The California-based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) began conducting studies investigating the medical properties of the substance MDMA, and the first results from a phase three study were announced in May 2021. The study, which was published in the journal Nature, lauded the substance as an excellent therapy for those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) — a disease for which there is now no treatment. However, the study has sparked much controversy, with Canadian authorities stating that they will evaluate the clinical trials following a number of participant complaints about ‘alleged investigator misconduct’.
According to The Guardian, the major complaint was submitted by producers of the New York magazine podcast Cover Story: Power Trip after speaking with a number of participants. During their interviews, the podcast producers discovered charges of misbehavior and physical abuse.
Richard Yensen, one of the therapists participating in the experiments, was also accused of sexual assault by a patient named Meaghan Buisson. According to The Guardian, Buisson accused him of sexual assault and violence, but the case was dropped by Canadian cops and prosecutors. Other concerns about the MDMA studies were three individuals who claimed that their suicidal thoughts worsened over time since they were not allowed to take antidepressant medication.
According to The Guardian, one psychotherapist who worked on Maps MDMA testing claimed, ‘Maps is attempting to be too many things. They need to slow down and focus on the actual research that’s being done as well as completing excellent long-term follow-ups while listening to and providing for their trial participants when they say, ‘I need more help,’ he was cited as saying in the paper.