Rick Doblin of MAPS Talks Medical Cannabis Trials and a Possible Legalization Timeline

Rick Doblin of MAPS Talks Medical Cannabis Trials and a Possible Legalization Timeline

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There may be no one in America who cares more deeply about the end of cannabis prohibition than Dr. Rick Doblin . Since 1986, he has been executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies ( MAPS ), a nonprofit running FDA-approved clinical trials to study the medical efficacy of Schedule I controlled substances such as cannabis and MDMA. Due to the remarkable success of their Phase II studies, MAPS recently received FDA approval to conduct large-scale, Phase III clinical trials for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treating post-traumatic stress disorder ( PTSD ). MAPS has also received FDA approval to study the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis in treating symptoms of PTSD. Gaining government approval for these studies is no easy task—the process is expensive and time-consuming, especially for federally illegal substances. In the US, research on the efficacy of medical marijuana has moved even more slowly than clinical research on other controlled substances, such as MDMA. The reasons for this stems from the monopoly that the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) has had on the production of research-grade medical marijuana in the US. As the executive director of MAPS for over 30 years, few people have as much experience navigating the bureaucratic nightmare of US drug law than Rick Doblin. We caught up with Dr. Doblin to discuss MAPS-funded clinical trials for PTSD, NIDA, the Trump administration, and what the timeline for the end of federal cannabis prohibition might look like. “Research should be about science over politics, especially when it comes to easing human suffering.” Leafly: How long has MAPS been trying to research medical cannabis? Rick Doblin: We tried to do work with marijuana back in 1991, and it took me an entire year to find anyone who wanted to do research on it. […]

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