By Red Pill   |  08-29-2017   News
Photo credit: Jelena Okjan | Dreamstime.com

For dozens of year, not the medical research surrounding MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) better known as “Ecstacy” has led many of the world's most renowned scientists to believe the drug had a wonderful potential.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The designation should speed the drug&#39;s approval as a prescription medicine, which could happen as soon as 2021 <a href="https://t.co/jVO4IgifaI">https://t.co/jVO4IgifaI</a></p>&mdash; reason (@reason) <a href="https://twitter.com/reason/status/902307195425099780">August 28, 2017</a></blockquote>

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However due to the stigma surrounding the drug's reputation as a party or “club” drug most of those within the legislative bodies continued to lobby against the drug, simply because they were unable to fathom the potential that the wonder drug had to offer.

Religious leaders, especially in the United States, would rally against the medication for similar reasons, pressuring elected officials to push their ideals about the legalization of such medications into a dark corner which couldn't be debated.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">FDA Grants Breakthrough Therapy Designation for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MDMA?src=hash">#MDMA</a>-Assisted Psychotherapy for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PTSD?src=hash">#PTSD</a> <a href="https://t.co/d3Ex8VvTiA">https://t.co/d3Ex8VvTiA</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/US_FDA">@US_FDA</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Science?src=hash">#Science</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Psychedelic?src=hash">#Psychedelic</a> <a href="https://t.co/0zZdwpA85i">pic.twitter.com/0zZdwpA85i</a></p>&mdash; MAPS (@MAPS) <a href="https://twitter.com/MAPS/status/901652707852787712">August 27, 2017</a></blockquote>

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However <a href="http://www.maps.org/">the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)</a> announced that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation to MDMA for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

MDMA is widely known for being a recreational and/or party drug, and as the main ingredient in ecstasy, MDMA has been shown to offer significant relief for sufferers of PTSD in clinical use trials conducted over the past several years, leading to the U.S. agency's decision.

MAPS, which has been championing and fundraising for MDMA research for roughly 30 years, explained in a press release that the FDA's granting of a Breakthrough Therapy Designation indicates the agency "has agreed that this treatment may have a meaningful advantage and greater compliance with available medications for PTSD."

It also will now officially designate the agency's intent to help develop and review the treatment faster than other candidate therapies.

But how does MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine) work in the brain? And how could its effects help those with PTSD?

It's a brilliant series of questions and the answers explain it well. MDMA has several effects on the brain that appear to make the process of talking through past traumas a more effective way of dealing with them, said Dr. Michael Mithoefer, a psychiatrist in private practice in South Carolina and a clinical researcher who has worked on earlier studies of the drug.

Currently, psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is the "definitive treatment" for people with PTSD, Mithoefer stated. There are drugs approved to treat PTSD, but they only target the symptoms, he added.

Still, in a large percentage of people, psychotherapy doesn't work well to treat the condition, Mithoefer said. Researchers think that MDMA could help people with PTSD by improving how they respond when they undergo psychotherapy, he said.

The effects of the drug seem to act as a catalyst for patients, helping them talk through and process their trauma, Mithoefer said. In other words, it's not the specific actions of MDMA in the brain that appear to treat PTSD, but rather that it seems to make psychotherapy more effective, he said.

MDMA causes a big increase in the levels of several neurotransmitters in the brain, the most predominant of which is serotonin, Mithoefer said. Serotonin is thought to contribute to feelings of well-being and happiness.

The drug also increases levels of certain hormones, including oxytocin and prolactin, Mithoefer said.

Oxytocin, which is sometimes referred to as the "love hormone," is known to increase "affiliative behavior," Mithoefer said. Increased levels of oxytocin make people more inclined to connect with others, he said.

Oxytocin has also been shown to affect how people respond to certain facial expressions, Mithoefer said. For example, research has shown that people given oxytocin are less likely to interpret certain facial expressions as being angry or threatening, he said.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Ecstasy could be &quot;breakthrough&quot; therapy for soldiers, others suffering from PTSD <a href="https://t.co/8dAhtAFkS6">https://t.co/8dAhtAFkS6</a></p>&mdash; Washington Post (@washingtonpost) <a href="https://twitter.com/washingtonpost/status/901660311949848576">August 27, 2017</a></blockquote>

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This can be helpful in therapy, particularly for people with PTSD, who tend to be hypervigilant and looking for threats, Mithoefer said. An increase in oxytocin may allow someone to be more trusting.

The other hormone, prolactin, can cause a "post-orgasmic state," Mithoefer said. The hormone makes people feel more relaxed and increases their sense of satisfaction, he said.

Ultimately, MDMA seems to put patients in what researchers call the "optimal arousal zone," Mithoefer said. If people are undergoing "hyperarousal" and flooded with anxiety and emotions, therapy doesn't tend to be effective, he said.

Similarly, when a person is "hyperaroused," effective therapy is difficult to achieve, he said.

But MDMA can give people several hours in the optimal arousal zone. "It's kind of the sweet spot where therapeutic change can happen," Mithoefer said.

The drug has also been shown to decrease activity in the amygdala, an area of the brain associated with fear, and increase activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is where information.

The greatest victors in this new effort will be American military veterans who suffer from PTSD, and every day has the struggle to survive dealing with both suicidal and homicidal tendencies in many of those cases.

There are dozens of cases of Veterans suffering from PTSD to whom contribute MDMA with saving their lives.

It's a step forward in humanity for this progress to be made, and a great way to help America's struggling heroes who seemingly have zero alternatives at this time.

Source:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/janetwburns/2017/08/28/fda-designates-mdma-as-breakthrough-therapy-for-post-traumatic-stress/#209552a37460

—<i>[email protected]</i>

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