Can you picture yourself walking into the neighborhood pharmacy with prescriptions for ecstasy (MDMA) and psilocybin?
If MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies) has its way, the days of prescription psychedelics may not be too far away. For those who know the history of psychedelic research, this eventuality has been a long time coming. But others — who may only be familiar with the intense emotions and activities around the “War On Drugs” over the past several decades — may be surprised to learn how much progress MAPS has made.
Jag Davies is the Director of Communications for MAPS, a non-profit research and education organization that assists scientists to design, obtain approval for, fund, conduct and report on research into the healing and spiritual potentials of psychedelics and marijuana. He joined Steve Robles, Jeff Diehl and myself on The RU Sirius Show.
Let it be said that Mr. Davies has the patience of a saint (and a sense of humor). Despite the fact that we were unable to resist the urge to crack drug jokes throughout, Jag managed to convey vast quantities of important information about psychedelic research.
RU: So a while back, MAPS got approval for a study in MDMA (ecstasy) assisted psychotherapy. Where are we at with that?
JAG: It’s almost over. They’ve treated 15 out of 20 patients. It’s very slow. There are lots of pre-conditions for the study because it’s such a controversial substance. But the results are ridiculous. Their CAPS score—(CAPS is the Clinician Administered PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] Scale) is about five times higher than in treating chronic treatment-resistant patients with Zoloft… And there are a whole other slew of studies that are sort of copying this one that we’re doing in a bunch of other places like Switzerland, and Israel, just to be sure.
JEFF: So does it look like MDMA is going to become something that’s used pharmaceutically?
JAG: After careful analysis, we decided that MDMA is probably the most likely of any psychedelic drug to get approved. First of all, it has a very gentle sort of pharmacological profile.
But the other reason is… because it was so demonized by the government in the 1980s and 1990s, there has been hundreds of millions of dollars of research done into its risks. So they’ve done all the work for us!
RU: You mentioned a comparison to Zoloft, the implication being that MDMA could be an effective anti-depressant.
JAG: The difference is that MDMA is not used on a daily basis…
JEFF: What kind of dosage did they use? Was it comparable to a street hit?
JAG: Actually, it’s a bit larger than a street hit. It’s 125 milligrams pure. And then we actually got approval about halfway through the study to make a couple of changes. One of them was to take a booster dose, basically, although we call it a “supplemental” dose. They take another 60 milligrams about an hour and half into it.
JEFF: You’re not calling it “a bump”? (laughter)
Read the rest of the interview here.