Ecstasy as a Treatment

By Greenport · Mar 29, 2008 · Updated Mar 30, 2008 · ·
  1. Greenport
    -Paul Dillon, Sydney Star Observer - issue 909 - published 13/03/2008
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    We’ve spoken about this research before but here is an update on the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) funded trials using MDMA, or ecstasy, to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

    There are believed to be almost 25 million veterans currently in the US and there is great concern about the rate of suicide amongst this group. Due to the lack of treatment options for PTSD, the US Army is now considering something pretty radical to treat the problem – ecstasy.

    Apparently the US military carried out lethal dose studies of MDMA on animals in the 1950s before it became an illegal drug. MAPS founder and President Rick Doblin became aware of MDMA in 1982, and since then has been convinced of its therapeutic uses. Accordingly, his organisation has coordinated and/or funded recent studies into MDMA treatment of PTSD and hopes to make the drug a prescription medication in the very near future.

    One of the studies, currently in phase two, is crucial, according to Doblin, “to prove safety and efficacy”. Safety and efficacy are the prime obstacles standing in MAPS and MDMA’s way, especially since the drug was listed as Schedule 1 in 1985, shortly after it was named “ecstasy” by its users in 1984.

    Due to a number of high profile ecstasy-related deaths there is a perception in the general community that MDMA is a particularly dangerous drug. There have been many studies examining the lethality of ecstasy and a great deal of heated debate.
    The MAPS studies have subjected the drug to rigorous testing, and have thus far found little to suggest that it is as “dangerous” as was once suggested.

    It is important to remember that we are not talking about using ecstasy in a nightclub setting here. These studies examine the drug administered in a measured dose in controlled settings. Potential problems such as overheating and dehydration are monitored closely.

    If MDMA treatment of PTSD does eventuate, some politicians and doctors in the US are scared that they will see a dramatic increase in the number of people using the drug. However, Doblin sees the drug becoming a normal prescription drug like antidepressants, prescribed by therapists and the like. It will be interesting to see what happens next – watch this space.

    Remember: if you do not want any negative consequences, do not use the drug and, no matter how many times you have used a substance, never be blasé.

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  1. MartM
    It would be great to see MDMA finally being allowed back into society for it's medical uses.
  2. psyche
    This is great. And it's not just another MAPS study, which the newspaper might easily stigmatize because of the organization, but it's the US Army. This article takes the matter seriously.
  3. RaverHippie
    "Of the subjects who have been through both the MDMA-assisted therapy and the three-month post-experiment follow-up tests, Mithoefer reports, every one showed dramatic improvement."

    100% improvement rate?

    *picks up phone*

    "Uhhh Senator? Can we get this fast-tracked through the FDA NOW!?!"

    EDIT: (more)

    "OH, MAN, I'M IMPRESSED," SAYS MARK WAGNER, a clinical psychologist on faculty at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, an expert in psychological testing and an independent evaluator conducting the before and after PTSD assessments in Mithoefer's study. "I didn't know much about the clinical use of MDMA before this," Wagner says, "But I've seen each and every one of these patients, and, just as a clinical psychologist, it is impressive to see the degree of treatment response these folks have had. There are a couple of areas in medicine, like hip replacement, where one day you are bedridden, and the next you're out playing tennis. Or with Lasik surgery, you're blind, and then you can see. Nothing in psychology is like that. But this was dramatic."

    taken from here, a VERY complete article concerning the study
  4. aBakes
    i think it would be great idea. when SWIM takes ecstasy he opens up completely and makes him feel much much better throughout the rest of the week
  5. pinkandfluffy
    We're nearly there, folks!
  6. Pachanoid
    Man, psychedelic substances have so much to teach us, they should least be liberated for medical research. MDMA seems like the perfect therapy enhancer. :crazy
  7. EndlessKnight
    Does anyone know at what point Maps are in their 5 year plan to get MDMA FDA approved? I've read the news on their site but still don't quite understand what year they're in.
  8. RaverHippie
    AFAIK the results of the study have yet to be published, I don't even think the study has finished yet. I'm not sure which arbitrary year we are in, in a plan unlikely to yield results in that timeline.
  9. ihavequestions
    how soon does everyone think this will happen though? a year? a decade? this article is definetly giving swim a positive view on the subject. but then again marijuana is still "controversial". i mean if weed hasnt been legalized and its taken so long just to show that its should be. how long until people can expect MDMA. ESPECIALY with the stigma and propoganda bullshit about igh ecstay fatalities?

    SWIm thinks its possible. but who knows for how long we will have to wait. if MJ is "iffy" swim cant even imagine the uphill battle with ecstasy.
  10. EndlessKnight
    Maps is doing phase II trials now. A good place to keep up to date on the subject is . And here's an explanation of the clincal phases a drug must go through to get FDA approval
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