medical associations over the past month with the aim of identifying one willing to formally propose the resolution. Although both the Texas and California State Medical Associations have written letters to DEA in support of Prof. Craker, none have been willing so far to take the lead in sponsoring the resolution. At this point, there is a better chance that the resolution would pass at the June 2007 meeting, but by then our potential window of opportunity to influence the DEA may have passed.

If we do receive a positive recommendation from Judge Bittner, we will need all MAPS supporters to contact their Congressional Representatives, so look out for an important announcement sometime in the next month or two!

Did you know? As an example of research demonstrating the therapeutic applications of marijuana, the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology published a study last month finding that marijuana can improve the effectiveness of drug therapy for hepatitis C, a potentially deadly viral infection that affects more than three million Americans. The Washington Post reported this story in "Marijuana Aids Therapy".

4. First Subject Enrolled in MAPS-Sponsored Swiss MDMA/PTSD Study

Dr. Peter Oehen's MAPS-sponsored pilot study investigating MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for subjects with treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has full government approval, and is set to begin this month. The first subject has been enrolled, and the first experimental session is scheduled for October 19.

5. Proposed MAPS-Sponsored LSD/End-of-Life Study Makes Important Progress

We received a second helping of good news from Switzerland this month -- Dr. Peter Gasser's study evaluating the efficacy of LSD-assisted psychotherapy as a treatment for individuals suffering from emotional difficulties related to advanced-stage cancer and other illnesses has just made three important steps toward government approval and initiation.

First, Dr. Gasser, President of the Swiss Medical Association for Psycholytic Therapy (SAEPT), and MAPS completed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the study. Second, Dr. Gasser has scheduled to submit the protocol to the Ethics Committee (Swiss IRB equivalent) on November 16. The final piece of good news is that Dr. Gasser has already found a chemical supplier in Switzerland approved by SwissMedic (Swiss FDA equivalent) that will sell MAPS 10,000 mcgs. of LSD for the study and other future studies involving LSD. SwissMedic has also given approval for the lab that Dr. Gasser identified to conduct encapsulation of the LSD for his proposed study.

6. US MDMA/PTSD Study Continues, Approaches Milestone

Dr. Michael Mithoefer's flagship MAPS-sponsored FDA Phase II MDMA/PTSD study in Charleston, SC, just enrolled its 16th subject out of 20, and the 15th subject is now scheduled to complete treatment in December. Following completion by the 15th subject, Dr. Mithoefer's Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) will conduct its final review before completion. Previous reviews after the 5th and 10th subjects both found no significant safety concerns and recommended that the study continue enrolling subjects.

7. MAPS Assists Follow-up of LSD Psychotherapy Conducted Behind The Iron Curtain

At MAPS, we've come to expect that amazing things happen in unlikely places. Between 1956 and 1974, more than 420 patients underwent at least 5,100 LSD-assisted psychotherapy sessions in communist Czechoslovakia. A state-owned pharmaceutical company produced the LSD used in these studies. Dr. Stanislav Grof conducted much of this pioneering work, before moving to the U.S. in 1967.

MAPS has provided a $2,000 grant to R.M. Crockford, a Canadian journalist who is currently in Prague working to locate and interview Czech LSD patients and report on the long-term benefits of this therapy. Crockford is a former staff writer for The Prague Post, and has published articles in several Canadian magazines about the history of LSD therapy in Saskatchewan and in Vancouvers Hollywood Hospital.

8. Date for Alex Grey "Hofmann" Portrait Auction: November 12-19

Now that 49 out of 50 of Alex Grey's limited edition signed portraits of Albert Hofmann have been sold, MAPS and the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (COSM) will hold an Ebay auction from Nov. 12 -19 to sell the last remaining print, numbered 1/50. Profits from the sales of the portraits are divided between MAPS, with funds restricted for MAPS-sponsored LSD/psilocybin research and Albert's writings, and COSM. MAPS and COSM have already raised over $42,000 each from sales of these portraits.

We're also working to prepare a new signed and limited edition series of Roberto Venosa's portrait of Albert Hofmann. These portraits will be available starting in November, once the prints have been made and shipped to Albert to be signed.

And, to raise funds for research, we're still selling signed and numbered limited edition Dean Chamberlain portraits of psychedelic pioneers Ram Dass, Ann & Sasha Shulgin, Laura Huxley, and Albert Hofmann.

9. MAPS Merchandise in the MAPS Online Store; Assistance Needed

~Dr. Stanislav Grof's latest book, The Ultimate Journey: Consciousness and the Mystery of Death is now in stock in the MAPS Online Store. Dr. Grof, author of LSD Psychotherapy and originator of Holotropic Breathwork, offers a wealth of perspectives on how we can enrich and transform the experience of dying in our culture. This 356 page book features 40 pages of images, 24 in color, and a foreword by Huston Smith. This book is especially pertinent considering that MAPS has been working on protocols for studies investigating MDMA- and LSD-assisted therapy as treatment for end-of-life anxiety.

~The 2007 MAPS wall calendar, featuring a new array of dazzling psychedelic-inspired artwork from Roberto Venosa, Martina Hoffmann, Alex & Allyson Grey, Dean Chamberlain, and others, plus expanded notable dates in psychedelic and drug history.

Are you an experienced osCommerce and .php administrator? We are making some renovations to our online store, and looking for an expert! Please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) if you can help.

10. Job Opportunity: Clinical MDMA Research Program in San Francisco Seeks Nurse

From Matthew Baggott, Ph.D. (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)):

The Addiction Pharmacology Research Lab (APRL), part of California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, is seeking to hire a licensed vocational nurse (LVN). APRL's NIH-funded research (1) investigates the pharmacology of MDMA and other psychoactives, and (2) seeks to develop innovative treatments for addiction, principally to methamphetamine.

The job includes administering MDMA (and other psychoactives) to volunteers and 'sitting' with and collecting biosamples and other data from them. Other studies involve working with methamphetamine-dependent people. Interpersonal skills and ability to work with diverse populations is accordingly important. Duties would include working with research subjects, maintaining study records and computerized databases, data analysis, and administrative duties including aiding in grant proposals, communicating with regulators, and ensuring IRB/HIPAA compliance.

It's a good group of researchers; the work is unique and exciting; and there's wonderful opportunity for professional growth. Interested parties should send a resume to Michelle Salinardi at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

That's all, folks!

Have an ontologically awe-inspiring October,
Jag Davies, MAPS Director of Communications

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