As most readers are likely aware, there are currently a number of clinical trials running with the explicit goal of obtaining governmental approval of use 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, aka “Ecstasy”) for medical purposes. I’ve talked about the Slate and Time puff pieces on this before, and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) which is pushing / sponsoring these trials lays out the whole thing here, if you are too lazy to Google. The short version of the theory is that the subjective properties of MDMA (empathic, inhibition lowering, etc) are consistent with helping people in difficult psychotherapeutic situations (such as for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, supposedly, end stage cancer anxiety) make therapeutic breakthroughs during a limited number of treatment sessions of talk therapy. This is not proposed as a chronic medication like a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). The funny thing is, I approve of the concept of moving forward with clinical trials based on the available evidence. Read the rest of this entry »