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.
Biography of Presenters:
John Halpern, M.D., is the Associate Director of Substance Abuse Research, Biological Psychiatry Laboratory, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center, McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Dr. Halpern’s current research projects include evaluating cognitive performance of MDMA users and non-users in the Southwest who have not ingested other illegal drugs. His current work also includes researching the effects of an experimental treatment giving MDMA to terminally ill cancer patients. He is also working on research into the use of hallucinogens (psilocybin, LSD, etc.) to help relieve Cluster Headaches and looking at long term mental function in regular users of Ayahuasca. Dr Halpern’s previous work has included study- ing the use of peyote by members of the Native American Church, re-examining the use of hallucinogens in the treatment of addiction, working on an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court for the UDV religious-use-of-ayahuasca case that was decided in 2006, asking the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law to take a stand against capital punishment, and other interesting work. Current research affiliations: McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School, National Institute on Drug Abuse, private foundations.
L. (Ilsa) Jerome, Ph.D., earned her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Maryland, where she studied social psychology. She works as MAPS’ research and information specialist. She has written informational documents on psilocybin, LSD and MDMA and has co-authored publications examining the beliefs and experiences of ecstasy
users. She is interested in using behavioral science and neuroscience methods to study emotion and social interaction, and sees MDMA as a valuable research tool. She encourages playfulness, persistence and building community in the pursuit of knowledge.
Matthew W. Johnson, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is co-investigator of the Johns Hopkins studies on psilocybin and mystical experience, and psilocybin in the treatment of cancer anxiety/depression. He has investigated the human psychopharmacology of a wide range of drugs including psilocybin, Salvia Divinorum, dextromethorphan, GHB, cocaine, alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. Dr. Johnson is principal investigator of a research program on the psychological underpinnings of addiction, and is currently con- ducting a pilot study investigating the therapeutic use of psilocybin in the treatment of nicotine dependence. He was lead author on a recent review paper describing the unique safety requirements of human hallucinogen research, and will present on this topic.