Transcript for Brad Burge

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strangers thank you for listening the

human experience is in session my guest

for today is mr. Brad Burge from Maps

Brad it is your second time on HX p

welcome back sir I’m so excited to be

back had a great chat last time okay

Brad so let’s let’s dig right into what

maps is doing I mean the year is only in

its first few months but already some

some great things seem to be happening

for maps your medical marijuana research

received a boost in January when the DEA

completed their inspection of the John

Hopkins University trial site what what

does this mean for the city’s progress

oh yeah well you know just to say I was

last back on I was lost on in 2014 and

that’s 2016 now and we were just in the

middle of our phase two MDMA trials and

now we’re just 2016 is just a big year a

big shift for us and just like really

moving to the next phase with the

research and that’s including the

marijuana research so we’ve been working

on getting this study started for about

14 years now going through various

levels of government obstacles various

review processes including one review

process that was removed last year there

was extra from marijuana research and

now researchers don’t have to go through

that with the Public Health Service and

then there was the firing of dr. Seuss’s

Lee who was the original principal

investigator on the study um just for

your listeners who may not remember this

is a study in that 76 United States

military veterans where we’re exploring


strains of medical marijuana with

different ratios of THC and CBD to treat

symptoms of post-traumatic stress

disorder now a lot of veterans are using

marijuana for treatment of their

post-traumatic stress disorder a lot of

people for whom VA treatments including

medications to start working right so we

want to actually do the clinical trial

so the research necessary to actually

find out how it works whether it works

who it works for and ultimately

hopefully to make whole plant medical

marijuana an fda-approved prescription

drug so this study we were thrilled last

year Maps got our very first government

grant it was a 2.1 million dollar grant

from the state of Colorado Wow now the

state of Colorado has as you know has

legalized marijuana for recreational use

and the taxes the income to the state

from all the sales of that marijuana had

to go somewhere and so they created a

grant program for medical marijuana

research so taking the taxes from legal

recreational marijuana and putting a

towards medical marijuana research maps

was the largest recipient of a 9 million

dollar pool of funding that the state of

Colorado was giving out to different

applicants to do the research 2.1

million dollars now funding this

marijuana for PTSD study the very first

government grant first government

funding that maps has ever received so

already that’s a that’s just a huge

advancement yeah that’s that’s actual

government funds being used to support

nonprofit medical marijuana research so

very exciting the trial is now actually

in two sites we’ve expanded it same

number of subjects 76 subjects but is

now in two sites one at Johns Hopkins

and one in Phoenix Arizona and the DEA

as you mentioned just recently approved

the study site in at the University in

Baltimore Johns Hopkins and now we’re

just waiting to finish the construction

on the study site that is in Phoenix

Arizona where dr. Cicely is going to be

treating subjects there so we expect

this will get started this year we are

just about to finalize that construction

and then we’ll be able to get that final

de approval get federal DEA approval and


order the marijuana from the National

Institute on Drug Abuse which will be

supplying the marijuana this is amazing

man I mean you guys are changing the

world that’s what you’re doing on a

daily basis I mean it might not feel

that way right now I mean we’ve we last

time we talked as you said it was 2014

did you expect so much of a transition I

mean it seems like you guys have made a

lot of progress yeah well you know 2016

happens to be our 30th anniversary

actually 30 years of working to remove

government obstacles and remove the

irrational stigma that’s been around for

so long surrounding psychedelics and

medical marijuana so it’s been planned

for a long time my boss Rick Doblin has

been at it since 1986 and were as I said

we’re just moving into this whole new

phase where we’re at least in the case

of the MDMA research we’re doing for

PTSD or not we’re almost done with the

original set of trials the small set of

trials that’ll be ultimately six Phase

two trials that we will have completed

and then just getting ready this year to

move on to the much larger saves three

trials that will hopefully ultimately

within the next six years or so make

MDMA illegal prescription treatment for

PTSD let’s yeah let’s touch on that so

your your your studies into treating

PTSD with mdma-assisted therapy your

Israel trials saw the last subject

receiving their first treatment in the

phase 2 study and your Boulder Colorado

subjects leaving phase 2 and entering

the 12-month long-term follow-up face

what comes next for the two studies have

any interesting insights been kind of

gleaned from the data so far oh yeah you

know the the boulder trial that’s our

second largest trial our largest one is

this that the participants are still in

their long-term follow-up the largest

one being in South Carolina primarily in

veterans and 24 subjects so not that

much bigger 24 and 23 subjects but still

generally small studies the results from

the bowler study are still preliminary

still being analyzed but they look

extremely promising spoken with the

investigators who

presented it to our research team and

they are very very comparable with the

really amazing we that the amazing

results we got in our first couple of

phase 2 studies which sowed show that

eighty-three percent so over three

quarters of the people who received

mdma-assisted psychotherapy no longer

qualified for PTSD anymore after

treatment so that’s our published

results I can’t talk specifically about

the published results because there’s

the upcoming result for the boulder

study because the data is still being

analyzed and we want to say exactly what

the results were just when they came out

but we are seeing extremely positive

results we’ve had quite a few study

participants being open to speaking

about their experience lately we will or

we just had a really great fundraising

appeal in the last part of last year so

just in in December a few months ago and

were able to raise all of the funding

that we needed left for that Boulder

study and in that process several

subjects came out and spoke on video

about their experience and we think that

was really motivating for bringing a lot

of new supporters on board to help get

that study completely funded in and

completed we’ll also have one of the

study participants who found herself

deeply recovered from PTSD after the

MDMA sessions that she received in the

study she’ll be speaking at our upcoming

30th anniversary celebration just going

to be in oakland california on April

seventeenth so just the sheer number of

people who are willing to come out and

and share their stories I think I spoked

with five different participants just in

the last few months from that study who

are not only feeling recovered from

their PTSD but are also feeling

comfortable not to speak publicly about

their exteme is I don’t think I got a

chance to email you were mentioned this

to you but after our the first episode

we did I got an email from someone who

had been deployed in Iraq and he he

emailed me and he said he said thank you

for doing that episode because

is he he was receiving a lot of kind of

social stigma from the idea of using

MDMA to treat his PTSD and he was

suffering from some really heavy PTSD

and he just said he just said that he

heard the episode and through hearing it

it helped him decide that you know he

should give this a chance so so moving

moving on here that’s just great yeah

truly truly changing people’s lives it’s

okay so there’s an aspect of the

mdma-assisted therapy that maps is doing

in regards to couples and I find this

pretty interesting there’s a it’s a

conjoined kind of thing where one person

has the the trauma and the other person

doesn’t do it can you explain to us

please yeah yeah absolutely so just the

the the background is that before MDMA

was criminalized in 1985 the year before

Maps was founded it was fairly widely

used in the therapeutic community it

still wasn’t super well known it wasn’t

taught in medical schools but there was

a fairly large community and maybe

hundreds maybe thousands of therapists

who are using MDMA to treat people in

their practices there hadn’t been any

clinical trials who it was all anecdotal

and experimental at the time but one of

the main reasons are the main ways that

MDMA was used was in couples counseling

so helping couples talk about their the

more difficult aspects of their

experience and sometimes the MDMA helped

people in these case reports come closer

together to open up communication in

some cases that help people realize that

they weren’t meant to be together and

they separated either way it helps solve

the problem but in in either case the

the effects of MDMA seem to help people

process openly especially with others so

Maps is focused primarily on

post-traumatic stress disorder right now

in treatments for PTSD partly because

MDMA just seems to have such amazing

effectiveness when combined with

psychotherapy for PTSD this new study

that we’re starting which is going to be

with lead investigator Michael mid

Hoffer he’s a psychiatrist who’s been

leading many of our other phase 2

studies and then an additional sub

investigator named Candace Monson who

comes from Ryerson University in in

Canada she’s one of the original

developers of cognitive behavioural

conjoin therapy which is a form of

psychotherapy that’s used for couples

and not just romantic couples either and

that’s important to highlight that with

the study we’re not just focus on

romantic couples but on one person with

PTSD and another what we call a concern

significant other so this could be a

brother or a sister or a friend or a

family member just somebody who’s very

close to this person and whose

relationship with this person is

impacted by the person with PTSD PTSD

does tend to affect more than just the

individual it also tends to affects the

families and the people around them just

by its very nature right yeah so we’re

exploring PTSD this new study which is

mdma-assisted psychotherapy for one

person with PTSD and one person who does

not have PTSD is not on our main drug

development track which is to say the

data is not going to be submitted to the

FDA for the purpose of making

mdma-assisted psychotherapy illegal

treatment for PTSD it’s a it’s a it’s a

new exploration of a possible use of

MDMA in a way that it could be used once

MDMA is approved so it’s gathering more

data about the safety and also this this

new approach to using MDMA yeah and

that’s I mean it’s so important to kind

of realize that you guys are studying

all of the aspects of this I mean

especially in regards to I mean not just

couples but also family members I mean

it’s not your your mom and your dad and

your brother or your sister are also

experiencing and PTSD affects everyone

that’s involved so that’s such a huge

thing I know that time is kind of short

here I mean there’s there’s a there’s a

global psychedelic dinner initiative

that’s coming up how does what’s going

on there Thanks you know we’re really

excited about these it’s a Maps has done

a number of crowdfunding

initiatives I think we spoke about it

last time in fact where we ask the

public through social media through

email to make small or large donations

whatever they can afford to contribute

in a community way to the development of

MDMA and other psychedelics we’ve also

done crowdfunding campaigns for

psychedelic harm reduction initiative

that we take the festivals and other

events around the world so the

crowdfunding has been very successful we

found a great deal of success from

crowdfunding and we wanted to find a new

way for people to both support the

research financially since we’re

nonprofit that’s where it all comes from

except for that one grant for the

marijuana research but for the MDMA

research we still need this this private

funding so you know map submission is

kind of twofold what is to complete this

research to make these substances

legally and safely available the other

one is to reduce the stigma and to help

people in a sense feel more comfortable

talking about psychedelics and

psychedelic experiences and psychedelic

therapy just like you said just having

these open conversations can draw people

out of the woodwork and help people feel

more comfortable talking about their

issues and maybe seeking help in a

different way so that’s part of what we

want to do with these global psychedelic

dinners the idea is for people to host a

dinner either in their home or at a

restaurant have people over it can be a

potluck or a picnic or at the beach or

anything like that and just talk openly

about psychedelics we’re not encouraging

people to use psychedelics at these

events but certainly to eat delicious

food and to talk very specifically and

openly about psychedelics and we think

that’s gonna you know help people feel

more comfortable and not just feel more

comfortable donating but also feel more

comfortable just talking about their

experiences and I’m finding new ways to

heal that aren’t reliant on the

traditional psychiatric approaches you

know we’re encouraging people to do it

anytime this April our 30th anniversary

again is this year and we have a major

event a banquet and celebration

happening in the San Francisco Bay Area

as I mentioned on April seventeenth as

kind of the the centerpiece of the

global psychedelic dinners but these are

happening all over the world we have

over two hundred and

30 people in more than 26 countries now

registered to host these dinners and the

goal what we’re really aiming for is

we’re hoping to fund through these

dinners and through this banquet through

donations and sponsorships and people

sharing their own crowdfunding pages and

so on to completely fund our purchase of

a kilogram of MDMA for our phase three

research hmm okay that’s a lot yeah it’s

a it’s it’s about 8,000 doses at at or

around there and it’ll it’ll be all the

MDMA we need for our us phase three

trials four hundred thousand dollars may

seem like a lot of money for a kilo of

MDMA which it’s street value is probably

a lot less than that unfortunately the

FDA only only looks at data using what’s

called Good Manufacturing Practices

certified MDMA or any other drug so that

is pharmaceutical grade MDMA so all of

the rules and regulations and

bureaucratic requirements surrounding

the manufacture of this legal

pharmaceutical grade MDMA costs a total

of four hundred thousand dollars so

that’s the cost of doing fda-approved

Research and we’re hoping the global

psychedelic dinners can help us reach

that goal oh yeah very very interesting

man I I really really appreciate your

time Brad thank you so much okay so last

thing here so maps is doing you guys the

30th anniversary is in April and you’re

doing your own banquet and dinner

celebration where and when is that

happening and I mean what what do you

guys going to be up to while what can

attendees expect to enjoy well well

there well san francisco bay area is a

great place lots of fun things to do in

the area if you’re not already from here

so April seventeenth starting at five

o’clock we have a banquet where we’ll

have a series of speakers this is a

beautiful banquet it’s all taking place

at the scottish rite center which is an

old masonic temple on the shores of lake


in oakland in the East San Francisco Bay

so beautiful old venue with a lot of

sort of mysticism and import to it you

feel like that’s appropriate for the

30th anniversary of a psychedelic

research organization and so we have a

series of speakers rick doblin our

founder and executive director my boss

will be will be there speaking we’ll

have researchers michael mid Hoffer one

of the researchers i mentioned will also

have to study subjects participants

speaking about their experience one

woman from the boulder study who

experienced sexual assault recovered

from PTSD after being in our study and

another guy I was a u.s. Marine veteran

served in Iraq and also recovered from

PTSD after serving in our trial so so

we’ll be having that banquet series of

talks and then everybody will go

upstairs to this amazing it’s amazing

halls amazing celebration hall where

we’ll have another address it opens up

for general admission at that point the

banquet and celebration are two

different sets of tickets if you go to

the banquet you can definitely come to

the celebration then up there we’ll have

a series of musical and multimedia

presentations DJ Spooky also known as

Paul Miller will be doing a fantastic

musical act with a multimedia component

to it usually does planetarium

projections will also have android jones

and faye droid android has done some

amazing projections on the Empire State

Building on the Vatican on the Sydney

Opera House he’ll be doing some of his

live projections there and then we’ll

conclude with a live performance special

performance from Ken Jordan one of the

two founding members of the crystal

method will be playing for 45 minutes a

downtempo electronic music set to round

out the evening wow that sounds like

quite the lineup man I’d and wish I

could attend really really amazing Brad

thank you so much again for your time

we’re gonna bring you back in another I

don’t know a year and a half or so and

see where you guys are at just because

it seems like we’re it’s moving light

speed I mean I mean it was almost I mean

it felt like it would take a lot longer

to move through face phase two trials

yeah in last time yeah yeah it’s all

it’s all concluding really quickly and

by then we’ll be part way into

our phase 3 trials in 2017 and moving

full speed ahead towards prescription

access all right man we’re can not

people get to the maps web site Maps dot

org also if you want to learn more about

the psychedelic dinners that’s

psychedelic dinners org Brad thank you

so much for your time I really

appreciate your presence man I thank you

so much Savior it’s been great as always

this is the human experience we will see

you guys next week

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