Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies Celebrates 25 Years of Research & Education

MAPS is celebrating 25 years of research and education in Oakland, California and Medical Marijuana 411 is proud to work with alongside such intellectual giants.

By Sam Sabzehzar  |  December 8, 2011

One of the workshops during the MAPS conference will be focusing on the science and politics of medical cannabis and features prominent advocates for social change like ASA‘s Steph Sherer, medical experts such as Dr. Donald Abrams and Amanda Reiman, PhD, as well as Dr. Lyle Craker, who has been trying for more than a decade to have official permission to further his research on cannabis at UMASS.

Project CBD will be heavily featured in the workshop, with both Martin Lee (author or Acid Dreams) and Fred Gardner (who is also a managing editor of O’Shaughnessy’s) enlightening the already illumined with the most up-to-date research on cannabidiol (CBD).

Below is a synopsis provided by MAPS relating to the medical marijuana workshop. Medical Marijuana 411 will be reporting live from the conference and helping to produce the live video feed that will be available on the MAPS website, as well as right here and on our FaceBook page.

Watch live streaming video from maps_cp at

Other plant medicines panels will feature the most advanced researchers discussing the most compassionate use of psychospiritual drugs to help with the root causes of addiction, depression, anxiety, and other emotional-related health conditions that western medicine either criminalizes or prescribes addictive-oriented regimes to treat, producing side-effects that often outweigh any benefits.

For full list of workshops or to view the conference program, please click here.

Prominent experts will share the lessons they have learned about marijuana research methodology (such as dosing, self-titration, placebo doses, and outcome measures), discuss the differing effects of the two primary cannabinoids THC and CBD, examine the forces impeding government approval of medical marijuana research, explore the history of the medical marijuana movement in California from 1996 to the present, and discuss future possibilities for research.

The implications of new data on the use of cannabis as a substitute for alcohol, illicit, and prescription drugs for the clinical application of medical marijuana will also be discussed.

Workshop Participants

Donald I. Abrams, M.D. is chief of the Hematology-Oncology Division at San Francisco General Hospital and a Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. He has an Integrative Oncology consultation practice at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. He received an A.B. in Molecular Biology from Brown University in 1972 and graduated from the Stanford University School of Medicine in 1977. He was one of the first clinicians to recognize and define many early AIDS-related conditions. He has long been interested in clinical trials of complementary and alternative medicine interventions for HIV/AIDS and cancer, including evaluations of medicinal marijuana, as first inspired by Rick Doblin in 1992. In 1997 he received funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to conduct clinical trials of the short-term safety of cannabinoids in HIV infection. Subsequently he was granted funds by the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research to continue studies of the effectiveness of cannabis in a number of clinical conditions. He completed a placebo-controlled study of smoked cannabis in patients with painful HIV-related peripheral neuropathy as well as a study evaluating vaporization as a smokeless delivery system for medicinal. His last NIDA-funded trial investigated the possible pharmacokinetic interaction between vaporized cannabis and opioid analgesics in patients with chronic pain. He co-authored the chapter on “Cannabinoids and Cancer” in the Oxford University Press Integrative Oncology text that he co-edited with Andrew Weil.

Lyle Craker, Ph.D., Director of the Medicinal Plant Program at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, has been working with MAPS for over 10 years to end the federal government’s monopoly on marijuana for research by applying for a license to start a MAPS-sponsored marijuana farm for research. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin and his doctorate from the University of Minnesota. He served two years as a Chemical Corp Officer at Fort Detrick, Maryland, then began work at the University of Massachusetts where his focus has centered on the production and chemistry of medicinal and aromatic plants. Dr. Craker was founding Editor for the scientific Journal of Herbs, Spices, and Medicinal Plants and is currently founding Editor of the Journal of Medicinally Active Plants. He organized the Herb, Spice, and Medicinal Plant Working Group in the American Society for Horticultural Science and served six years as Chairman of the Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Section in the International Society for Horticutural Science which awarded him a lifetime honorary membership for his service to the Society. His organization of a medicinal plant program at the University of Massachusetts consists of nine courses enrolling approximately 220 students each year.

Fred Gardner is a journalist who has been covering the medical marijuana movement in California since 1996. Since 2003 he has been managing editor of O’Shaughnessy’s, a journal he co-founded with Tod Mikuriya, MD. In 2010, with Martin A. Lee, he organized Project CBD to expedite production of cannabidiol-rich strains and to publicize their medical potential. Previously, he was Public Information Officer for the District Attorney of San Francisco. His varied career includes stints as an editor of Scientific American, an anti-war organizer, a private investigator, a scriptwriter, and a songwriter. He is a regular contributor to the Anderson Valley Advertiser and

Dale Gieringer, Ph.D. has been State Director of California NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) since 1987. In this capacity he has spoken with thousands of medical marijuana users and is the author of the Marijuana Medical Handbook. He is Vice-Chairman of the national NORML Board of Directors. He is also Director of the California Drug Policy Forum (DPFCA) and treasurer of the Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance (OCLA). He has published research on the economic benefits of legalization, medical marijuana usage, the history of marijuana and drug prohibition, potency testing, marijuana and driving safety, and drug urinalysis. He sponsored path-breaking research and development on vaporizers as a smoke-free delivery system for cannabis. He has testified before the legislature, local governments, and courts on issues related to marijuana. He was one of the original co-authors of California’s medical marijuana initiative, Prop. 215, the proponent of Oakland’s Measure Z cannabis initiative in 2004, a sponsor of California’s pathbreaking legalization bill AB 390, and a consultant on numerous other cannabis reform campaigns.

Debby Goldsberry is a pioneer of the medical cannabis industry, with 25 years experience. Recently, she co-founded United Cannabis Collective, a medical cannabis dispensary dedicated to ending cannabis prohibition. Ms. Goldsberry also co-founded the Berkeley Patients Group (BPG) medical cannabis collective, which she directed for 11 years, and several non-profit organizations, including Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the Medical Cannabis Safety Council(MCSC), and Cannabis Action Network (CAN). She serves on the steering committee of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) Woman’s Alliance, and is a former board member of the Marijuana Policy Project. Ms. Goldsberry was twice designated High Times Freedom Fighter of the Month and was given NORML’s Paula Sabine Award for Woman in Leadership. Ms. Goldsberry currently serves as HIGH TIMES Freedom Fighter of the Year.

Allen Hopper, J.D., is an attorney and the Criminal Justice and Drug Policy Director at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California, where he develops and implements strategies to reform California’s criminal justice system and drug policies. Specific areas of focus include down-sizing California jails and prisons, drug law enforcement, medical marijuana implementation issues, and broader marijuana law reform. Prior to moving to the California ACLU, Mr. Hopper was the Litigation Director for the National ACLU’s Drug Law Reform Project, where he coordinated the ACLU’s drug policy-related litigation and litigated cases across the nation as part of an overall strategy to combine impact litigation with policy and legislative advocacy, public education, media, and grassroots-and-tops organizing to transform public understanding of, and government response to, drug use and drug policies.

Martin Lee, an award-winning investigative journalist, is the author of several books, including Acid Dreams and The Beast Reawakens. Lee is Co-founder and Director of Project CBD and associate editor of O’Shaughnessy’s, the journal of cannabis in clinical practice. Lee is also co-founder of the New York-based media research group FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting), and the former editor and publisher of FAIR’s magazine Extra!. His articles have appeared in numerous publications in the United States and abroad, including the Washington PostRolling StoneHarpersLe Monde DiplomatiqueThe NationChristian Science Monitor, and Mother Jones. Lee’s forthcoming book Smoke Signals, a social history of marijuana, will be published by Scribner in 2012.

Amanda Reiman, M.S.W., Ph.D., is the Director of Research for community-based medical cannabis dispensary Berkeley Patients Group, a Lecturer in the School of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley, and an Affiliate Scientist at the Alcohol Research Group in Emeryville, California. Dr. Reiman has a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois, Chicago, a doctorate in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. Dr. Reiman’s dissertation,Cannabis Care: Medical Cannabis Facilities as Health Service Providers, was the first in-depth study of medical cannabis patients through dispensaries. She has published numerous articles on medical cannabis dispensaries, patients and the use of cannabis as a substitute for alcohol. At Berkeley, Dr. Reiman teaches Substance Abuse Treatment and Drug and Alcohol Policy. Dr. Reiman served as the Chairwoman of the first Medical Cannabis Commission for the City of Berkeley and has consulted with other cities in the Bay Area regarding medical cannabis policy and dispensing. Dr. Reiman regularly presents her research on cannabis use at National and International conferences including the International Cannabinoid Research Symposium, the International Conference on Safe Medicine, the American Public Health Conference, the National NORML Conference, and the Harm Reduction Conference. Dr. Reiman is a member of the Multidisciplinary Scientific Advisory Board (MSAB) for Americans for Safe Access, a consortium of health professionals, researchers, and academics. The MSAB includes individuals from the fields of Internal Medicine, Psychiatry, Addictions, Osteopathy, Sociology, Public Health, Public Policy, and Law from across the world.

Steph Sherer, Founder and Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), has become the foremost international leader and expert on medical cannabis patient advocacy. Her vision for keeping patients’ needs at the forefront of the medical marijuana debate has brought safe and legal access to millions of Americans. Sherer is a medical cannabis patient with over fourteen years of experience servicing and managing non-profit businesses and community organizations. Through her work at ASA, she has built a powerful organization by bringing together an exceptional staff team, prominent volunteer leaders, and thousands of patient activists nationwide. She has created the strategic framework for ASA, and in addition to harnessing the resources to implement her vision, she participates in the organization as a patient spokesperson, organizer, trainer, and lobbyist for patient’s rights.

Sue Sisley, M.D. is the Clinical Investigator for MAPS’ planned study of marijuana for symptoms of PTSD in veterans of war. Dr. Sisley began her full-time TELEMEDICINE practice starting in 2009, where she employs a full array of telecommunications technology to continue delivering high-quality medical care to populations across rural/underserved areas of Arizona. She is an Institutional Member of the American Telemedicine Association and serves on the ATA’s Legislative and Policy Committee. She also serves as Clinical Faculty at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center at the MercyCare Adult Medicine Clinic for indigent patients. Dr. Sisley completed her medical degree at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and proceeded to complete her five-year Residency Training at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in the fields of Internal Medicine and Psychiatry. Dr. Sisley also founded and serves as CEO of a non-profit corporation entitled Ensuring Tomorrow Productions, an organization that delivers health education through music, theater, and dance. Dr. Sisley has received many recent honors including the President’s Point of Light Award and the Leo B. Hart Humanitarian Award for “outstanding contributions made for social reform” by the University of Arizona College of Medicine. Dr. Sisley was also given the Arizona Medical Association’s highest honor, the President’s Distinguished Service Award, and received Arizona’s most prestigious recognition for volunteerism, the Hon Kachina Award.

Clint Werner is the author of Marijuana: Gateway to Health and has studied the medical marijuana literature and movement closely for the last 20 years.


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