For years there has been talk about using psychedelic drugs like the popular club drug MDMA, also known as ecstasy, as a way to treat various mental health conditions like depression, trauma, and alcohol use disorders. The use of hallucinogenic and psychedelic drugs as treatments are not new. In the height of the psychedelic counterculture in the fifties and sixties, the government was researching the efficacy of using these drugs in a clinical setting. However, due to the rise in the counter culture, research into the use of the drug was cut off by the government. Since most of these drugs have remained Schedule I drugs, the ability to do government funded research has been challenging. Still, over the years, researchers have engaged in various trials, with interesting results. Recently, another club drug which is a dissociative, Ketamine, started gaining praise for treatment of depression and potentially alcoholism. Now, for the first time, MDMA is getting an official clinical trial. The government has hinted that prescription MDMA is something that the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration, has been looking at for sometime.
It isn’t the United States conducting the trial, but the UK. A group of patients from England will be taking two doses of MDMA over two months. During eight weeks of weekly psychotherapy sessions, the participants will receive MDMA twice.This trial is groundbreaking because it is the first to use MDMA in a clinical trial to treat alcoholism specifically. Researchers believe that the MDMA will help to confront the presence of trauma, which is a co-occurring issue for most people who develop an alcohol use disorder.
Of course, there is much criticism and controversy awaiting the trail, as well as curiosity. Using addictive substances to treat a substance addiction is a high risk decision for alcoholics who could develop a new addiction. The study will reveal the world’s first information on how successful MDMA could be in treating alcoholism.
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