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Mainstreaming Psychedelics:
From FDA to Harvard
to Burning Man

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Mainstreaming Psychedelics:
From FDA to Harvard to Burning Man

Google Tech Talk
November 17, 2009


Presented by Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Executive Director MAPS.

We're now in the midst of a worldwide renaissance in psychedelic research, after decades of political suppression. Scientists from around the world will present their new findings at the largest psychedelic conference to take place in the US in 17 years, on April 15-18, 2010, in San Jose, CA (http://www.maps.org/conference/ ). Even media reports, which usually mention in passing the widespread use of psychedelics by the counterculture in the 1960s, are more hopeful than alarming. In this talk, we'll review the factors which led to the backlash and the lessons to be learned, discuss how the FDA opened the door to research around the world, how the ghost of Timothy Leary was buried at Harvard, and how Burning Man struggles to respond to people who have difficult psychedelic experiences. We'll conclude by explaining how non-profit drug development, initially of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for postraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can transform psychedelics into FDA-approved prescription medicines and can lay the groundwork for the successful, long-term integration of psychedelics into the mainstream of medicine, religion, art, creativity, and celebration.

Rick founded MAPS in 1986. His dissertation [http://www.maps.org/dissertation/] (Public Policy, Harvards Kennedy School of Government) was on "The Regulation of the Medical Use of Psychedelics and Marijuana," and his masters thesis [http://www.maps.org/docs/doblin-mt.html] (Harvard) focused on the attitudes and experiences of oncologists concerning the medical use of marijuana. His undergraduate thesis [http://www.maps.org/research/cluster/psilo-lsd/goodfriday.pdf] (New College of Florida) was a twenty-five year follow-up to the classic Good Friday Experiment [http://www.maps.org/books/pahnke/index.html], which evaluated the potential of psychedelic drugs to catalyze religious experiences. He has also conducted a thirty-four year follow-up study to Tim Learys Concord Prison experiment [http://www.maps.org/news-letters/v09n4/09410con.html].

Rick studied with Stan Grof, M.D., and was in the first group to become certified as holotropic breathwork practitioners. His professional goal is to help develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana, primarily as prescription medicines but also for personal growth for otherwise "healthy" people, and to also become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist. He resides in Boston with his wife and three children.


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