For a long time, MDMA, or ecstasy, was thought of as just a party drug, but now it’s a potential cure for PTSD? This is probably the most important drug in America right now. It’s also the most controversial. The question is, why is this drug so important?
This week, the heroin epidemic in the US is getting lots of attention. In fact, the Associated Press recently reported that the state of West Virginia has been dealing with a heroin epidemic that has left at least 100 people dead in the last two years.
A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post about MDMA’s potential as a treatment for PTSD. Since then, I have had the opportunity to meet a number of scientists who are now actively studying MDMA as a potential treatment for PTSD. MDMA, as you may know, is the active ingredient in ecstasy. As a neurotoxic drug, it is extremely powerful and can damage your brain.
Message: Veriheal does not support the illegal use of therapeutic substances such as MDMA, but recognizes that this is due to the current illegal status of both substances, which we want to change by advocating for research, legal access and responsible use. Always consult your doctor before using alternative medicine. Can you imagine what it’s like to have a strong feeling of euphoria? Amidst all the craziness caused by life’s worries, you take a pill and suddenly everything is brighter, more magical and seems so good? It appears that this blissful drug, MDMA, can be used effectively as a treatment for certain conditions, some of which are in urgent need of effective medical care.
What is MDMA?
MDMA is short for methylenedioxymethamphetamine, a synthetic drug that acts as a stimulant and hallucinogen, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse NIH. MDMA is a derivative of amphetamines, a group of stimulants that increase the level of certain chemicals in the brain. The effects that can be expected from this substance are stimulation and amplification. In other words, you can expect greater awareness of yourself and your body, enhanced sensory perception, more energy, greater openness, less anxiety, distortion of time and space, and an elevated mood that makes you happy. The NIH goes on to say that MDMA is also available in the form of molly. Molly popularly means molecule and is a crystalline powder form of MDMA. Molly can be consumed in capsule or powder form and MDMA in tablet or capsule form. However, other types of drugs were found in the Molly seized by law enforcement, and some of them did not contain MDMA at all, even though they were said to be a crystalline form of MDMA. Although this article is written for educational purposes, it is important to remember that this substance is a Schedule 1 drug in the United States. The acquisition of this substance is therefore illegal and, if done through illegal channels, carries many risks.
How does MDMA work?
MDMA causes the release of neurotransmitters – chemical messengers in the brain that signal changes in brain activity. Neurotransmitter release includes dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, oxytocin, prolactin, cortisol, and vasopressin. The release of these neurotransmitters is responsible for the following benefits.
Research into MDMA has been given the green light by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to study its potential and effectiveness in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But what are the medical benefits of this synthetic substance that has received FDA approval? Let’s take a look at the following benefits you can expect.
- Reduction of anxiety and fear by anxiolytic properties.
- Increased interpersonal trust.
- Elevated mood (including high levels of happiness).
- Helps heal the psychological and emotional damage of trauma.
- Giving terminally ill patients the chance to accept their death.
- Reduction in symptoms associated with PTSD, including intrusive memories (e.g., flashbacks), negative changes in thinking and mood (e.g., hopelessness), and changes in physical and emotional reactions (e.g., mild nervousness or anxiety).
MDMA has also reportedly been used in clinical trials on more than 1,000 people, with no side effects.
Therapeutic and recreational use
MDMA is a popular recreational drug that is taken orally. According to a study by Steven Peroutka, the recreational use of MDMA in America has never been well documented. However, MDMA has been known to be easily consumed at parties, raves and other social events that fit well with the stimulation and, if you will, relief associated with MDMA. However, recreational use often takes place in uncontrolled, unmonitored and non-clinical settings, without the support of health professionals – meaning that use in this capacity is significantly more risky. The therapeutic use of MDMA involves a procedure known as MDMA-assisted therapy. According to experts, MDMA offers patients the unique ability to explore traumatic experiences without the associated pain, allowing them to process the issue with their therapist. MDMA therapy is administered over several sessions, during which patients are given tablets or capsules containing the substance. Two to three sessions over 12 weeks are needed to achieve results, but this depends on the severity of the condition being treated. Each capsule or tablet contains 125 grams of the substance, which begins to work about 45 minutes after ingestion. The healthcare provider administering the treatment may give the patient a second half dose about 2 hours after the first dose, but only if necessary. In this process, therapists are present throughout the session to guide the patient through the process, whether physical, emotional or psychological.
Conditions where MDMA therapy may be useful
Given the nature and effects of this drug, it can be assumed that patients with cognitive impairment will benefit most from MDMA. A study published in The Lancet Psychiatry found that MDMA could treat PTSD in most participants, including veterans, firefighters, police officers and others. The study was led by Michael Mithofer and Anne Mithofer, but it also involved other medical experts, including Dr. Rick Doblin, who explained that people can change decades-old anxiety patterns based on certain emotions in just a few sessions of deep therapy with MDMA, and that’s the remarkable thing. Healthline explains that MDMA is known for its anxiolytic (fear-reducing) properties. Dr. Donlin, author of the above study, has also completed a phase II treatment trial of MDMA therapy for the treatment of social anxiety in adults with autism. The results of the study are promising because the drug can inhibit the activity of the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for anxiety and fear. Unfortunately, the interaction between MDMA and depression has not been extensively studied, but it is thought to be due to the substance’s ability to improve mood, reduce anxiety, and open up the user’s disposition. In 2017, the first global study of MDMA as a treatment for alcohol addiction was published. The participants in this study were considered heavy drinkers who had failed in their previous attempts to quit. The study showed promising results and may help treat alcohol addiction rooted in trauma. As Dr. Doblin explains, the root cause of many cases of substance abuse is an escape from trauma. Research on MDMA for therapeutic purposes is currently limited, but with FDA research approval and the promising potential of MDMA, we will soon have a better understanding of how MDMA works for therapeutic and medical purposes. Finding therapeutic solutions like MDMA to treat conditions that typically don’t respond to drugs, like post-traumatic stress disorder and treatment-resistant depression, is more promising than ever. If MDMA is likely to be legalized by U.S. states before cannabis, it is hoped that the FDA will continue to approve research into alternative treatments (including psilocybin) in the interest of the public. MDMA is a well-known party drug or hallucinogen, but is it sometimes being used to treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? While MDMA is NOT FDA-approved for any medical use, many patients with PTSD and other psychological disorders have found benefits in their lives from taking MDMA. One of the most exciting potential applications of MDMA, however, is in the treatment of alcoholism.. Read more about psychedelic therapy and let us know what you think.
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