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Watch > Episode > Rick Doblin - MDMA Is Medicine

Rick Doblin - MDMA Is Medicine

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Rick Doblin is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), whose goal is to help develop contexts for the legal use of psychedelics and marijuana. He is currently in phase three of clinical trials testing the combination of MDMA and psychotherapy as a safe and effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, something which has now been in the works for over 30 years. Ultimately he wants to explore how psychedelics can be used to resolve some of the world’s biggest problems amongst religions, in spirituality, and for conflict resolution.

In this, his second appearance on London Real, Rick joins Brian Rose in studio to talk about how the public can be persuaded to consider so-called party drugs as therapeutic, the impact of drug overdoses on our wider society and what he thinks the scene will be like in 2035.
Rick Doblin’s journey into the world of psychedelics was not merely a personal exploration; it was a visionary quest to reshape societal perceptions and unlock the therapeutic potential of these substances. Growing up amidst the cultural shifts of the 1960s, Doblin was inspired by the writings of pioneers like Aldous Huxley and Timothy Leary, igniting a passion that would shape his life’s work.

In 1986, Doblin founded MAPS with a transformative vision: to bridge the gap between psychedelic exploration and mainstream acceptance. His goal was not only to conduct rigorous scientific research but also to create a cultural shift that recognises the profound healing potential of psychedelics. MAPS became a crucible for groundbreaking studies, education, and advocacy, setting the stage for the contemporary psychedelic renaissance.

A centrepiece of Doblin’s advocacy has been the exploration of MDMA’s therapeutic potential. Recognizing its empathogenic properties, Doblin and MAPS initiated studies into MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, particularly for individuals struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Doblin’s leadership has been instrumental in navigating regulatory complexities and fostering a paradigm shift in how society views MDMA as a tool for mental health healing.


One of the cornerstones of Rick Doblin’s approach is a commitment to ethical research and methodological excellence. In a field often plagued by stigma, Doblin has tirelessly worked to ensure that MAPS’ studies adhere to the highest standards of scientific rigour and transparency. By maintaining an unwavering commitment to ethics, Doblin has fortified the foundation upon which psychedelic research stands today.

Under Doblin’s guidance, MAPS has transcended national borders, fostering collaborations with researchers, institutions, and policymakers globally. Recognising the need for a united front, Doblin has cultivated alliances to influence drug policies, increase public awareness, and broaden the international dialogue on psychedelics. His global impact has been crucial in dismantling outdated stigmas and opening avenues for progressive drug policy reforms.

Rick Doblin’s campaigning extends beyond research laboratories into legal and political arenas. Understanding the importance of shaping public opinion, he has engaged in high-level dialogues with lawmakers, regulatory bodies, and public influencers. By actively participating in legal discussions and advocating for progressive policies, Doblin aims to dismantle barriers that hinder the responsible use of psychedelics.

Rick Doblin’s personal philosophy extends far beyond scientific exploration. He envisions a cultural renaissance where psychedelics are not only highlighted for their therapeutic potential but also integrated into mainstream society as tools for personal growth, creativity, and understanding. Doblin’s holistic vision emphasises the need for a cultural shift that transcends clinical settings, identifying the positive impact of psychedelics on broader aspects of human experience.

As the psychedelic renaissance continues to unfold, Rick Doblin’s legacy stands as a testament to the power of visionary leadership in catalysing positive change. His work with MAPS has not only advanced scientific understanding but has also paved the way for a more compassionate and informed approach to psychedelics. Rick Doblin’s influence will likely continue to shape the trajectory of psychedelic research, policy, and cultural integration, leaving an indelible mark on the evolving landscape of psychedelic science and therapy.

Chapters

00:00 | Trailer
02:43 Brian’s thoughts on the episode
05:14 Brian’s introduction
05:56 What has contributed to current public willingness for conversation about psychedelics in medicine
10:59 Ibogaine could help people get off opiate addiction
13:44 SSRIs have suited pharma industry well, but the field of psychiatry is looking for new ways to help
16:29 How can the public be persuaded to consider so-called party drugs as therapeutic
21:30 Risk for those taking MDMA in therapy, later becoming ravers
26:30 How MDMA therapy can help those with PTSD resulting from different types of trauma
31:11 MDMA history and how Rick has maintained a fourty-five year, long term plan, for MDMA use
45:47 More people died from drug overdoses in 2017 than entire Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars
47:51 What Rick thinks the drug scene will be like in 2035
52:35 The 50-year Marijuana cycle MAPS hopes to break before the election
55:55 The typical MDMA therapy patient
58:21 Why MDMA is not mentioned by Michael Pollan in his book and Terence McKenna didn’t favour it
1:02:31 Moving story of how Rick’s grandmother inspires his work and his work with PTSDA veterans
1:16:24 An unexpected windfall
1:24:30 Meeting the EMA1:32:11 An anti-patent strategy, how people who have received help from MDMA can help cause
1:36:43 How MAPS is training therapists, despite MDMA being an illegal drug
1:40:37 Political rift caused by acceptance of a donation for healing from trauma study
1:49:43 Why Rick’s plea is, come out of the closet; act responsibly; help people through experience
1:52:55 The concept of a 100-year plan1:55:56 Brian’s summing up.

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