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  • F.D.A. Agrees to New Trials for Ecstasy as Relief for PTSD Patients

    F.D.A. Agrees to New Trials for Ecstasy as Relief for PTSD Patients



    C.J. Hardin, a veteran who served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, at a memorial in North Charleston, S.C. He is a patient in the study of MDMA, also known as Ecstasy, as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — After three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, C. J. Hardin wound up hiding from the world in a backwoods cabin in North Carolina. Divorced, alcoholic and at times suicidal, he had tried almost all the accepted treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder: psychotherapy, group therapy and nearly a dozen different medications.

    “Nothing worked for me, so I put aside the idea that I could get better,” said Mr. Hardin, 37. “I just pretty much became a hermit in my cabin and never went out.”

    Then, in 2013, he joined a small drug trial testing whether PTSD could be treated with MDMA, the illegal party drug better known as Ecstasy.

    “It changed my life,” he said in a recent interview in the bright, airy living room of the suburban ranch house here, where he now lives while going to college and working as an airplane mechanic. “It allowed me to see my trauma without fear or hesitation and finally process things and move forward.”

    Based on promising results like Mr. Hardin’s, the Food and Drug Administration gave permission Tuesday for large-scale, Phase 3 clinical trials of the drug — a final step before the possible approval of Ecstasy as a prescription drug.

    If successful, the trials could turn an illicit street substance into a potent treatment for PTSD.

    Through a spokeswoman, the F.D.A. declined to comment, citing regulations that prohibit disclosing information about drugs that are being developed.

    “I’m cautious but hopeful,” said Dr. Charles R. Marmar, the head of psychiatry at New York University’s Langone School of Medicine, a leading PTSD researcher who was not involved in the study. “If they can keep getting good results, it will be of great use. PTSD can be very hard to treat. Our best therapies right now don’t help 30 to 40 percent of people. So we need more options.”

    The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a small nonprofit created in 1985 to advocate the legal medical use of MDMA, LSD, marijuana and other banned drugs, sponsored six Phase 2 studies treating a total of 130 PTSD patients with the stimulant. It will also fund the Phase 3 research, which will include at least 230 patients.

    Two trials here in Charleston focused on treating combat veterans, sexual assault victims, and police and firefighters with PTSD who had not responded to traditional prescription drugs or psychotherapy. Patients had, on average, struggled with symptoms for 17 years.
    Comments 33 Comments
    1. ovo1024's Avatar
      ovo1024 -
      In full support of this and have been for years.
    1. theMerovingian's Avatar
      theMerovingian -
      Heading in the right direction. Happy to have read this.
    1. LucidSDreamr's Avatar
      LucidSDreamr -
      Great news....the guy at the end that said he doesn't ever want to do mdma again is clearly bluffing....too much shame in admitting he enjoyed it on top of it curing him
    1. aliasksm's Avatar
      aliasksm -
      A step in the right direction. I believe this is really just a way to earn some brownie points, and they have no intention of ever allowing any of the aforementioned drugs to be used for any medical reasons. Maybe not!
    1. Captain.Heroin's Avatar
      Captain.Heroin -
      as someone with PTSD, I'm not sure how MDMA would help. I'm glad they're willing to experiment with it, and this is definitely progress, but I don't think I'd personally benefit.
    1. Tranced's Avatar
      Tranced -
      Wicked news. Gwaann Earth.
    1. TripMcnealy's Avatar
      TripMcnealy -
      MDMA has really been a big part of learning how to open up and dealing with negative parts of my life. It has also given me a great deal of empathy and sympathy. Don't get me wrong, has also made Roger Water concerts even better as well lol, but I think it's a great tool for accessing and figuring out interpersonal relationships and closed off emotions for those who are battling PTSD. When used properly, it can definitely open proverbial doors for those suffering with emotional problems. It helped me, and I've also abused it, but haven't touched it, nor had the desire to take it in probably 3 years.
    1. SKL's Avatar
      SKL -
      my goodness are there a lot of people (both pro and con) in the comments section who haven't a clue; yes, it's a comments section, but, as a regular reader, at least in political and international type stories at least the "recommended" comments in the NYT have some substance to them; here, not as much, more sadly to the point that many, many people have their blinders on (again, either pro or con) when it comes to "drug,") don't they?
    1. Mushwood's Avatar
      Mushwood -
      Yes I think MDMA could be a useful tool in this respect.


      I have PTSD, I was seeing an analyst earlier this year but every time I was there I just couldn't speak properly. I was avoidant like fuck. I stopped going to the therapy because it was so uncomfortable.


      So now after a light bit of heavy opioid use and with my symptoms having become a lot worse, I wish I had been able to engage in therapy more easily. I remember thinking at the time that I should've been intoxicated to have been able to speak more freely, or speak at all!

      I did actually consider turning up on MDMA surreptitiously (....um, amongst a few other substances!) because almost without fail in the past it has made me open, unafraid and talkative. And sweaty..


      Perhaps if MDMA had been available to me I wouldn't have spent the last week in hell squared.
    1. Magic_Dragon's Avatar
      Magic_Dragon -
      Finally!!!
    1. taralyn's Avatar
      taralyn -
      my dad passed away from cirrhosis back in june of last year and he was in the Army for a lil over 25 years. he served in many wars n suffered from ptsd. it went untreated n he drank himself to death. it is so sad that so many ppl serve our country and then they come home and they don't get the proper treatment. I myself have taken E and it was one of the best trips I ever took. i think if it helps they should do it!!
    1. TripMcnealy's Avatar
      TripMcnealy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mushwood View Post
      Yes I think MDMA could be a useful tool in this respect.


      I have PTSD, I was seeing an analyst earlier this year but every time I was there I just couldn't speak properly. I was avoidant like fuck. I stopped going to the therapy because it was so uncomfortable.


      So now after a light bit of heavy opioid use and with my symptoms having become a lot worse, I wish I had been able to engage in therapy more easily. I remember thinking at the time that I should've been intoxicated to have been able to speak more freely, or speak at all!

      I did actually consider turning up on MDMA surreptitiously (....um, amongst a few other substances!) because almost without fail in the past it has made me open, unafraid and talkative. And sweaty..


      Perhaps if MDMA had been available to me I wouldn't have spent the last week in hell squared.
      It's a shame. a few years back, at least in this region, very very pure and clean stuff was available (plenty of rubbish too). Just be careful if you do pursue this route. Mostly anything around now is extremely impure, crystal, or an actually legal research chemical. It's insane how bad the war on drugs has made things.
    1. Mmengel89's Avatar
      Mmengel89 -
      E3we3n xdd. D dx. Xx dxueuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuyyyyuuuuyyuuuuujjj3rujrx ookoiikooree
    1. Muttieslove's Avatar
      Muttieslove -
      This research finally gives me hope
    1. Nini101's Avatar
      Nini101 -
      Being in the military for 8 years doing Mortuary Affairs and sending the Fallen home while overseas I suffer from PTSD and extreme anxiety disorder. If there's anything out there that they think could possibly help others like myself, I'm all for it. I truly hope they find something soon, this shoving depression and anxiety medication down our throats isn't really fixing us. It's only fixing the now problem's.
    1. TripMcnealy's Avatar
      TripMcnealy -
      It's funny Nini. Doctors across the country are all too ready to jump at prescribing patients years worth of SSRI's or SSNRI's for depression, anxiety, and pain, despite the severe side effects these medications can cause. Then they want to prescribe more non narcotic medications to balance out the negative effects. I've tried 3 different types over the last few years and each one has flipped my life upside down, the worst being Cymbalta.

      On the other end, the vast majority of doctors are absolute in their resolve to not prescribe benzodiazapines or narcotic medications, even though many patients who do not abuse these drugs get great benefits and experience little to no side effects.

      The pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction. It's as if doctors will not spend the time to look at each case individually. I've actually told doctors that I was feeling suicidal from these drugs and they still wanted me to take them!

      Aside from the kickbacks they recieve from drug companies, the research they recieve about most drugs is unbelievably misleading. I know this may seem like a bit of a digression, but I believe there is a major problem with the way doctors treat their patients in this country.

      I think there needs to be a philisophical overhaul in the healthcare system. We need to get rid of doctor commissions and have more of an open minded and case specific approach to treatment.
    1. Mushwood's Avatar
      Mushwood -
      ^yeah ... every GP I've seen has been quite shit (UK). Most recently after plucking up the courage to complain that I was getting raped in hell ten times a day and that suicide was the only answer, he gave me propranolol, fluoxetine, a self referral form for a mental heath charity and sent my on my way.

      Thanks a lot NHS.
    1. Sunnie1313's Avatar
      Sunnie1313 -
      I haven't gone back to work since 2000, was diagnosed with ptsd that same year.
    1. Sunnie1313's Avatar
      Sunnie1313 -
      I was diagnosed bipolar twenty years prior to the add on of ptsd. There is really no way to get over accidentally killing someone, at least not in my case. I have been under the care of a psychiatrist my entire adult life. I am all open for this new experimental drug for ptsd, if used correctly, most every drug has positive benefits, however, we must not forget the long term side effects that any drug or drink may have on our bodies. I believe I am on a lifetime plan to remain under the care of a psychiatrist, in doing so I choose to live a functioning life. Maybe everyday isn't what life is cracked up to be, but one day at a time is all we have. sunnie1313
    1. Hazardouslife's Avatar
      Hazardouslife -
      Back in high school, I took a 1/4 of a ''blue sky'' pill. After that ONE and ONLY trip, I was totally changed from shy and anxious to outgoing and happy.

      To feel that you are right where you need to be at the right moment brings total bliss and contentment. That alone changed my life.

      Yes, I think Mdma has great potential. It allows user to step back and see things from an other point of view.