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MDMA Might Be Legal for Psychotherapeutic Use by 2021

A $21 million dollar plan to train psychotherapists and fund clinical trails could result in FDA approval of the drug within six years.

This country's institutional reception of MDMA is getting more and more complex. Earlier this month we reported on a study which found that taking MDMA or Ecstasy directly increases stress levels. But on a very different note, the Huffington Post reports that MDMA psychotherapy might be on the near horizon.

At the Horizons: Perspectives on Psychedelics conference in New York on October 10, Rick Doblin, executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), said they were "on track for MDMA to be approved by the FDA by 2021." This ambitious goal is estimated as a result of their $21 million plan to train psychotherapists and fund clinical trials on roughly 400 subjects.

The first MDMA-assisted clinical trial for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy concluded that "MDMA-assisted psychotherapy can be administered to post-traumatic stress disorder patients without evidence of harm, and it may be useful in patients refractory to other treatments."

In his interview with the Post, Doblin also states the MAPS would like to see MDMA approved for other uses, such as end-of-life anxiety and social anxiety in adults with autism.

Speaking to stigma around psychedelics in mental health care, Doblin stated, "People have been given a sense of incredible danger around these drugs. The way it's been presented is that you take a single dose and you'll have major brain damage and significant consequences. We haven't found that in clinical settings at all, and I think it's been exaggerated in other contexts."

He also suggests that psychedelics such as MDMA can be helpful outside of an institutionally-sanctioned context, saying "I think there are enormous benefits outside the medical model to treat people who don't have a specified disorder—potential of psychedelics like LSD and MDMA to be used for spiritual experiences and personal growth."

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