The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies – MAPS Canada

We are delighted to feature our long-standing community partner, the Canadian chapter of  Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies or MAPS Canada for short. At the vanguard of what has been termed the psychedelic renaissance, MAPS Canada and its affiliate and founding organization, MAPS, based in Santa Cruz, California are non-profit research and educational organizations that develop medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana. We talked to MAPS Canada Executive Director Mark Haden and Board President Trevor Millar to learn more about the organization’s mission of providing evidence-based, honest public education about the risks and benefits of psychedelics.

Q: Tell us about the organization, it’s vision, mission and values.
A: At MAPS Canada we are in the process of legalizing psychedelics. We accomplish this mission by:
  • Providing evidence-based, honest public education about the risks and benefits of psychedelics.
  • Supporting scientific research into many aspects of psychedelics including treatments for medical conditions, neuroscience, creativity and spirituality.
  • Planning, conducting, and publishing scientific research of psychedelic medicines.
  • Developing psychedelics into prescription medicines.
  • Training psychedelic psychotherapists and working to establish a network of treatment centers that can provide this service in the context of professional best practices.

Q: Where did the vision for the organization come from?
A: This mission was started by MAPS in the USA and refined by the board of directors of MAPS Canada in the context of lots of discussion with a broad community of supporters.

Q: What kind of things do you do to further your mission of education and policy advancement in this area
A: We have two studies underway – our MDMA for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which we believe will produce legal access to MDMA in approximately 2021. In order to turn a psychedelic into a medicine, we need to go through a 3 stage process, in the context of a formal clinical trial.  We completed our phase 2 and are now preparing for phase 3 – which will have two sites in Canada: Vancouver and Montreal.
Our second study is a survey looking at microdosing LSD and psilocybin. Some people take small dosages of these two psychedelics every few days to improve concentration, work performance and manage moods.  We would like to understand this phenomenon in more detail and are planning a large survey to find out how microdosing impacts people’s mental health, general performance and mood.

Q: How is what you do distinctive?
A: MAPS Canada is the only organization in Canada with the visionary mandate to legalize psychedelics for a wide variety of uses. We are becoming truly national and now have many support groups in cities across Canada.

Q: What are your biggest opportunities and what inspires and motivates you?
A: Now is a wonderful time to pursue the agenda of turning psychedelics into a medicine.  The current Federal Government is much more supportive of our cause than the previous administration. We, therefore, feel a sense of urgency to accomplish as much as we can before the direction of the political wind does its inevitable change.  We are personally motivated by the desire to offer the healing and spiritual experiences which can be obtained with carefully managed psychedelic sessions.

Q: What kinds of things does your organization do for the community?
A: MAPS Canada has a very visible presence in many conferences as we run information booths and offer presentations across Canada. Anyone can participate in the MAPS Canada process and we, therefore, have a thriving group of volunteers who support all our activities.

Q: What do you need to have MAPS Canada grow and become even more effective?
A: MAPS Canada is a non-profit charitable organization which is totally dependent on donations to survive. We can offer a Canadian tax receipt and are endlessly thankful to those who offer either ongoing monthly or “one-time” donations to support our vision to legalize psychedelics.

Mark Haden, MAPS Canada Executive Director
Mark Haden is Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia School of Population and Public Health. He has been published on the issue of drug policy in the Canadian Journal of Public Health, and the International Journal of Drug Policy. Haden was involved in producing the Health Officers Council paper on the regulation of illegal drugs in 2005. He currently provides public education on drugs and drug policy and is a parent with two children and an active member of the Vancouver outdoor recreation community.

Trevor Millar MAPS Canada Board Chair
Trevor Millar is a social-entrepreneur and owner of Liberty Root Therapy Ltd., serving those called to experience the healing properties of African plant medicine Tabernanthe Iboga and its derivatives. Iboga is a powerful psychedelic and an exceptional addiction interrupter; recent discoveries show it’s also excellent for treating Parkinson’s Disease and perhaps other neurological disorders. Trevor’s interests extend into psychedelics as evolutionary tools and practical life-enhancers and has a passion for helping the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, spearheading projects that benefit the residents of that neighbourhood.  Trevor is also the former ExecutiveDirector of the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance.

Click the links to learn more about the activities and goals of MAPS Canada and MAPS