From the Newsletter of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
MAPS - Volume 7 Number 4 Autumn 1997 - pp. 11-20

MAPS Annual Report: Fiscal Year 1996 - 97
Rick Doblin
MAPS President

MAPS' financial picture improved remarkably in FY 96-97. However, it must be kept in mind that clinical trials into the risks and benefits of psychedelic drugs and marijuana are exceedingly expensive.

Fiscal Year 1996-97 began the second decade of MAPS' existence. Income rose dramatically over that of FY 95-96, permitting MAPS to support an expanded number of projects. As in previous years, MAPS' statement of income and expenses is published in the Bulletin along with a detailed explanation of the individual items. In this way, MAPS members can review exactly how their donations were allocated and what expenses were incurred. This report is an invitation for dialogue; MAPS members are encouraged to review this report and share with the staff any comments, suggestions or questions that they would like to offer. MAPS will continue to flourish only to the extent that the expenditures it makes correspond closely to the priorities of its members. As a result, we publish this detailed accounting and seek your input.

Project overview

Among other accomplishments in the area of research, MAPS laid the groundwork in FY 96-97 for Dr. Abrams' historic success in FY 97-98 in obtaining permission and funding for the first study of the medical use of marijuana in a patient population in fifteen years. MAPS also facilitated Dr. Russo's initial NIH grant application for research into the use of marijuana in the treatment of migraines and his serotonin assays with a variety of Amazonian plants and other psychoactive substances. MAPS supported Drs. Grob and Poland's submission to the FDA of the first protocol seeking to study the use of MDMA in a patient population in the United States since MDMA was placed in Schedule 1 in 1985, funded MDMA neurotoxicity research, and successfully assisted Dr. Evgeny Krupitsky in designing, implementing and obtaining funding (from both MAPS and the Heffter Research Institute) for the first study ever conducted into the use of ketamine in the treatment of heroin addiction. MAPS also began the 35-42 year follow-up to Dr. Oscar Janiger's pioneering LSD research, the longest follow-up study ever conducted into the use of a psychedelic drug. MAPS lent assistance to Benny Shanon, Ph.D. in his study of the cognitive effects of ayahuasca, and supported the development of protocols by Drs. Yensen and Dryer for their proposed LSD research, and by John McClusky, M.S.W. for his proposed peyote research.

Among other accomplishments in the area of education, the MAPS Bulletin continued to be both an aesthetic and informational success, a large number of people learned about the medical use of marijuana from projects supported by MAPS and implemented by the Cannabis Action Network and Chris Conrad with Mikki Norris, and the collaborative MAPS, Heffter Research Institute (HRI) and Albert Hofmann Foundation project of an on-line psychedelic bibliography gathered momentum. MAPS also devoted much staff time to the editing of The Secret Chief, the first book ever published by MAPS, now available in FY 97-98.

Financial overview

MAPS' expenditures in FY 96-97 amounted to $255,746. This compares to expenditures of $185,797 in FY 95-96, and $133,153 in FY 94-95. MAPS' income in FY 96-97 was an astonishing $558,683. This compares to $200,182 in FY 95-96 and $107,184 in FY 94-95. The increase in income in FY 96-97 as compared to FY 95-96 was primarily due to the receipt of the final disbursement of Eric Bass' estate, in the amount of $329,583. The increase in income in FY 95-96 as compared to FY 94-95 was also largely due to preliminary disbursements from the estate of Eric Bass, in the amount to $63,203.

In addition to income actually received in FY 96-97, MAPS has also obtained a pledge of $58,000 from a family foundation for Dr. Charles Grob's proposed research project into the use of MDMA in the treatment of pain and distress in cancer patients. This grant will be allocated only after all the required regulatory approvals have been obtained, hopefully in early 1998. At the close of FY 96-97, MAPS had assets of $347,494, plus remainder interest worth about $23,000 in a home in La Jolla, California that will become solely owned by MAPS in approximately 40 years. In addition, MAPS owns computer and office equipment worth about $5,000. This compares to assets at the end of FY 95-96 of $44,367 plus the remainder interest in the La Jolla home and computer equipment worth about $2,000, and assets of $29,981 at the end of FY 94-95 plus computer equipment worth about $1,500.

MAPS' financial picture has improved remarkably in FY 96-97. However, it must be kept in mind that clinical trials into the risks and benefits of psychedelic drugs and marijuana are exceedingly expensive. For example, Dr. Donald Abrams' initial safety study into the medical use of smoked marijuana in the treatment of AIDS patients will cost $978,000. Fortunately, the National Institute on Drug Abuse is providing a grant for this project, turning a total of $10,000 that MAPS donated to UC San Francisco for the expenses that Dr. Abrams and his team incurred in the preparation of two National Institutes on Health (NIH) grant applications into almost $1 million. Realistically, MAPS cannot depend on government or foundation grants for all or even most of its projects.

When MAPS' resources are matched against its goals, it becomes clear that MAPS needs to continue to utilize a strategy of providing money for pilot studies or the preparation of grant applications that will hopefully be able to generate additional resources from more traditional sources. MAPS can itself fund major clinical trials only if it receives donations on a scale which it has yet to obtain.

Detailed income report

MAPS' income in FY 96-97 was $558,683. Of this amount, $329,583 came from the final disbursement of the estate of Eric Bass, $44,500 came from Foundation grants (Zimmer Foundation - $34,500; Drug Policy Foundation - $5,000; Peter Lewis Foundation - $5,000), $17,023 came from investment income (dividends, interest and realized capital gains) and $167,575 came from donations. Donations from the 10 individual donors who contributed $1,000 or more amounted to $84,704. MAPS' approximately 1,400 other members contributed a total of $82,871, for an average donation of about $60.

Of the donations of $1,000 or more, Tim Butcher gave $20,000 for MDMA neurotoxicity research at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and $7,500 for computers for the MAPS office and for Dr. Karl Jansen's MDMA neurotoxicity research project at the Maudsley Hospital in England. Robert Barnhart gave $19,818.75, some for Dr. Grob's research into the use of MDMA psychotherapy in the treatment of cancer patients and some which will be used for the Janiger follow-up project. John Gilmore gave $9,435.50 which he prefers to have allocated to medical marijuana-related projects. Bob Wallace gave $12,450, of which at least $10,000 is being allocated to the publication and marketing of The Secret Chief, the first book that MAPS has published (see page 29). Nicholas Saunders donated to MAPS all of his royalties from the sale of his book, Dance, Trance and Transformation. These royalties amounted to $4,500 in FY 96-97. Unrestricted gifts were received in the amounts of $4,000 (which was allocated to Dr. Evgeny Krupitsky's research into the use of ketamine in the treatment of heroin addiction), $3,000 and $2,000. There were two unrestricted gifts of $1,000.

Much of the income that MAPS received in FY 96-97 was from extraordinary, non-repeating sources. There will be no more disbursements from the Eric Bass estate. Though the Zimmer Foundation continues to make restricted donations to MAPS for educational purposes primarily related to the medical use of marijuana, neither the grant from the Peter Lewis Foundation, for the preparation of Dr. Abrams' NIH grant application, nor the Drug Policy Foundation grant, for efforts to initiate a fully licensed and legal farm to produce marijuana for FDA-approved research, are recurring. Royalty income from Dance, Trance and Transformation has slowed considerably now that the book has been on the market about a year. In addition, many of the contributions from individuals who donated over $1,000 were one-time gifts for specific projects.

From an organizational development standpoint, the donations of less than $1,000 from MAPS' approximately 1,400 members form the core recurring resource. In FY 96-97, these donations amounted to $82,871, for an average of about $60 each. In FY 95-96, MAPS received $57,127 in donations of less than $1,000 from its about 1000 members, with an average of about $57 per member.

In order to increase the stability of MAPS as an organization, it is necessary to increase the number of members who contribute regular membership donations. MAPS added about 400 members in this last fiscal year. In FY 97-98, MAPS is embarking on a combined membership/fundraising drive in association with the Heffter Research Institute, in hopes of increasing membership by an additional 500-1,000 members.

Detailed expenditure report

Total expenditures for FY 96-97 amounted to $255,746. This compares to expenditures of $185,797 in FY 95-96, and $133,153 in FY 94-95. The expenditures have been divided into four categories; research, education, staff and office. In FY 96-97, MAPS allocated $90,660 to research, $77,914 to education, $73,629 to staff and $13,541 to office.

Research projects

Funding research with psychedelics and marijuana is the top priority for MAPS. The rationale for this priority is that research is the most accepted and direct route towards the creation of legal contexts for the medical, therapeutic use of these drugs.

In line with this priority, MAPS spent $90,660 on research in FY 96-97. The bulk of this money, $56,377, was allocated to projects involving MDMA. The rationale for the emphasis on MDMA is that MDMA is the drug that is likely to be the easiest to integrate into psychiatry, primarily because the MDMA experience is gentle yet profound, without much of the challenging perceptual and cognitive effects of the classic psychedelics. Furthermore, MDMA is relatively short-acting, making it easier to introduce its use into a psychiatrist's schedule.

The remaining $34,283 spent on research in FY 96-97 went to projects involving LSD, ketamine, peyote, ayahuasca, various Amazonian psychoactive plants, and marijuana.

MDMA cancer patient study

Dr. Charles Grob and Russell Poland, Ph.D, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, are the co-principle investigators for the proposed study into the use of MDMA in the treatment of psychological distress and physical pain in end-stage cancer patients. MAPS donated $12,500 to Dr. Russell Poland, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, for his work involved in the protocol development and approval process. MAPS used funds from the Eric Bass bequest for this grant. MAPS has also obtained a pledge of $58,000 for this study from a family foundation, contingent upon obtaining all the necessary approvals.

Drs. Grob and Poland and the FDA have been engaged for the last several months in an informal protocol review process. The protocol was formally submitted to the FDA for review in November 1997. The completion of the protocol approval process may take from three to six months. In addition to the FDA, the protocol must be approved by Harbor-UCLA Medical Center's Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the California Research Advisory Panel, which must approve all research with Schedule 1 drugs in California. Hopefully, it will be possible to obtain the necessary approvals for this project without undue delay.

Neurotoxicity studies

From July 1996 to April 1997, MAPS invested $16,7630 in an MDMA neurotoxicity study in rats conducted by Kate Chapman, working under the direction of Dr. Russell Poland. This study gathered information about the extent of serotonin reductions in rats given doses in the human therapeutic range, information which was largely missing from the scientific record. This study has determined the "no effect level" in rats for serotonin reductions. When coupled with the results of the MDMA blood level study (described below) to be conducted by Ms. Christine Cloak, also working under the direction of Dr. Russell Poland, it will be possible to put the current data about MDMA neurotoxicity into a more accurate context.

This study, as well as the Poland/Cloak study, was funded by MAPS largely because such information could be crucial in obtaining permission from the California Research Advisory Panel and the Harbor-UCLA Medical School (IRB) for the MDMA cancer patient study in humans. For this experiment, MAPS used the proceeds of an earlier grant arranged by Nicholas Saunders for MDMA research as well as some of the proceeds that MAPS received from the royalties from Nicholas Saunders' book on MDMA, Ecstasy: Dance, Trance, and Transformation.

Fellowship for MDMA neurotoxicity research

In September and October 1996, MAPS donated a total of $20,000 to the Research and Education Institute of Harbor-UCLA Medical School for a graduate student fellowship for Ms. Christine Cloak. Ms. Cloak is working on an MDMA neurotoxicity study in rats under the direction of Dr. Russ Poland. MAPS received a restricted grant of $20,000 for this purpose from Tim Butcher. This donation represented the first graduate student fellowship that MAPS has ever awarded.

This study will correlate blood levels of MDMA with the extent of reductions in serotonin. Previous studies have focused on correlating dosage, but not explicitly blood levels, with serotonin reductions. Increasingly, the FDA wants to see data based on blood levels. Preliminary indications are that blood levels of MDMA in rats are higher than with comparable doses in humans, suggesting that the amounts of MDMA that may cause reductions in serotonin in humans may be larger than previously estimated from the comparison of relative dosage levels.

MDMA neurotoxicity research in England

In late 1996, MAPS donated $4,000 for a computer to Dr. Karl Jansen of the Maudsley Hospital in London, to be used for data analysis and word processing for a study comparing the serotonin systems of heavy MDMA users with those of a group of matched controls. MAPS funded this project through the use of $4,000 donated by Tim Butcher. Unfortunately, there were technical problems in the data gathering phase of the experiment and parts of the study will need to be repeated.

This study did not involve the actual administration of MDMA to human subjects but was intended to lead to an application for permission to conduct a study in which MDMA would be administered to humans whose response would be measured by functional MRI technology. Unfortunately, it now looks unlikely that Dr. Jansen will be able to obtain permission in the near future for human studies administering MDMA, given the intense political controversy surrounding MDMA in England.

Dr. Jansen has used the computer to write and publish a paper on the relationship between ketamine and near-death experiences. The paper is entitled "The Ketamine Model of the Near Death Experience: A Central Role for the NMDA Receptor" and the reference is Jansen, K. L. R. (1997) Journal of Near-Death Studies Vol. 16, No. 1, Fall 1997, pp. 1-95.

MDMA Analysis Project

MAPS conducted a study in FY 95-96 into the composition of street samples of MDMA. The final expenditure of $1,000 for that study was made in FY 96-97. Results of this study were reported in the Spring 1996 MAPS Bulletin, Vol. VI, No. 3, pp. 11-13.

Ketamine heroin addiction study

Dr. Evgeny Krupitsky has conducted research into the use of ketamine in the treatment of alcoholism for the last ten years. A paper about this research by Dr. Krupitsky and associates, extensively edited by MAPS, appeared in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Vol. 29 (2), April-June 1997, pp. 165-183.

Dr. Krupitsky returned to Russia in late March 1997 from Yale Medical School, where he spent a year working on ketamine research with Dr. John Krystal on a research fellowship funded by the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA). Drs. Krupitsky and Krystal have continued their collaboration as a result of a new grant they received.

In March 1997, MAPS donated $8,000 to Dr. Evgeny Krupitsky for the first year of a three-year study of the use of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy in the treatment of heroin addiction. MAPS has committed an additional $8,000 per year for each of the remaining two years of the study. The study will take place in Russia at the Leningrad Regional Center for the Treatment of Addiction. MAPS also assisted Dr. Krupitsky in the protocol design process. In early 1997, several patients were treated by Dr. Krupitsky's associates in a small pilot version of the ketamine heroin addiction study. The study has entered full-scale implementation now that Dr. Krupitsky has returned to Russia.

In September 1997, the Heffter Research Institute (HRI) pledged $5,000 a year for three years to Dr. Krupitsky for this study, to be used primarily for expenses involved in a more extensive and prolonged follow-up of the subjects than originally proposed. The gathering of this additional data will help generate data on treatment outcome that goes beyond what is usually collected in drug abuse treatment research. The joint sponsorship of Dr. Krupitsky's study by HRI and MAPS is an example of the increasingly collaborative nature of the relationship between these two organizations, both of which are working to support psychedelic research.

LSD research project

Drs. Richard Yensen and Donna Dryer have been working for many years to obtain FDA permission to administer LSD to humans within a therapeutic context. They have been focusing on protocols for the use of LSD in the treatment of substance abusers and for the use of LSD in the psychological treatment of cancer patients. In 1993, MAPS raised $5,000 for their research at the 50th Anniversary of LSD conference. Over the years, MAPS has disbursed some of that money for various protocol development expenses. In April 1997, MAPS paid out the remaining $1,500 of the $5,000 and an additional $1,000 for protocol development expenses and the purchase of various psychological tests to be used in their experiments.

In October 1997, FDA sent a letter to Drs. Yensen and Dryer in which it placed in writing a list of issues that need to be addressed prior to FDA approval of any research protocol, thereby clarifying the protocol design issues with which the FDA is most concerned. One fundamental issue concerns the determination of an adequate control group, no easy task with any psychedelic since the classic double-blind design is inadequate due to the not surprising fact that most subjects and experimenters can determine whether the subjects received LSD or a placebo.

Drs. Yensen and Dryer are now engaged in the process of redesigning the protocol in response to the FDA's October 1997 letter. It is hoped that a study for the use of LSD in the treatment of cancer patients will be approved in early 1998. MAPS has pledged $2,500 in further protocol development expenses and an additional $10,000 in direct expenses once the study is finally approved.

Peyote and alcoholism study

John McClusky, M.S.W. is planning to conduct a study of the use of peyote for the treatment of alcoholism in the context of Native American Church services. John is hoping to complete a dissertation about this project at the University of Arizona at Tucson. Leo Mercado, founder and director of the Peyote Foundation, has established contacts with Native American Church leaders and has built a facility where services can take place.

MAPS has donated $1,200 toward preliminary expenses involved in planning this project. Some of these funds have gone toward the purchase of a tipi in which the peyote services will take place. MAPS has committed to providing an additional $1,600 upon the initiation of the study (see page 3).

Ayahuasca cognitive psychology project

MAPS disbursed $1,545 in FY 96-97 out of a pledged $5,000 to Prof. Benny Shanon, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, for the writing of a paper for publication analyzing the effect of ayahuasca on cognitive processing. Prof. Shanon is a tenured professor in the Psychology Department at Hebrew University with many publications in the field of cognitive psychology. Prof. Shanon's paper will analyze the reports he gathered from about 30 subjects describing their own experiences with ayahuasca as well as his own self-reports from about 75 experiences he had with ayahuasca in Peru and Brazil over the last several years. A preliminary report on his findings appeared in the Summer 1997 MAPS Bulletin, Vol VII, #3, pp. 13-15.

The funding from MAPS will be used by Prof. Shanon to support the work of research assistants to categorize and analyze his data, to purchase books and journals on ayahuasca, psychedelic research, transpersonal psychology and altered states of consciousness for the Hebrew University library, and for a computer for his office.

One additional benefit of working with Prof. Shanon is that he may be able to locate researchers in Israel who would like to investigate the therapeutic use of MDMA in the treatment of PTSD or another psychiatric condition. MAPS has long had a goal, so far unmet, of initiating MDMA psychotherapy research outside of the United States.

LSD research follow-up

MAPS spent $4,419 in FY 96-97 for an important follow-up study to early LSD research that was conducted from 1954-1962 by Dr. Oscar Janiger. Approximately $20,000 will be spent in FY 97-98 to complete this project. The follow-up interviews have been conducted by Kate Chapman, who, along with the assistance of a private detective, helped locate and interview over 45 of the original subjects. The interviews are being transcribed by Maureen Alioto, a professional transcriber and researcher with experience in qualitative research involving issues related to drug use.

Dr. Janiger's original study was a naturalistic study of the effects of LSD in healthy volunteers. Cary Grant, Ana•s Nin and Jack Nicholson, as well as many artists, doctors, housewives, etc., were subjects. All told, approximately 800 people were administered LSD in an attempt to determine the acute effects of LSD as people described them. Dr. Janiger's files contain session reports from about 1/3 of these subjects as well as information about the subjects' names, birthdates, occupation, religion and race. As of April 15, Kate Chapman began working full-time to conduct interviews and help locate subjects. In early May 1997, MAPS spent $2,000 to hire a private detective to locate 20 subjects.

Ever since I conducted the twenty-five year follow-up to Dr. Walter Pahnke's classic 1962 Good Friday experiment into the potential of psilocybin to facilitate mystical experiences (Doblin R, Pahnke's "Good Friday Experiment": A long-term follow-up and methodological critique, J Transpersonal Psychology, Vol. 23, no. 1, 1991, pp. 1-28.), I have realized the power and importance of trying to determine the long-term effects of psychedelic experiences. For the last two years, MAPS has been setting the groundwork for this long-term follow-up to Dr. Janiger's study. Many of the subjects are no longer living but a substantial number are. This is a fascinating look at people who took LSD before all the cultural hysteria took place. Many of the original subjects are models of accomplishment according to cultural standards and would not at all fit the stereotype of countercultural drug users.

One big advantage of this study is that no permission is required from a governmental authority since no drugs will be administered. One disadvantage is that this study is not a therapeutic clinical trial and will not help out with the FDA in terms of making psychedelics into approved medicines. However, this study could have a powerful educational impact about the risks and benefits of psychedelics, which is also important in paving the way to the creation of legal contexts for the use of psychedelics. Of course, everything depends on what the people we manage to find and interview have to say.

Serotonin assay project

This project, conducted by Dr. Ethan Russo, U. of Montana, is a laboratory study designed to evaluate the interaction between various subtypes of serotonin receptors in test-tubes and several psychoactive plants, psychedelic drugs and marijuana. The purpose of the study is to identify possible candidates for the treatment of migraine headaches, which involve the serotonin system.

MAPS supported this study with a $2,500 grant in order to play a small role in a basic science project involving psychedelics and marijuana. While not a study in humans, this project is designed to lead to such studies if promising potential medicines are identified.

Marijuana and migraine study

From March-May 1997, MAPS donated $3,500 to Dr. Ethan Russo to support the efforts and expenses required of him and his associates to prepare their first NIH grant application for funding and a legal supply of marijuana for their proposed experiment. Dr. Russo's grant application was submitted to NIH before the June 1, 1997 deadline. MAPS' $3,500 funding support to Dr. Russo came from a $5,000 grant to MAPS from the Zimmer Family Foundation to support the preparation of NIH grant applications for the investigation of the medical uses of marijuana.

Dr. Russo's protocol was designed primarily to investigate the use of smoked marijuana, the oral THC capsule, and an injected narcotic painkiller used in the treatment of migraine sufferers who do not respond to standard medication. This proposed study would take place within a hospital or medical clinic where patients whose migraines do not respond to other medication go to receive the injected narcotic painkiller.

In early November, Dr. Russo learned that his NIH grant application was rejected and did not receive a priority score. This means that his protocol is not being considered for funding and cannot be considered to have passed the peer review process. The rationale for the rejection will be sent to Dr. Russo in mid to late December.

This rejection was not unexpected though it is deeply disappointing. Dr. Abrams's first NIH grant application was also rejected without receiving a priority score. It is rare that any NIH grant application is approved and funded the first time it is submitted. Furthermore, while marijuana has been used in the United States for the treatment of migraines for over a century, this use is not well known and there is no active political constituency fighting for this specific medical use of marijuana.

Neither Dr. Russo nor MAPS is going to give up on this project. Dr. Russo will redesign and resubmit his NIH grant proposal in light of the rationale given for its rejection. MAPS and Dr. Russo will also work towards having NIH accept the recommendation of its Expert Committee on the Medical Utility of Marijuana, which in an August 1997 statement proposed that NIDA provide marijuana to all FDA-approved projects regardless of whether they were funded by NIH, state or non-governmental sources. If this policy were put into place, medical marijuana research would be expedited.

Dr. Russo's project is most likely delayed at least a year before it can start. However, his grant application has at least started a process that has a good chance of eventually leading to another medical marijuana research project. If we are lucky, Dr Russo will not need to work on securing approval for his study for five and a half years, which is how long it took Dr. Abrams.

Cannabis Patient Registry

MAPS allocated $4,790 in FY 96-97, and $5,078 in FY 95-96, to the Cannabis Patient Registry, a project conceived and directed by Sylvia Thyssen of MAPS. Funding for this project came in part from a $7,400 grant from the Drug Policy Foundation obtained in FY 95-96. Approximately 650 patients have filled out the CPR questionnaire, several hundred from around the country and about 450 from the Oakland Cannabis Cooperative. Experience with the CPR has demonstrated that its value has primarily been to provide emotional support for the patients and to network patients and activists. The CPR has not proven to be an especially good tool for research but has helped to get an idea in what direction research could go. In this role, the CPR survey has contributed to the development of other questionnaires, most notably one that will be implemented in Northern California by Kaiser Permanente.

Marijuana and HIV

MAPS has been working with Dr. Donald Abrams, UC San Francisco, for five and a half years in a collaborative effort to initiate research into the medical use of marijuana to treat HIV-related wasting syndrome. In February 1997, MAPS donated $5,000 to UC San Francisco to support the efforts and expenses required of Dr. Abrams and his associates to prepare their second National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant application for funding and a legal supply of marijuana for their experiment. MAPS received a restricted grant of $5,000 for this project from Mr. Peter Lewis' PLACE Fund.

NIH approval of a grant application is currently a pre-condition for obtaining a legal supply of marijuana set by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which has a monopoly on the supply. MAPS previously donated $5,000 to UC San Francisco for Dr. Abrams' first NIH grant application, which was rejected.

This grant application was submitted to NIH on May 1, 1997. The protocol, "Short-term Effects of Cannabinoids in HIV Patients," is primarily a safety study designed to investigate the impact of the use of marijuana or oral THC capsule (Marinol, dronabinol) or placebo for 21 days on HIV viral load, various immune and organ system parameters, and the pharmacokinetics of indinavir, one of the most widely prescribed protease inhibitors. The study will also gather data about the degree to which marijuana, oral THC and placebo increase appetite, food intake and weight gain, though nothing conclusive in this regard can be determined from only a 21 day period of use.

At the end of September 1997, Dr. Abrams was informed by NIDA that his grant application had been accepted and that he would receive his grant request of $978,000 in its entirety. The study, which will take two years to complete, should begin in early 1998. MAPS successfully leveraged its $5,000 grant for Dr. Abrams' second NIH grant application into almost $1 million. Looking at the broader picture, however, about $3.5 million was spent on the California and Arizona initiatives which catalyzed the Federal Government to rethink its opposition to medical marijuana research. Furthermore, NIDA has received a lot of critical publicity for obstructing Dr. Abrams' research by previously refusing to supply marijuana to Dr. Abrams' initial FDA-approved protocol. Perhaps to remedy this public perception, NIDA encouraged Dr. Abrams to submit his revised NIH grant application to it rather than to the National Institute on Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the agency which reviewed and rejected his first NIH grant application.

If this initial experiment generates promising results, additional studies will need to be conducted that more fully evaluate marijuana's efficacy. Those additional studies will take at least several months to design after the results of the initial study are fully evaluated. Furthermore, it will take three to nine months at a minimum to obtain approval for these subsequent studies, especially if NIDA's policy to provide marijuana only to studies that pass NIH peer review remains in force. As a result, five years from now is the soonest that we can expect FDA approval of the medical use of marijuana for the treatment of wasting syndrome, even if the studies generate data demonstrating conclusively that marijuana is safe and effective in the treatment of HIV-related wasting syndrome.


MAPS allocated $77,914 to education in FY 96-97, $46,144 in FY 95-96, and $35,212 in FY 94-95. This aspect of MAPS' activity includes the printing and mailing of the MAPS Bulletin, copies, phones, internet connections, postage, advertisement, books and tapes, membership drive, subscriptions, and several educational projects. These projects include a medical marijuana education effort conducted by the Cannabis Action Network (CAN), research and writing of a book on the health aspects of marijuana, educational material distributed at a National Institutes of Health workshop on the medical utility of marijuana, an electronic bibliography of scientific papers on psychedelics for the MAPS web site, and a workshop on psychedelic research at a 1996 conference of the International Transpersonal Association.

CAN medical marijuana education project

CAN has a presence at concerts and colleges around the country at which it educates mostly young people about marijuana's medical use, the use of hemp as a commercial product, and marijuana policy. MAPS donated $9,000 to CAN to support a portion of its costs associated with its medical marijuana educational efforts. MAPS obtained a $9,000 restricted grant from the Zimmer Family Foundation for this purpose.

Hemp for Health book project

MAPS donated $24,500 to Chris Conrad and Mikki Norris for their work in researching and writing a book on the health aspects of the use of marijuana. The book, Hemp for Health, was published in April 1997 and includes a printed version of the Cannabis Patient Registry patient questionnaire. MAPS obtained a $24,500 restricted grant from the Zimmer Family Foundation for this project.

NIH workshop on the medical utility of marijuana

This conference held February 19-20, 1997 was the Clinton Administration's second scientific response to the increasing pressure for FDA-approved research into the medical uses of marijuana, the first response being a $1 million grant from the Office of National Drug Control Policy to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to review the literature on medical marijuana. The literature review that the IOM will take about two years and $1 million to conduct seems like an expensive delay tactic and was essentially conducted in several days at this NIH workshop. MAPS, in association with other reform organizations, prepared an informational handout that we gave to every participant at the NIH conference. The cost to MAPS of printing this informational handout was $611.

The result of the NIH workshop was, somewhat surprisingly, an endorsement of the need for research into the medical uses of marijuana. MAPS contributed both oral and written statements to the Expert Committee charged with developing recommendations to NIH. The formal report of this Committee was supposed to be released in March but took until August. The formal report itself made a number of noteworthy recommendations, among them that research into the medical use of marijuana be encouraged and that NIDA adopt a new policy of providing marijuana to all FDA-approved projects, regardless of whether they were funded by NIH, state or private sources. If this policy had been previously in place, Dr. Abrams would have been able to begin medical marijuana research three years ago. Unfortunately, the recommendations of the NIH Expert Committee remain just recommendations and have not yet been adopted as policy by NIH.

MAPS web site

The MAPS web site has been a very important educational tool and a source of contacts from new members, major funders and researchers. The MAPS web site has been visited ("hits") over 83,000 times since early November 1996. The web site is maintained by Eric Katt on a volunteer basis and is supervised and modified by Sylvia Thyssen. The server space, in San Francisco, is donated by Jim and Julie Petersen. Additional investment in upgrading the MAPS web site to provide secure electronic transfer of credit card information has been instituted in FY 97-98.

On-line psychedelic bibliography

The on-line psychedelic bibliography is a shared project between MAPS, HRI and the Albert Hofmann Foundation. A total of $2,798 was spent in FY 96-97 on the project, the goal of which is to put into electronic form the Sandoz bibliography of all scientific papers published about LSD and psilocybin from their initial synthesis up to about 1980, when Sandoz stopped collecting research papers. What remains to be done is to scan the titles and abstracts of all the remaining papers into electronic form and categorize each paper into one of eighteen categories originally established by Sandoz but only applied to about 540 of the papers. This categorization will permit electronic searching of the database by category as well as keyword. When this project is complete, the on-line psychedelic bibliography will be a powerful tool for students and researchers. An estimated $4,000 remains to be spent on this project. In addition to paid staff, a team of volunteers led by Tim DeLorey, Ph.D. has been working diligently on this project.

1996 ITA conference

MAPS sponsored many of the costs associated with the psychedelic track at the 1996 International Transpersonal Association (ITA) conference, chaired by Dr. Stan Grof. MAPS allocated $4,989 to this effort in FY 95-96. An additional $2,174 in expenses for this project was paid in FY 96-97.

MAPS Bulletin

The MAPS Bulletin, formerly the MAPS Newsletter, is the major educational project of MAPS. MAPS spent $15,369 on printing the Bulletin and used a substantial fraction of the $7,380 spent on postage to mail it. The Bulletin continues to take a great deal of staff time as well as the donated time and talent of a graphic designer who has contributed a much-appreciated professional sense of art and style. Contributors are still eager to submit articles and the quality of each issue remains excellent. We have now added a barcode so that it can be more easily vended at newsstands and bookstores. MAPS suffered a slight setback when one of its distributors went bankrupt, causing MAPS to lose about $1,500. However, a large, well- established distributor recently picked up the Bulletin, and we hope that more stores across the country will carry it as a result.

Increasing membership

In order for organizational expenses (salaries, Bulletins, phone, rent, etc.) to be met by membership fees alone and not also by special donations, MAPS needs to increase its membership to about 2,250. The standard methods to build membership are by direct mail solicitation or advertising. MAPS spent $1,690 on advertising in FY 96-97, $1,190 for a full-page ad in the issue of Tricycle that focused on the intersection between psychedelics and Buddhism, and $500 for an ad in the first issue of The Resonance Project. The ad in Tricycle brought in enough new members to cover its costs. As far as we can tell, the ad in The Resonance Project did not cover its costs.

MAPS, in collaboration with the Heffter Research Institute (HRI), sent out one direct mail appeal for members this year to the 20,000 members of the Drug Policy Foundation, at a cost of $4,608. MAPS and HRI agreed to split the costs and the income from the mailing, with MAPS sending out the Bulletin to all new members and HRI sending out one copy of its forthcoming Heffter Research Review. As a result of this mailing, MAPS increased its support by about 125 members. This response rate covered all costs and raised an additional $1,800 but did not result in as many new members as hoped. One reason may be that the brochure was included with the DPF newsletter and was not sent out in its own envelope where it may have gotten more attention. MAPS is planning to send out additional direct mail fundraising appeals in FY 97-98, also in association with HRI. MAPS also requests that each MAPS member consider asking just one friend to also join MAPS.


MAPS allocated $73,629 to staff in FY 96-97, $48,490 in FY 95-96, and $42,199 in FY 94-95. The primary reason for the increase was a rise in salaries in the direction of, but not equivalent to, market value for jobs in the private sector with similar responsibilities and required skills. In FY 95-96, MAPS had two full-time employees, Rick Doblin, earning $18,000 a year, and Sylvia Thyssen, earning $20,800 a year plus health care benefits. In FY 96-97, Rick Doblin received a salary of $30,000 a year and Sylvia Thyssen received a salary of $26,000 a year plus health care benefits. Carla Higdon also starting working part-time for MAPS at an hourly salary of $8.25 plus health care benefits. The increase in salaries was made possible as a result of the receipt of the remaining portion of Eric Bass' bequest. In FY 97-98, Rick Doblin's salary will not be increased, Sylvia Thyssen has received a raise to slightly over $30,000 a year, plus health care benefits and Carla Higdon has become a full-time employee with a weekly salary of $360 plus health care benefits.


MAPS allocated $13,541 to office expenditures in FY 96-97, $6,993 in FY 95-96, and $7,060 in FY 94- 95. There was an increase in expenditures on computer equipment from $1,136 in FY 95-96 to $5,494 in FY 96-97, as a result of a gift of $3,500 from Tim Butcher for this purpose. There was also an increase in rent expenses from $3,750 in FY 95-96 to $5,588 in FY 96-97. Staff outgrew previous space and had to acquire additional space.


FY 96-97 represented a dramatic increase in income, expenditures and number of projects over FY 95- 96. FY 96-97 also saw the addition of a third part-time staff member, Carla Higdon, who is now working full-time.

Comments or questions from MAPS members concerning this annual report are invited. Only with the continued support of its members can MAPS continue to build in FY 97-98 on its successes of FY 96-97.

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