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80% of Post-Traumatic Stress Sufferers Lost Symptoms After Taking Ecstasy -- Study's Results

Study's conclusion -- new drug could "offer sufferers a vital window with reduced fear responses where psychotherapy can take effect."

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If MDMA can help people with chronic PTSD, why not make it available for use by psychotherapists?            

Meanwhile, thanks to Rick Doblin and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies  (MAPS) for making this scientific study possible, with its detailed charts of (transitory) side effects and careful consideration of the need for further research. Let data rule.

PTSD is suffered not only by some warriors, but also by rape and other crime victims, by people who have been in accidents, by minors who suffer abuse.

Before being "scheduled" (criminalized) 25 years ago, MDMA was used by a circle of therapists for a variety of purposes, including internal exploration. For example, George Greer, M.D. and Requa Tolbert wrote a paper in 1986 on how they'd given MDMA in a clinical setting. The Mithoefer research just reported is methodologically superior to theirs, and focused tightly on PTSD, but it is hard to find any substantial contradiction of what they wrote in 1985 or to conclude that, because of political hysteria, we have not just wasted a quarter century.

Research is quietly being conducted not only on MDMA (which has been labeled an "empathogen" or "entactogen") but also on classic psychedelics such as psilocybin. Much of this work is sponsored by a group of scientists banded together in the Heffter Institute (a name borrowed from a German pharmacologist born in the mid 19th century). Many of the published papers are technical, with such titles as "psylocybin links binocular rivalry switch rate to attention and subjective arousal levels in humans."

But Heffter also sponsors clinical and basic research friendlier to laypeople. For example, they are supporting studies of the use of psilocybin and other psychoactive molecules, conducted at Johns Hopkins, NYU, Perdue, UCLA, and the University of Zurich. Some of this research deals with cancer patients and people with obsessive-compulsive disorder; some, with the way various molecules work in the nervous system. Heffter has gathered most of the big names in the field, plus some generous supporters.

Along with the Council on Spiritual Practices (in San Francisco), the Multidiscplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (with an office in Santa Cruz), and the Beckley Foundation (located in England), the Heffter Institute (with an office in Santa Fe) co-sponsored a conference in April in the Bay Area and supports much of the "psychedelic science" being conducted abroad and, as the Federal government gradually allows it, in the U.S.

If pharmaceutical firms could profit from these substances and if the latter hadn't been associated with hedonism in a time characterized by protest against a war and against racism, perhaps this process of official rediscovery would have moved less tardily. Meawnhile, sufferers from PTSD and other maladies can give thanks to the scientists and other pioneers who have kept working to explore the benefits and safe uses of mind-manifesting molecules.

Craig K Comstock is a book creation coach and former director of the Ark Foundation. He produces and hosts a weekly TV show. He is co-author of books including Sanctions for Evil: Sources of Social Destructiveness, with Nevitt Sanford (Beacon) and Citizen Summitry and Securing Our Planet, both with Don Carlson (Tarcher).

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