Life and Career
Doblin's Ph.D. dissertation was on "The Regulation of the Medical Use of Psychedelics and Marijuana." His master's (Harvard) focused on the attitudes and experiences of oncologists concerning the medical use of marijuana.
His undergraduate thesis (New College of Florida) was a twenty-five year follow-up to the classic Good Friday Experiment which evaluated the potential of psychedelic drugs to catalyze religious experiences.
Doblin has also studied with Dr. Stan Grof and was in the first group to become certified as holotropic breathwork practitioners.
His professional goal is to help develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana, primarily as prescription medicines but also for personal growth for otherwise "healthy" people, and to also become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist.
Rick and MAPS have played a crucial role in the recent renaissance in psychedelic research worldwide.
Doblin was born on November 30, 1953, and grew up in Chicago. He tried LSD for the first time at age 17 feeling like it was offering him a certain kind of spiritual connection and a deepening of emotion.
In 1971 he started as a freshman at New College in Sarasota, Florida. Where he found himself spending most of his time experimenting with LSD and Mescaline. Experiencing the typical college life of the early seventies, he only lasted one semester.
His first experience with MDMA was with his girlfriend in 1982. They both found the experience liberating, communicating on a deeper level leaving them with a profound sense of better part of themselves.
BA Psycholoogy New College of Florida, 1987
PHD Public policy Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 2001
Rick Doblin is the president and founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. He co-founded Earth Metabolic Design Laboratories in 1984 to support psychedelic research and Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in 1986 with the goal of making MDMA an FDA-approved medicine, a scientific and educational non-profit organization chartered to foster medical and scientific research on psychoactive drugs. Doblin’s motivation for starting MAPS was to legalize MDMA.
MAPS pursues its mission by helping scientific researchers design, obtain governmental approval for, fund, conduct, and report on psychedelic and marijuana research in human volunteers. MAPS is nonprofit pharmaceutical company with the mission to turn psychedelic drugs into prescription medicines to treat afflictions — including posttraumatic stress disorder, pain, depression, and even addiction – for which conventional therapies offer little relief.
Since 1992, MAPS has been assisting Dr. Donald Abrams at UC-San Francisco in implementing a clinical trial investigating the effects of smoked marijuana in patients suffering from the AIDS wasting syndrome
He also is the Editor and Publisher of The Bulletin of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which reports on research into the therapeutic applications of psychedelics and marijuana and related topics. And has served on the board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws since 1996.
He currently resides in Boston with his wife and three children, and continues his work with MAPS in research with psychedelics as use in treating certain conditions, and leagaizing MDMA.
Notable Events and Accomplishments
- Co-founded Earth Metabolic Design Laboratories in 1984
- Founded Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in 1986
- Board member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws since 1996.
- Editor and Publisher of The Bulletin of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
Controversy surrounding medical use of drugs that are popularly assumed to be purely recreational usually involves the debate over medical marijuana, MDMA, LSD and other psychedelics.
MAPS Research Staff members:
He Also Collaboratews With:
- Michael Mithoefer, M.D., Clinical Investigator for MDMA/PTSD Studies
- Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N., Co-Investigator for MDMA/PTSD Studies
- L (Ilsa) Jerome Ph.D., Clinical Research and Information Specialist
- Amy Emerson, Director of Clinical Research
- Virginia Wright, Director of Development
- Berra Yazar-Klosinski, Ph.D., Clinical Research Scientist
- Linnae Ponté, Executive and Clinical Research Assistant / Harm Reduction Coordinator
Milan L. Hopkins, Dale Pendell, Dr. Andrew Tatarsky, David Luke, David Jay Brown, Christian Rätsch, Marlene Dobkin de Rios, Dr. Neal Goldsmith, Rick Strassman, Stanislav Grof, Dr. Wolf-Dieter Storl, Thomas Roberts, Ralph Metzner. Amanda Feilding, and David E. Nichols.
It was the holocaust that was his main motivation for doing what he does. Recognition that this catastrophic abuse of power and violence was made possible by ignorance, fear, scapegoating and people projecting their shadow onto others. Psychedelic psychotherapy and the mystical sense of unity that psychedelics can generate can be an antidote to all of those things.”
Was Influenced By
Has an Influence On
The legalization for medical use of MDMA, marijuana, and other psychedelics.
- Manifesting Minds: A Review of Psychedelics in Science, Medicine, Sex, and Spirituality (2013)
- Ecstasy: Dance, Trance, and Transformation (1996)
- The Rescheduling of Marijuana (2008)
- A Clinical Plan for MDMA (Ecstasy) in the Treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Partnering with the FDA (2002)
- MDMA ('ecstasy') and neurotoxicity (2002)
- The medical use of marijuana: the case for clinical trials (1998)
- Survey research vs clinical trials in evaluating the medical utility of marijuana (1998)
- Marijuana As an Antiemetic Medicine (1991)
- Marijuana as Antiemetic Medicine: A Survey of Oncologists' Experiences and Attitudes. (1991)
- Dr. Leary's Concord Prison Experiment: a 34-year follow-up study. (1998)
- Dissertation on the Regulation of the Medical Use of Psychedelics and Marijuana (2000)
- Master’s thesis on a survey of oncologists about smoked marijuana vs. the oral THC pill in nausea control for cancer patients
- Undergraduate thesis 25-year follow-up to the classic Pahnke's "Good Friday Experiment": A Long-Term Follow-Up and Methodological Critique, which evaluated the potential of psychedelic drugs to catalyze religious experiences (1991).
- Durability of improvement in posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and absence of harmful effects or drug dependency after 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine-assisted psychotherapy: a prospective long-term follow-up study (2012)
Drug Truth Networks Interviews with Rick Doblin
- 11/17/13 Rick Doblin
Psychedelics Panel: Rick Doblin of MAPS, Robert Garcia-Romeau + Brad Burge of MAPS - 29 minutes
- 03/31/12 Rick Doblin
Rick Doblin Pres of Multidisiplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies – 2:59 Minutes
- 03/01/11 Rick Doblin
Dr. Rick Doblin, Dir of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies re recent, positive studies of MDMA & re forthcoming seminars in Texas – 3 minutes
- 04/18/10 - Rick Doblin
Report from Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century, from San Jose California, featuring Dr. Rick Doblin, Robert Jesse, Dr. Charles Grob, Dr. Alicia Danforth + Earth & Fire Erowid - 29 minutes
- 04/03/10 - Rick Doblin
Dr. Rick Doblin, president of Multi-Disciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies – 3 minutes
- 03/20/10 - Rick Doblin
Dr. Rick Doblin of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies – 3 minutes
- 02/28/10 - Rick Doblin
Dr. Rick Doblin re K2 the synthetic marijuana – 3 minutes
- 02/27/10 - Rick Doblin
Dr. Rick Doblin, Pres. of Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies – 3 minutes
- 02/21/10 - Rick Doblin
Dr. Rick Doblin, Pres. of Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies + Keith Stroup of NORML from Time4Hemp program - 29 minutes
- 04/30/08 - Rick Doblin
Tribute to Dr. Albert Hofmann with Dr. Rick Doblin, Phil Smith reports from Mexico, North Dakotan busted for salvia + Poppygate Report with Glenn Greenway – 29 minutes
- 11/09/07 - Rick Doblin
Dr. Rick Doblin of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies – 3 minutes
- 02/16/07 - Rick Doblin
Bruce Mirken of Marijuana Policy Project + Dr. Rick Doblin of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies & Terry Nelson of LEAP, Poppygate, Drug War Facts & CBS4 Denver: "New Marijuana Law Forces Judge to Quit" – 29 minutes
The Dish Interviews: Ask Rick Doblin Anything
- DEC 17 2013
As a researcher, how do you reconcile the objectivity required by science with the inherent subjectivity of psychedelic experience?
Explains how scientific methods are used to measure the subjective experiences of subjects on psychedelics:
- DEC 13 2013
What are the dangers of psychedelic drugs?
Rick outlines the assorted dangers of psychedelic drug use
- Should people with a history of mental illness avoid taking psychedelics?
Rick explains why he doesn’t think a history of mental illness should exclude someone from the potential benefits of psychedelic therapy:
- DEC 12 2013
What does your family make of your profession?
explains what his family makes of his work as a psychedelic researcher, including a moving story about doing MDMA while visiting his grandmother and a funny story about his daughter’s experience with the DARE program:
- What is your personal experience with psychedelics and how has it influenced your work?
Explains how his own experiences with psychedelic drugs have influenced him and his work:
- DEC 11 2013
Are there any promising psychedelics that are not widely known about yet?
Rick Doblin surveys some little known but promising psychedelic treatments, including one that might dramatically improve end of life care:
- DEC 10 2013
What will it take for national policy towards psychedelics to change?
The drug most commonly found in Ecstasy, pure MDMA has done wonders for patients where other treatments have failed
- What has been the most encouraging finding from your research on psychedelics?
Doblin outlines how such psychedelics can gain more acceptance for medical and even non-medical use, and he believes the DOD and VA could play a major role:
- DEC 9 2013
How important is some kind of guidance when it comes to having a beneficial psychedelic experience?
HE explains how patients should primarily guide themselves through a psychedelic experience, rather than rely too much on someone else (though it is important to have a sober sitter present to protect the person from the outside world). Doblin also shares an illuminating story about an Israeli who suffered PTSD after witnessing 10 people killed in a terrorist bombing
- DEC 6 2013
What is the biggest myth about psychedelic drugs?