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Watch > Episode > Rick Doblin - Fighting the Good Fight

Rick Doblin - Fighting the Good Fight


Rick Doblin is the founder of MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies, who joins London Real host Brian Rose in the studio to talk about his first experiences with LSD in the early 1970s, how his organisation foresaw the banning of MDMA by the DEA, why conducting medical studies on cannabis is nearly impossible in the USA, and why he believes that our culture now is more prepared to embrace psychedelics than fifty years ago.

Born in 1953, Rick Doblin’s journey into the world of psychedelics was influenced by the cultural and social changes of the 1960s. Inspired by the writings of pioneers like Aldous Huxley and Timothy Leary, Doblin developed a keen interest in the potential therapeutic benefits of psychedelic substances. However, his vision was not solely focused on personal exploration; rather, he saw psychedelics as agents of change that could profoundly impact mental health and well-being.

In 1986, Rick Doblin founded MAPS with the mission of developing medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics. MAPS operates as a non-profit research and educational organisation that conducts clinical trials, develops educational resources, and advocates for the responsible use of psychedelics. Under Doblin’s leadership, MAPS has become a leading force in the renaissance of psychedelic research.

One of Rick Doblin’s primary focuses has been on the therapeutic potential of MDMA, commonly known as Ecstasy. Recognising its empathogenic and prosocial effects, Doblin and MAPS have been at the forefront of advocating for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as a treatment for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The groundbreaking Phase 3 clinical trials conducted by MAPS have shown promising results, leading to increased acceptance of MDMA as a therapeutic tool.

Rick Doblin’s work with MAPS has involved navigating complex legal and regulatory landscapes surrounding psychedelic substances. In an environment where many psychedelics were stigmatised and criminalised, Doblin’s strategic approach has involved collaborating with regulatory bodies, building scientific evidence through rigorous research, and engaging in public outreach to destigmatise these substances. His efforts have contributed to a shifting paradigm, with growing acceptance of psychedelics as legitimate tools for therapeutic use.

Doblin has consistently emphasised the importance of conducting ethical and responsible research in the field of psychedelic science. He advocates for rigorous scientific methodologies, transparent reporting, and a commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of study participants. Doblin’s approach has played a crucial role in building credibility for psychedelic research within the broader scientific and medical communities.

Under Rick Doblin’s leadership, MAPS has expanded its reach globally, collaborating with researchers, policymakers, and advocates around the world. Doblin’s efforts extend beyond research and therapy, encompassing a broader mission to influence drug policy. He engages in policy advocacy to promote a more rational and compassionate approach to psychedelics, aiming to reshape legal frameworks and facilitate access to these substances for therapeutic purposes.

Rick Doblin’s work is driven by a deeply rooted belief in the healing potential of psychedelics and their capacity to foster positive societal change. His vision extends beyond individual therapeutic outcomes to a broader cultural shift in the way society views and utilises these substances. Doblin envisions a future where psychedelics are integrated into mainstream medicine and mental health care, offering profound healing experiences for those in need.

Rick Doblin’s contributions to the field of psychedelic research and therapy have been transformative, paving the way for a reevaluation of these substances’ therapeutic potential.

Through his visionary leadership at MAPS, Doblin has helped shift societal perceptions, influence policies, and open new avenues for understanding the profound impact of psychedelics on mental health. As psychedelic research continues to gain momentum, Rick Doblin remains a guiding force, advocating for responsible, evidence-based exploration of these substances for the betterment of individuals and society as a whole.


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