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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.
Middle East MDMA/PTSD Studies Move Forward:
MAPS News Update
March 9, 2011

Sometimes in small steps and sometimes in great leaps, psychedelics and marijuana are returning to mainstream science and medicine. For a quarter century, our members and supporters have been enabling MAPS to change how the world thinks about these substances by providing honest education about their risks and benefits through rigorous research. In this edition of the MAPS e-mail newsletter, I share with you the latest news from the frontier.

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Our new Israeli study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD is poised to move forward as we prepare the latest revision for submission to the Israeli Ministry of Health. Our clinical research team also completed an intensive 5-day training course for the therapists who will be conducting the experimental sessions, ensuring that subjects receive the best support possible for their treatment. Our Jordanian MDMA/PTSD clinical team had a tremendously successful investigators’ meeting as the study awaits the final approval of the Jordanian Food and Drug Administration. Our Swiss MDMA/PTSD study has now officially ended, but the work is far from over: Now it’s time to analyze the data and prepare it for publication.

I’m also excited to announce that we have made huge progress in getting regulatory approval for our proposed study of smoked and/or vaporized marijuana for veterans with PTSD. On February 9, in an immensely productive teleconference, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration informed us that they were satisfied with our responses to their prior concerns about the study and are likely to approve the revised protocol. Of course, this is hardly the end of our efforts to get this innovative marijuana study off the ground. The study still has to pass the redundant and obstructive Public Health Service/National Institute on Drug Abuse review process, but we hope that they’ll follow the FDA’s lead and recognize that when it comes to clinical research, we know what we’re doing.

Unfortunately, the DEA has other priorities. On March 7, the final brief was submitted in MAPS and Professor Lyle Craker’s decade-long lawsuit against the DEA to start our own medical marijuana farm and break NIDA’s monopoly on marijuana for research. The federal government’s research blockade continues to keep medicine out of the hands of patients, and we’re not backing down.

The progress MAPS is making in the domain of science has not escaped the attention of the mainstream media. In the last month, MAPS’ MDMA/PTSD research has received over 25 media mentions, including a breathtaking and sympathetic cover article in Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine in which journalist (and O Magazine senior editor) Jessica Winter shares her own experience of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. This is about as mainstream as it gets. The psychedelic research frontier feels less frontier-like every day.

I want to thank all of you who have already participated in our “Watch, Learn, & Share” video campaign for bringing us to within $2000 of our $15,000 fundraising goal. If you haven’t yet, make sure to visit the MAPS website and watch one of the videos from our 2010 “Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century” conference. A generous donor has agreed to contribute $1 to MAPS every time a video is watched—so by viewing one of these videos now you can both learn from the world’s foremost experts on psychedelic science and medicine and help MAPS achieve its goals.

As always, I remind you that MAPS is much more than a collection of scientists and therapists: It’s an entire community of people like you who recognize the value of careful scientific research and the capacity of psychedelics to heal our minds and bodies. Please contribute today.


Brad Burge, M.A.
MAPS Communication and Education Associate