Honorable Mensch-ion: Rick Doblin

By Roy Kaufmann | December 26, 2015

“There is a large percentage of Jews in science, but even a larger percentage in psychiatry. I think this Jewish focus on diseases of the mind reflects our own history of being victims of cultural insanity and irrationality for so long.”
-- Rick Doblin, Ph.D.
Jewish Currents Magazine

Haven’t heard of Rick Doblin? We’re not surprised. Doblin isn’t a master in the art of self-promotion. But he should be. So we’re inclined to help.

Doblin is the founder and president of MAPS, the Mulit-Disciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. In the nearly three decades since its founding, MAPS has done groundbreaking research into the medical, spiritual and social applications of substances ranging from treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with MDMA (ecstasy) to the possible application of ayahuasca to treat opium addictions.

We’re big fans of Doblin, and of MAPS. Partly because of the incredible work they’ve done, for nearly three decades, in the harshest of political environments. And partly because Doblin infuses his work with a deep sense of Jewish ethics and values.

Doblin's research would be incredible, even if the research environment for Schedule 1 drugs weren’t so tragically Kafkaesque. But what is truly amazing is how much research MAPS has done in spite of the draconian restrictions and Orwellian mobius strips put in place.

One solution MAPS has utilized? Finding better research environments. Namely, Israel. For example, the above-mentioned research into treating PTSD with MDMA? Israel. Doblin has also played a significant role in the maturation of Israel’s medical-marijuana program, which now leads the world in medical-cannabis research and development.

In 2005, Doblin, along with three other Jewish psychedelics researchers, sat down with Lawrence Bush, editor of Jewish Currents magazine, for a fascinating discussion of psychedelics as medicine, and the Jewish imperative to make it easier, not harder, to study these profoundly misunderstood substances.

Check out the discussion. And then check out MAPS. They’re just one more example of how many of the leading minds in drug-policy research and reform are Members of The Tribe. Yasher ko’ach, Rick (and team)!