Rick Doblin — Psychedelic Breakthroughs, $10M Bets, PTSD Promise, MDMA, MDA, and More (#440)

Photo courtesy of MAPS

Rick Doblin, PhD, (@rickdoblin) is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He received his doctorate in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where he wrote his dissertation on the regulation of the medical uses of psychedelics and marijuana and his master’s thesis on a survey of oncologists about smoked marijuana vs. the oral THC pill in nausea control for cancer patients. Rick was also one of the early students under the legendary Dr. Stanislav Grof.

Please listen to this entire episode, as there is a $10M surprise at the end.

If you are interested in learning more about MAPS’s critical work and Phase 3 studies to make MDMA-assisted psychotherapy an approved treatment for PTSD, please visit maps.org/capstone

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform. 

#440: Rick Doblin — Psychedelic Breakthroughs, $10M Bets, PTSD Promise, MDMA, MDA, and More


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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.


Want to learn more about psychedelic therapy from another pioneer in this field? — Listen to my conversation with the legendary Stan Grof, in which we discuss the takeaways from guiding 4,500+ LSD sessions, the place and role of wounded healers, limitations and uses of traditional psychoanalysis and talk therapy, the similarities found between holotropic breathwork and MDMA, what humanity most needs to overcome, and much more.

You might also enjoy The Way of the Psychonaut: Stan Grof’s Journey of Consciousness, a documentary honoring Stan Grof. His new training program, Grof Legacy Training, is based on Stan’s research into psychedelic therapy, holotropic breathwork, transpersonal psychology, and spiritual emergencies.

#347: Stan Grof, Lessons from ~4,500 LSD Sessions and Beyond



  • Connect with Rick Doblin:

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

  • Connect with MAPS:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Note from the editor: Timestamps will be added soon. 

  • What is MAPS, and how did MAPS come to be?
  • What is MDMA — where did it come from, and how did it find its way into the therapeutic context?
  • What was Sasha Shulgin’s role in the history of psychedelics, and how did he operate a lab to study them openly without suffering legal consequences?
  • Who is Jon Lubecky, and why did he come into Rick’s life?
  • Why does Rick believe psychedelic therapy not only allows sufferers of PTSD to tolerably revisit and come to terms with their traumatic experiences, but also enjoy the benefits for months or even years after the chemical components of this therapy have faded?
  • What are the biggest differences between MDMA and the less well-known MDA?
  • Rick talks about his first psychedelic therapy sessions with a PTSD patient back in 1984, their short- and long-term effects, and how that patient went on to become an important asset to the MAPS community.
  • For Rick and his colleagues, what has made the rewards of psychedelic therapy worth enduring its risks — especially in the not-so-distant past when it was legally dangerous and considered career suicide for its practitioners?
  • The suicide note that reached Rick when help came too late, and what it emphasized about the importance of his life’s work.
  • What the present and future look like for MDMA reclassification and its therapeutic use, and why matching grants make now the ideal time for prospective contributors to get the most mileage from their money.
  • Up until recently, anyone associated with psychedelic therapies could expect to suffer a blow to their reputation, but the times are changing, and my own experience has proven quite the opposite. How much would you pay for 100 percent reputational upside in making MDMA-assisted therapies available to the thousands in need?
  • Parting thoughts.