Ecstasy Approved for Clinical Trials with PTSD
FDA approves large-scale clinical trials of ecstasy to treat patients with PTSD
US scientists will treat 230 patients with the rave drug ecstasy aka MDMA
MDMA is classed Class A (Schedule 1 in the US) alongside heroin and LSD
It is known for giving clubbers a psychotic feeling of happiness
But researchers claim it could help ease symptoms of autism or PTSD
By Mia De Graaf For Dailymail.com
Published: 11:47 EST, 30 November 2016
The FDA has approved large-scale clinical trials of ecstasy to treat patients with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The phase three trial, funded by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), will involved 230 patients or more.
It is the sixth MAPS-funded study of the rave drug as it rapidly gains widespread support as a potential treatment for psychological disorders and autism.
A previous study cleared 66 percent of participants of PTSD, while another reduced symptoms in 56 percent of patients.
If the trial is successful, ecstasy – also known as MDMA, Molly, and (officially) methylenedioxymethamphetamine – could be publicly available for medical use in 2021.
It is hardly the first attempt to bring MDMA into the lab.
Early clinical cases and a small trial in 2013 also showed some use for MDMA as a treatment during therapy for patients with PTSD, possibly aiding patients in forming a stronger bond with a therapist.
Many researchers have argued the legalization of medical marijuana in many states across America should open the door to the possibility of testing other banned substances.
Unlike cannabis, however, MDMA’s effects are not physical.
Medical marijuana activates cannabinoids – a series of nerve endings in the body – to treat back pain, anxiety and depression.
While autism has physical causes, the use of MDMA would be purely psychological, to inspire empathy.
The drug induces a chemical high that makes abusers feel extremely happy and empathetic.
It has been banned since 1986, ranked as dangerous as LSD and heroin.
Despite the dangers, there are growing calls in the neuroscience and psychiatry communities for clinical trials to test the medical benefits of MDMA.
Earlier this year, researchers at Stanford University published a paper concluding the substance could give autistic people a powerful psychological experience that could help them connect better with their therapist.
In July the Stanford team penned an open letter in the journal Cell, urging regulators to lift the tight restrictions to let them test humans.
‘We’ve learned a lot about the nervous system from understanding how drugs work in the brain – both therapeutic and illicit drugs,’ Robert Malenka, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at Stanford University, wrote.