Psychedelic drug research has kick started a medical renaissance in the treatment of mental health related issues. Turns out, some of those hippies back during the days of the psychedelic revolution were actually on to something. Now with research currently being done on everything from LSD to psilocybin (magic mushrooms), ketamine, and MDMA (more commonly known as Molly or Ecstasy) the world is going through a new and exciting revolution. Of course, all of these drugs are still illegal, so getting cleared for clinical trials has been a tricky process.
PTSD is a disease that eight percent of the American population will experience at some point in their lives. Up to half of those enrolled in treatment will fail to see results with current medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and cognitive behavioral therapy. Treatment for PTSD often involves getting the patient to recall traumatic events in an attempt to quell the fear attached to them. Where a lot of patients have trouble is in the recall of the events. They’ve either blocked them out completely or there is such an extreme emotional reaction to the memories, it is simply too much stress.
This is where the MDMA comes in. One of the key functions of the MDMA is to get patients to lower those boundaries and allow for memory recall. It reduces the natural fear response triggered by these events and causes the release of serotonin, which increases the feeling of well-being. The theory here is, that by taking the MDMA, patients can recall events without being overwhelmed by fear and anxiety.
At the 2017 Psychedelic Science Conference, research was unveiled on the phase II trials involving 107 people diagnosed with PTSD. The study involved treatment with MDMA and psychotherapy. Researchers with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (or MAPS), revealed that a year after two or three MDMA assisted therapy sessions, 67 percent of patients showed no signs of PTSD. The FDA has recommended that researchers move forward into phase III trials, which is the last stage before the drug receives approval.
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