Summary: Metro reports on MAPS’ clinical research into the potential medical benefits of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, highlighting how the completion of upcoming Phase 3 trials may make MDMA become a legal, FDA-approved medicine by 2021. "When people take MDMA, they don’t tend to have visual effects or strong hallucinations. With MDMA, people tend to stay more grounded. They become more aware of the feelings that they’re having inside their body, which is very useful for psychotherapy and dealing with psychological trauma,” explains MAPS Director of Communications and Marketing Brad Burge.
Originally appearing here.
MDMA has moved a step closer to being legalised on prescription in the USA.
The drug, which is the active ingredient in Ecstasy, is going through studies to look at whether it can treat people with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. People can develop PTSD after difficult experiences such as sexual assault or serving in conflict zones.
Researchers from the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies have concluded that the drug CAN help people work through their stress and anxiety.
Phase 2 of a psychotherapy study has now ended, Inverse.com reported, and the organisation which carried out the research now wants to start further clinical trials.
It’s a stereotype that people on MDMA, sometimes known as Molly, want to hug everyone around them. These heightened feelings of trust and compassion can help people during therapy, it is believed, as people are able to be more open.
Brad Burge, director of communications for MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) told Inverse the Phase 2 study had treated 136 people.
The next phase will treat 200 to 400 subjects with PTSD ‘from all sorts of causes’.
He said they hoped to get approval for MDMA as a medicine by 2021.
Brad told Inverse: ‘When people take MDMA, they don’t tend to have visual effects or strong hallucinations. With MDMA, people tend to stay more grounded. They become more aware of the feelings that they’re having inside their body, which is very useful for psychotherapy and dealing with psychological trauma.
‘MDMA affects the part of the brain that’s mostly responsible for fear, the flight or fight response. With people who have PTSD, their amygdala is hyperactive. MDMA directly reduces that; we see it in MRI brain imaging.
‘So when people are recalling their trauma in the context of a therapy session, they don’t freak out at that same level of chemical activation. I like to call it a ‘chemical security blanket,’ because people remain self-aware even while they’re talking about their difficult state.’
He said they were also studying the effect of MDMA on adults with anxiety, such as people with life threatening illnesses or social anxiety due to autism.
Are there any downsides?
Obviously, if you buy MDMA in the street you won’t be sure what you’re getting and it could be cut with all kinds of things you’d rather not ingest.
It is a stimulant and can cause your blood pressure and heart rate to increase. Scientists monitored participants throughout the study to check their heart rates remained at safe levels. One man was asked to leave the study because of this.
The drug can also bring anxiety to the surface and prompt acute nervousness. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing as it can allow people to deal with their trauma.