The popular party drug, MDMA, also known as ecstasy, has officially been approved in Israel as a treatment for Post-traumatic stress disorder.
An Israeli government representative learned about the benefits of using MDMA to treat PTSD from the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a California-based organization. Following their research, Israel has approved using MDMA to treat 50 patients suffering from PTSD.
“The ministry is taking this seriously and with appropriate caution, an in-depth investigation has been carried out,” Ministry of Health official Bella Ben-Gershon told sources. “There is a considerable population in Israel of people suffering from PTSD that is resistant to other treatment.”
Research shows that it is possible for people with PTSD, who may be having difficulty coping with traumatic memories, may benefit in the long-term by using MDMA. Recreational use remains illegal and it’s still considered a “dangerous drug”. It is still currently in clinical trials and is awaiting formal approval. The treatment that will be used on the 50 patients is considered “compassionate use”. This allows for drugs that are still being tested and developed to be used by patients due to a lack of effective treatments.
It’s estimated that approximately 8 percent of residents in the United States have PTSD at any given time which is an estimated 24.4 million people. That rate rises to about 11 and 20 percent when looking specifically at veterans in the country. In a move to try and have an approved MDMA medication as soon as 2021, MAPS has announced a $26.9 million strategy to convince the FDA.
“This is an opportunity to learn a lesson from history and get it right this time,” said Jag Davies, director of communications and strategy at the Drug Policy Alliance. “People who use psychedelics or MDMA shouldn’t be vulnerable to any form of criminal punishment.”
MDMA isn’t only being used for treatment in PTSD patients. Last year, there were very positive results after being used by adults with autism. It has also been used and has had success in various therapy sessions.
“In the United States, they are already doing studies on the use of MDMA in couples’ therapy and with people on the autism spectrum to improve communications and help them understand social situations better,” said Ben-Gershon.
The treatment will take place in Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center and psychiatric hospitals in Be’er Yaakov, Lev Hasharon, and Be’er Sheva.