The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies just published their largest-to-date study on the effectiveness and safety of MDMA-Assisted Therapy for PTSD*, and the results are, well, somewhat earth shattering.
And so the word is spreading fast, very fast. BBC News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, VOX and others have reported on this news.
The study was a 2-year, multisite (Canada, USA, Israel), rigorously-designed FDA-approved study. The participants were 90 people with severe PTSD, randomly assigned to either the MDMA therapy group or the supportive therapy group. Researchers measured levels of PTSD, disability, depression, and a host of safety and physiological measures. There were 3 preparation sessions, 3 MDMA sessions, and 9 integration sessions (3 after each MDMA session). The results were reported two months after treatment ended.
So what happened? In short, the MDMA Therapy group showed a large decrease in trauma symptoms compared to the regular therapy group. The size of that difference is much larger than any other previously reported treatment for PTSD!!! And that’s compared to a control group which also received treatment and also showed improvement, so compared to no treatment, this large effect becomes even more pronounced.
Yes, you read it right, the love drug MDMA is a powerful therapeutic agent. These new results are consistent with all previous research with this therapy. The results were similar across research sites and for different lengths and histories of PTSD. Also, a history of alcohol or drug use, as well as a history of SSRI use, did not seem to affect the results.
How about safety then? Well, one person withdrew from the MDMA group because of a mood dip the day after the administration of MDMA. Some participants experienced transient effects such as increased muscle tension, decreased appetite, nausea, and feeling cold. Blood pressure and heart rate were predictably increased in the MDMA group. And 3 people in the MDMA group experienced a mild increase in body temperature. All of these were largely expected and transient effects of MDMA.
There were no severe adverse effects reported by any participant in the MDMA group. And when it comes to suicidal ideation (a common symptom in PTSD), it was more pronounced in the non-MDMA group, including one person in the non-MDMA group being admitted to hospital (which makes you think about how many people in the “non-MDMA group” are being admitted to hospital as we speak).
In short, MDMA Therapy was deemed not only effective but also safe.
PTSD is notoriously difficult to treat, so these results are a bright light on the horizon of trauma treatment. Now, we all need to get to work to bring these therapies to those in need safely and effectively.
If you want to hear an amazing first-hand account of how MDMA Therapy works, listen to Lori Tipton’s heart-felt and highly-intelligent account on the Enhanced Therapy Podcast: https://enhancedtherapy.ca/a-personal-account-of-the-healing-power-of-mdma-therapy-with-lori-tipton-enhanced-therapy-podcast-4/
Let’s keep hope alive …
Dr. Darek Dawda
* The original academic publication in Nature Medicine:
* Recent New York Times articles: