History of Psychedelic Research at Maryland Psychiatric Research Center
In the late 1960’s, a multi-million dollar interdisciplinary research center opened in the State of Maryland. This center for psychiatric research was a consequence of research in psychedelic psychotherapy performed by Albert Kurland and his associates at the Spring Grove State Hospital which were brought to prominent public attention through the CBS ﬁlm “The Spring Grove Experiement.” Though the studies at Spring Grove State Hospital and those that followed at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center (MPRC) ended in 1976, they remain the largest, most sustained and systematic study of psychedelic drugs and psychotherapy yet attempted.
This talk emerged from a dialogue with Donna Dryer, M.D. We reviewed the studies done at the Spring Grove State Hospital and the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center asking the following questions: 1) Why did some studies have such good results and others such equivocal ones? 2) What mistakes occurred that future researchers in this area might avoid? 3) The research team used statistical assessment and double-blind controlled studies. This approach is the accepted standard method for studying psychoactive compounds. Is this methodology appropriate and sufﬁcient to study psychedelic medicines? The analysis of the above questions is separated into ﬁve themes: 1) A discussion of the evolution of the therapeutic paradigms used in the studies. 2) An analysis of the political and interpersonal contexts affecting the research. 3) A description of the major studies conducted at Spring Grove State Hospital and the MPRC highlighting the methodological issues. 4) A survey of the non-drug therapies that evolved from the psychedelic research. 5) The current status of research and possible future directions for psychedelic research.
This video is from Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century, a conference taking in place in San Jose, California on April 15-18, 2010. The conference was organized by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in collaboration with the Heffter Research Institute, the Council on Spiritual Practices, and the Beckley Foundation.
Medical doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and other health professionals can earn Continuing Medical Education/Continuing Education (CME/CE) credits by viewing these videos through the Spiritual Competency Resource Center (SCRC) at spiritualcompetency.com.
This video was produced by Teal Sievers of Living Dream Films (livingdreamfilms.com).
To learn more about MAPS or to support our work, visit maps.org.
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