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Ecstasy As Treatment for PTSD from Sexual Trauma and War? New Research Shows Very Promising Results

MDMA is gaining serious traction as a treatment option for soldiers and civilians suffering from crippling post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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But such hopes could turn out to be troubled, if the situation mirrors the maddening fits and starts of officially sanctioned cannabis research, which has been hampered by the Obama administration's inability to recover from a last-minute Bush administration maneuver that killed a MAPS-sponsored medical marijuana production facility at the University of Massachusetts. As explained in David Jay Brown's High Times expose "Crop Blockers" ( PDF), the National Institute for Drug Abuse, which "holds a government-enforced monopoly of the legal supply of research cannabis," has routinely blocked efforts for researchers to obtain medical marijuana, in spite of the FDA's approval for study. When MAPS tried to get around that pointless gridlock with its own federally regulated but privately funded facility, recommended in 2007 by DEA administrative law judge Mary Ellen Bitner, it got no help from the Obama administration, which nominated medical marijuana opponent Michelle Leonhart -- the same Bush administration holdover who killed the University of Massachusetts facility, blocked scientific research on cannabis and oversaw federal raids on medical marijuana facilities and providers --for DEA Administrator. Everything old is new again.

"We're currently waiting for the DEA to issue its final ruling rejecting Judge Bitner's recommendation," Doblin explained. "Then we can appeal in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, where we could put up a valiant fight but still probably lose in the end. I currently estimate that it's 50-50 whether we will ever be able to obtain approval from NIDA to sell us the marijuana we need for our study. In the '90s, we had two FDA- and IRB-approved medical marijuana protocols that NIDA refused to sell us the marijuana to conduct, preventing the studies from happening. From 2001-2008, NIDA refused to sell us 10 grams of marijuana for vaporizer analytical research, which wasn't even for a study in humans! Finally, our analytical lab gave up in frustration."

What's missing in this battle for forward-thinking mental health care and medical therapy is massive public mobilization, especially among the military. Until the global village, and its soldiers -- who are currently being exploited by everything from improper foreclosures to exorbitant luggage fees -- collectively decide that the convincing science on the matter should override decades-old stigmas that have more to do with anachronistic political maneuvering and less to do with hard data, these Kafkaesque bureaucratic runarounds won't end. And with everything from increasing economic stagnation to environmental disaster on the docket, they need to end sooner rather than later.

"Citizens can petition their elected officials to let them know that they want them to end the NIDA monopoly on supply and that they want NIDA to agree to provide marijuana to all FDA-approved protocols," said Doblin. "The redundant, slow and politically created PHS/NIDA protocol review process, which exists for marijuana but for no other drug, should be eliminated."

Scott Thill runs the online mag Morphizm.com. His writing has appeared on Salon, XLR8R, All Music Guide, Wired and others.

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