New treatment for PTSD? Dropping some Ecstasy.
It's not the most likely prescription for veterans already suffering from paranoia and emotional imbalance, but a group of researchers with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies in California are suggesting that 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (better known as Ecstasy) could prove valuable in helping combat vets in dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The study, which tracked only 20 patients, found veterans using Ecstasy were more receptive to counseling sessions than those on a placebo. Researchers said the effect was "immediate" and had "no evidence of impaired cognitive function as measured by neuropsychological testing."
MDMA has been used as a psychotherapy agent in the past, but has been illegal in the United States since it became a popular club drug in the 1980s. Researchers said they carefully screened study participants to ensure none had a history of chemical dependency or psychosis, and plan on starting a wider trial in coming months.
But any such treatment would be a tough sell for the VA; Earlier this year, officials rejected calls for expanded use of marijuana for PTSD patients, noting that their doctors cannot consider prescribing anything illegal to patients.