Article image

Psychedelic drug MDMA shows promise for reducing post traumatic stress

Researchers recently revealed that the psychedelic drug MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, has the potential to ease symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Published on Thursday, this study offers a fresh perspective on treating PTSD, a condition that has seen little innovation in therapeutic approaches over the past two decades. The work was sponsored by MAPS Public Benefit Corporation.

Possible US approval 

The research could revolutionize PTSD treatment. Amy Emerson, CEO of MAPS Public Benefit Corporation, expressed her optimism. 

“It’s the first innovation in PTSD treatment in more than two decades. And it’s significant because I think it will also open up other innovation,” said Emerson.

The company is set to approach U.S. authorities later this year to obtain approval for marketing MDMA in combination with talk therapy as a viable treatment for PTSD.

Global acceptance

This is not the first instance of psychedelic drugs gaining traction in medical circles. Earlier in the year, Australia set a precedent by authorizing psychiatrists to prescribe both MDMA and psilocybin, which is the psychoactive component in magic mushrooms. 

This move, alongside the proactive endeavors of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a nonprofit advocacy group, has driven a broader cultural acceptance of such drugs in the U.S.

Focus of the study 

For the current study, 104 PTSD patients were observed. The participants were randomly designated to receive either MDMA or a placebo pill across three sessions spaced a month apart, with all participants receiving talk therapy.

While there were some side effects noted in the MDMA group – including muscle tightness, nausea, decreased appetite, and sweating – only one participant from this group opted to withdraw from the study.

Encouraging results

Post-treatment, a notable 86% of participants in the MDMA group exhibited improvement on a standard PTSD assessment. 

This was significantly higher than the 69% improvement rate observed in the placebo group. The assessment gauged symptoms characteristic of PTSD, such as nightmares, flashbacks, and insomnia.

Perhaps the most promising outcome was that by the conclusion of the study, 72% of the participants in the MDMA group no longer fit the diagnostic criteria for PTSD. This was a marked contrast to the roughly 48% in the placebo group.

A new horizon 

This research holds immense promise for the future of PTSD treatment. With MDMA’s potential benefits, combined with talk therapy, many patients may soon have a renewed hope for a life without the debilitating effects of PTSD. 

As the world moves towards greater acceptance of psychedelics for therapeutic purposes, this study serves as a significant stepping stone.

Like what you read? Subscribe to our newsletter for engaging articles, exclusive content, and the latest updates.


Check us out on EarthSnap, a free app brought to you by Eric Ralls and

News coming your way
The biggest news about our planet delivered to you each day