We are the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), and we are here to educate the public about research into the risks and benefits of psychedelics and marijuana. MAPS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization founded in 1986 that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana.

We envision a world where psychedelics and marijuana are safely and legally available for beneficial uses, and where research is governed by rigorous scientific evaluation of their risks and benefits.

Some of the topics we're passionate about include;

  • Research into the therapeutic potential of MDMA, LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca, ibogaine, and marijuana
  • Integrating psychedelics and marijuana into science, medicine, therapy, culture, spirituality, and policy
  • Providing harm reduction and education services at large-scale events to help reduce the risks associated with the non-medical use of various drugs
  • Ways to communicate with friends, family, and the public about the risks and benefits of psychedelics and marijuana
  • Our vision for a post-prohibition world
  • Developing psychedelics and marijuana into prescription medicines through FDA-approved clinical research

List of participants:

  • Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director, MAPS
  • Brad Burge, Director of Communications and Marketing, MAPS
  • Amy Emerson, Executive Director and Director of Clinical Research, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation
  • Virginia Wright, Director of Development, MAPS
  • Brian Brown, Communications and Marketing Associate, MAPS
  • Sara Gael, Harm Reduction Coordinator, MAPS
  • Natalie Lyla Ginsberg, Research and Advocacy Coordinator, MAPS
  • Tess Goodwin, Development Assistant, MAPS
  • Ilsa Jerome, Ph.D., Research and Information Specialist, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation
  • Sarah Jordan, Publications Associate, MAPS
  • Bryce Montgomery, Web and Multimedia Associate, MAPS
  • Shannon Clare Petitt, Executive Assistant, MAPS
  • Linnae Ponté, Director of Harm Reduction, MAPS
  • Ben Shechet, Clinical Research Associate, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation
  • Allison Wilens, Clinical Study Assistant, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation
  • Berra Yazar-Klosinski, Ph.D., Clinical Research Scientist, MAPS

For more information about scientific research into the medical potential of psychedelics and marijuana, visit maps.org.

You can support our research and mission by making a donation, signing up for our monthly email newsletter, or following us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Ask us anything!

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Comments: 1878 • Responses: 48  • Date: 

NatureOxygen505 karma


MAPSPsychedelic1946 karma

I don't encourage anybody to do psychedelics for any purpose whatsoever. I think that people should be free to make up their own minds based on accurate, complete, and honest information. I do acknowledge that for me, personal experiences with psychedelics have been transformative and I wouldn't consider them medical. Recreational use has been given a bad name, considered hedonistic and extraordinarily dangerous.

I think, for example, the celebratory use of psychedelics at festivals and concerts can be profoundly healing and inspirational. At the same time, MAPS is focused on providing psychedelic harm reduction services because people sometimes take these substances just for recreation and then deeper material rises to the surface. The use of these drugs explicitly for recreation with the intention of only having an easy happy experience is in some ways a recipe for disaster.

A deeper respect for the intention of these drugs should be involved even if the purpose is celebratory and recreational. For non-medical use to be as safe as possible we need to move to some sort of legalized setting so people can know what they're getting. The distinction between medical and recreational is in some senses artificial. Sasha Shulgin used to say, there should be no such thing as a casual experiment with psychedelics.

-Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director, MAPS

fearachieved340 karma

Paranoid Schizophrenic here. I have had massive success treating myself with LSD in the past.

Do you have any research regarding the use of Acid with schizophrenia?

Would you like a research participant? I am prime for the job. I have hundreds of videos of myself in and out of psychosis. I keep a video journal I've never shared with anyone. That post is referencing the videos, though since then I still haven't decided whether to release them or not. I would be fine sharing them with researchers who I was involved with, however, as a way of establishing a baseline and history.

This is something I will pursue with or without your help, it would be great if I could get some advice from people who are more experienced.

Let me know! Thanks :)

Edit: Thanks alot for upvoting this NOW, brats :p

JK. Wish they had responded. Want more info on LSD therapy, I've only tried it once and plan to again soon.

MAPSPsychedelic131 karma

Thank you for sharing your story, and yes, great idea to record your experiences.

Unfortunately, there isn't currently any research happening into the use of LSD to treat psychosis. There is some concern within the psychiatric community that LSD use could actually exacerbate symptoms in some individuals with preexisting psychosis, though there is little research to support that claim. For that reason, your positive experiences with LSD are even more fascinating.

If you have had clinically significant reductions in psychotic symptoms after using LSD on your own, and would like to write an account of your experiences, we would be happy to share it on maps.org. Let us know!

-Brad Burge, Director of Communications and Marketing, MAPS

noly101323 karma

If you were a college student interested in working in the drug policy industry where would you start? Are there internships that would be beneficial or should I just wing it?

MAPSPsychedelic423 karma

Let’s hope the world of drug policy isn’t an industry :) But there are definitely some great opportunities for internships! To start, check out Drug Policy Alliance and Students for Sensible Drug Policy (I was actually a Policy Fellow at DPA before MAPS!). MAPS also has internship and volunteer opportunities. I would encourage you to look at organizations doing grassroots drug policy— harm reduction advocacy, criminal ‘injustice’ reform etc, and see how you can get involved there.

Good luck!

-Natalie Lyla Ginsberg, Research and Advocacy Coordinator, MAPS

undeadchoas842 karma

I personally am starting by taking an undergrad in neuroscience. I'm gonna keep my eyes open for research / internship opportunities and move closer to MAPS headquarters once u have my degree and can afford it

MAPSPsychedelic31 karma

I thought I’d chime in here since my only degree is a B.S. in Biopsychology and I graduated in May of 2014. Through my involvement with the Tufts chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, I was guided to events where I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Rick Doblin speak. His words profoundly resonated with my own developing ideas about psychedelics and the state of mental health care in America and I decided in my Sophomore year that this was where I wanted to make my career. I applied to MAPS internships several times and got denied, rallied a few friends of mine to go to the Horizons: Perspectives on Psychedelics conference held annually in NYC, and mustered the cash to fly out to California and volunteer for MAPS’ own Psychedelic Science conference in 2013. I turned every paper I could into an opportunity to explore the existing work being done with psychedelics. When I applied for an internship again this year as I was graduating and was offered a full-time position, I was ecstatic to accept. However, if I hadn’t gotten the job, I want to believe that it wouldn’t have stopped me from pursuing work that matters to me.

I don’t at all think that an undergraduate degree in neuroscience is a waste of time if it’s what you feel called to study and you can make that work within the larger trajectory of what you want to accomplish. We have people here with advanced degrees from Stanford and Yale, and we have people working here that learned their craft without the aid of even an undergraduate degree. More than anything else, you should study something that fulfills you (of course it doesn’t hurt to acquire the practical skills necessary to delve into your dream projects after graduation and it also wouldn’t hurt to move closer to people doing the type of work you want to be involved in :)). My point is that you can guide the course of your study in the direction of what you actually care about and you can always pick up more skills down the road. The internet is a beautiful thing!

Your question as well as many other questions on here imply a desire to support our mission, a mission that is larger than our small organization. There are a great many more of you brilliant people than there are careers to be had at MAPS in particular and your voices are valuable and needed.

-Allison Wilens, Clinical Study Assistant, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation

Tenaciousgreen307 karma

Hello! I'm a current participant in the Boulder MDMA assisted psychotherapy for PTSD study and I just wanted to say how eternally grateful I am for this opportunity. The therapists and doctors are some of the most caring and thoughtful people I've met in my life.

My question is regarding the treatment protocol for this study in the next phase- have you considered allowing the use of cannabis during the comedown from the MDMA session and during the few days following treatment in order to ease the reduction of dopamine and serotonin and the associated anxiety and sleep disturbances in some people?

MAPSPsychedelic302 karma

Hi Tenaciousgreen--

Thanks for your question, and for your participation in the study! At this point, it's pretty unlikely that we'd permit cannabis use during the study--we're pursuing a separate line of research regarding cannabis for PTSD symptoms, and it would be potentially problematic to allow a second medicine with applicability to PTSD into a single study; it could make it difficult to determine which compound is contributing most to the treatment effect.

-Ben Shechet, Clinical Research Associate, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation

darkved71 karma

Is anything else prescribed for the comedown or for neuro-protective effects? I've read some articles online aimed at recreational users of MDMA suggesting pre and post-loading with various over-the-counter vitamins and 5-HTP. Is there any scientific evidence to support the notion that these can help the brain recover or is this more like folk wisdom or superstition? Thanks

MAPSPsychedelic114 karma

There is potentially some benefit to these substances, ref. the below paper:


-Ben Shechet, Clinical Research Associate, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation

voyageurnocturne275 karma

I know several folks who attest to the past use of psychedelic pharmaceuticals to deal with serious mental health issues.

I've spent my entire adult life trying to get resolution for my issues via standard psychotherapy and psycopharmatherapy and other than an occasional decent night's sleep, it does nil for me.

One of the aforementioned friends gave me the opportunity to use a psychedelic, and honestly the next morning I felt like I had dealt with more mental health issues than I had the past decade. Count me in as a supporter.

Besides supporting the organization, what else would you suggest someone like me do?

MAPSPsychedelic134 karma

It's sad to me that we often spend years, even decades, searching for effective treatments. Talk therapy and psychiatry have failed many people. Good thing you had the persistence and will to keep going in search of health. I think the best thing we can do is heal ourselves, have an open mind, and serve others.

You could consider volunteering with our harm reduction initiative, the Zendo Project. Or sharing your story on Erowid. "If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself." —Lao Tzu

-Shannon Clare Petitt, Executive Assistant, MAPS

beatleslove25192 karma

Will we ever see MDMA, Psilocybin or LSD legalized in our lifetime?

MAPSPsychedelic517 karma

We presume that MDMA and psilocybin will be made legal for medical uses by 2021. LSD is not actively being researched for medical uses so it would come later. The idea is that we will eventually obtain approval for the whole collection of psychedelics, growing the field of psychedelic medicine. The bigger question is will these be legalized for non-medical uses, meaning personal freedom, personal growth. I believe we are moving in that direction. Of course medical uses will lead the way, just as it has with medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana initiatives began in 1996 and now states are started to legalize recreational use. The general trend we see in the world is a re-evaluation of the whole system of prohibition, a growing appreciation of religious freedom and the role that psychedelics play in spiritual experiences. For those aging baby boomers who are reading this, I believe that they will live to see the medical use of psychedelics. For younger readers, it is possible that they will see psychedelics made available for creativity, celebration, and even recreation. Of course all of this will be legalized even faster if everybody donates to MAPS!

-Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director, MAPS

noly101152 karma

Do you foresee a populist movement towards the legalization of psychedelics or will they always be either prescribed or found on the black market?

MAPSPsychedelic411 karma

Yes, I do see a populist movement working towards the legalization of psychedelics beyond medical use and up from the underground black market, similar to what we've seen from marijuana. However marijuana has much broader popular support. Psychedelic legalization won't necessarily be just a populist movement because it is influenced by the disillusionment of the benefits of prohibition by policy makers. I think forums like reddit will be instrumental in building support for the populist movement. Young people should not underestimate their ability to facilitate social change.

-Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director, MAPS

halfdogjury125 karma

The past few years has seen the introduction of 25I-NBOMe and its derivatives to the street. Despite lack of research and an apparent danger of the drug, it is very often sold to unsuspecting people as LSD. Whether it be called partying or anything else, it's clear that people who use street drugs are self medicating. Since there are very few avenues for the public to obtain therapy assisted by the LSD experience, I do not personally blame anyone seeking this. However, since the introduction of 25I-NBOMe deceptively falling into the hands of people who have read all of your amazing success stories about LSD, some very bad stories have begun to reach major media outlets.

So two questions:

  1. How can MAPS influence the media coverage of this 25I-NBOMe phenomenon to educate that this is definitely not LSD, and in doing so positively raise awareness of the good that you are doing?

  2. Since there is no stopping people from self medicating in the absence of official channels, how can people tell the difference between these chemicals?

I realize that you personally represent the official channels for how one goes about receiving this kind of therapy, but in all seriousness, your test groups are too small to consider someone like myself any thousands of others who suffer from traumatic memories ect that do not even come close to the things your patients have endured like war or rape. So until your services can legally broaden, I can't blame people for seeking these answers on their own.

MAPSPsychedelic90 karma

It's true that 25I-NBOMe is sometimes sold as LSD on blotter paper. 25I-NBOMe​ can be lethal and has led to several deaths since it was first introduced in 2010. We encourage individuals to investigate the facts: Erowid is an invaluable resource with their updated trip reports and aggregate safety information about street drugs. There are also resources for testing drugs, including DanceSafe and EcstasyData. Erowid demonstrates testing 25I versus LSD with two reagant kits available on Amazon.

When Sasha Shulgin wasn't sure about the effects of a substance, he would start by taking 1/10 or less, and gradually increase the dosage to a perceptual amount.

I, too, hope that LSD and other psychedelics will be made available as adjuncts to psychotherapy. In the meantime, there are ways to work with non-ordinary states of consciousness therapeutically that don't involve drugs. One method that I have found to be extremely powerful is Holotropic Breathwork, founded by pioneer psychedelic researcher Stan Grof. I went to a weeklong training in Joshua Tree last year, with Stan Grof and Diane Haug, and found it to be very helpful in reprocessing trauma I had around car accidents I was in about ten years ago. It also helped me develop more skills as a sitter for others having a transformative experience in non-ordinary states of consciousness and thus honed my skills for my working with individuals on-site at events with MAPS harm reduction program, the Zendo Project.

-Linnae Ponté, Director of Harm Reduction, MAPS

MAPSPsychedelic123 karma

A long question was deleted, so I am reposting the question without any identifying information about the person who asked:

Firstly, do you have plans or opinions on research into Mescaline? As I find it provides a very similar (more useful in someways, less in others) kind of experience to MDMA, only less forceful/immediate.

Mescaline is the most important psychedelic that is not currently being researched. We don't currently have any plans to study mescaline in synthetic form, nor does anybody else that I'm aware of, simply for lack of resources. My early experience with psychedelics included lots of synthetic mescaline back in 71-72 and I have a special fondness for it.

Do you see psychedelics and MDMA ever becoming legally available? What are your plans or opinions on research into therapeutic 2C-B use? I ask for the opposite reason I asked about Mescaline, as I tried 2C-B after reading of it's therapeutic promise in PiHKAL, but actually found it quite destructive to a good mental state I had myself in.

I just gave a presentation in Esalen on Saturday and one of the questions there was about 2C-B. It's not practical for us to start research with 2C-B because there's not a lot of basic safety studies that have already been conducted as there are with MDMA, psilocybin, and marijuana. To start with a relatively new substance that requires government funding to determine its risks which we can't afford. It's got a lot of potential and I'm curious that you found it destructive. My guess is that it had more to do with subjective factors/situational rather than 2C-B being inherently destructive.

Finally, what are your thoughts on the 'Magic' of MDMA, and how it seems to fade with repeated use. I cherish MDMA and find it very beneficial with infrequent use, but despite this and despite pre- and post-loading I'm struggling to have consistently good experiences with it as I did on my first three uses. How do you feel about claims of potential MDMA neurotoxicity too? After one single 120mg dose I feel pretty 'dumb' for about a week at least, even after a pre- and post-load, which can be a little worrying. Anyway keep up the excellent work, it's so important that these things become approved treatments for people suffering from mental health issues, as its really obvious that they are much more beneficial than current prescription treatments.

It is true that MDMA's magic fades with repeated use. Fortunately for me it didn't start happening until I tried it about 40 or 50 times! I think it suggests evidence for some sort of neurotoxicity, though ironically it's actually a safety feature to prevent people from developing long-term addictive relationships with MDMA. I can only hope as neuroscience research proceeds with MDMA that we can figure out why this happens. Even if we never figure out why they fade, those experiences that do feel magical are life changing. It also points to the importance of integrating the experience of the MDMA into everyday life since the growth and learning isn't going to keep coming from the MDMA itself. Even though I've lost some of the magic, it's still something I look forward to doing about once a year.

-Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director, MAPS

omega_point105 karma

Hello MAPS. Omid from the Omega Point YouTube channel here.

It seems like that these days well made informative videos go viral easily and can play a huge role in spreading a message. We know that the majority of people still aren't informed about Psychedelics (and drugs in general) and their beliefs are based on what they have heard on TV or from school or their parents.

My question is, does MAPS have any plans to produce a high quality video(s) with solid and well articulated arguments and facts? We saw the success of the video that we made with Jason Silva for his Shots Of Awe channel. It got to the front page of /r/videos on reddit. Yet that was more of an artwork and mostly got the attention of the people who already knew about Psychedelics and their benefits.

My dream is to see a viral video that can grab the attention of the people who are not informed, and inform them with evidence and reason. Perhaps with the increasing number of people who realize how terrible War on Drugs is, we can put an end to it.

MAPSPsychedelic93 karma

Hey Omid! You are doing excellent work with Omega Point. We are thrilled that MAPS was mentioned in Jason Silva's recent Shots of Awe video!

MAPS has a YouTube channel that has over 175 educational videos. We are enjoying the practice of creating new, original videos for our crowdfunding campaigns. Aside from research presentations and public speaking recordings, some of our higher-quality videos include;

Please send an email to [email protected] if you would like to propose a collaboration— we would love to hear more from you.

-Bryce Montgomery, Web and Multimedia Associate, MAPS

goldfrappuccino97 karma


MAPSPsychedelic81 karma

Thank you so much for your donations to MAPS! That is an excellent way to further the field of psychedelic medicine. Other ways to support this work and get involved include offering integration, harm reduction services, and considering a future as a psychedelic medicine provider.

We are collecting applications from professionals interested in being MAPS Phase III researchers. We plan the initiation of Phase III in late 2016 and will need dozens of psychedelic researchers. After Phase III we anticipate legalization of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, when we will train hundreds and possibly thousands of people in the field of psychedelic psychotherapy. To apply, login or create an account on our website. Under the "What would you like to do?" dropdown, select Phase 3 Researcher Application. MAPS is also building a list of mental health professionals who offer Psychedelic Integration services, helping clients understand their psychedelic experiences and incorporate them into daily life.

A more timely option, is that you could volunteer in our Zendo harm reduction project, where we offer support to people having difficult psychedelic experiences at music festivals. And of course speaking with colleagues about psychedelic therapies, staying up to date on the research, and attending events will also grow this field and bring you closer to the work.

-Shannon Clare Petitt, Executive Assistant, MAPS

DimitriK82 karma

Greetings from /r/MDMATherapy!

I am not going to direct my questions towards any particular member of the MAPS team, I just hope that whomever can best answer them is able to do so:

  1. What will it take before we can finally put aside the whole neurotoxicity argument in regards to MDMA and focus on the bigger picture and the objective benefits rather than the fears instilled by decades of what is now known as largely debunked propaganda pieces [holes in the brain, etc.]?

  2. Assuming that it becomes a prescription based medicine around the time that you are predicting [6 years] based mostly on the PTSD treatment application, how likely is it that MDMA will concurrently be able to be prescribed off-label as well for things like relationship/couples counseling?

Thanks very much for doing this AMA, guys!

MAPSPsychedelic55 karma

Hi Dimitri,

With regards to the first part of your question (the second part is a bit beyond our ability to answer accurately at this point): Time, realistically. I began by answering that we have collected data indicating no differences between MDMA and placebo in our first PTSD psychotherapy study and we are collecting that data in ongoing studies. But the issue is complex enough that even if we answer this particular question, the focus will shift. I guess I'm not convinced that is has a scientific answer, though I wish it did. Additionally, I think interest will be sparked if and when research programs into therapeutic use continue, because then there will be a new "story" in addition to the one relating MDMA with recreational use and seemingly requiring a bias toward supporting research into harm only. In terms of quantity, there are a lot of published reports indicating specific impairments in types of memory or reduced serotonin transporter in people reporting use of ecstasy and other substances. There are also critiques of these findings. Given the ongoing record of what is published and the debate, I think a new focus would come with recognition of therapeutic use.

-Ilsa Jerome, Ph.D., Research and Information Specialist, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation

swamy_g69 karma

Loved reading Acid Test, easily my favorite book from last year. Rick Doblin, if you're tuning in, I wanna let you know that you're a good man!

My question is: Does MAPS conduct events and mixers for people interested in psychedelics? I'd love to connect with other people who are interested in the safe exploration of their consciousness.

MAPSPsychedelic98 karma

Yes, MAPS does events all over the world. But because we are small, and our reach is large, we may not get to your neighborhood soon. The best way to stay in touch is to sign up for our e-newsletter. Another way to check in is to check our events page: or events calendar.

I am hoping to get a peer-to-peer fundraising effort going this year. Something like a walk-a-thon like the American Cancer Society. Then people could gather together and get to know one another while supporting the effort. Would that be something you would be interested in, /u/swamy_g?

-Virginia Wright, Director of Development, MAPS

HallucinogenicShroom45 karma

do you guys think consciousness is the unified field?

MAPSPsychedelic48 karma


-Ben Shechet, Clinical Research Associate, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation

KushBombay43 karma

What are some proven (or highly supported) long-term effects of LSD use?

MAPSPsychedelic51 karma

This is a bit of a complex question because long-term is left undefined.

Potentially beneficial effects reported in meta-analyses or pooled analyses:

-Ilsa Jerome, Ph.D., Research and Information Specialist, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation

hallgod3341 karma

What of the eight major entheogens outlined by Amber Lyons (marijuana, dmt, ayahuasca, [mescaline], ibogaine, MDMA, psilocybin, and LSD) do you believe will be the first to become legalized for medical use? Which do you believe to be the most helpful/powerful for psychotherapy? Thank you for your time, Rick Doblin!

MAPSPsychedelic76 karma

I would normally say that the first to be legalized for medical use would be marijuana, except for the fact that the government has a monopoly on the supply of medical marijuana which is a fundamental obstruction of the development of the medical use of marijuana into an FDA-approved prescription medicine. This monopoly is held by NIDA, the National Institute of Drug Abuse. However, this NIDA monopoly will end in 1-3 years because foreign producers will eventually open a drug master file with the DEA and their marijuana could be used in the US. Therefore I would say it's a race between marijuana, psilocybin, and MDMA.

MAPS and Heffter are engaged in a friendly competition on which organization can obtain FDA-approval for a psychedelic. As much as it pains me to admit it, right now Heffter has a bit of a lead since they've completed their Phase II studies with psilocybin for end of life anxiety. MAPS won't complete our Phase II studies using MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD until the end of the Summer. At this point, if I were to bet, I'd bet on MDMA!

-Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director, MAPS

realitone37 karma

Where do you think the focus should be for harm reduction initiatives working directly with recreational drug users?

Much of MAPS' work seems to be in scientific and clinical research of medical uses for drugs, but do they have a view/goal of post-prohibition for recreational users too? If so, how are MAPS working towards this?

Also, shameless plug for http://tripsit.me/ , which provides 24/7 online harm reduction/tripsitting chat for drug users.

MAPSPsychedelic34 karma

​The primary focus in harm reduction is always education and prevention, so we encourage individuals who choose to use drugs to ​carefully consider the set and setting beforehand, as well as the way the drug experience might impact their community, and culture at large.

Psychedelic harm reduction is unique in that its goal is not only to decrease the risks drugs have on the individual user, but on the psychedelic renaissance, as we are working to lower the instances of drug-related hospitalizations and arrests, and general adverse events that perpetuates fear around psychedelics and their uses in therapeutic settings.

-Linnae Ponté, Director of Harm Reduction, MAPS

undeadchoas832 karma

What do you think is the biggest factor that currently keeps prohibition in place? Why do you think psychedelics were ever made illegal in the first place?

MAPSPsychedelic51 karma

Currently what keeps prohibition in place is vested financial interested and exaggerated fears about psychedelics. Psychedelics were made illegal due to their use in uncontrolled settings mostly by young people and mostly connected to social protest movements. Their criminalization was due to political suppression of minority dissent and parent's fears about their children being harmed by psychedelic use.

For psychedelics to become legal we are going to need first, the medicalization of psychedelics so that people can come to understand that, in certain controlled situations, the benefits can outweigh the risks. The legalization of marijuana will need to be implemented without the disasterous consequences that some people predict. Society will need to see that legalization is paired with the implementation of harm reduction services and destigmatization, so that there will actually fewer issues with psychedelic use, even if rates of use increase.

-Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director, MAPS

evolutionaryflow29 karma

there are some legit and some completely phony BS institutions in south america who are opening ayahuasca retreats and therapy centers with some hefty price tags aimed at treating westerners. While normal ayahuasca retreats done by native healers are maybe 700 for a couple months, or 20 bucks ala carte, these new western retreats are 3000 a month and pretty much offer the same thing except with some new age BS. What do you guys think about people trying to capitalize on the new ayahuasca tourism interest that is sort of booming in the west?

I truly hope that a legitimate organization like yours can open up a cost effective, no-BS treatment facility in South america or Mexico, since a lot of people who are suffering illnesses that need this kind of treatment might not necessarily be able to afford tourist prices. To be honest it does not cost as much as people would think to buy land, build a retreat, hire a native shaman and build some dorm type rooms to open such a retreat. If any non-profit organization can offer this kind of treatment facility, it would be yours. It would even be better if you guys could offer some sort of financing available to people who are in need of ayahuasca or herbal medicine treatment but who do not have the funds to pay, as I was one at one point in my life.

Anyway, if you guys need any sort of help planning or connections I might be able to help you guys out since I have history in the south american ayahuasca scene. There are so many BS treatment facilities, if MAPS opened an honest, effective and affordable one it would be much needed. Hell, I'd be open to helping build and finance such a place in the future as its always been a small dream of mine, I have friends who already done such a thing, it would be very feasible for an organization as established as MAPS.

Thanks for listening!

Edit: actually opening one in mexico might better due to the cheaper airfare. but theres always that drug cartel risk, which makes it a bit more dangerous than south america.

MAPSPsychedelic11 karma

We are waiting for approval in Mexico for a study of ayahuasca in the treatment of addiction. We are also working to develop an observational study in ayahuasca in the treatment of PTSD that will take place in Mexico and Peru and possibly in the US. We don't have any current plans to expand MDMA-assisted psychotherapy into Mexico. We are completing data collection for our Ibogaine for opiate addiction study.

A major part of MAPS' mission is to establish a network of psychedelic therapy treatment centers which will perhaps grow out from the Phase III sites and possibly therapist teams who work on Expanded Access compassionate use if we get approval for that during Phase III. We envision the development of these treatment centers will be somewhat similar to the development of the hospice movement. In 1974 the first hospice opened and today there are over 4,000. What I imagine happening is that there will eventually be thousands of psychedelic treatment centers throughout the US and more across the world. These centers would house therapists who are trained in the full range of psychedelic medicine, offering treatment covered by insurance. Hopefully these centers could also be places where healthy people who want personal growth or spiritual experiences could do so.

It might become like a driver's license training, a person could come to the center and use psychedelics under supervision and then get initiated or licensed to be able to use psychedelics responsibly for any purpose. While MAPS would like to set up our own network of psychedelic treatment centers, we anticipate that there will be many different approaches and different groups setting up their own centers. There is an aspect of this that is a massive job program, well-paying work that cannot be outsourced and that thousands of people will need.

-Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director, MAPS

chemikid29 karma

From MAPS' perspective - what does the psychedelic community currently need, in terms of professionals?

MAPSPsychedelic65 karma

When I hear someone use the term "psychedelic community" I am not sure what it means. Personally, I wonder if I am part of that community. I am one of the strongest advocates for using psychedelics for mental health and healing, I help MAPS raise millions of dollars for psychedelic research, harm reduction and education programs. But I don't go to raves, or festivals, or identify culturally with the visionary art or music. I have not had a psychedelic in over 15 years. I prefer vodka to marijuana. I am a professional fundraiser. Would you say I am part of the psychedelic community? How do you define "psychedelic community?"

In social change movements there comes a time when the "community" loses its edges and the ideas and cultural memes move into the larger society. Something is lost, but something is gained. As the idea of safe and beneficial use moves into the larger society, more "professionals" of all types will support the use of psychedelics.

-Virginia Wright, Director of Development, MAPS

chemikid14 karma

Thanks Virginia, I guess I consider the "psychedelic community" those who committ their time and energy to support psychedelic medicine, which includes researchers, HR (human resources and harm reduction) staff, and passionate individuals who have received benefit from psychedelics (amongst others).

I would say the work you do makes you a part of the community, so on behalf of those who will receive the benefits of these medicines in the future, thank you.

MAPSPsychedelic15 karma

You are welcome. And you have answered your own question! It is important to have more researchers, HR, and I would include marketing, public policy, communications, accounting, medical insurance, and of course therapists. Therapists are the professionals who would need to change their work the most.

Our current MDMA-assisted therapy for the treatment of PTSD protocol calls for two or three 8+ hour sessions, in addition to pre- and post- drug assisted therapy sessions. It is a huge commitment for a therapist, most of whom now work in a 50 minute time frame. And for insurance industry to cover that, it would need to change as well.

The spirit of psychedelic research and transpersonal living is in the heart and soul. Whatever profession you choose, you can bring your knowledge and awareness to it.

-Virginia Wright, Director of Development, MAPS

billypmacdonald27 karma

Would you consider being on Joe Rogan's podcast to help educate more of us?

MAPSPsychedelic40 karma

Yes! I'd be glad to be on Joe Rogan's podcast again. I really enjoyed it tremendously! Joe is super fun to speak with! I will be on Dave Asprey's podcast on February 25th.

-Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director, MAPS

tiredhippy27 karma

It is about time our world starts looking at these certain drugs and their advantages. My brother had/has social anxiety and I have first hand seen him open up to the world significantly sense participating in the use of MDMA and mushrooms. He has sense quit weed because of anxiety issues which makes me proud. Weed doesn't work for everyone but I thoroughly enjoy its benefits.

I know we have gotten closer over time with integrating these things into medicine and therapy.... How long do you figure it will take for the high power to see its benefits? How much progress have you seen?

MAPSPsychedelic32 karma

We are hoping to gain FDA approval for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of PTSD by 2021--this is how long we estimate it will take to complete all the necessary studies. Fortunately, the FDA takes a pragmatic approach to drug development--they have shown that they will not prioritize politics over reviewing the evidence.

Currently, we have completed 2 Phase 2 studies of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, and have an additional 4 studies currently running. We are also performing a study of MDMA-assisted therapy for social anxiety in adults on the autism spectrum, and will soon be starting a new study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in anxiety associated with life-threatening illness. Other projects include observational studies of ibogaine in the treatment of substance abuse, and whole-plant marijuana for treatment of PTSD symptoms in veterans.

-Ben Shechet, Clinical Research Associate, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation

evolutionaryflow22 karma

What are your thoughts on "safe", regulated, and most importantly, reasonably cheap ayahuasca therapy in the US? A possibility or no?

I have pretty extensive experience with it but I've always had to travel down to south american and go down into the jungle to receive any kind of treatment. Its great stuff, probably better than any western therapy I've ever received but do you think the erratic and vomit-ious nature of the experience might cause it to have a hard time being accepted in the west?

MAPSPsychedelic39 karma

To begin with, the religious use of ayahuasca is remarkably widespread in the US. It's historically been the case that religious use can also be healing in a therapeutic way though the focus is religious experience rather than psychotherapy. Just as there is underground psychedelic psychotherapy, there is underground ayahuasca psychotherapy.

I don't think that the vomiting part of the experience will make it hard to be accepted in the US. It's more about the outcome. For example, cancer chemotherapy has a lot of vomiting but it's still widely accepted because of its effect on cancer. For some, the vomiting with ayahuasca is seen in a positive light, as purging. MAPS will be working on an observational study into the use of ayahuasca in the treatment of veterans with PTSD. There is already research being done with ayahausca in the treatment of depression.

I do believe that ayahuasca therapy will be available in the US. The relationship that one establishes with any substance is the most important factor, there could be religious ceremonies that have therapeutic aspects, there could be therapeutic uses of ayahuasca that have religious aspects to them. Where we are heading is eventually towards legal access to a full range of psychedelics for a full range of purposes. Even with ayahausca, the preparation, integration, and supervision by therapists or religious leaders is really important.

-Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director, MAPS

roionsteroids15 karma

Is there any research done into 2C-B? :)

MAPSPsychedelic25 karma

There are no clinical trials; a team in Spain published a naturalistic study/review.

-Ilsa Jerome, Ph.D., Research and Information Specialist, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation

selhayd13 karma

Ever since I found out about M.A.P.S. while researching materials for projects for school, I knew that I wanted to be involved. What do you suggest I do in the future to help me obtain those dreams? I am a graduate student obtaining a masters in liberal studies, and have an undergrad in psychology. What Ph.D program would you suggest for me to take to one day be involved in research with your team? What can I do in the meantime to be involved right away.

MAPSPsychedelic18 karma

It's great to hear that you want to pursue this field of research! The MAPS Student Resources page has a handful of articles from established psychedelic researchers who detail multiple pathways and programs that can lead to conducting psychedelic research;

-Bryce Montgomery, Web and Multimedia Associate, MAPS

ZeKajunGuy12 karma

I have seen a friend in the south Prescribe Ketamine through a nasal stray, I'm assuming its being prescribe in Louisiana????

Also on the M.A.P.S website there is no info on Ketamine on the results of the test… Where may i find the research on this?

Would their be other additives put in a prescription of Ketamine for nasal absorption ?

Does Long term use of Ketamine effect the Kidneys ? Can one prevent damage? For instance Cranberry juice or things to flush your urinary track?

MAPSPsychedelic18 karma

Hi there--

This research is actually not being performed by MAPS--the nasal spray esketamine (which is an enantiomer of ketamine) research is being conducted by Janssen Research and Development, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson. Here is a link to a currently-ongoing study:


-Ben Shechet, Clinical Research Associate, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation

anon082712 karma

Hey guys, first of all you're doing great great work here!

I am a firm believer that internal martial arts and psychedelics are two halves of the same coin, and I couldn't imagine doing one without having the other. Tai Chi has helped me gain discipline over my mind and body, and psychedelics have helped me free my consciousness and self-analyze and self-examine in ways that would not have been possible otherwise. I always have felt that the two work best in unison, complementing each other. Have you encountered others who believe in this union in your research and networking?

MAPSPsychedelic17 karma

Hello /u/anon0827, great question! I'm a long-time yoga practitioner and I concur about the similarities in experience. While I am not aware of anyone who is teaching yoga or martial arts from an overtly psychedelic-inspired curriculum, I would not be surprised if someone in the AMA audience raises their hand. My yoga teacher, who has not experienced psychedelics, has brought one of Alex Grey's art books to class to help illustrate her lessons. According to her, studying with the Iyengar family in India for months at a time is an entheogenic experience. In my own experience, a traditional yoga practice (as opposed to the workout-based western interpretation) often provides insight and healing very similar to a therapeutic psychedelic experience. In yoga the messages can be more subtle, though certainly very powerful; it just takes some practice to hear the inner self and body-consciousness. I am very interested to hear what other's say about your inquiry.

-Sarah Jordan, Publications Associate, MAPS

BluntTruthGentleman12 karma

How closely are you working with Erowid, its staff and/or its supporters?

MAPSPsychedelic16 karma

MAPS and Erowid have worked closely since Erowid was founded in 1995. MAPS served as Erowid's non-profit fiscal sponsor until they became self-sufficient. Since then, they have grown to be one of the most valuable websites for people seeking accurate information about the uses and risks of many kinds of drugs. Our events regularly include Erowid speakers, and many Erowid contributors have also written for the MAPS Bulletin. For more about Erowid, see the "Erowid Update: New Drugs, New Challenges, New Technologies" article in the Spring 2014 MAPS Bulletin.

-Brad Burge, Director of Communications and Marketing, MAPS

MAPSPsychedelic11 karma

A question about MDA was deleted:

Why did MDMA take the scene by storm when the seemingly very similar MDA had been known about and available since the 60s? I haven't ever noticed very much of a difference between the two, yet the Shulgin re-discovery is thought of as groundbreaking.

Initially, MDA spread widely in the 70s because it was legal and MDMA was illegal. While the two drugs are similar, there is a substantial difference. MDA is much more psychedelic, affects perception, takes people further from normal consciousness. Now that both MDA and MDMA are illegal most underground therapists who work with these substances choose MDMA over MDA. It's more conducive to a relationship-based psychotherapy process that involves dialogue. People have fewer feelings of losing control. MDA is one of my favorite drugs and can be an important experience in itself. MDMA seems more likely to become approved even if we had the resources to research both.

-Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director, MAPS

GliTHC11 karma

Thanks for your time guys, we can see the passion in what you do.

When it comes to psychedelics, do you find that each psychedelic serves a different purpose medicinally wise? How do you determine whether to give the patient LSD/psilocybin/dmt etc?

MAPSPsychedelic9 karma

Hi /u/GliTHC, thank you for your question. Currently, because we are following guidelines for FDA approval, we accept participants into a specific study that investigates a specific substance. At this time, we are not able to choose between psychedelics within the studies. However, before LSD, MDMA, and similar substances were deemed Schedule I, many psychologists and psychiatrists were able to investigate this very question in their private practices. There are many books written on the subject, and several of them are available in the MAPS Store.

It is a fascinating topic, and I'm hopeful that in our lifetimes we will once again have the opportunity to legally explore the possibilities.

-Sarah Jordan, Publications Associate, MAPS

sertsa6 karma

What do you believe defines "medicinal" or "therapeutic" use of a psychedelic? Are the boundaries blurred? How does the (somewhat) structured experience of a session like those in your studies differ from an individual using the same substance on their own/with untrained friends for the purpose of therapy? For recreation? How can we delineate "therapeutic benefit"?

MAPSPsychedelic5 karma

In some sense these boundaries are culturally constructed and not absolutes. However, treatment in the studies we're running places the MDMA-assisted therapy sessions within a larger context of non-drug-assisted psychotherapy. The intended effect is to produce an experience of holding and support for the participant that might not be available in the absence of therapists trained both in working with trauma and in helping others navigate non-ordinary states of consciousness. It's not that people's friends cannot provide a similar space of support for the unfolding of the healing process, however, they can often be unprepared to remain fully present with the intensity of the content that can emerge. Often professionals are able to foster an intimate space without trying to direct or fix the other person, which can be difficult for friends who don't want to see their loved ones in pain.

-Allison Wilens, Clinical Study Assistant, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation

Brettorganik4 karma

What is the basic cause of what is being coined "serotonin storm" and what is it exactly? Is it a variable in our biology or the compound itself? or both? keep up the amazing research!

MAPSPsychedelic7 karma

This is a great and seemingly simple questions whose answer grows complex as you move closer to it.

The simple but probably incomplete and incorrect answer is: Too much serotonin. Serotonin syndrome usually happens when for whatever reason there is "excess" serotonin in the brain. This could happen when a serotonin uptake inhibitor is present (an antidepressant like Prozac) and another drug is keeping the brain from breaking down the serotonin (as through the enzyme MAO oxidase, which can be inhibited by "MAO inhibitors" that include antidepressants and also a component in ayahuasca. But why does "too much serotonin" produce serotonin syndrome? That may be more difficult to answer. The answer supported so far, and found on wikipedia and other sources, ties it to a specific receptor, the 5HT2A receptor. However, the trouble with this hypothesis is that (for instance) classic psychedelics, which certainly activate 5HT2A receptors, don't seem to produce sertoonin syndrome. A recent study in rats sought to look at the potential causes of serotonin syndrome with findings that did implicate 5HT2A receptors but also interactions between them and other systems, such as the NMDA receptors. It also isn't necessarily the case that all effects of serotonin syndrome are caused by the "same thing." But since there are many serotonin receptor families, it is possible that we are overlooking other "culprits" - I have seen 5HT1A and 5HT7 receptors fingered as contributors. Sometimes explanations are similar to people who are looking for their keys near a streetlight because that's where the light is, and we know much more about 5HT2A receptors than about 5HT7 receptors. A

Finally since the syndrome produces symptoms in the gut (such as nausea or diarrhea) and increased body temperature, it is possible that serotonin is having effects outside the central nervous system (the brain).

Here is a link to a rat study on 5HT syndrome:


-Ilsa Jerome, Ph.D., Clinical Research and Information Specialist, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation

rockymcg4 karma

I think my girlfriend is suffering from PTSD. She was violently raped when she was a high school student, abroad in the Philippines. She is seeking treatment, but I'm not sure how honest she is with her psychiatrist about her symptoms. She is currently being prescribed drugs that are commonly used for major depressive disorder, as well as generalized anxiety. She suffers frequent panic attacks and dissociation. She's essentially wholly unwilling to talk about her past traumatic experience, to the extent that she isn't completely certain that it even happened.

After reading "Acid Test" I realized that my girlfriend exhibits a lot of the behaviors that Nick does. I understand that my opinion on her behavior holds carries less weight than that of a licensed physician, but I see more of her than her physician does. She's more honest to me than she ever is to them. She's gotten really good at locking anything she's feeling into the deep recesses of her mind, and I see the toll it takes on her every day.

Right now, her psychiatrist is happy to hand her scrips for seroquel, celexa, and buspar with little to no therapy. The drugs have had some effect on mellowing out her symptoms, but she still struggles constantly with acute feelings of panic and dissociation.

I'm sorry, I get this is a lot. My question is, how can I encourage her to explore the possibility of PTSD with her doctor? Is there a way I can recommend her for a clinical MDMA study?

I think it's very likely that this is what she's suffering from. I have personally witnessed her experiencing most of the symptoms described in the DSM. I'm a firm believer in the potential of MDMA therapy, and would ideally like to get her involved in a study in Northern California.

EDIT: For clarification, I only want to encourage her. She and I have talked about the possibility of PTSD. She has agreed with me that she sees many of the symptoms in herself. At the same time, she's completely hopeless about the treatment she's receiving. She doesn't trust her physician, and she hasn't liked a single therapist who has been assigned to her case. A lot of this, I think, has to do with the nature of her illness. As it stands, she's willing to accept the drugs and try the regimen because she believes it's the best thing she can get right now. I wouldn't ever try to do anything without her permission. All I'm trying to do is give her more options than what she currently believes she has.

MAPSPsychedelic4 karma

Your care and concern for your girlfriend is really sweet. I know it's hard to watch people we love suffer. But people have to want to heal for themselves. Reading is a good way to get yourself informed about PTSD and psychedelic psychotherapy. Of course you can share information with her. Be honest with her about your perspective and your concerns, without imposing your opinion or telling her what to do. She will have to find a way to heal that works for her, when she's ready. We all do.

Best wishes to you both!

-Shannon Clare Petitt, Executive Assistant, MAPS

evolutionaryflow3 karma

Why are ibogaine facilities so ridiculously expensive? A drug addict whose seeking ibogaine treatment will have a hard time pulling up 5000 and going to mexico for a cure. The root itself is dirt cheap, I dont see why the treatment should cost so much.

MAPSPsychedelic4 karma

Ibogaine is expensive because it's not about ibogaine, it's about the entire context of the experience which lasts a week or so, including preparation and recovery and preliminary integrations. It also carries certain risks and requires medical supervision. If it were to become legal in the US it would be possible to conduct the experiences for somewhat less but it will still be quite expensive.

-Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director, MAPS

Hyenabreeder3 karma

Hey there, I've got some questions for you guys:

-What do you think about the problems researchers who work with scheduled substances run into? Does this seriously impede research?

-What do you think of the way media (and politicians) tend to dramatize accidents/incidents related to drug use for their own ends?

-What kinds of programs are around to educate the public on proper drug use, and how much do you recommend/endorse these? If you had the chance, what kind of public-educating program would you set up? Could you give me some concrete examples of how you educate the public yourselves?

-Perhaps a more personal question for those of you who work at MAPS: How do people react when you say you're working with an organization dedicated to providing drug awareness and education?

Thanks for doing an AMA!

MAPSPsychedelic4 karma

What kinds of programs are around to educate the public on proper drug use, and how much do you recommend/endorse these? If you had the chance, what kind of public-educating program would you set up? Could you give me some concrete examples of how you educate the public yourselves?

In an effort to minimize harm related to the non-medical use of psychedelics, MAPS created the Zendo Project for psychedelic harm reduction, which provides education and support services at events, music festivals, and universities. We provide tools for working with and preventing difficult psychedelic experiences such as information on how set and setting affect the psychedelic experience. The Zendo Project psychedelic harm reduction manual and other resources which have informed the project are available to the public online at zendoproject.org

-Sara Gael, Harm Reduction Coordinator, MAPS

MAPSPsychedelic2 karma

What do you think about the problems researchers who work with scheduled substances run into? Does this seriously impede research?

There are a lot of hoops to jump through to get approval to use Schedule 1 substances for sure! The approval process for a Schedule 1 License from the DEA is quite lengthy and can take months; there are major security requirements that can be difficult to meet (I recall that in one of the Heffter Research Institute’s psilocybin studies, the psilocybin has to be weighed and verified daily to make sure no one is stealing any), and there is the potential for enormous fines for errors in drug accountability record-keeping. However, these are all navigable difficulties, and while they have slowed us down, they haven’t proved to be insurmountable obstacles.

What do you think of the way media (and politicians) tend to dramatize accidents/incidents related to drug use for their own ends?

I find that most people are really excited and supportive, but I live in the Bay Area, so a culture bubble may be in effect!

-Ben Shechet, Clinical Research Associate, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation

LongLivetheD1 karma

What would be the biggest step forward in your research that is not too far away from discovery?

MAPSPsychedelic2 karma

This year we will complete enrollment in all of our primary Phase 2 MDMA-assisted psychotherapy research studies. Considering that we started the first Phase 2 study in 2004 it is very exciting to be reaching the end of enrollment in Phase 2! We will have our primary end-point data available for analysis within the year, however secondary end-point data collection and final follow ups visits will continue into 2016. By the end of 2015 we plan to submit the primary end-point data to the FDA and request Breakthrough Therapy Status . It we receive Breakthrough Therapy Status it will considerably expedite Phase 3.

-Amy Emerson, Executive Director and Director of Clinical Research, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation