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Media > Newsletter: April 15, 2011



MAPS' mission is to treat conditions for which conventional medicines provide limited relief, such as PTSD & anxiety associated with life-threatening illnesses, by developing psychedelics & marijuana into prescription medicines.
MDMA Psychotherapist Training Study Begins:
MAPS Email Newsletter
April 15, 2011

Dear MAPS Members and Friends,

It's an honor to bring you the April 2011 edition of the MAPS Email Newsletter.

We've come a long way in the last 25 years. The challenge is no longer convincing regulatory agencies of the value of our research, but finding the financial resources to conduct the massive Phase 3 studies—involving scores of therapists and hundreds of subjects in multiple countries—required to make MDMA-assisted psychotherapy a legally available treatment for those who need it most.

Another challenge as we get ready to graduate to the next phase of our drug development program will be finding individuals with the skills and expertise required to conduct experimental MDMA-assisted psychotherapy sessions. That's why the FDA is allowing us to conduct a training study for psychedelic therapists, in the form of a basic investigation of the effects of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy on healthy volunteers. This study is now screening its first participant.

With your help, MAPS is building the foundation for the future of psychedelic medicine.

On Saturday, April 16, the fourth subject will receive his first experimental treatment session in our Phase 2 study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in veterans of war. For this subject, as for many other patients, conventional pharmaceutical and psychotherapeutic approaches to helping him overcome his traumatic memories have failed. For him, this treatment is a chance for a fresh start. At the same time, he is contributing to the fast-growing body of scientific data required to make MDMA available as a prescription medicine for thousands—and possibly millions—like him.

Just yesterday, in recognition of the pressing need for this research, an anonymous donor made a gift to MAPS of $100,000. This contribution will go a long way toward completing our current MDMA/PTSD study and advancing our ever-growing range of projects. You don't have to be a millionaire to make a difference—but it helps.

Last month, I reminded you about our "Watch, Learn, and Share" video campaign, for which a donor gave us $1 every time you viewed a video from our 2010 Psychedelic Science conference, up to a generous $15,000. At the time, we were just 2,000 views short of our goal. Since the start of the campaign, our conference videos have now received over 19,000 views and earned MAPS every penny of the $15,000 offered—thanks to your commitment to psychedelic science and to your choice to support MAPS.

Just because the campaign is over doesn't mean you've missed your chance. Health practitioners can still watch the videos to earn professional credit through our co-sponsor at the Spiritual Competency Resource Center. Of course, you can always just watch them for fun, too.

Please enjoy and share this edition of the MAPS Email Newsletter. And also, remember that none of these accomplishments—not even this newsletter—would have been possible without your support. Whether it's a little or a lot, please donate today and help make sure the good news keeps rolling in.

Oh, and one more thing: Get ready to commemorate 25 years of psychedelic and medical marijuana research and education by joining us for a conference, workshops, and benefit celebration from December 9-11, 2011, in the San Francisco Bay Area. You won't want to miss this.

Sincerely,

Brad Burge, M.A.
MAPS Director of Communications

    MDMA Research News:

  1. First Subject Screened in MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapist Training Program
  2. Jordanian MDMA/PTSD Study Meets Final Requirements
  3. Swiss MDMA/PTSD Study Team Begins Data Analysis
  4. US MDMA/PTSD Veterans Study Enrolls Third and Fourth Subjects
  5. Israeli MDMA/PTSD Study Protocol Awaits Ministry of Health Review
  6. Rick Doblin, Researchers Meet with Wellcome Trust to Seek Support for UK MDMA/PTSD Study
  7. Marijuana Research News:

  8. Revised Marijuana/PTSD Protocol Submitted to FDA
  9. DEA Insists on Maintaining Government Marijuana Research Monopoly
  10. Other Research News:

  11. Swiss LSD/End-of-Life Anxiety Study Nearing Completion
  12. Observational Ibogaine Study Enrolls Additional Subjects
  13. MAPS Receives Multiple Matching Grant Offers for Clinical Ibogaine Study
  14. Supplemental Study Measures Cardiovascular Effects of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy
  15. Participate in a Non-MAPS Survey on Drugs and Mystical Experiences
  16. MAPS Store:

  17. Honor Thy Daughter Coming Soon: Reserve Your Copy Now!
  18. Visionary Art: Alex Grey's "The Shulgins and Their Alchemical Angels"
  19. Events:

  20. Save the Date for MAPS' 25th Anniversary Celebration!
  21. UK Breaking Convention Conference a Huge Success
  22. Transpersonal Pioneers Offer 6-Week Course on Psychology and Consciousness
  23. Tickets on Sale Now for Horizons Psychedelics Conference in NYC
  24. MAPS to Co-host International Drug Policy Reform Conference in November
  25. So Many MAPS Events, So Little Time!
  26. NORML to Host 40th Anniversary Conference in the Rockies
  27. European Psychedelic Harm Reduction Organization Seeks Volunteers
  28. Media:

  29. Coming Soon: Special Edition of the MAPS Bulletin on Psychedelics and the Body
  30. MAPS Featured in ELLE Magazine
  31. Documentary on Secret History of LSD Meets Fundraising Goal
  32. Coming Soon: New Film on Electronic Music, Psychedelics, and Spirituality
  33. Other News:

  34. Now Hiring: Director of Marketing and Development
  35. Seeking Skilled, Motivated Interns for Summer 2011
  36. MAPS Needs Your Old iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch
  37. CE/CME Credit Still Available for 2010 Psychedelic Science Conference Videos

MDMA Research News

1. First Subject Screened in MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapist Training Protocol

On March 22-24, 2011, MAPS Lead Clinical Research Associate Berra Yazar-Klosinski, Ph.D., and MAPS Clinical Research Intern Katie Hendy, M.A., and MAPS Director of Finance and IT Josh Sonstroem (who is also responsible for encapsulating and randomizing study MDMA) visited Charleston, SC, to initiate our therapist training protocol for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. The study has now screened its first participant. The protocol was designed as a Phase 1 study of the psychological effects of MDMA in healthy volunteers, with subjects limited to people in MAPS' therapist training program. In addition to providing new information about the effects of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in healthy volunteers, the study will enable us to train therapists to conduct future MDMA/PTSD studies. With MAPS preparing to expand its research program to move even closer towards regulatory approval of MDMA as a prescription medicine, there will be more need for therapists trained in MAPS' approach to MDMA-assisted psychotherapy than ever before. The study is led by Clinical Investigators Michael Mithoefer, M.D., and Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N. Julie Holland, M.D., is the official medical monitor.

2. Jordanian MDMA/PTSD Study Meets Final Requirements

On March 29, 2011, Kamila Novak of Antaea Medical Services, the clinical research organization that MAPS has hired to oversee our Jordanian and Israeli MDMA/PTSD studies, met with the Jordanian Food and Drug Administration (JFDA) to discuss the status of our Jordanian study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. The JFDA confirmed that the study had met the liability insurance requirements for subjects enrolled in the study and that the protocol was satisfactory, and that they will allow the study to proceed once a few final documents have been submitted by the clinical trial site, probably by the end of April.

We expect to receive permission to import MDMA shortly after the research protocol passes the JFDA review process. Our supplier in Switzerland is ready to ship the MDMA to Jordan, so all we need is the final word from the JFDA and the permits for bringing the MDMA into Jordan. We will then be ready to initiate the study and begin recruiting and enrolling subjects.

3. Swiss MDMA/PTSD Study Team Begins Data Analysis

Now that we've completed our Swiss study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in 12 subjects with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD, the clinical team is analyzing the data and assisting investigator Peter Oehen, M.D., in preparing a manuscript for publication. A preliminary analysis suggests that the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), which is the primary measure of PTSD symptom severity, showed a trend towards improvement after treatment, with CAPS reductions somewhat larger than in comparable studies of Zoloft and Paxil. The Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale (PDS), which is the secondary measure of PTSD symptoms completed by the subjects, also showed statistically significant improvements in symptoms after treatment.

The therapeutic results obtained in our previously completed U.S. flagship study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD were larger than those from our Swiss study. In order to determine how methodological, personnel, and/or cultural differences may have led to these differences, we are asking a series of questions about whether there were differences in (1) the population from which subjects were drawn, (2) the recruitment process, (3) the screening process, (4) the demographics of the subjects enrolled, (5) Swiss and American cultural approaches to PTSD, (6) the approaches of the various independent raters, and (7) the way in which subjects' PTSD symptoms were treated and/or evaluated by the clinicians. The answers to these questions will help MAPS understand how best to maximize therapeutic outcomes.

4. US MDMA/PTSD Veterans Study Enrolls Third and Fourth Subjects

On March 25, 2011, MAPS Lead Clinical Research Associate Berra Yazar-Klosinski, Ph.D., visited Charleston, SC, to evaluate the progress of our ongoing Phase 2 pilot study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in veterans of war. The study is led by Clinical Investigators Michael Mithoefer, M.D., and Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N. Two out of 16 subjects have now completed their MDMA-assisted psychotherapy sessions. On April 2, the third subject had his first experimental MDMA psychotherapy session. On April 4, the fourth subject was enrolled, with his first experimental therapy session scheduled for April 16. In past studies, recruitment has been the primary challenge of conducting these studies; now that we have improved our recruitment techniques, the major challenge now is making sure that all of the subjects complete the study (some could choose to drop out). It is advantageous that both of these new subjects live in the Charleston vicinity, since it dramatically reduces travel costs. Conserving resources is an important task as we conduct this study, as we still need to raise $175,000 in order to complete the study. If you would like to help us complete this crucial study, please consider making a contribution.

5. Israeli MDMA/PTSD Study Protocol Awaits Ministry of Health Review

On March 16, 2011, the Israeli Ethics Committee at Beer Ya'akov Mental Hospital submitted the application for our Israeli study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD to the Israeli Ministry of Health (the Israeli equivalent of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration). The Ministry of Health is now reviewing the protocol, and we anticipate that they will approve it. If that happens we will be able to initiate the study.

6. Rick Doblin, Researchers Meet with Wellcome Trust to Seek Support for UK MDMA/PTSD Study

On April 1, 2011, two officials from the Wellcome Trust, the largest private philanthropic organization in the UK with assets of about $20 billion, meet at their London office with MAPS Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D., British psychiatrist Ben Sessa, M.D., Swiss MDMA/PTSD study Clinical Investigator and lead psychiatrist Peter Oehen, M.D., and Swiss co-therapist Verena Widmer. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss possible Wellcome Trust interest in a grant application for a MAPS-sponsored MDMA/PTSD pilot study to take place in England. The meeting took Rick Doblin about two months to arrange, with crucial assistance from Ben Sessa and senior British scientist David Nutt, M.D.

The outcome of the meeting was that the Wellcome has invited us to submit a grant proposal. Wellcome staff indicated that they were more interested in the neuroscience of psychedelics than the therapy, so as a result we will be designing the new study with an emphasis on physiological and neurophysiological changes related to PTSD before and after treatment. While there is no guarantee that Wellcome will agree to fund the study, this is the first time that MAPS has ever been invited to submit a grant application to a major public (non-family) foundation, and therefore represents a major step forward. Although Wellcome officials thought they would be taking a "reputational risk" by agreeing to fund an MDMA/PTSD study, they also agreed with Rick Doblin's comment that doing so could also be a "reputational opportunity." Those foundations that decide to support psychedelic research at this stage will in the future be recognized for their prescient contributions to this growing field.

Marijuana Research News

7. Revised Marijuana/PTSD Protocol Submitted to FDA

On March 15, 2011, MAPS submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the revised protocol for our planned study of smoked and/or vaporized marijuana in 50 war veterans with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD. In a February 9 conference call, the FDA acknowledged that we had successfully addressed their concerns about subjects diverting unused marijuana by asking patients to use a handheld video camera to record themselves each time they use the marijuana and also by following up with a "significant other" identified by each patient. The FDA then requested that we submit a revised protocol incorporating our proposed changes. We anticipate hearing back from the FDA soon. If the FDA decides to approve the study after reviewing the revised protocol, the next step will be for MAPS to submit the protocol to a complicated, redundant, yet politically required review process conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Public Health Service.

The PHS/NIDA review process could take six months or longer for an initial reply, and a similar amount of time to evaluate our response to any questions or comments that emerge. We are hoping this extra review process will end in approval. If not, then the process will have provided further evidence for the need for state-level medical marijuana reform efforts, and for the need to end the NIDA monopoly on the legal supply marijuana for use in FDA-permitted research studies.

8. DEA Insists on Maintaining Government Marijuana Research Monopoly

On April 1, 2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration filed its final response to the final brief in MAPS' and Professor Lyle Craker's decade-long struggle to end the federal government's monopoly on the supply of marijuana for research. After reviewing Prof. Craker's final brief, DEA lawyers asked DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart to reject DEA Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Mary Ellen Bittner's 2007 recommendation that Craker be allowed to start his own MAPS-sponsored medical marijuana production facility. It may have been April Fool's Day, but this is no joke, and the American public is not laughing.

We are now waiting for Leonhart to issue her final order rejecting the ALJ's recommendation. The DEA's final order could come soon, or it could take years. After that, our only recourse is to take up our pending lawsuit against the DEA in the US Court of Appeals (for which Craker's lawyers filed their thirteenth status report on April 11).

Other Research News

9. Swiss LSD/End-of-Life Anxiety Study Nearing Completion

Our Swiss study of LSD-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with life-threatening illness is now collecting data from its 12th and final subject. The MAPS clinical team is conducting a preliminary data analysis and finalizing the database for the FDA. Statisticians at the University of Zurich working with Franz Vollenweider, M.D., will be conducting the analysis to assist Clinical Investigator Peter Gasser, M.D., in preparing a manuscript for publication.

10. Observational Ibogaine Study Enrolls Additional Subjects

On March 18, 2011, MAPS Deputy Director Valerie Mojeiko met with MAPS researcher Thomas Kingsley Brown, Ph.D., at the University of California, San Diego, to review the progress of our ongoing observational study of ibogaine-assisted therapy for the treatment of addiction. The study, which has now enrolled 20 out of 30 subjects, is investigating the long-term effects of ibogaine therapy in patients who have already undergone treatment at one of two independent ibogaine clinics in Mexico. We have completed the creation of a database for collecting the data, and MAPS volunteer Rebecca is currently assisting with data entry.

11. MAPS Receives Multiple Matching Grant Offers for Clinical Ibogaine Study

As of April 1, we are no longer accepting applications for our $25,000 matching grant offered to a team of researchers with the credentials and expertise required to conduct a clinical study of ibogaine. We are currently reviewing several applications in hopes that we will be able to conduct this study. In both the ongoing observational study and the planned clinical study, MAPS is attempting to determine whether the potential risks and benefits of ibogaine-assisted therapy outweigh the risks of being addicted to alcohol, opiates, and other drugs. Unlike for MDMA, which numerous toxicity studies have determined can be safely administered in therapeutic contexts, basic clinical safety has not yet been established for ibogaine.

So far, MAPS has received two offers of $25,000 matching grants. One is from Bob Sisko of the Addiction Research Institute, though his offer is dependent on whether we can agree on a protocol design (a distinct possibility). The second is from Matt and Kristi Bowden of New Zealand harm reduction organization Stargate International. Combined with the $25,000 we have already earmarked for the study, we may have a total of $75,000 to work with on a clinical ibogaine study protocol.

12. Supplemental Study Measures Cardiovascular Effects of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy

We are presently conducting a meta-analysis of the cardiovascular data collected in our past studies of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, and comparing that data to our recent survey of the cardiovascular effects of recreational Ecstasy use. The preliminary data for this analysis was collected and presented to MAPS staff by Clinical Research Intern and University of Amsterdam medical student Daan de Vries. An early analysis suggests that both those patients randomly chosen to receive inactive placebo and those chosen to receive the full 125 mg dose of MDMA experience increases in blood pressure. While it is still too early to make conclusions from this analysis, it is possible that the cardiovascular effects of therapeutic doses of MDMA are comparable to the cardiovascular effects of PTSD symptoms in a non-drug psychotherapy session. Blood pressure is currently measured every 15-30 minutes in our protocols. The FDA originally created this requirement because of concerns about the cardiovascular risks of MDMA. If blood pressure exceeds a certain threshold, these measurements are made every five minutes until they stabilize and can be disruptive to the therapeutic process. Conducting this meta-analysis may enable us to negotiate with the FDA for less frequent blood pressure measurements in our upcoming Phase 3 studies of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD.

13. Participate in a Non-MAPS Survey on Drugs and Mystical Experiences

Do you take drugs to heighten your spirituality? Some drugs, such as psychedelics, help people help reach atonement and enlightenment. Researchers at Bond University are conducting a study of the relationship between various drugs, from alcohol to cocaine to LSD, and spirituality. Recent research has indicated that there is a significant relationship between psychedelic drugs and mystical experiences in highly controlled settings. However, is there a relationship between other drugs that are not psychedelic, and is the same relationship true for those who have previously done drugs in non-medical settings? Click here to participate in the survey, and follow the instructions. Please feel free to share the link with friends.

MAPS Store

14. Honor Thy Daughter Coming Soon: Reserve Your Copy Now!

Keep an eye out at the end of April for the newest book from the MAPS press. Honor Thy Daughter is an intimate true story by Marilyn Howell, Ed.D., about her family's search for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing as her daughter struggles with terminal cancer. The family's journey takes them through the darkest corners of corporate medicine, the jungles of Brazil, the pallid hallways of countless hospitals, and ultimately into the hands of an anonymous therapist who offers the family hope and healing through MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. The story was originally featured in a 2006 Boston Globe article in which Howell's identity was concealed. With psychedelic medicine increasingly a part of the mainstream vocabulary, in Honor Thy Daughter Howell comes out of the closet and shares with us how psychedelic therapy helped heal the bonds ripped apart by illness. An excerpt from the book will appear in the upcoming special edition of the MAPS Bulletin. Remember: 100% of MAPS' shares of the proceeds from the sale of the book go directly to funding our research and educational projects. Reserve your copy now!

15. Visionary Art: Alex Grey's "The Shulgins and Their Alchemical Angels"

Alex Grey's breathtaking painting was unveiled on April 17, 2010, at the tribute banquet held in honor of Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin and his wife Ann at the "Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century" conference in San Jose, California. MAPS is now offering a limited quantity of numbered prints lovingly signed by Alex, Sasha, and Ann. This radiant painting portrays Sasha holding an MDMA molecule with a fiery warm glow and angel's wings while Ann touches the molecule and gazes into the light. Molecular diagrams (which Sasha has called his "dirty pictures") hover around them, and above the couple blaze two flaming wings bearing the words "PiHKAL" and "TiHKAL." An alchemical flask hovers above Sasha's head with a symbolic "eye of the heart" angel inside the lab vessel. There are still a few available, so visit the MAPS Visionary Art Store today and help support psychedelic science while honoring these historic figures.

Events

16. Save the Date for MAPS' 25th Anniversary Celebration!

Join MAPS on December 9-11, 2011, in the San Francisco Bay Area to celebrate 25 years of unprecedented progress in psychedelic science and medicine! The locations are still to be decided, but whether it happens at a world-renowned science exhibition center, on a cruise ship on the San Francisco Bay, or inside a tremendous spaceship, this event will be one to remember. The event will feature lectures, workshops, and an all-night celebration. Psychedelic science has come a long way since our founding in 1986, and for the first time in nearly half a century mainstream medicine and the mass media alike are recognizing the pressing need for this research. Thanks to the support of the MAPS community, the next 25 years is looking even more promising than the last. Keep an eye out for more information!

17. UK "Breaking Convention" Conference a Huge Success

On April 1-3, 2011, MAPS Founder and Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D., and MAPS Executive Assistant Linnae Ponté traveled to the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, for "Breaking Convention: A Multidisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Consciousness". The event held true to its name, bringing together some of the world's leading minds in psychedelic research to propagate the psychedelic renaissance in the UK and around the world. With 600 attendees (three times the expected number) from 30 countries around the world, "Breaking Convention" was a successful first conference organized by the UKC Psychedelics Society. Many thanks to Ben Sessa, M.D., David King, and the rest of the conference organizers.

A highlight of the conference was a panel debate entitled "MDMA: Its Place in Medicine, Society and, Politics." Panelists Andy Parrott, Ph.D., Ben Sessa, M.D., Jon Cole, Ph.D., Val Curran, M.D., and Rick Doblin, Ph.D., held a lively discussion and addressed questions from the audience. The consensus of the panelists, with the exception of Andy Parrott, was that the ongoing and expanding research into MDMA-assisted psychotherapy was a positive development. Rick Doblin also delivered the final talk of the conference, entitled "Psychedelics and the Future United Religions: Building a Global Spirituality". Videos from the conference will be posted on the MAPS website as soon as they are available, and in the meantime you can check out this terrific set of interviews with conference attendees over at The Know Drugs Blog. Also see this interesting and off-beat commentary on the conference.

18. Transpersonal Pioneers Offer 6-Week Course on Psychology and Consciousness

From May 24 to June 28, 2011, join transpersonal psychiatrist Stan Grof, M.D., Ph.D., and transpersonal psychologist Christina Grof, Ph.D., for a six-week "tele-course" in honor of the achievements of these pioneering researchers. MAPS has signed on as an affiliate for this course, meaning that a significant portion of every registration made by clicking on the below links goes directly to supporting MAPS' research and educational projects. The course, entitled "Moving Toward Wholeness," includes weekly online seminars, including:

  • Toward a Psychology of the Future: Lessons from Consciousness Research
  • Cosmos, Psyche, and Society: Archetypal Forces in Personal and Collective Life
  • The Power of Breath and Insight: Moving Toward Wholeness
  • Bringing It Home: Integrating the Breathwork Experiences into Everyday Life
  • Spiritual Emergency: Breakdown or Breakthrough?
  • Celebrating Transpersonal Psychology: A Gathering of Elders
The course centers around a "Global Holotropic Breathwork Day" on June 11, during which practitioners of Holotropic Breathwork from around the world will "breathe as one" in an unprecedented collective healing event. This course is a rare opportunity to learn about research into altered states of consciousness and transpersonal psychology directly from the founders of the field, and is not to be missed. The course is co-sponsored by Wisdom University, the Association for Holotropic Breathwork International, the Grof Transpersonal Training Institute, and Stan and Christina Grof. Click here to register, support MAPS, and to learn more about this unique opportunity.

19. Tickets on Sale Now for Horizons Psychedelics Conference in NYC

On October 14-16, 2011, the "Horizons: Perspectives on Psychedelics" conference will be taking place at Judson Memorial Church in the heart of Greenwich Village in New York City. "Horizons" is an annual conference (now in its fifth year) the goal of which is to open a fresh dialogue on the role of psychedelics in medicine, culture, history, spirituality, and creativity. Speakers will be announced soon, and tickets are on sale now. For more information, visit the conference website or Facebook page, or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

20. MAPS to Co-Host International Drug Policy Reform Conference in November

On November 2-5, 2011, the biennial International Drug Policy Reform Conference will take place at the Westin Bonaventure in Los Angeles, CA. Organized by the Drug Policy Alliance and co-hosted by MAPS, the Harm Reduction Coalition, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, the Open Society Foundations, Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, and NORML, the three-day conference will bring together over 1,000 of the brightest minds from over 30 different countries in drug policy reform, harm reduction, medical marijuana, and psychedelic science. The conference will include a series of lectures and panel discussions with MAPS staff and researchers. The attitudes and assumptions underlying the war on drugs have a direct impact on how (and whether) psychedelic and medical marijuana research gets done, so don't miss this important event. Registration will be opening soon!

21. So Many MAPS Events, So Little Time!

On May 6, 2011, we will be opening our doors once again for Santa Cruz's First Friday Art Tour. Just like last time, our office will be transformed into a Visionary Art Gallery featuring works from Martina Hoffmann, Alex Grey, Android Jones, and many others, as well as live music, refreshments, and MAPS merchandise—and be prepared for a few surprises!

MAPS will also be hosting educational and fundraising booths at several upcoming events this month. Join us in recognizing the discovery of LSD on April 19 for Bicycle Day at Temple in San Francisco, CA, an event featuring live music, art, entertainment, and a panel discussion with visionary artists Alex and Allyson Grey, Council on Spiritual Practices Convenor Bob Jesse, author and psychedelic researcher Rick Strassman, M.D., psychologist Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., and others. On April 23, MAPS will be participating in Deep Green Fest, a one-day celebration of the long history of cannabis science and medicine. The events will include many discussions relevant to MAPS' attempts to conduct government-approved medical marijuana research, including "The Science and Promise of Medical Cannabis" and "The Media Portrayal of Cannabis." Check out our events page for details on these and other upcoming events.

Also, keep an eye out for more information about upcoming events in Canada. MAPS will be hosting fundraising events on September 13 in Victoria, BC, and on September 18 in Vancouver, BC. Both of these events will be great opportunities to meet MAPS Founder and Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D., as well as others in the growing field of psychedelic science and medicine, while supporting MAPS' MDMA-assisted psychotherapy research.

And if that's not enough to get you excited, then you might also want to note that we'll be hosting our next big conference on April 17-22, 2013. There's so much to do!

22. NORML to Host 40th Anniversary Conference in the Rockies

On April 21-23, 2011, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) will be hosting the NORML 40th Anniversary National Conference at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Denver, CO. The event will include panel discussions and lectures by numerous well-known figures in the science of marijuana and marijuana law reform, including marijuana researcher Lester Grinspoon, M.D., U.S. Congressman Jared Polis, NORML Founder Keith Stroup, and NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano. MAPS is sponsoring this event, so make sure to stop by our educational and fundraising booth. In addition to offering books, art, and other merchandise from the MAPS store, we'll be spreading awareness about the federal obstruction of marijuana research and about our attempts to begin a study of marijuana for the treatment of PTSD.

23. European Psychedelic Harm Reduction Organization Seeks Volunteers

Since our founding, MAPS has emphasized the need for education and services that reduce the risks associated with using psychedelics recreationally, and has supported numerous harm reduction projects. Safer Festival is an independent non-profit organization that provides a variety of services for large music events in Europe. One of these services is the creation of "chill-out areas" and other safe spaces where people under the influence of psychoactive substances can receive psychological support and counselling. This service is managed by a "Universal Care" team composed of psychologists, psychotherapists, harm reduction workers, and facilitators from different European countries. The Safer Festival Universal Care team is seeking volunteers to work at the Sonica Dance Festival in Montenegro from August 12-16, 2011. Those interested in volunteering at this or future events should contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) before April 30.

Media

24. Coming Soon: Special Edition of the MAPS Bulletin on Psychedelics and the Body

Nexts week, we're sending out the newest issue of the MAPS Bulletin. In this bonus-length special edition, guest editor David Jay Brown brings you 70 pages of fascinating articles and visionary artwork on the topic of "Psychedelics and the Mind/Body Connection." This issue features original articles and interviews by psychologist Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., alternative health guru Andrew Weil, M.D., sports writer James Oroc, visionary artist Android Jones, psychedelic researcher Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., and many others. While we aren't recommending that everyone use psychedelics, this new issue is certain to give readers a new perspective on the relationship between the psychedelic experience and physical activities such as yoga, extreme sports, dance, bodywork, and fire-spinning, as well as the role of psychedelics in catalyzing the healing of the mind and the body. Also includes full-page artwork (all for sale in the MAPS Visionary Art Store) by Android Jones, Yurik Riegel, and A. Andrew Gonzalez. Sign up for a MAPS membership today to make sure you don't miss out on this exciting new issue!

25. MAPS Featured in ELLE Magazine

It's official: Psychedelic therapy is no longer the taboo topic it once was. Last month, MAPS' MDMA-assisted psychotherapy research was the subject of an immensely popular feature article in O: The Oprah Magazine. This month, in an article entitled "That Lovin' Feeling," ELLE magazine reviews the origins of MDMA's therapeutic uses in marriage and family therapy and specifically discusses MAPS' role in helping psychedelic therapy return to mainstream medicine. The article includes an earnest and in-depth interview with MAPS Founder and Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D., and discusses why—despite the possibility that MDMA-assisted therapy could help couples reestablish lost connections—MAPS has chosen to focus on helping individuals overcome their traumatic pasts. Check out MAPS in the Media for this and even more evidence that psychedelic science is back in the mainstream.

26. Documentary on Secret History of LSD Meets Fundraising Goal

Last month, we sent out a call for pledges for Connie Littlefield's brand-new documentary on the history of underground psychedelic chemistry, and we are overjoyed to announce that the film reached its $15,000 fundraising goal. Better Living Through Chemistry will feature in-depth and personal interviews with early LSD manufacturers Nicholas Sand and Tim Scully, whose commitment to making and distributing "the finest, purest LSD ever created" eventually brought them face to face with the law. The film will help throw the doors wide open on the (until now) secret history of psychedelics and the war on drugs. Thanks to everyone who pledged! The $15,000 will be used to create an expanded trailer that will be used to try to obtain the additional funds needed to complete the documentary.

27. Coming Soon: New Film on Electronic Music, Psychedelics, and Spirituality

Electronic Awakening is a new film by anthropologist Andrew Johner that reminds us of the powerful role of spirituality in electronic dance music culture. For many members of the electronic dance community, electronic music is an intensely spiritual activity. The film highlights the role of psychedelics in this community and the need for responsible policies that minimize the risks associated with their use, and even features an original interview with MAPS Founder and Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D. Click here to become a part of this important project.

Other News

28. Now Hiring: Director of Marketing and Development

MAPS is currently accepting applications for a new Director of Marketing and Development. This individual will provide the strategic vision and collaborative leadership necessary to plan and execute a fundraising plan that will bring our annual revenue from $1.5 million to $4 million by 2015 to enable us to expand our research program from Phase 2 to Phase 3, the next step toward making MDMA-assisted psychotherapy available as a treatment for PTSD. The Director of Marketing and Development will lead the overall direction, coordination and implementation of MAPS fundraising campaigns, including development operations, donor relations and annual fund giving, events, online fundraising, planned giving, direct mail, major donors and regional outreach, subject to plans approved by the Deputy Director. The Executive Director will continue to work with the existing donors with whom he has a personal relationship (welcoming input from the Director of Marketing and Development) and will be available to complement the Director of Marketing and Development by meeting around the world with new prospective donors and by participating in events. Please visit our careers page for additional information about responsibilities, qualifications, and how to apply.

29. Seeking Skilled, Motivated Interns for Summer 2011

Are you skilled, motivated, and passionate about helping MAPS create treatments for PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other illnesses by developing psychedelics and marijuana into prescription medicines? Do you enjoy working as part of a fast-paced and committed team? MAPS is currently seeking interns in the following areas for Summer 2011:

  • Accounting and Information Technology /  Database Maintenance
  • Clinical Support and Information Technology / Database Design
  • Communications / Web Content
  • Communications and Marketing / Social Media
  • Development and Outreach / Field Operations
  • General Office / Mail and Sales
All positions are unpaid, and interns must be willing and able to travel to our administrative office in Santa Cruz, CA. For more detailed information about each position and instructions for how to apply, please visit our internship page. We look forward to hearing from you!

30. MAPS Needs Your Old iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch

MAPS has taken its tabling and outreach capabilities to the next level by utilizing the latest in mobile technologies, and we need your help. Using these devices we are able to accept donations, make sales, and stay on top of our record keeping much more easily than ever before. We are currently limited by the number of devices we have, so we are seeking additional in-kind donations of these devices from our members and supporters. We are especially seeking donations of iPads, though old iPhones and iPod Touch devices are also needed. Please visit MAPS' page at The Giving Effect to make your donation. Tax receipts will be issued for the current market value of each donated device.

31. CE/CME Credit Still Available for 2010 Psychedelic Science Conference Videos

Our "Watch, Learn, and Share" video fundraising campaign is over, but you can still access the videos from our 2010 "Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century" conference. The videos have now logged over 38,000 views, and thanks to viewer support MAPS earned every penny of the $15,000 offered by the generous donor (thanks to MAPS volunteer Aimee for keeping track of these numbers!). Now, MAPS and David Lukoff, Ph.D., of the Spiritual Competency Resource Center (SCRC) have teamed up to continue offering Continuing Medical Education (CME) and Continuing Education (CE) credits to qualifying physicians, psychologists, MFTs, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. All you have to do is watch the videos on the SCRC website and complete a short quiz. Courses include talks by psychotherapist Michael Mithoefer, M.D., psychedelic researcher David Nichols, Ph.D., psychiatrist Stan Grof, M.D., Ph.D., MAPS Founder and Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D., and alternative health guru Andrew Weil, M.D. A portion of course fees goes directly to funding MAPS' research and educational projects. Take a course today and get professional credit while supporting MAPS!

Give Our Veterans Hope
1 in 7 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from PTSD, in many cases leading to suicide. We owe it to our veterans to stop this epidemic.

Tell the Pentagon to fund MAPS' groundbreaking work to treat PTSD.