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The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a U.S.-based non-profit organization that assists scientists to design, fund, obtain approval for and report on studies into the risks and benefits of psychedelic drugs (including MDMA, ibogaine and cannabis). MAPS' mission is to develop these drugs into FDA-approved prescription medicines, and to educate the public honestly about their risks and benefits. MAPS' has often been at odds with NIDA and the DEA in their efforts to research the medicinal purposes of cannabis. MAPS founder Rick Dobin claims that the NIDA is "scared of research" and "we don't want their weed" anyways becasue it is "schwag" a street term for low grade cheap pot. MAPS has a $5 million, 5 year plan to conduct the research necessary to obtain FDA approval for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition to its research efforts, MAPS has recently published six books, and publishes a quarterly journal, the MAPS Bulletin. The organization was founded by Rick Doblin in 1986.
Since 1995, MAPS has disbursed over three million dollars to research and educational projects and has:
- Obtained FDA and IRB approval to study MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Charleston, SC with similar research projects now underway in Switzerland and Israel.
- Sponsored efforts by Prof. Lyle Craker, Medicinal Plant Program, UMass Amherst Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, to obtain a license from the Drug Enforcement Administration for a marijuana production facility.
- Sponsored pioneering analytical research into the effects of the marijuana vaporizer, leading to the first human study of marijuana vaporizers conducted by Dr. Donald Abrams, UC San Francisco.
- Opened an FDA Drug Master File for MDMA. This is required before any drug can be researched in FDA-approved human studies.
- Assisted Dr. Charles Grob to design, obtain approval for and fund the first FDA-approved study in the U.S. to administer MDMA to humans.
- Assisted in the design and is funding the world's first government-approved scientific study of the therapeutic use of MDMA (Spain).
- Sponsored the first studies to analyze the purity and potency of street samples of "Ecstasy" and medical marijuana.
- Funded the successful efforts of Dr. Donald Abrams to obtain approval for the first human study in 15 years into the therapeutic use of marijuana, along with a $1 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
- Obtained Orphan Drug designation from the FDA for smoked marijuana in the treatment of AIDS Wasting Syndrome.
- Funded the synthesis of psilocybin for the first FDA-approved study in twenty-five years to evaluate psilocybin in a patient population.
- Supported long-term follow-up studies of pioneering research with LSD and psilocybin originally conducted in the 1950s and 1960s.
Currently, MAPS has been given a Controlled Substances Act Schedule I license to conduct research with MDMA on veterans and survivors of physical or sexual assault who are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, as well as with advanced-stage Cancer patients who are experiencing anxiety associated with this diagnosis, the first licenses the DEA has granted for MDMA psychotherapy research.
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