As more and more researchers are starting to highlight the potential benefits of Psychedelic substances, one recent Norwegian campaign is aiming high: they’ve started a crowdfunding campaign to make psychedelics and MDMA legal for research and global medical use.
In the past years, we’ve written about several studies documenting the positive effects that psychedelics may have, in a controlled environment and under strict medical supervision. Not only are psychedelics not linked to mental health problems, but they can be used to deal with addiction, reduce suicide rates and amplify the brain’s dream areas. MDMA (sometimes referred to as ecstasy, though the two are not always synonyms) is pretty much in the same boat – a 2012 report concluded that MDMA consumption is safe for adults in a controlled environment, and it showed great promise in dealing with PTSD.
Motivated by all this and more, Norwegian advocacy group EmmaSofia is campaigning to raise $1 million to synthesize psychedelics and MDMA for medical use, to make them available for researchers all across the world – to study, of course.
If a researcher wants to study the effect of psychedelic substances (or any other type of study related to them), he’s in for a lot of work. Getting approval for this type of study is never easy, and many institutes and universities will downright reject this type of study. Even if the approval is given, you still have to get access to, or synthesize the substances. This entire process takes a lot of time and effort and resources, up to the point where most scientists will simply give up. Enter EmmaSofia.
EmmaSofia is a non-profit organization based in Oslo, Norway, working to increase access to quality-controlled MDMA (‘ecstasy’) and psychedelics. EmmaSofia is collaborating with a pharmaceutical firm in Norway that already has all the necessary licenses to manufacture MDMA and psychedelics according to “current good manufacturing practice” (cGMP) – the international standard for quality-controlled, medical-grade pharmaceuticals. They’ve estimated the costs of making MDMA and psylocibin (one of the more common psychedelics) available for the world to study is $300.000.
It’s not the first time scientists have turned to crowdfunding to bypass the biased and rigid academic funding system. US non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has collected over $177,000 using multiple crowdfunding campaigns, and received $81,000 from a Reddit campaign, while British researcher David Nutt managed to collect over £40,000 within 24 hours in a crowdfunding campaign last week to make scans of a brain on LSD.
But this is different – this aims to provide access to the entire world, every doctor in every state and country, to psylocibin and MDMA.
“A licensed doctor anywhere in the world can then go to his or her pharmacy, and order it from us,” Johansen explains. “Storage and shipping will be handled by a licensed company that delivers medicines to pharmacies. This infrastructure is already in place for all other medication that needs to be shipped abroad, and is possible if all parties are properly licensed.”
The psilocybin and MDMA would be free of charge, paid for with funds from the IndieGoGo campaign. However, until now, they’ve gathered just over $8,000 of their goal. Personally, I think properly studying psychedelics is way overdue, and the medical potential is huge; ideally, governments and research institutes would understand this and work towards this end, but crowdfunding seems like a good alternative. What do you think?
Andrei's background is in geophysics, and he's been fascinated by it ever since he was a child. Feeling that there is a gap between scientists and the general audience, he started ZME Science -- and the results are what you see today.