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MDMA-Assisted Therapy Could be a Reality Soon

MDMA is the stuff those hooligans take at those dance raves with the techno music, right? Often cut with other substances and known as Molly, that may not be completely untrue. However, the medical field is researching an alternative use for MDMA on the other end of the spectrum: therapy. Ongoing research has shown that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy is an effective treatment for PTSD.

Huffington Post spoke with Rick Doblin, executive director of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) who stated, “We’re on track for MDMA to be approved by the FDA by 2021.” To ensure that this happens, MAPS has a $21M plan for clinical trials and training psychotherapists.

In the first clinical trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy 10 out of 12 patients given the active medication no longer showed symptoms of PTSD after just two sessions. In contrast, only 2 out of 8 patients given the placebo effectively eliminated their PTSD symptoms.

Part of what people fear as well as part of what makes this treatment work is the loss of control that MDMA causes. According to Doblin, “When someone is able to let go of their normal sense of controlling their emotions or not feeling things or pushing things down, an astonishing type of healing can take place.”

Although PTSD is currently the main focus for MAPS, next they hope to get approval to use MDMA with patients dealing with end-of-life anxiety as well as social anxiety in autistic adults. One of the issues with getting approval is the public perception of MDMA.

[pullquote align=”right”]”People have been given a sense of incredible danger around these drugs. The way it’s been presented is that you take a single dose, and you’ll have major brain damage and significant consequences. We haven’t found that in clinical settings at all …” – Rick Doblin[/pullquote]

The next hurdle will be training the next generation of psychologists to administer the drug and guide the patient in their psychotherapy session. Currently 15 psychologists are in training in Charleston, North Carolina. The hope is to not only train people to be MDMA/PTSD psychotherapists, but to have psychedelic clinics for them to work in, and that those clinics will span the nation.

Let us be clear, we are not advocating the use of MDMA for personal psychological “therapy” or otherwise. However, a low dose in a clinical setting under the supervision of a psychotherapist has been shown to be effective for some psychological afflictions. We’re interested to see what the longitudinal research for these studies will show and what kind of future psychedelic clinics have in our country.

Do you support the use of MDMA in a clinical setting? Why or why not?


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Hailing from the golden hills of California, Tina lives for sunny days in Seattle. With an expansive taste and hunger for both food and music, she loves all things from Celine Dion to Slipknot (and of course EDM).

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Important things happen in Pacific Northwest nightlife, and DMNW will send you alerts!