What's the Latest Development?

Medical professionals have begun investigating the effects of MDMA, better known as the party drug called ecstasy, on soldiers looking to treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as civilians coping with emotional distress. In a recent study conducted in South Carolina, victims of physical and sexual abuse were given MDMA in conjunction with psychotherapy. "Participants were given either MDMA or an inactive placebo during psychotherapy sessions, and were later assessed for symptoms of PTSD. Ten of the 12 (83%) given MDMA responded positively, compared to just two of the eight (25%) who took placebos."

What's the Big Idea?

Before MDMA could be outlawed as a controlled substance, which happened in 1985, an enormous amount of medical research had to be conducted. Now, scientists think that thanks in part to this research, the drug could be approved relatively soon to treat PTSD patients (though that's still ten years and tens of millions of dollars away). The leader of the study in South Carolina is currently conducting another in which he hypothesizes that soliders given MDMA, known to increase feelings of affection and trust, will be more open to psychotherapy as a treatment for their traumatic experiences. 

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Read it at BBC Future