It’s a long and slow battle, but the conversation around drugs is changing. We’ve got the Greens here in Australia making serious moves to change our approach to how legislation ought to approach currently illegal drugs, and the Food and Drug Administration in the United States has just approved the use of MDMA in large-scale clinical trials to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.
Evidence has been emerging for some time that MDMA, which is illegal in the United States and in most jurisdictions, is quite effective at treating PTSD – a condition which is generally difficult to treat through normal therapeutic means.
The New York Times reports that the Phase-3 stage is the final step before the potential approval of MDMA as a prescription drug in the United States.
“I’m cautious but hopeful,” said Dr. Charles R. Marmar, head of psychiatry at New York University’s Langone School of Medicine. “If they can keep getting good results, it will be of great use. PTSD can be very hard to treat. Our best therapies right now don’t help 30 to 40 percent of people. So we need more options.”
He did however express some concern. “It’s a feel-good drug, and we know people are prone to abuse it,” he said. “Prolonged use can lead to serious damage to the brain.”
One study found that the clinical application of MDMA to PTSD sufferers who included combat veterans, sexual assault victims, and police and firefighters resulted in a 56 percent decrease of severity of symptoms.
In a sense we’ve come full circle – when chemist Alexander Shulgin first discovered the euphoria-inducing properties of MDMA, he introduced it to psychologists, who began using it in therapy sessions to reduce anxiety and encourage patients to open up. Cheers to bringing the discourse back to square one!
Source: New York Times.