A campaign to raise donations for psychedelic research has raised $30 million to fund a study into MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The funding drive, dubbed the Capstone Campaign, is a collaboration between the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and the Psychedelic Science Funders Collaborative (PSFC).
For nearly 35 years, the educational and research non-profit MAPS has worked to develop medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful use of psychedelics and cannabis. With the money raised by the Capstone Campaign, the group plans to fund the final research necessary to gain U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to treat PTSD with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. Earlier this year, an independent interim analysis of MAPS Phase 3 research concluded that the likelihood of success for the trials was high. The money raised by the campaign will provide the funds necessary to complete the MAPS Phase 3 trials underway in the United States, Canada, and Israel.
Social entrepreneur Joe Green is the co-founder of PSFC, a community of philanthropists dedicated to supporting psychedelic medicine that partnered with MAPS on the Capstone Campaign and helped to recruit donors. He said in a statement last week that the research funded by the campaign could open the doors for the widespread acceptance of the therapeutic use of MDMA.
“Winning FDA approval of MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD could ultimately help millions of people, and that alone is a world-changing impact,” said Green. “We also believe this could be a tipping point for psychedelic medicine overall, leading to a mainstream understanding that psychedelic therapy has the potential to help treat many of the defining mental health crises of our time.”
Campaign Launched In March
The campaign kicked off in March with an initial $10 million inside round of funding raised among PSFC members. Green then collaborated with author and podcaster Tim Ferriss to recruit a $10 million challenge grant from philanthropic donors, which was unlocked with another $10 million in matching donations. The challenge was announced on the podcast The Tim Ferriss Show in May, leading to a flood of donations large and small.
Bob Parsons, the founder of GoDaddy and PXG, and his wife Renee Parsons, the president and creative director of PXG Apparel, donated the final $2 million needed to close the campaign. Parsons is a Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War who personally has and continues to battle PTSD. The couple’s non-profit, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, has focused a large portion of its giving on supporting veterans and their families.
“Psychedelic research has been thought of as ‘fringe’ for a long time. But there’s nothing ‘fringe’ about PTSD,” said Parsons. “There are millions of people with PTSD in the U.S. alone, and that includes veterans like me, first-responders like those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, and survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse. All of them deserve better, significantly more effective treatment options than we give them today. That’s what this research is about.”