MDMA as a treatment for PTSD

Does MDMA cure PTSD? This research trial proved it just might.


Former Army and Marine Corps veteran SGT(R) Jonathan Lubecky, had severe PTSD after he returned from Iraq. In 2015, he took part in a MDMA-assisted therapy trial. The trial, conducted by the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies MAPS, is currently in phase 3, meaning the treatment could be approved by the Food and Drug Administration FDA in 2022.

Dr. Emily Williams is a psychiatrist and a researcher for MAPS

“The biggest difference is the fact that, you know, the current Western medicine therapy model leaves the 50-minute therapist hours. So before you even get close to any sort of trauma or comfort level, it’s “Well, that's all the time we have for today. Let's take it up here next week.” This is an eight-hour deep dive therapy session. And so even our placebo group saw relief just from having eight hours of therapy. The second big difference is there's two therapists in the room that we try to have the therapist teams be male and female. And the fact that you take MDMA and you're under the influence of a psychedelic for the entire eight hours”, Dr. Williams tells Brut.

Of the 107 participants MAPS already treated, 68% no longer had PTSD at their 12-month follow-up

MDMA was synthesized in 1912. Its psychedelic effects were first researched in the 1970s. At the time, MDMA was legal and had been used in couple’s therapy settings. But, in the context of Reagan administration's “war on drugs,” MDMA was outlawed in 1985. MDMA, or ecstasy, continued to be used illegally and recreationally, especially at parties and clubs. According to the VA while 7-8% of the population will have PTSD at some point in their lives, up to 20% of veterans have the disorder. In the U.S., 17 veterans die by suicide every day.