MDMA was discovered in 1912, when Dr. Anton Kollisch on the Merck Pharmaceutical Company was working on creating a new blood clotting medication. While working on his research, Dr. Kollisch found a string of new chemicals, one of which was MDMA. At that time, the drug’s psychoactive effects were unknown. However, the U.S. government caught wind of these effects and they decided to look more closely at the drug. By 1953 MDMA was being tested by the U.S. Army Chemical Center as a weapon for espionage.
The medical community’s interest in the drug was for its potential as a therapeutic tool. In 1978 a study was published on this very topic, and for the next several years scientists conducted over 1,000 clinical sessions of MDMA assisted psychotherapy.
MDMA and the Black Market
Around the same time as scientists were conducting clinical sessions with MDMA, the drug also found its way into the black market. It was being used recreationally on a widespread basis and as a result the DEA classified MDMA as Schedule 1. This meant the drug was classified to have a high potential for abuse, but no medical uses. It was now illegal to possess or make MDMA, despite expert testimony and court recommendations to the contrary. Research into the therapeutic value of MDMA came to a halt.
Assumptions about MDMA
The assumption most people make about MDMA is that it is dangerous and illegal. It gets confused with illegally manufactured Ecstasy or Molly. The FDA has determined that pure MDMA is safe to use in clinical trials, however substitutes found on the black market often contain toxic adulterants.
Within clinical research settings MDMA has been administered to almost 550 participants, and not a single negative side effect has been seen due to the drug. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies has been trying to make MDMA assisted psychotherapy legally available since 1986. Research has moved forward slowly, and only now, more than 100 years after its creation the therapeutic effects of MDMA to help PTSD are being rediscovered.
What is MDMA assisted psychotherapy?
So how does MDMA assist PTSD sufferers? When used in combination with psychotherapy, MDMA can actually increase the effectiveness of psychotherapy. This allows people who are suffering from PTSD to discuss painful memories, as MDMA decreases fear and defensiveness while increasing trust and empathy.
Unlike other pharmaceutical treatments for PTSD, where the drugs are used for months or even years to treat patients, MDMA is only administered a handful of times, with long lasting benefits. A recent clinical trial found that 83% of participants, who had suffered PTSD for an average of 19 years, no longer qualified for PTSD after undergoing MDMA assisted psychotherapy. The benefits of the treatment lasted for 3 years or even longer.
If you want to learn more about MDMA assisted psychotherapy, call The Villa. We can support your goals of getting better.