While it’s known for being a club drug, ecstasy could be used to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Ecstasy floods the brain with serotonin and oxytocin, which are chemicals linked to emotion. In a British study, the researchers didn’t give people the club drug, but isolated the active ingredient MDMA (short for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine). The goal was to repeat a small study that was performed in the United States.
In this new study, 12 people were given MDMA pills and 8 were given placebo pills, along with therapy sessions. Ten of the participants who took the MDMA pills showed an improvement after two therapy sessions. The participants included one combat veteran. The rest were victims of rape, child abuse, or assault.
One participant told The Guardian:
“I have respect for my emotions now (rather than fear of them). What’s most comforting is knowing now I can handle difficult feelings without being overwhelmed. I realize feeling the fear and anger is not nearly as big a deal as I thought it would be.”
The issue at hand is that when a drug is banned, there’s no going back. This isn’t the first time an illegal drug has been used as medicine: Medical marijuana has been recommended for pain and other ailments. Magic mushroom ingredients have been shown to calm late-stage cancer patients.
The lead researcher was a former government drug adviser David Nutt, who told The Guardian, that while the drugs have been made illegal to stop kids from abusing them, their therapeutic value has been overlooked. This is the same David Nutt, who was asked to resign after he claimed ecstasy and LSD were less dangerous than alcohol.
Related on SmartPlanet: