Vol. 2, Number 9
September 1, 2010
cheryl riley, editor & writer
Gradi Jordan, writer
Who's Who
What's New
Contact Us
AAMC California
AAMC El Dorado County CA
AAMC Idaho
AAMC Kansas
AAMC Oregon
AAMC Washington

Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) - by c.a. riley

Since its beginning in 1986, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has sponsored and supported research on many psychoactive compounds. Fortunately, cannabis is one of those compounds.

Founded by Rick Doblin and now located in Santa Cruz, California, MAPS works closely with scientists to develop legal prescription drugs from psychedelics and marijuana. MAPS is the only entity seeking a solution to the medical cannabis stalemate by working with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

MAPS is involved with the design, funding, and other critical aspects of ensuring the safety and efficacy of these newly developed drugs. The association is directly involved with regulatory officials around the globe, including the FDA and the European Medicines Agency (EMEA). All studies are conducted with the utmost degree of ethical and procedural care to ensure strict compliance with all guidelines for clinical drug research.

Some substances currently being studied by MAPS are MDMA (Ecstasy) for treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); LSD and psilocybin for end-of-life anxiety and depression; and ibogaine for opiate and other addictions, including nicotine.

MAPS is also studying vaporizers or water pipes for alternative delivery of medical cannabis, but obtaining cannabis for testing has been nearly impossible because the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has a monopoly on supplies of research-grade cannabis suitable for use in FDA-approved studies. NIDA leverages its power to interfere with or obstruct studies that conflict with its vested interests.

For example, two FDA-approved MAPS medical cannabis studies never took place because NIDA rejected them. For nearly four years MAPS has been trying unsuccessfully to purchase ten grams—less than one-half ounce—of cannabis from NIDA for research into the compounds formed by vaporization of cannabis. Vaporizers appear to offer a huge advantage over smoking or even eating cannabis and have already been used in one FDA-sanctioned human study.

Sponsorship of scientific research is only one function of MAPS. The presentation of continuing medical education (CME) conferences, lectures and seminars on psychedelic and medical cannabis research is another. The MAPS group also participates in community events, and has published several books, along with the quarterly MAPS Bulletin. Ongoing research, the history and culture of psychedelic medicine, and psychedelic therapy are some of the topics covered.

This group’s achievements are far too numerous to list here, but they include:

  • Sponsorship of 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

  • Sponsorship of analytical research into the effects of the marijuana vaporizer, which led to the first human study of marijuana vaporizers

  • Funding the successful efforts of Dr. Donald Abrams to obtain approval for the first human study in 15 years into the therapeutic use of marijuana

  • In support of research and educational projects, MAPS has disbursed over $3,000,000 since 1995
MAPS’ membership is about 1450 nationwide. Last year was the first time in the group’s history that donations from individuals and larger sums from benefactors exceeded $1 million.

Although hindered by government agencies, a major goal of this benevolent organization is to create and fund a research program focused on proving to the FDA that cannabis is safe and effective therapy for many medical conditions and should become a legal prescription medicine.

Who's Who in Medical Cannabis - Professor Lyle Craker, PhD - by c.a. riley

Dr. Lyle Craker is Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. For the past thirty-some years, most of his work with medicinal plants—such as black cohosh, goldenseal, and maca—has been done in obscurity, but now he is known for requesting that medical grade cannabis be made available for research into its possible health benefits. Nine years ago, in 2001, Dr. Craker applied to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for permission to grow cannabis for research.

Dr. Craker says, “From the beginning, I have recognized that this plant is somewhat different from other medicinal plants, long suppressed because of misuse as a recreational drug. Yet, I also recognized that with proper security any misuse of plant material grown for medical trials could be prevented. Indeed, the danger from growing this plant seems no more hazardous than other illicit drugs to which the government limits access through appropriate security arrangements."

Six years after Craker submitted his application, Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner finally approved it in February, 2007. Nearly two years later, in January, 2009, DEA Deputy Administrator Michele Leonhart denied Craker’s petition. Unfortunately, President Obama has appointed Leonhart to head the DEA, so permission for Dr. Craker or anyone else to conduct any meaningful research on medicinal cannabis seems unlikely for the near future.

Rick Doblin, founder of MAPS, and Valerie Corral, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM), had joined Dr. Craker in asking the federal government to end its monopoly on medical grade cannabis production and research. The University of Mississippi currently provides all the cannabis produced by the federal government but it is of inferior quality and strength, unsuitable for extensive medical research. Dr. Craker believes he could produce stronger, higher-quality cannabis. He added that he could even do it without government funding.

Professor Craker has his work cut out for him. The government’s position is that the cannabis produced at the University of Mississippi “continues to meet the nation's need for research-grade marijuana while maintaining the highest level of safeguards against diversion."

To that Craker responds, "When you have a complete monopoly you have no incentive to improve the material." Should the government relent and approve his application, Craker says he would not perform the research himself, but would make the cannabis available to other researchers approved by the federal government.

Professor Craker says his lab is “prepared to take extraordinary precautions” to assure security and that all plant materials would be carefully catalogued and protected at all times.

Dr. Craker’s application is currently under review; a public comment period ends Sept. 22. At that time, if the DEA rejects his petition Craker can again appeal to a federal administrative judge.

Rick Doblin and MAPS are working with several other drug policy reform organizations, hoping to persuade the Obama Administration to accept the inevitable and finally issue Prof. Craker his license.

Who's Who in Medical Cannabis - Rick Doblin - by c.a. riley

Rick Doblin, PhD, founder and executive director of MAPS, the membership-based nonprofit research and educational organization he established in 1986, says he has never used the most-commonly-used/abused drugs.

"I still have never had a cup of coffee, I’ve never had a cigarette, I’ve never had a Coca-Cola. I’ve never had a beer. I don’t drink alcohol," says the 56-year-old. "I felt that drugs were a dangerous escape and there was no need for it."

Doblin, a member of NORML’s board of directors since 1996, earned his psychology degree in 1987 from the small, highly-respected New College of Florida, and in 2001 was awarded a doctorate in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. His dissertation examined the regulation of the medical use of psychedelics and cannabis, while his master’s thesis explored the experiences and opinions of oncologists regarding the use of cannabis as medicine.

Doblin and MAPS have been restricted in the clinical cannabis studies they would like to conduct by the continued government monopoly on the production of medical-grade cannabis, and by unreasonable stalling on the application submitted by Dr. Lyle Craker, Valerie Corral and MAPS to produce cannabis for research at the University of Massachusetts.

In 2004, Craker, Corral and Doblin filed suit against the DEA, the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the National Institutes of Health. They accuse the government of having a monopoly on the production of medical marijuana and stalling unreasonably on UMass’s application to produce high-quality cannabis for research.

Rick Doblin asserts that "Dr. Craker has no goal here except to advance scientific research into marijuana and our goals are the same. By controlling who can research marijuana and how they can do it, the DEA has greatly limited promising research that could lead to [government] approved medications."

There is no question that Doblin, an animated and colorful individual who likes to dance, takes the therapeutic potential of cannabis (and psychedelics) quite seriously. He has designed and funded numerous studies on medical applications for psychedelics, and has worked so diligently within the system—along with many others—that public perception of therapeutic psychedelics and cannabis has finally begun to change.

One of Doblin’s primary goals is to "develop psychedelics and marijuana into FDA-approved prescription medicines, and to educate the public honestly about the risks and benefits of these drugs." He estimates that the cost to transform FDA-approved cannabis into legal medicine will be about $5-7 million.

Doblin dreams that by the time his five-to-nine-year-old children are grown, he will have achieved another of his long-term goals: "What I hope is that, maybe 15 years from now, I can go from primarily focusing on the politics of psychedelics and medical marijuana to actually being a therapist."

What's New

Alabama: Considering a medical marijuana law.
   HB642 - The Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act of Alabama

Arkansas: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Connecticut: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Delaware: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Florida: Medical marijuana petition drive underway.

Idaho: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Illinois: Considering a medical marijuana law.
   Bill Status of SB1381

Iowa: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Kansas: Medical marijuana petition drive underway.
   Marijuana Bill Reaches House

Maryland: Considering a medical marijuana law.
   Bill Status of SB 627

Massachusetts: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Minnesota: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Missouri: Considering a medical marijuana law.
   HOUSE BILL NO. 1670 - An Act relating to the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes
   Cottleville Mayor Don Yarber hopes Missouri legislature passes medical marijuana law

New Hampshire: Considering a medical marijuana law.

New York: Considering a medical marijuana law.

North Carolina: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Ohio: Considering a medical marijuana law.
   HB 478

Pennsylvania: Considering a medical marijuana law.
   HB 1393

South Carolina: Considering a medical marijuana law.

South Dakota: Medical marijuana petition drive underway.

Tennessee: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Texas: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Wisconsin: Considering a medical marijuana law.
   The Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act

Featured Recipe - Here Come de Fudge…Coma Quick Brownies by Jay R. Cavanaugh, PhD

Maybe our brownies made from scratch are the best in the world but let’s face it, they are neither so easy nor quick to make. As the Canny Bus gets a new air conditioning compressor in order to make yet another northern excursion, we decided to try a quick and dirty method of making great fudge brownies.

Our northern medical cannabis gardeners provide free trim for the sick and dying. We can’t tell you who they are for obvious reasons but believe me they are real life savers. What’s more they love my cooking!

So, Kermit the Canny Bus is gassed up, repaired, and ready to go. Buttons our bear is onboard and his seatbelt fastened. Visions of fresh bud crowd his little stuffed bear brain. New trim awaits the canny cooks! We’ve picked a bushel of lemons for our northern friends and are prepared for a spring visit. Now for the real present, here comes de fudge, here come coma quick brownies. The way Nurse Nancy wife drives, the brownies will still be warm when we arrive at our secret rendezvous in a forest glade somewhere in the Foothills of the great Sierra Nevada. Forget Humboldt, Santa Cruz, and Big Sur or Amsterdam for that matter because these fertile foothills (elevation 2,500 feet) grow some of the best cannabis on the planet.

Note: This recipe can be made from start to finish in only 40 minutes.

Nurse Nancy Wife discovered that Duncan Hines makes one super duper brownie mix. I never met Duncan but he knew what he was doing when he came up with this mix. All you need to add is a couple of eggs and our own Black Out Butter. Can it be this easy to make deadly brownies that rival our own?


One box of Duncan Hines Brownie Mix
2 large eggs
1 cup Black Out Butter

Optional: 1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla, one teaspoon fresh lemon zest, one tablespoon Grand Marnier


Bring your Black Out Butter to room temperature. Wisk the butter and the eggs in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Gradually add the brownie mix and blend with a wood spoon until smooth. If the mix is too thick (doubtful) you can add a couple of tablespoons of water. Pour mixture into a Pam coated baking pan (not a loaf pan, not a cookie sheet, just a 6X6x2). Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until slightly firm. Set aside and let them cool if you have that kind of patience.

That’s it! You’re done.

Note: Pure cannabutter cooks just like oil. The directions on the box of Duncan Hines call for one half cup of oil but we used a full cup of cannabutter instead. This means that the brownies are going be fudgier than normal.

Potency Warning: This recipe makes approximately 12 large brownies. The one cup of Black Out Butter was made with approximately 50 grams of trim. Assuming trim potency 50% of flowers and estimating an extraction efficiency of 75% that mean each brownie has the equivalent of about 2 grams of flowers. We didn’t name these guys “Quick Coma” for nothing.

Medical Applications:

We strongly recommend these brownies for:

Severe insomnia
Muscle spasticity from MS, diabetes, HCV, and other disorders
OCD associated with autism spectrum disorders
Maintaining cannabinoid blood levels in chronic pain syndromes

Do not drive, operate machinery, or, in fact do anything besides sleeping, listening to music, or watching the Sci-Fi channel for 8-12 hours following ingestion.

Follow AAMC on:
6th National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics
April 15-17, 2010
Providence, RI USA

Medical Marijuana States

District of Columbia
New Jersey
New Mexico
Rhode Island