"What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself."
Abraham Maslow

Questions? Contact founder and instructor David Lukoff, PhD by email or call (707) 763-3576.

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  • Video Available Andrew Weil, MD The Future of Psychedelic and Medical Marijuana Research

    Instructor(s):
    Andrew Weil, M.D. |

    Course description: Forty years ago, a U.S.-led global backlash ended the possibility of researching potential beneficial effects of psychedelics and marijuana. Many studies had shown psychedelics to be useful for managing anxiety and depression in terminal cancer patients, for treating alcoholism and opiate addiction and for catalyzing spiritual/mystical experience. At the same time marijuana was found to be effective for relieving the nausea and vomiting often associated with cancer chemotherapy. Now that restrictions on research with these agents are easing, a new generation of investigators is continuing these studies, as well as looking at MDMA for PTSD, psilocybin for OCD, and marijuana for MS, chronic pain, PTSD and other conditions. Contemporary research on positive effects of psychedelics and marijuana needs to be carefully designed and conducted to avoid another backlash from anti-drug zealots.
    CE hours: 1.0 | fee: $10.00 | co-sponsor: MAPS

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  • Video Available Ben Sessa, M.D., History of Psychedelic Research in the United Kingdom

    Instructor(s):
    Ben Sessa, M.D., B.Sc., M.R.C. Psych |

    Course description: This presentation is on the History of Psychedelic Research in the UK, with particular reference to the work of Dr Ronald Sandison and LSD treatment explored by the maverick psychiatrist
    CE hours: 0.5 | fee: $5.00 | co-sponsor: MAPS

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  • Video Available Charles Grob, M.D., Alicia Danforth, MA Harbor-UCLA Study of Psilocybin Treatment for Anxiety in Advanced-Stage Cancer Patients

    Instructor(s):
    Charles Grob, M.D. | Alicia Danforth, Ph.D. |

    Course description: Dr. Grob discusses a completed, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy in subjects with anxiety associated with cancer. His talk also covers the psychobiologic effects of MDMA in humans, the MDMA-neurotoxicity controversy, the effects of MDMA on cerebral blood flow, and the neuropsychological effects of MDMA in recreational users. A graduate student of clinical psychology and a research associate and co-facilitator for the Harbor-UCLA cancer anxiety trial with psilocybin, Alicia Danforth provides an overview of the research from the late 1950s through the early 1970s on the use of LSD and psilocybin in the treatment of severe autism in children. She also discusses the potential use of MDMA-assisted therapy as a supplement to treatment for individuals with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s syndrome.
    CE hours: 1.0 | fee: $10.00 | co-sponsor: MAPS

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  • Video Available Christopher Wiegand, M.D Results from a Study of Psilocybin to Treat Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Human

    Instructor(s):
    Christopher Wiegand, M.D. |

    Course description: This study investigated the safety, tolerability, and clinical effects of psilocybin, a potent serotonin agonist, in nine patients with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Subjects participated in up to 4 single-dose exposures to psilocybin, separated by at least 1 week, in doses ranging from sub-hallucinogenic to frankly hallucinogenic. Sessions lasted 8-hours in a controlled clinical environment, followed by overnight hospitalization. The Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (YBOCS) was administered at specific intervals, and vital signs monitored. Marked decreases in OCD symptoms were observed in all subjects during 1 or more of the testing sessions (23%- 100% decrease in YBOCS score) and generally lasted at least 24 hours. In a controlled clinical environment, psilocybin was safely used in subjects with OCD and was associated with acute reductions in core OCD symptoms in several subjects.
    CE hours: 0.5 | fee: $5.00 | co-sponsor: MAPS

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  • Video Available Clinical Applications of Psychedelics

    Instructor(s):
    Alicia Danforth, Ph.D. | Christopher Wiegand, M.D. |

    Course description: Results from a study of psilocybin to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder in human subjects. This study investigated the safety, tolerability, and clinical effects of psilocybin, a potent serotonin agonist in nine patients with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Subjects participated in up to 4 single-dose exposures to psilocybin, separated by at least 1 week, in doses ranging from sub-hallucinogenic to frankly hallucinogenic. Sessions lasted 8-hours in a controlled clinical environment, followed by overnight hospitalization. The Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (YBOCS) was administered at specific intervals, and vital signs monitored. One subject experienced transient hypertension without relation to anxiety or so- matic symptoms, but no other significant adverse effects were observed. Marked decreases in OCD symptoms were observed in all subjects during 1 or more of the testing sessions (23%- 100% decrease in YBOCS score) and generally lasted at least 24 hours. In a controlled clinical environment, psilocybin was safely used in subjects with OCD and was associated with acute reductions in core OCD symptoms in several subjects. Psychedelics & MDMA as Potential Supplements to Treament for High- Functioning Autism & Asperger’s Syndrome (CME) A graduate student of clinical psychology and a research associate and co-facilitator for the Harbor-UCLA cancer anxiety trial with psilocybin, Alicia Danforth will provide an overview of the research from the late 1950s through the early 1970s on the use of LSD and psilocybin in the treatment of severe autism in children. She will also discuss the potential use of MDMA-assisted therapy as a supplement to treatment for individuals with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Alicia Danforth, Ph.D candidate
    CE hours: 1.0 | fee: $10.00 | co-sponsor: MAPS

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  • Video Available David Nichols, Ph.D. Advances In Understanding How Psychedelics Work In The Brain

    Instructor(s):
    David Nichols, Ph.D. |

    Course description: This talk presents an overview of what psychedelics are, and several significant events in this field in the past four decades. A comparison is explored between molecular structures, and how they were related to the structure of the neurotransmitter serotonin. The receptors that have been identified as targets for psychedelics are discussed, and their brain localization noted, followed by a brief description of where the receptors are located, and what happens inside the cell after the receptor is activated by a psychedelic. Particular note is made of the difficulty in identifying psychedelic molecules in the absence of human experimentation, which is illegal.
    CE hours: 1.0 | fee: $10.00 | co-sponsor: MAPS

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  • Video Available Ilsa Jerome Ph.D., Mining MDMA Literature: Finding Gems in the Rough

    Instructor(s):
    L (Ilsa) Jerome, Ph.D. |

    Course description: Recognizing that most scientists are interested in the potential of MDMA to answer big questions in neurobiology, and that the breadth of scientific literature on MDMA can appear daunting, Jerome’s talk discusses how to find those big answers from the existing literature. The talk addresses the nature of the literature and scientific and extra-scientific factors shaping the literature. She discusses where to look and how to look for exciting research findings. Finally, she will trace the trajectory of an engaging development in human MDMA literature, tracing its formation and development.
    CE hours: 0.5 | fee: $5.00 | co-sponsor: MAPS

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  • Video Available James Fadiman, Ph. D. Psychedelics as Entheogens: How to Create and Guide Successful Sessions.

    Instructor(s):
    James Fadiman, B.A. |

    Course description: More than 98 per cent of people using psychedelics worldwide use them illegally. In the United States alone, there are 600,000 new users of LSD each year. Restrictive laws have not led to any less use. Many users can only guess at how to prevent harm and maximize the benefits of their experiences. Manuals have been developed to teach how these experiences can be made safe and supportive by the proper understanding of set, setting, sitter, substance, session and support. This talk considers the advantages and limitations of the use of guides and discuss how to establish the best possible conditions for spiritual or entheogenic (as distinct from psychotherapeutic and other uses) experiences. Other manuals that have been developed for psychotherapeutic use, as well as for scientific or technical problem solving are mentioned.
    CE hours: 0.5 | fee: $5.00 | co-sponsor: MAPS

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  • Video Available Jeffrey Guss, M.D., The NYU Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Research Project’s Psychedelic Psychotherapy Training Program

    Instructor(s):
    Jeffrey Guss, M.D. |

    Course description: In September 2008, the NYU Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Research Project began a training program for study therapists. The program integrated training in the basics of palliative care with preparation to become psychedelic psychotherapists in preparation to work with subjects enrolled in the research study. This presentation presents: 1) Goals of the training program; 2) Structure of the training program (didactic, experiential and supervisory) and 3) Feedback from therapists regarding the components of the training and relevance to work with subjects.
    CE hours: 0.5 | fee: $5.00 | co-sponsor: MAPS

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  • Video Available MDMA in Clinical Practice

    Instructor(s):
    L (Ilsa) Jerome, Ph.D. | Matthew W. Johnson, Ph.D. | John Halpern, M.D. |

    Course description: 2 Videos: Mining MDMA Literature: Finding Gems in the Rough (CME) Recognizing that most scientists are interested in the potential of MDMA to answer big questions in neurobiology, and that the breadth of scientific literature on MDMA can appear daunting, Jerome’s talk will discuss how to find those big answers from the existing literature. The talk will address the nature of the literature and scientific and extra-scientific factors shaping the literature. She will discuss where to look and how to look for exciting research findings. Finally, she will trace the trajectory of an engaging development in human MDMA literature, tracing its formation and development. The Johns Hopkins Guidelines for Safe Human Hallucinogen Research This presentation will review the unique safety profile and recommended guidelines for clinical hallucinogen administration. Although hallucinogens are relatively safe physically and are not associated with addiction, administering them involves unique psychological risks. Overwhelming distress during drug action, which could lead to volunteer departure from the study site or other potentially dangerous consequences, is the most likely risk. Prolonged psychoses triggered by hallucinogens are far less common. Safeguards to protect against these risks are the exclusion of volunteers with personal or family history of psychotic disorders, establishing trust and rap- port between session guides and volunteer, thorough volunteer preparation, a safe physical session environment, and interpersonal support from at least two study guides during the session. Research without safeguards against the unique risks of hallucinogens may jeopardize participant safety in addition to future research. However, carefully conducted research may inform the etiology and treatment of a variety of psychiatric disorders, and may lead to advances in several domains of psychology and neuroscience. Matthew W. Johnson, Ph.D.
    CE hours: 1.5 | fee: $15.00 | co-sponsor: MAPS

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  • Video Available Michael Mithoefer, MD: MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for Treatment of PTSD: Results from US Pilot Study

    Instructor(s):
    Michael Mithoefer, M.D. |

    Course description: Dr. Mithoefer reports data from the completed, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in 21 subjects with treatment-resistant PTSD, and on the subsequent long-term follow up of these subjects > 1 year after study completion. He also describes the design and progress of a dose-response MDMA-assisted psychotherapy study in US war veterans that he expects to complete in 2011.
    CE hours: 1.0 | fee: $10.00 | co-sponsor: MAPS

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  • Video Available Michael Montagne Ph.D., Metaphors and Meanings: How We Interpret and Understand Psychedelic Drug Experiences

    Instructor(s):
    Michael Montagne, B.Sc., M.A., Ph.D. |

    Course description: Psychedelic drug experiences are unique, malleable, highly variable, often tacit and profound in nature. The neuropharmacological changes produced by psychedelic drugs require perception, interpretation, description, and comprehension, in order for the experience to have significance for the user. Social context and reason for use can direct the types of effects that are experienced and described, whether medical-therapeutic, creative, spiritual, or destructive. Studies of metaphors and meanings in drug use suggest that meaning is a powerful component in drug-taking behaviors and plays a key role in how a drug is portrayed in society. Metaphors for the psychedelic drug experience are presented and described. Guidance on employing metaphors in therapeutic and other contexts is provided with the goal of improving beneficial outcomes from psychedelic drug use.
    CE hours: 0.5 | fee: $5.00 | co-sponsor: MAPS

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  • Video Available Neal Goldsmith, Ph. D., Psychedelic Therapy and Change: Research, Challenges, Implications

    Instructor(s):
    Neal Goldsmith, Ph.D. |

    Course description: This talk will introduce tracks 2 and 3 for the conference, and discuss Dr. Goldsmith’s research. Dr. Goldsmith will begin by discussing the tracks in a historical perspective, and will then outline the research environment, focus, and results from 1947 to the present, outlining how the climate has changed over the decades, the key research areas (substance abuse, end-of-life, etc.) and findings, and the current research underway and planned. Next, this talk will examine key questions: Can psychedelics provide lasting cures? Is psychedelic spirituality real; helpful? Should we take a medical, sacramental, or some other approach to this work? Is double blind effective; necessary? How will psychedelic researchers and therapists be trained? What should be done about re-scheduling psychedelics? How can we introduce psychedelics into mainstream medicine; society? Next, Dr. Goldsmith will discuss how medicine, science, and Western culture as a whole could be changed by the re-integration of psychedelics into society. The talk will close with a review of the aims and approaches of the Therapy/Cultural track, and outlining how the panels in the track will help to address the issues raised in this talk.
    CE hours: 0.5 | fee: $5.00 | co-sponsor: MAPS

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  • Video Available Psychedelics & MDMA as Potential Supplements to Treatment for High-Functioning Autism & Asperger’s Syndrome

    Instructor(s):
    Alicia Danforth, Ph.D. |

    Course description: A graduate student of clinical psychology and a research associate and co-facilitator for the Harbor-UCLA cancer anxiety trial with psilocybin, Alicia Danforth will provide an overview of the research from the late 1950s through the early 1970s on the use of LSD and psilocybin in the treatment of severe autism in children. She will also discuss the potential use of MDMA-assisted therapy as a supplement to treatment for individuals with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s syndrome.
    CE hours: 0.5 | fee: $5.00 | co-sponsor: MAPS

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  • Video Available Psychedelics and Myofacial Bodywork

    Instructor(s):
    Allan Ajaya, Ph.D. |

    Course description: Wilhelm Reich and his successors have elucidated the way in which childhood and other traumas lead to the formation of body armoring and character structure. Dissociation or disembodiment, emotional and physical frozenness, identification with the intellect, denial of the body, and heartlessness are consequences of avoiding the pain of past traumas. A host of therapies have evolved that work with the body to release such long held reactions to traumas. While hundreds of reports, research studies and books have documented the effectiveness of LSD in facilitating psychotherapy, this presenter ha
    CE hours: 0.5 | fee: $5.00 | co-sponsor: MAPS

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  • Video Available Psychedelics in End of Life Psychotherapy

    Instructor(s):
    Charles Grob, M.D. | Alicia Danforth, Ph.D. | Roland Griffiths, Ph.D. | Stephen Ross, M.D. | Jeffrey Guss, M.D. | Anthony Bossis, Ph.D. | Peter Gasser, M.D. | William A. Richards, Ph.D. | Mary Cosimano, M.S.W. |

    Course description: In the first video, Anthony Bossis discusses the psycho-social, spiritual and existential suffering that advanced cancer patients often experience is a primary factor in end-of-life distress. In recent years, the discipline of palliative care has greatly expanded its efforts at better understanding end-of-life existential suffering. Patients with a life-threatening illness often experience hopelessness, helplessness, and loss of meaning. Research demonstrates that improved spiritual-well being and enhanced personal meaning may serve as a buffer against hopelessness and depression in advanced c
    CE hours: 1.0 | fee: $10.00 | co-sponsor: MAPS

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  • Video Available Ralph Metzner, PhD Psychedelic, Psychoactive and Addictive Drugs and States of Consciousness

    Instructor(s):
    Ralph Metzner, Ph.D. |

    Course description: In this talk, Dr. Metzner examines the states of consciousness induced by psychedelic drugs in the framework of a heuristic model of altered states of consciousness (ASCs). He uses William James’s philosophy of radical empiricism to provide the appropriate epistemological underpinning for the empirical study of states of consciousness, as well as their correlations with brain functions. ASCs, whether induced or naturally occurring, differ energetically on the dimensions of (1) arousal vs. sedation, (2) pleasure vs. pain, (3) expansion vs. contraction. The psychoactive, or mood regulating drugs
    CE hours: 0.5 | fee: $5.00 | co-sponsor: MAPS

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  • Video Available Richard Yensen, Ph.D., History of Psychedelic Research at Maryland Psychiatric Research Center

    Instructor(s):


    Course description: History of Psychedelic Research at Maryland Psychiatric Research Center (CE) In the late 1960’s, a multi-million dollar interdisciplinary research center opened in the State of Maryland. This center for psychiatric research housed research in psychedelic psychotherapy performed by Albert Kurland and his associates at the Spring Grove State Hospital which were brought to prominent public attention through the CBS film “The Spring Grove Experiement.” Though the studies at Spring Grove State Hospital and those that followed at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center (MPRC) ended in 1976, they remain the largest, most sustained and systematic study of psychedelic drugs and psychotherapy yet attempted. With Donna Dryer, M.D., we reviewed the studies done at the Spring Grove State Hospital and the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center asking the following questions: 1) Why did some studies have such good results and others such equivocal ones? 2) What mistakes occurred that future researchers in this area might avoid? 3) The research team used statistical assessment and double-blind controlled studies. This approach is the accepted standard method for studying psychoactive compounds. Is this methodology appropriate and sufficient to study psychedelic medicines?
    CE hours: 0.3 | fee: $5.00 | co-sponsor: MAPS

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  • Video Available Robin Carhart-Harris, Ph.D. Using fMRI to investigate the effects of psilocybin on brain activation and blood flow: rationale, hypotheses and progress

    Instructor(s):
    Robin Cathcart-Harris, Ph.D. |

    Course description: This talk will describe the history and progress of a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) project investigating the effects of intravenous psilocybin on brain activation and blood flow. It will describe how the project began, its present status, what researchers are investigating, what they expect to find and what they have found so far. The project is part of a broader initia- tive to test and develop the validity of abstract constructs of relevance to the psychedelic state (e.g., the ego, the unconscious mind, primary process thinking and the mystical-type experi- ence). The talk will include preliminary data from subjects scanned before and during the administration of psilocybin (2mg i.v.) and placebo (saline, i.v.) using the fMRI technique for measuring cerebral blood flow, arterial spin labelling (ASL).
    CE hours: 0.5 | fee: $5.00 | co-sponsor: MAPS

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  • Video Available Stan Grof, MD, PhD Implications of Psychedelic Research for Psychology & Psychiatry

    Instructor(s):
    Stan Grof, M.D. |

    Course description: Dr. Stanislav Grof discusses LSD-assisted psychotherapy, the experimental use of psychedelic psychotherapy, and the conceptual challenges of researching consciousness.
    CE hours: 1.5 | fee: $15.00 | co-sponsor: MAPS

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  • Video Available Tom Kingsley Brown, Ph.D. Ibogaine Treatment for Drug Dependence:A Study of Quality of Life

    Instructor(s):
    Tom Kingsley Brown, Ph.D. |

    Course description: The current study examines life narratives and changes in quality of life for patients receiving ibogaine treatment for drug dependence. The patients all received residential treatment at the Pangea Biomedics clinic in Playas de Tijuana, Mexico. To assess changes in quality of life the generic version of the Ferrans and Powers Quality of Life Index is used; preliminary results are discussed. Using ethnographic interviews, the lives of patients prior to treatment, their motives for seeking ibogaine treatment, their experiences of the ibogaine treatment itself, and post-treatment outcomes are examined. Outcomes and methods for ibogaine treatment at the Pangea Biomedics clinic will be compared with outcomes at clinics using methadone or suboxone substitution treatment.
    CE hours: 0.5 | fee: $5.00 | co-sponsor: MAPS

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Email: david.lukoff@gmail.com   |  Phone: (707) 763-3576.