A representative from MAPS, an organization devoted to studying the effects of psychedelics, recently sent me a press release about upcoming research being done in Vancouver to study the use of MDMA (more commonly known as ecstasy) to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. While a lot of people will snicker at the idea of using what’s more commonly known as a recreational drug for rave attendees to treat people who suffer trauma from serving in war, previous research has shown some serious promise.
MAPS’ goal is to demonstrate that MDMA has valid medical use so that the FDA and other international health agencies will allow it to be prescribed by doctors. Currently, MDMA is illegal in the United States, but has rather unsurprisingly seen a large spike in use since its distribution was handed to criminal organizations back in the 1980s. Internationally, MDMA is illegal in most countries, but researchers in Israel and Switzerland are also studying the effects of the drug.
One aspect of this story that caught my attention is the fact that this latest study in Vancouver, which could potentially benefit hundreds of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD, is being funded entirely by charitable donations. You’d think that a treatment that has shown such serious potential and has such a large potential base of customers would be something that American pharmaceutical companies would be interested in. Unfortunately, MDMA is off-patent and the drug itself doesn’t need to be taken every day for the overall treatment to be effective. As a result, there isn’t much money to be made when compared to giving old people boners.