Ecstasy or MDMA has been banned in the United States 30 years ago. Now, after so much time, a team of psychologists got a permission to use the drug in a bid to decrease anxiety in patients who have cancer or other serious diseases. A research is going to encompass 18 people who are to be recruited by Dr. Phillip Wolfson, a psychiatrist who long advocated for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. The project is to take place in 2016 in the vicinity of Mount Tamalpais in California.
The patients are going to be administered with ecstasy and will undergo a few psychotherapy sessions. The aim is to reduce crippling anxiety they feel over being diagnosed with a difficult illness. According to Wolfson, a four- or a five-hour psychedelic journey is radically different than the usual medication used to treat anxiety. A patient is going to be guided through the session with the help of two therapists, one male and one female. “It’s a substance that supports deep, meaningful and rapidly effective psychotherapy,” Wolfson said.
“If a drug works for a disabling condition and can be labeled to be used in a safe way in that population,” U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Sandy Walsh said, “then we think we have an obligation to evaluate the data and do what the data support, such as allow a trial to proceed.”