Study Finds Psychedelic Drug MDMA To Ease PTSD Symptoms

Sponsors look for US approval of MDMA to combine it with psychotherapy as a possible treatment for PTSD.

Photo Credit : Image by pressfoto on Freepik,

In a study published in the journal Nature Medicine on Thursday, researchers have found that MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy (tablet form) or molly (crystal form), when used in conjunction with psychotherapy, can significantly alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

The results of this research have prompted the company funding the study, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) Public Benefit Corporation, to announce its intentions to seek approval for MDMA as a treatment for PTSD in the US.

Amy Emerson, the CEO of MAPS Public Benefit Corporation, while talking to the media, described this development as the first major innovation in PTSD treatment in over two decades. She believes that it has the potential to usher in a new era of innovative therapeutic approaches.

Australia this year became the first country to allow psychiatrists to prescribe MDMA and psilocybin, the active compound found in psychedelic mushrooms, for therapeutic purposes. In the United States, the growing acceptance of these substances is partly attributable to the advocacy efforts of organizations like MAPS.

The recent study involved 104 individuals with PTSD who were randomly divided into two groups: one received MDMA, while the other was given a placebo during three separate sessions spaced one month apart. Both groups also received psychotherapy as part of their treatment regimen.

The most common side effects reported by participants in the MDMA group included muscle tightness, nausea, decreased appetite, and sweating. Remarkably, only one person from the MDMA group discontinued their participation in the study due to these side effects.

After the treatment sessions, an impressive 86 per cent of participants in the MDMA group demonstrated improvements in a standard PTSD assessment, compared to 69 per cent in the placebo group. This assessment evaluated symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks, and insomnia. Furthermore, by the study's end, approximately 72 per cent of those in the MDMA group no longer met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD, compared to around 48 per cent in the placebo group.

According to media reports, Barbara Rothbaum, the Director of the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program in Atlanta, lauded the study's results as "very exciting." She emphasised the pressing need for additional treatment options for PTSD, noting that while existing therapies are effective, they are not universally so.

Before MDMA can be prescribed as a treatment for PTSD in the United States, several regulatory hurdles must be overcome. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would need to approve its use, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) would need to reevaluate its current Schedule 1 classification. Currently, MDMA is classified alongside heroin as a Schedule 1 substance, signifying "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse."

The study's findings mark a significant step forward in the potential treatment options available for those suffering from PTSD. As further research and regulatory processes unfold, there is hope that MDMA, combined with psychotherapy, could provide much-needed relief for individuals grappling with the effects of this disorder.

Tags assigned to this article:
MDMA PTSD PTSD symptoms Psychotherapy


Around The World


Novel Approaches For Anticipating Outcomes In Pregnancies With Foetal Complications

Improved prediction of which pregnancies are likely to result in stillbirth, neonatal death, or extremely preterm delivery will aid in identifying the...

ISKCON's World Holy Name Week And Bhadra Poornima Celebration

The celebration concludes along with over 15,000 Bhagavata Purana Sets distributed ...

Amrita University Unveils Groundbreaking Research Projects During Amma's Birthday Celebration

Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma) —spiritual leader, humanitarian and visionary—was born on 3rd October, 1953 in a remote coastal village in Kerala...

Genetics Helps Explain Childhood Cancer: Study

The findings, which will help with genetic counselling were published in The Lancet Oncology....

The Power Of Mindfulness: A Secret Weapon For Competitive Exam Success

Being fully present when studying, rather than letting the mind wander, can lead to more efficient learning and better recall during exams...

Spiritual Well-Being And Mental Health

Discussing the connection between spiritual well-being and mental health and exploring practices that promote both ...

Quick Connect With BW Wellness

Subscribe Our Newsletter