Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies

Support Psychedelic Science to Help Change Lives

aka MAPS   |   San Jose, CA   |  http://www.maps.org

Mission

Founded in 1986, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana.

Ruling year info

1986

Executive Director

Rick Doblin Ph.D.

Main address

3141 Stevens Creek Blvd #40563

San Jose, CA 95117 USA

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EIN

59-2751953

NTEE code info

Other Medical Research N.E.C. (H99)

Mental Health Treatment (F30)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (R05)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

MDMA was first synthesized by Merck in 1912. It was rediscovered in the 1970s by chemist Alexander Shulgin who shared it with Leo Zeff, a psychotherapist. Because of its remarkable therapeutic properties, it was used legally in therapy until 1985 by hundreds of therapists and psychiatrists. During this time, MDMA also began to be used recreationally under the name Ecstasy. At the height of the drug war in 1985, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classified MDMA in Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act. The motivation of this prohibition was due to MDMA's increasing use as a recreational street drug with DEA ignorant of MDMA's therapeutic use, which was also criminalized. MAPS was founded in 1986, the year after MDMA became criminalized, to develop MDMA into a legal medicine based on medical research. MAPS' Phase 2 clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of PTSD have generated preliminary evidence that this treatment is effective and safe

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

MDMA-Assisted Therapy Drug Development Plan

MAPS’ primary focus is developing MDMA-assisted therapy into an FDA-approved treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This study is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials, as well as limited availability through the Expanded Access and Compassionate Use authorizations in the US and Israel.

MAPS also sponsors research of MDMA in the treatment of other clinical indications, as well as research into the safety and efficacy of other psychedelic compounds including cannabis, ibogaine, and ayahuasca to treat a range of mental health conditions.

MDMA-assisted therapy is positioned to become the first-in-class FDA-approved psychedelic-assisted therapy. In August 2017, FDA designated MDMA-assisted therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) a Breakthrough Therapy, indicating it is among the most promising drugs being developed.

How Does It Work?

MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD uses MDMA to improve the effectiveness of psychotherapy. The treatment involves 3 day-long administrations of MDMA-assisted therapy scheduled 3-5 weeks apart in conjunction with twelve weekly 90-minute non-drug psychotherapy sessions: three preparatory sessions before the first MDMA-assisted therapy session and three integrative sessions after each MDMA-assisted therapy session.

Due to its unique pharmacological profile, MDMA is a powerful adjunct to psychotherapy which assists individuals in processing traumatic experiences in a deep and profound manner, leading to the alleviation of suffering and reduced suicidality. The therapeutic effect is not due simply to the physiological effects of the medicine; rather, it is the result of an interaction between the effects of the medicine, the therapeutic setting, and the mindsets of the participant and the therapists. Research indicates that MDMA may catalyze therapeutic processing by allowing participants to stay emotionally engaged while revisiting traumatic experiences without being overwhelmed by anxiety or other painful emotions.

Phase 3 Clinical Trials

The results indicate MDMA-assisted therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may be an effective treatment for PTSD resulting from various types of trauma, including trauma occurring in childhood and in patients with dissociative subtype of PTSD, pending assessment by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

In November 2020, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC) completed data analysis of the first of two Phase 3 trials of MDMA-assisted therapy for treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The results confirmed Phase 2 results and prior expectations from an independent interim analysis which determined there was a 90% or greater probability that the trial, when completed, would be of sufficient size to detect statistically significant results. Further, no unexpected or serious safety signals emerged during the course of the trial. Based on these results, MAPS will begin discussions with the FDA on ways to accelerate the timeframe for approval of this modality.

The Phase 3 trial, the first of its kind in scope and size, treated 90 participants who received 3 day-long MDMA or placebo sessions one month apart and 12 90-minute non-drug psychotherapy sessions over approximately 3.5 months. The severity of PTSD symptoms was measured using the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for the DSM-5 (CAP-5); measurements were taken before and after completion of treatment. Of these 90 participants, approximately half received MDMA-assisted therapy. The other half of participants, the control group, received placebo with identical therapy. A second Phase 3 clinical trial is currently enrolling participants.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Veterans
Emergency responders
Health

MAPS produces myriad educational materials, training workshops, and conferences, both physical and virtual. We build our global community of support through outreach at a range of international and domestic events, a robust social media presence, and through interviews and publications in various global media outlets.

MAPS continues to produce its flagship publication, the quarterly MAPS Bulletin. The MAPS Bulletin features MAPS’ research updates as well as a broad range of articles and interviews.

In FY19-20, MAPS had a presence at over 60 events representing a wide range of audiences at medical conferences, festivals, concerts, educational seminars, receptions, film screenings, psychedelic conferences, and meetups
MAPS produced nine events in FY19-20 including in-person Zendo Project trainings & digital webinar series, and Psychedelic Science Summit conference

MAPS’ FY19-20 events included: in-person Zendo Project trainings & digital webinar series; an open house at the MAPS office; a psychedelic medicine & cultural trauma workshop in Louisville, KY; the Way of the Psychonaut book launch in Oakland, CA; a Psychedelic Science webinar series; a Psychedelic Science Summit in Austin, TX; and a global virtual celebration called Bicycle Night.

The Psychedelic Science Summit in Austin, TX, hosted 700 guests and 83 volunteers who generated $180,455 in combined ticket sales and sponsorships, $24,000 in donations, and approximately $14,000 in sales at the MAPS store at the event. The Psychedelic Science Summit in Austin was the first event of its kind for MAPS, and we hope to bring these Summits to cities around the US in the future.

Bicycle Night was an experiment in immersive virtual gathering where 12,000 people participated from around the globe. MAPS donated a portion of the net income from Bicycle Night (about $3,000) to COVID-19 relief efforts through mutual aid relief networks.

MAPS’ digital community expanded to include 143,000 email newsletter subscribers, 124,000 monthly visitors to maps.org, and 484,000 combined social media reach.

As the pandemic has loomed large, MAPS has adapted its meeting and collaboration spaces to the virtual sphere. We’re honored to have had an opportunity to engage with many of you through webinars, social media, and virtual gatherings. We hope to be able to connect in person again soon!

Population(s) Served
Adults
Academics

The Zendo Project provides professional comprehensive harm reduction education and support for communities to help inform and transform difficult psychedelic experiences into opportunities for learning and growth. We envision a world where communities are educated, resourced, and engaged in applying harm reduction principles to support individuals exploring psychedelic states; recognizing that challenging experiences can be opportunities for self-exploration and healing. As the flagship program of the MAPS Harm Reduction department, the Zendo Project carries out MAPS’ harm reduction initiatives.

The Zendo Project & MAPS Harm Reduction: Creating communities of compassionate care

Most people who take psychedelics do so outside of a clinical, therapeutic, or ceremonial environment. At MAPS, we believe that is crucial to provide education and support for people who choose to use psychedelics in what is commonly referred to as “recreational” contexts. As we explore as a society the vast potential benefits of psychedelics, it is also our responsibility to help people adequately understand and mitigate risk. As more people contemplate exploration of psychedelic states, it is our goal to expand far beyond festivals and events so that we can bring education to all communities.

This year, millions of people will use psychedelics outside of supervised medical contexts, many of them for the first time. Honest and informed public education is necessary for both individuals who choose to use psychedelics as well as the psychedelic movement itself. Psychedelic research and the exploration of its therapeutic potential during the mid-20th century was disrupted and impacted in no small way by the inability of the psychedelic movement to effectively address and navigate adverse psychedelic experiences. We must do better this time around by providing adequate education, information, and tools to help our society deal with the complex psychological and emotional territory of the psychedelic experience.

Psychedelic harm reduction encompasses a variety of methods and strategies to help address and transform difficult emotional and psychological experiences while in a non-ordinary state of consciousness. For over 20 years, MAPS has contributed to the fields of psychedelic harm reduction and psychedelic peer support.

Program Impact: Transforming difficult psychedelic experiences

As a pioneer in the field, the Zendo Project has trained over 5,000 individuals in harm reduction principles and practices since 2012. The Zendo Project has assisted over 6,000 guests since 2012 at festivals and events around the world.

In response to COVID-19, the Zendo Project shifted our critical harm reduction trainings and services to the virtual space as public health measures require physical distancing and the translation of in-person events to online. The in-person versions of the Zendo Project’s annual events were cancelled, most prominently Burning Man 2020 in Black Rock City, NV and Lightning in a Bottle in Kern County, CA. At 2020’s Temple Burn (virtual Burning Man), the Zendo Project team collaborated with the Burning Man Organization to provide peer support services for the event. As a response to COVID-19, the Zendo Project partnered with DanceSafe to launch a virtual peer support service for people in the event industry whose livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic.

In collaboration with the MAPS Education & Events team, the Zendo Project curates online educational speaker series and webinars. EntheoGeneration, a multigenerational psychedelic speaker series launched at Burning Man 2019, and brought into an online format in 2020, presents dialogues between psychedelic elders and leaders in the psychedelic movement to address how we can better embody our take-aways from the psychedelic experience in the quadrants of our lives: individually, relationally, planetarily, and cosmically. This series was offered as a gift to the public to encourage community dialogue and encourage open and honest conversations as we continue the path towards deeper healing of our individual and collective trauma. Beyond Therapy-Psychedelics in Everyday Life (2019) and Beyond the Festival-Psychedelics in Times of Challenge and Change (2020) webinar series explored important topics in psychedelic therapy, harm reduction, integration, policy and advocacy, social justice, equity and inclusion.

Zendo Project Reimagination: Building the foundation of psychedelic harm reduction

The Zendo Project is uniquely positioned as a leader in the field of psychedelic harm reduction. In this time of challenge and change, we are asking ourselves, how might we: Bring Zendo Project expertise and compassion beyond festivals to the rest of the world: to individuals, communities, and service organizations?; and Educate, prepare, and support more people worldwide as they choose psychedelics?

As more people contemplate exploration of psychedelic states, it is our goal to expand far beyond festivals and events so that we can bring education to all communities. This includes populations that need better understanding of the risks and responsibilities associated with psychedelic exploration, such as universities, first responders, law enforcement, social workers, and medical and mental health professionals. Highlights or our current efforts include: A pilot city-wide multi-responder training in Denver, CO; this pilot training will establish a framework for bringing multi-responder trainings to other cities and states where psychedelics are decriminalized (psilocybin mushrooms were decriminalized in Denver in 2019); Training for University students, faculty, and staff to address the unique needs of psychedelic use within the university environment. This training will be piloted in partnership with selected universities; and Production of new, well-researched best practices for psychedelic education and training for the world, developing a public safety framework for a post-prohibition future.

Population(s) Served

We help vision legal frameworks for psychedelic use, and work to reform local, state, federal and international psychedelic and cannabis policy. The war on drugs was developed to criminalize people of color and anti-war activists, and has accelerated domestic militarization and surveillance. We work toward nonpartisan policies that decriminalize and regulate substances within evidence-based, equitable, and compassionate frameworks—medical and otherwise—so people can benefit from the safe and intentional use of psychedelic substances.

Psychedelic-assisted therapy has the potential to help heal trauma, but individual therapy alone cannot solve the systemic issues that often cause trauma. With a focus on systemic change, we advocate for the decriminalization of drugs in a framework of social and racial equity. This also requires advocating for comprehensive harm and risk reduction, including honest and culturally relevant drug education, legal and accessible substance analysis, peer support, and accessible services for mental health and integration. We believe that healing is intertwined with justice and that social, political, and cultural progress creates fertile ground for community healing.

Seeking to prioritize public benefit, MAPS strives to honor the ancestral and modern communities and traditions in which psychedelics play a role. The Policy & Advocacy team champions MAPS’ voice in drawing ethical concerns and considerations as the field of psychedelic research expands into the mainstream. In January 2021, Natalie Ginsberg and Ismail Ali co-authored the paper “Ethical Concerns about Psilocybin Intellectual Property” (American Chemical Society, 2021). The paper highlights concerns surrounding Psilocybe mushrooms patents, none of which have involved the Mazatec indigenous communities who have traditionally stewarded these medicines. As the field of psychedelic medicine evolves, we must amplify our efforts toward reciprocity.

Movement Building

We collaborate with strategic intersectional and interdisciplinary partners worldwide to collectively develop research projects, events, campaigns, networks, and actions based in healing and justice. Highlights include: co-founding Catharsis on the Mall, a free annual Burning Man-inspired event formed as a vigil for the war on drugs; producing the Psychedelic Medicine and Cultural Trauma workshop on the intersection of psychedelics and cultural and racial trauma in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2019; and co-developing a study evaluating psychedelics as a tool for healing intergenerational trauma among Palestinians and Israelis.

We believe that effective community organizing is what most efficiently creates social and political change. We recognize that as the oldest and most visible psychedelic organization, MAPS occupies an influential space as a connector and community builder. So, we prioritize connecting and building global, intersectional communities supportive of psychedelic healing and reform. We organize and educate community around psychedelic research and policy priorities.

Our priority is working with our allies to expand the narrative around psychedelics and trauma: over the past 7 years, we have worked to introduce the concept of racial trauma to the psychedelic community, and to highlight often under-diagnosed and ignored trauma from social marginalization. Communities experiencing the highest rates of trauma usually access mental health services at the lowest rates. With potential US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy on the horizon, MAPS has developed a Health Equity Plan to work to safely and effectively deliver this potentially life-saving care to as many people as possible.

Population(s) Served
Activists
Activists

The MDMA Therapy Training Program offers in-depth training into the practice of MDMA-assisted therapy, with curriculum based on decades of clinical experience. Trainees learn the theoretical approach of the modality, developed from the fundamental notion that every person has within them an incredible source of wisdom and an innate ability to heal.

The MDMA Therapy Training Program provides the training and supervision required to qualify practitioners to deliver MDMA-assisted therapy in approved clinical settings.

The MDMA Therapy Training Program enrolled over 950 clinicians and delivered trainings in the US, United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, and Israel.

The program enrolls compassionate and experienced clinicians who are committed to health and well-being. The program is accepting applications for mental health practitioners interested in learning the modality of MDMA-assisted therapy.

Sign up for the MDMA Therapy Training Program Newsletter to receive updates on future trainings at mapspublicbenefit.com/training.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Adults
Adults
Academics

Where we work

Number of people trained

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Academics

Related Program

MDMA Therapy Training Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The MDMA Therapy Training Program has enrolled over 950 clinicians (as of 1/2021) and delivered trainings in the US, United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, and Israel.

Number of public events held to further mission

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Public Education

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

MAPS produced nine events in FY19-20 including in-person Zendo Project trainings & digital webinar series, and Psychedelic Science Summit conference.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

MAPS' primary goals for the next five years include:
• Begin first Phase 3 MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD clinical trial in U.S., Canada, and Israel, with 100-150 subjects (Mid-2018)
• End the NIDA-monopoly on the federal supply of marijuana for clinical trials (2018)
• Begin second Phase 3 MDMA/PTSD clinical trial in U.S., Canada, and Israel, with 100-150 subjects (Mid-2019)
• Initiate MDMA/PTSD clinical trials in Europe. (2019)
• Submit New Drug Application for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy to U.S. Food & Drug Administration (2021)
• Begin building a network of clinics where treatments can be provided (2021)
Begin pediatric studies for MDMA/PTSD (2022)

On a practical and strategic level, the broad problem that MAPS addresses is that, while conventional psychiatry and psychotherapy can be helpful for a wide range of people with many different clinical conditions, there remain many people—numbering in the tens of millions in the US alone—for whom currently available medications and psychotherapies are insufficient. The path of least resistance to the mainstreaming of psychedelics is through medical research into the healing potential of psychedelic-assisted therapy for people without other treatment options.

MAPS seeks to create fiscal sustainability through the prescription sale of MDMA and potentially other psychedelics and marijuana. MAPS itself cannot conduct a taxable activity such as the sale of prescription drugs for profit, so MAPS formed MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC) in December 2014. MAPS PBC allows for the creation of a revenue model to fund future research, while doing so in a more socially responsible manner than a typical profit-maximizing pharmaceutical corporation. After MDMA-assisted therapy becomes a legal prescription medicine in the US (and abroad), MAPS PBC will sell MDMA by prescription within the context of an FDA Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) and comparable risk reduction programs in Europe and elsewhere. All therapists administering MDMA-assisted therapy to PTSD patients will be required to complete MAPS’ MDMA Therapy Training Program and all patients must be administered MDMA under the direct supervision of therapists.

MAPS has spent over 30 years educating the public and conducting FDA and DEA-approved medical research on numerous psychedelic substances, with its primary goal of making MDMA a legal medicine by 2021 for use as an adjunct to psychotherapy for PTSD. MAPS' research has upheld the highest level of integrity and clinical soundness, which has encouraged the FDA to work more closely with expediting MAPS' research into MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, which it has designated a Breakthrough Therapy. The promising results of MAPS' international series of Phase 2 studies for MDMA/PTSD has created a great deal of positive media attention from mainstream outlets (New York Times, CNN, National Geographic, Nature, Rolling Stone, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and more).

In the almost 32 years since MAPS was created, it has facilitated a renaissance in psychedelic research. There is now more psychedelic research taking place than at any time in the last 50 years. MAPS has also contributed to a sea-change in public attitudes towards psychedelic research. MAPS is still struggling to end political obstruction of medical marijuana research in the US but anticipate being able in 2018 to end the federal monopoly on the production of marijuana legal for FDA-regulated research.

In preparation for Phase 3 studies of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, MAPS selected locations for 16 study sites for the first Phase 3 study sites in Boston, New York City (2 sites), Charleston, New Orleans, Boulder, Ft. Collins, Los Angeles, San Francisco (2 sites), Madison, Storrs, CT (UConn), Vancouver, Montreal, Tel Aviv and Beer Yaakov, Israel.

MAPS has also selected the therapists for the upcoming Phase 3 trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. There are currently 84 therapy team researchers in total, 42 male/female co-therapist teams, working at 15 sites. Novice therapy teams will participate in a supervision study (MP-16) in which they will administer treatment to one participant and receive feedback on their application of the therapeutic method.

Phase 3 will begin in 2018, and will conclude in 2021 when MAPS submits its New Drug Application to the FDA. MAPS is also initiating negotiations with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and plans to obtain approval for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD around the world.

Next, MAPS plans to initiate drug development research for the marijuana plant in smoked or vaporized form for PTSD, for ibogaine for the treatment of opiate addiction, for additional indications for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, and to create model psychedelic psychotherapy treatment centers. MAPS will also substantially expand the MDMA Therapy Training Program to train thousands of therapy providers. In addition, MAPS plans to expand Zendo Project psychedelic harm reduction services to an increasing number of countries and venues, as well as continuing to offer private trainings.

MAPS will also convene another major international Psychedelic Science conference, likely in 2021.

Financials

Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies

Board of directors
as of 7/7/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Victoria Hale

Rick Doblin

MAPS; MAPS Public Benefit Corporation

John Gilmore

Cygnus Solutions; Electronic Frontier Foundation; Cypherpunks; DES Cracker; Usenet; Marijuana Policy Project

Victoria Hale

OneWorld Health; Medicines360

David Bronner

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap

Joby Pritzker

Tao Capital Partners; Libra Foundation; Marijuana Policy Project

Vicky Dulai

Compassion for Addiction

Amy Emerson

MAPS Public Benefit Corporation

Joe Green

Psychedelic Science Funders Collaborative (PSFC); Causes; NationBuilder; FWD.us; Treehouse; Or Halev

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 03/01/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data