US researchers believe ecstasy can be used as an effective anti-anxiety medicine, at least in terminally ill patients. A trial is currently under way trying to determine if the anxiety and depression caused by the diagnose can be treated through ecstasy-induced therapy.
A California research team, led by Dr. Philip Wolfson, argued that the effects of the MDMA – the clinical name for ecstasy and Molly – can be further enhanced through psychotherapy sessions. “It’s a substance that supports deep, meaningful and rapidly effective psychotherapy,” explained Dr. Wolfson.
The researchers hope to use the MDMA experience to help patients struggling with terminal diseases, such as cancer, to better cope with their depression. In order to test the new approach, the scientists have asked over a dozen terminally ill patients to take part in double blind trial in Santa Cruz.
The trial will take place over the course of a year, and only subjects with a life expectancy of at least 9 months have been asked to participate. According to Brad Burge, a spokesman for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, some patients will get a full ecstasy dose, while others will receive a placebo.
What all subjects have in common, however, is that each one of them will undergo psychotherapy sessions. The purpose of the whole trial is to test if the therapy is more effective in those patients who took ecstasy.
“Our hypothesis is that something is happening with MDMA that makes psychotherapy easier,” Burge explained. Those patients who received the full dose – 125 milligrams of MDMA – can choose to have another 62.5 mg during the same session. Those who got the placebo, on the other hand, can take their chances and re-enter the trial.
The medicinal uses of MDMA have long been studied by researchers, even though the drug was banned in the United States in the 1980s. Scientists are pretty confident ecstasy can be effectively used to treat a series on mental health disorders, like autism and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
MDMA-based drugs, such as ecstasy and Molly, are known to cause euphoria and increased energy, as well as increasing empathy towards others. However, its side effects include irregular blood pressure, blurred vision and muscle tension. MDMA is currently banned in the United States and can only be obtained illegally.