The idea of using recreational drugs to treat health problems is picking up the pace. Recent research has shown how psychedelic drugs like LSD and magic mushrooms can be used to treat depressive symptoms, marijuana can treat pain and seizures, and even highly hallucinogenic drugs like DMT could have therapeutic benefits in the future.
According to a new study, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine — known as MDMA — could be given to people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to relieve their symptoms.
MDMA is the most common ingredient in ecstasy pills, and can also be taken on its own. An MDMA high tends to give people a buzz that makes them feel things more intensely, see sounds and colors more vividly, and feel affection for people around them. It was made illegal in 1977 in the UK, and 1985 in the US.
The new study, published in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry, found that MDMA affects certain brain chemicals to help people become more engaged in their PTSD therapy.
PTSD can affect people who have been through trauma from a distressing, dangerous, or shocking event. People with PTSD often experience flashbacks and nightmares, making their everyday life difficult. Many people lose their jobs or turn to drugs or alcohol to relieve themselves from their thoughts.
Currently, the most common treatments for PTSD are cognitive processing therapy or antidepressants. But many people do not respond to currently available treatments, or drop out, the authors said in the study, so the need for new, more effective treatments is clear.
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