We are studying whether MDMA-assisted psychotherapy has the potential to heal the psychological and emotional damage caused by sexual assault, war, violent crime, and other traumas.
Our highest priority project is funding clinical trials of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) as a tool to assist psychotherapy for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Preliminary studies have shown that MDMA in conjunction with psychotherapy can help people overcome PTSD, and possibly other disorders as well. MDMA is known for increasing feelings of trust and compassion towards others, which could make an ideal adjunct to psychotherapy for PTSD.
In MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, MDMA is only administered a few times, unlike most medications for mental illnesses which are often taken daily for years, and sometimes forever.
MDMA is not the same as Ecstasy. Substances sold on the street under the name Ecstasy do often contain MDMA, but frequently also contain harmful adulterants. In laboratory studies, pure MDMA—but not Ecstasy—has been proven sufficiently safe for human consumption when taken a limited number of times in moderate doses.
MAPS is undertaking a 10 year, $15 million plan to make MDMA into an FDA-approved prescription medicine, and is currently the only organization in the world funding clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. For-profit pharmaceutical companies are not interested in developing MDMA into a medicine because the patent for MDMA has expired. The idea of the therapeutic use of MDMA to assist psychotherapy of any kind for any specific clinical indication has long been in the public domain.
Download our Clinical Development Plan.
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View the timelines for each study.