In a September 14 press release, Wesana Health Holdings Inc. announced its commitment to fund $1.5 million to assess the efficacy of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) MDMA-assisted therapy to treat traumatic brain injury (TBI).
The funding will allow MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC) to activate a team to evaluate the scope of the lack of resources needed for TBI treatment.
“Wesana is a serious, thoughtful and ethical company engaged in the development of psychedelic-assisted therapy. What Daniel and his team are doing is in line with MAPS’ ethics, mission, values and scientific rigor, and we believe together, MAPS and Wesana can bring much needed help to the massively underserved TBI population. Data collected from MAPS-sponsored Phase 3 clinical trials suggests that MDMA-assisted therapy appears promising in the treatment of TBI. Consistent with our mission, we seek to investigate treatments for affected patients who can be helped by MDMA—this is an important step in that direction” said MAPS Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D.
Lately, MAPS research zeroed in on MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD. The first of two Phase 3 trials demonstrated a “clinically significant reduction” in PTSD symptoms for 88 percent of participants.
Existing research suggests that MDMA improved cognitive function in mice with minimal TBI. Like PTSD, TBI can have a profound impact on mental health. Research indicates that there is a disproportionate impact for people of color.
Over 6.2 million Americans are estimated to have chronic TBI-related disabilities, not to mention the symptoms that are more mild but also impact daily life. Nearly 414,000 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans had a TBI.
“The work MAPS has done for more than 35 years with regulators and clinical researchers to navigate the rigorous and necessary FDA approval process for MDMA therapeutic use has positioned psychedelic-assisted therapy on the precipice of national—and global—acceptance,” Daniel Carcillo, CEO of Wesana Health said. “The millions of people afflicted with PTSD may soon have access to MDMA therapy, and we believe the millions suffering from TBI may experience similar relief in the future.”
This collaboration between MAPS and Wesana will boost MAPS PBC’s research timelines and provide additional support for further research, advocacy, education and equitable access to MDMA-assisted therapy treatments.
Wesana outlined five key goals:
- Gain expertise and information to design psychedelic-assisted therapy programs for TBI and improve the Wesana timeline and path to market for its treatments
- Explore obtaining an exclusive commercial license to use MDMA for the treatment of TBI
- Evaluate the viability of revenue share agreements between the organizations
- Adapt MAPS’ equitable access research projects to develop a meaningful patient access program
- Fund associated research, administered by MAPS PBC, with additional capital
Beyond MDMA, MAPS Pushes Psychedelic Research Forward
MAPS is pushing forward research on a number of psychedelics with potential in medicine. On August 10, MAPS was awarded a $12,979,050 grant from the state of Michigan to fund a study on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and cannabis.
According to Dr. Sue Sisley, President of the Scottsdale Research Institute and longtime cannabis researcher, this new study is sorely needed in the community.
The grant comes from Michigan’s 2021 Veteran Marijuana Research Grant Program, and is funded by the state’s recreational cannabis taxes. With a goal of determining the “the efficacy of marijuana in treating the medical conditions of United States armed services veterans and preventing veteran suicide.”
The Michigan grant makes it the second clinical trial to give cannabis medicine or placebos to participating military veterans, and according to the Chief Science Officer of the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation, Berra Yazar-Klosinki, PhD, the first trial was a great success.
Now, with the commitment from Wesana Health, MAPS’ research on MDMA can accelerate as well.