MDMA is one psychoactive substance that is used in psychedelic-assisted therapy. Here’s what you need to know about MDMA assisted therapy.
What is MDMA?
MDMA is a synthetic amphetamine derivative that has been articled as an empathogen or an entactogen.
MDMA Effects & Experiences
Acting quite specifically within the realm of euphoria, MDMA stimulates the release of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine which dramatically heightens a users emotional experience and creates conditions of openness and boundlessness that are often described as loving and connective experiences.
MDMA also stimulates the release of the hormones oxytocin, vasopressin, cortisol and prolactin which produce an increased pace of experience that can translate into increases in blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature.
The duration of the effects of an MDMA experience typically last between 6-8 hours in their peak phase and the after-effects can promote necessary integrative practice in order to assimilate all parts of the experience.
A recent study has given new language to the effect that MDMA has on the brain where it has been noticed that high activity centers in the brains of anxious people are much less active when in an MDMA experience. The result of these effects in brain chemistry is a noticeable sense of relaxation surrounding the need to control emotional responses which suggests that MDMA can help to alleviate mood-based disorders.
Use of MDMA in Therapy
Due to the enhancement of emotional access and connection for the user, it is suggested that MDMA has great potential to help people heal acute trauma and positively transform their relationships with anxiety.
Primarily, based on clinical trials funded by MAPS, MDMA has shown to be greatly effective at treating patients with PTSD, including those with treatment resistant PTSD.
MDMA is also becoming regarded as a tool for spiritual growth as it tends to promote enhanced empathy for others on a grand scale. Beyond offering users a means of discovering spiritual epiphany and broader interconnectedness, it is also proving to be useful for building and repairing relationships between people. Because it fosters empathy and enhanced communication and openness, it has shown great potential to catalyze intimate and honest connections between people, especially when supported by a specialized therapist or facilitator.
Is MDMA Legal for Therapy Use?
This abbreviated timeline of MDMA approvals for use shows just how promising it is that we will see MDMA legal for therapy use within a year or two.
MDMA has been listed as a Schedule I drug in the US since 1985, meaning that it requires a prescription as a condition of sale.
In 2017, the FDA granted MDMA “breakthrough therapy” status to expedite the process of bringing it into the world of therapeutic treatment.
Given the current state of clinical trials for MDMA, it is possible that we will see doctors in North America prescribing MDMA as early as 2022- 23 for PTSD treatment. Therapists, physicians and healthcare workers are already preparing by getting psychedelic-assisted therapy training ahead of these dates.
What Could MDMA be Used to Treat?
There are several indicated opportunities for support for MDMA including:
- Anxiety disorders
- Social anxiety
- Eating disorders
- Substance abuse disorders
Interested in adding MDMA-assisted therapy into your practice?
Download the Practitioner’s Guide to Psychedelics now for more information on how you can integrate this new treatment into your practice.
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If you have questions about changes in regulations for psychedelics, please join our upcoming psychedelics information sessions.