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[Breaking News] COMPASS, MAPS, Open Science, and For-Profit Approach to Sanctioned Psychedelics

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omnia sunt communia!
OG Pioneer
Hi all, not sure if you're familiar with COMPASS Pathways. If not, please read this.

Additionally, if you are unfamiliar with The Statement on Open Science for Psychedelic Medicines and Practices, please read it :)

It is in that context that I have attempted to invite every signatory of the Open Science statement to engage in a discussion (on FB, I know, I know, it's terrible but it was the only way I could think to reach everyone and try to facilitate a public, transparent discussion) about what COMPASS and MAPS are currently doing.

Here is the opening statement, in full:

Hi All,

Many of you don’t know me, but my hope is that that won’t matter for the purposes of this discussion. Essentially, I’ve tried to tag everyone who signed onto the “Statement on Open Science and Open Praxis with Psilocybin, MDMA, and Similar Substances.” If there are folks who use pseudonyms or who I may have missed, please feel free to tag them so that they might participate in this discussion. The reason I’ve tagged you all is that I have questions regarding the statement.

The statement includes the following text:
“From generations of practitioners and researchers before us, we have received knowledge about these substances, their risks, and ways to use them constructively. In turn, we accept the call to use that knowledge for the common good and to share freely whatever related knowledge we may discover or develop.

Therefore, in this work, we commit to the following principles. If we engage with consultants, contractors, or suppliers, we will do so in ways that uphold these principles.

We will place the common good above private gain, and we will work for the welfare of the individuals and communities served.

Please note that I have chosen to exclude the vast majority of the text as well as the Chacruna press release, which can be found at: http://chacruna.net/cooperation-over-competition-statement…/. While I feel these excluded sections are important in order to understand “the spirit” of the statement, I am concerned by semantic tactics certain sanctioned researchers have recently deployed to sidestep questions of misogyny in psychedelic spaces.

To preemptively avoid attempts at semantic gymnastics, I have stripped out most of the statement, even though the omitted parts provide the full context for its spirit. Consider point 3 on “Open science and open praxis,” which states, “We will not withhold, nor will we require others to withhold, materials or knowledge…” Technically, a signatory might claim that they can assist organizations who are withholding materials or knowledge because the signatory is neither withholding, nor requiring others to withhold, but simply aiding and abetting an organization that is doing so. I do not know if anyone would attempt to make such an argument, I simply wanted to avoid that potential for distraction.

It is my hope that by framing these questions in as narrow a manner as possible and limiting my questions only to that language in the statement which I feel explicitly covers the currently unfolding situation between COMPASS and MAPS, we can have a serious conversation around whether or not we are currently witnessing a breach of commitment on the part of MAPS.

So here is the question I would like to pose to you all, as signatories:

Does signing onto the "Statement of Open Science" and then providing material aid, logistical support, or other important resources/input to organizations who actively refuse to “place the common good above private gain,” and, “work for the welfare of the individuals and communities served” present a breach of commitment?

If not, why not? Doesn’t engaging in such behavior ultimately lead us down the same path as not signing the statement in the first place? If there is a difference, can you articulate what that difference is?

Consider the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which states that signatories may not, “in any way assist, encourage or induce any non-nuclear-weapon state in the manufacture or acquisition of a nuclear weapon.” A major component of the NPT is that you don't get to sign it and then go teach other countries how to manufacture nukes and claim your hands are clean. The point is *non-proliferation*, not leveraging public relations.

Similarly, it seems to me that if an organization signs the Statement of Open Science and then starts collaborating with an organization that refuses to “place the common good above private gain” and “work for the welfare of the individuals and communities served,” they are in breach of the statement. As I understand it, the point of the statement is to secure certain material conditions (namely, an ethos of open science, collaboration, and mutual aid) for the landscape of sanctioned psychedelic research, not to engage in virtue signaling or public relations campaigns.

To be clear, I am asking you, as signatories, if you think that MAPS is acting in contravention of the “Statement on Open Science and Open Praxis with Psilocybin, MDMA, and Similar Substances” by providing support to COMPASS. I have my own opinions, and I know many others in the community have theirs, but I think this is a moment where it would be incredibly beneficial to know what *you all* think, as you are the people who have chosen to sign this document, thereby giving it legitimacy within the context of psychedelic research.

I am raising these questions as someone who has contributed to extensive underground research efforts that would *literally* have been impossible without collaboration, mutual aid, and an atmosphere of open science that was actively invested in removing, rather than erecting, barriers to research.

I've presented this research at MAPS-affiliated events to a number of you and your peers. Many of you have expressed enthusiasm and/or gratitude for the phytochemical analyses and other information that, somehow, only a group of underground degenerates utilizing horizontal organizational structures and open science approaches was able to compile. From this, I assume you have at least some consideration of the underground research landscape. Under a for-profit model, those of us who are already operating on shoe-string budgets, with no hope of grant funding for the work we are doing will suffer many of the same fates you all fear, only at a faster rate and outside of the small spotlight currently shining on sanctioned psychedelic research.

The unfortunate reality is that underground (and other non-institutional, community) voices have never mattered to the institutions as much as yours. So, in the interest of open science and the spirit of psychonautic exploration, I’m requesting some serious engagement with these questions around this statement that you have all signed. Not just because I believe that it is your responsibility as signatories, but because those of us outside of sanctioned psychedelic research positions lack the perceived legitimacy and authority to do so. I understand that doing this publicly may feel difficult, but you’ve already signed the statement, so you’ve already taken a public stand. Transparency is important. I believe your awareness of this is implicitly acknowledged by your signatures.

What do you think? Does MAPS’ decision to collaborate with COMPASS present a breach of commitment? Are you willing to discuss this?

Thank you for taking the time to read this, for your dedication to an open science approach, and for your commitment to working with compounds that many of us feel are of dire importance when considering the current existential threats humanity is facing from itself. I look forward to following this discussion.

Mary Cosimano Katherine MacLean Rosalind Watts Rita Kočárová Earth Erowid Amy Emerson Allison Feduccia Annie Mithoefer Berra Yazar-Klosinski Adele Getty Bia Labate Sophia Korb Eleonora Molnar Leia Friedman Julie Holland Meghan Kennedy Melissa Warner Claudia Turnbull Janis Phelps George Greer Dennis McKenna Ralph Metzner James Fadiman Tom Roberts Fred Barrett Alan Kooi Davis Albert Garcia Roland Griffiths Darrick May Bill Richards Jeffrey Guss Mark Kleiman Robin Carhart-Harris Jonny Martell Leor Roseman Ben Sessa Christopher Timmermann David Luke Tomas Palenicek Filip Ryba Tylš Peter Hendricks Chris Stauffer Alex Belser Ben Kelmendi Jordan Sloshower Fire Erowid Charles Raison Draulio Barros de Araujo Geoff Bthje Alan Cohn Vipper Short Martin Williams Eric Osborne Sunil Kumar Aggarwal Paul Abramson Daniel McQueen Iker Puente Rafael Lancelotta Matt Brown Kyle Buller Henrik Jungaberle Bob Jesse Bill Linton Mike Margolies Robert J Barnhart Ben De Loenen

Things are super busy, trying to look into this more deeply, but I just wanna say I miss this place, I miss interacting with you, and I hope to be back soon once some of the dust dies down.

Thanks for posting this Snozz. I was unaware of the situation that is developing. I need to re-read the Compass article another time or two till I can wrap my head around it, and then I'll make some comments.

Until then...

Maybe it's just me but I found the most disturbing part of the Compass article was the photo of the psilocybin sample being held by a figure in a pinstripe suit. Actually it's a succinct visual summary of the whole article.
Yes thanks for profiling the situation.

Santo Daime seems to have put massive amounts of money and time in juridical onslaught to get officially their drink in their mass, they prosecuted the state before the state prosecuted them IIRC. I know it's not the same because SD is not about patents/profit, but it does illustrate money levering capacity. In the end, nobody but certain religion was served and no one else could use their precedent legally because the accompanying conditions are way too explicit.

I think SD isn't worried about home drinkers but big banking profit and their keys in high circles, once they are active in the field hunting their profits, might see the home-drinkers/home-therapy or small scale personal enterprises as a to beat competition. Why else would LEO organize to clubbing the kratom vendors in an all suit up SWAT style? I heard some companies were after kratom's medicinal purpose and therefore clearing the field somewhat. I don't know if that was all true, but it is a concern.
Loveall said:
Sorry if I missed the details, but how is MAPS collaboratimg with COMPASS?

these are the details:
...“What I would say about Compass is that my interaction with them has been positive,” said Carhart-Harris, a leading scientist on psychedelics and the brain. “I quite admire what they’re doing.”


Rick Doblin, founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), an organization which has spent decades breaking barriers to psychedelic research, feels the same way. He’s shared all of MAPS’ communications with the FDA with Compass to help them get approval for their trials. He signed the statement, put out by Jesse and others, as “MAPS,” but says he was reluctant to do so because of “a clear bias against for-profit drug development.”

He sees interest from billionaires like Peter Thiel and Rebekah Mercer, who recently donated $1 million to MAPS’ MDMA for PTSD research, as a sign of progress in the psychedelic field. “It’s a good thing, not a bad thing,” he says, because it means we’ve “cleared out the political obstruction and “shown there’s a regulatory pathway” to psychedelic medicine. This is just an inevitable part, he argues, of the mainstreaming process...
and Peter Thiel is also the big banker of Compass according to the article. So there is a trinity: the money, the scientists and the business working together.

How long is it going to take for other businesses to mimic what Compass is doing? Do the researchers have an (exclusivity) contract with them? Researchers worth name-dropping might become a hunted species with a rising market value to get them on board of a prospect business model.

From the eyes of a non-psychedelic inclined patient, the route of a solid business model might even look more appealing than starting to study/experiment at home. Custom readiness will have a market and the entrepreneurs know.
From the eyes of the home enthusiast or small scale projects: there is really no need for big money/companies to "inspire" LEO to deal with their alleged competition.
Thanks Jess, but I think that sharing happened before MAPS signed and when others were also sharing their research (like Roland Griffiths).

It seems like the novel news is that some activity is happening now after people signed.

As I understand the sequence of events,

COMPASS is created and gets help from the open/sharing scientific psychedelic community (MAPS and others) -> COMPASS stops contacting their consultant and the community->the community is concerned over COMPASS showing signs of profit over development/sharing -> community signs a statement (MAPS almost doesn't sign, but they do) -> (new/controversial) MAPS continues to collaborate with COMPASS (what are they doing now)?
I think it's important to recognize that Robin is currently reliant on COMPASS for the drugs he's using through Imperial, as I understand it. As such, please understand there are constraints/dynamics around his ability to speak freely. I say this as an observer at a distance, I haven't spoken directly with Robin for a couple years, and not at all about this subject.

As to what COMPASS is doing, I feel torn between a desire for transparency and the fact that I'm actively working on piecing together the full picture.

I think the biggest concern, and perhaps the most relevant piece for this community and how our own research has been carried out, to-date, is the fact that COMPASS is positioned to create barriers to research by how it is set up to operate in the marketplace, and is already doing so.

Whereas the sanctioned researchers currently working on their projects are more than happy to share publications, protocols, methodologies, insights, etc, COMPASS is not only incentivized not to (see: competitive advantage), but has already blocked at least one group's attempt to procure psychedelic material for research. And remember, COMPASS took advantage of the sanctioned researchers' openness in a logical way for a capitalistic venture. But, imo, it's still reprehensible.

Additionally, the way COMPASS mined the community of sanctioned researchers and then booted them and set up a for-profit organization that appears intent on vertical integration (from production to therapy) is incredibly alarming, not only because of the barriers such an approach presents, but because it's reflective of their institutional morals. I think there's a good comparison to be made between that and the Nexus' attitude on selling/bulk extractions, etc. What do you think?

There are other issues too, and I have pretty solid evidence of impropriety (or at least some seriously misleading/contradictory statements) but like I said, it feels very important, to me, to be able to present the full picture at once, with all of the threads presented in such a way that any independently minded person can sift through the assertions, the evidence, and the full cast of characters and see whether or not their analysis aligns with what I currently see.
Thans Snooze. Makes sense. I was thinking that MAPS may have been caught up in this and was breaking with the community and working increasingly with COMPASS and their methodology, but it seems that may not currently be an issue.

You point out that COMPASS' approach is what is expected from a capitalist enterprise. I agree 100%. It's about $$$ at that point, not helping the human race. At best, we can hope that any help given is a side effect of making $$$. It's not COMPASS' fault, if they don't behave this way a new capitalist venture will rise up and replace them by playing the $$$ game more efficiently. Unfortunately, these are the rules of the game now.

The silver lining here is that the product that COMPASS may provide could change the game itself. It will be interesting to get the plant magic out there and see what happens. While capitalism does well in a prozac and acohol fueled society, it may not fare as well if these drugs are replaced by natural psychedelics.

In the meantime if folks like you can call COMPASS out so that their more damaging tactics are minimized, that's great. I think this PR part is very important, as staying quiet will just make these capitalistic enterprises grab more (as much as they can, by design). Thank you for what you do in this front.
Loveall said:
Thans Snooze. Makes sense. I was thinking that MAPS may have been caught up in this and was breaking with the community and working increasingly with COMPASS and their methodology, but it seems that may not currently be an issue.
Sorry, this is definitely an issue.

I've heard murmurings internal tensions at MAPS are incredibly high over disagreements around this.

And, to be clear, I disagree with much of what you've said about the potential for benefit re: COMPASS and I look forward to being able to share my full explanation as to why, asap.

Thanks in advance for your patience

SnozzleBerry said:
dragonrider said:
SnozzleBerry said:
Almost everyone from sillicon valley is a fascist. Thiel is one of the least scary ones even.
QFT, you're probably right.

Have you seen this? Pretty revealing, imo.
Wow, that article is hilarious.

I realy do think that at least 50% of the sillicon valley population exists of archetypical james bond villains.

The main difference is that james bond villains always seem to know that they are the bad guys, while i've seen documentary's on transhumanism.....and these people realy talk about the extermination of mankind, the way bob ross talks about nice little trees and happy little accidents.
pinkoyd said:
I have to appaud you Snozz, your timing is impeccable. 😁

I wa wa wa wa wonder if CIIS will be posting videos of the conference...
The conference will be recorded. Should be a good one. There may be some folks recording independently to avoid any potential inclinations towards censorship.

Oh...did I mention tensions are high?

Hopefully no one will runaway...

Man I'm getting a serious education from your FB thread. SOOO much I was unaware of, including Bob Forte's story about Rick Doblin and the LiB/Zendo tragedy (which given my profession I find especially troubling), not to mention all the issues swirling around MAPS and COMPASS. You stimulated a lot of people to contribute to a very interesting conversation.

I used to think I was well versed in things psychedelic. Got some gaps to fill in I suppose. :oops:

P.S. I only get a black X on the pic in Post #12 above.
pinkoyd said:
the LiB/Zendo tragedy (which given my profession I find especially troubling)

P.S. I only get a black X on the pic in Post #12 above.

I also found the LIB story troubling. I'm not trying to put pressure on MAPS around that for the same reason I stated in the thread; doing HR work in a prohibitionist context is tough...but to my mind, there are some really obvious/serious questions there. I know there's folks looking into it and I hope it gets resolved in a way that brings closure to the family and doesn't wreck Zendo's ability to function...assuming the functionality is legit.

Here's another link for the blacked out picture 😉
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