Seeker Network: America’s Illegal Street Drug That Can Treat PTSD (Podcast)

Summary: Seeker Network explores how MDMA-assisted psychotherapy was the only treatment that was effective for one adult suffering from chronic, treatment-resistant posttramautic stress disorder (PTSD) that developed as a result of a traumatic childhood. The report explains how MAPS’ ongoing MDMA-assisted psychotherapy research may lead the way to MDMA becoming an FDA-approved prescription medicine by 2021. “MDMA acts as a catalyst by providing emotional connection, increased clarity about trauma memories and a sense of confidence that painful experiences can be revisited and processed without becoming overwhelming,” says clinical researcher of MAPS, Michael Mithoefer, M.D.

Originally appearing here.

New evidence suggests that MDMA, the active ingredient in the street drug ecstasy and molly, may have no negative long term effects.

Recently, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) approved the first clinical trial using MDMA, the synthetic drug associated with Ecstasy and Molly. This research will use MDMA combined with psychotherapy to treat anxiety in people who are terminally ill. MDMA is closely associated with rave culture but it’s therapeutic potential has a long history.

MDMA’s use as an aid in psychotherapy predates its recreational use. It dates back to the 1970s and it wasn’t until 1985 that it was classified as a Schedule I substance by the DEA. To be clear, the MDMA being used in research is not the same as Molly or ecstasy. Although, Molly is sometimes said to refer to pure forms of MDMA, both Molly and ecstasy generally contain other substances, such as caffeine, ephedrine (a stimulant), and even ingredients found in the drugs known as "bath salts." In its pure form, however, the feelings of trust, compassion, calm, and confidence the drug produces may make it a helpful addition to psychotherapy addressing anxiety and PTSD. It has also shown some promise as a part of couples therapy.

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the only organization worldwide funding clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, is optimistic about this drug’s future. They aim to make MDMA a Food and Drug Administration-approved prescription by 2021.